Olympus has announced that it is selling its camera division to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP). It is the same company that acquired Sony’s Vaio computer division, and now seeks to exploit popular Olympus brands such as Zuiko and OM-D. Olympus began its journey in 1936 by building and selling a camera using the Juico lens. Since then, the company has introduced innovative products such as the Olympus Pen, and even changed its strategy to create high-value interchangeable lenses as smartphones began to influence camera sales.
Olympus has not announced the financial details of the deal, but the company has released a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) confirming the final sale to JIP. A final agreement is expected to be signed on September 30 this year. One of the reasons Olympus stopped selling its imaging business was that it recorded operating losses for three consecutive fiscal years ending in March 2020. The company said it had tried to “adapt to the extremely severe digital camera market” with cost structures, product re-engineering based on demand, and restructuring of production bases, but losses in the imaging business continued.
The company says in its memorandum of understanding that they hope that under JIP, the imaging business will become more compact, efficient and agile. It could “continue to offer high quality, highly reliable products; and continue to support imaging solution products delivered by Olympus.” It should benefit from Olympus’ existing Juico and OM-D brands (for lenses and cameras, respectively) and create innovative products that meet today’s needs. JIP is the same company that absorbed Sony’s struggling Vaio PC business in 2014 Reports indicate that the deal was between JPY 40 billion and JPY 50 billion.
The latest product launched by Olympus was the OM-D E-1 Mark III Mirrorless Camera – the successor to the Olympus OM-D E-1 Mark II which was launched in 2016. Some of the key highlights of this E-1 Mark III include a compact and lightweight design, accurate AF (autofocus) especially Starry Sky AF, 4K video recording with high-speed movie recording at 120fps and much more. The Starry Sky AF mode found in the camera helps to take some bright pictures of celestial objects.
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