The OM SYSTEM is Basically Olympus with a New Name

If a company remains the same but has a brand new name, is it really a new company? That’s the question I’m pondering as OM SYSTEM is announced today. As we’re all aware, the photo industry as a whole has been suffering in the past decade. With that, Olympus sold off the imaging division — which included audio products and binoculars along with cameras. The new company’s name will still be OM Digital Solutions. And today, they’re announcing a new brand called the OM SYSTEM. Hopefully, things are going to change.

A few important details:

  • Olympus and OM SYSTEM will co-exist at this time.
  • All existing Olympus branded products will remain the same.
  • With new announcements, the OM System will begin to grow.

Basically, in a few years, the Olympus brand for cameras should fade out. For example, the Olympus OMD EM1 Mk III’s successor might be called the OM EM1 Mk IV. And if there’s ever a Pen F successor, it might probably be called the OM System Pen F II. Honestly, even that’s speculation. 

Lots of folks out there really like to complain about Micro Four Thirds. But in truth, it’s a capable system with the potential to have a bigger advantage over full-frame and APS-C. There are Micro Four Thirds cameras being made right now with incredible amounts of computational photography and AI technology being built into it. And that’s where I feel the future of Micro Four Thirds is. Lots of bird and wildlife photographers adore Micro Four Thirds cameras and yet there is no bird AF system. Of anyone, I would’ve expected Olympus to get that technology first. 

Compliant with the Micro Four Thirds System standard, the interchangeable lens camera that we are now developing combines our industry leading manufacturing capabilities and cutting-edge technologies to significantly improve performance and provide an unrivaled photographic experience. We are leveraging the Micro Four Thirds System standard to make more compact and lightweight systems, strengthening the photographic support functions that broaden the field of photography, and accelerating the improvement of image quality and photographic expression through the use of computational photographic technology. We want OM SYSTEM to be a partner for the adventures of each and every person. We hope that you will look to our Micro Four Thirds system to bring photography to the next level.”

A quote from the press release

Couple this with the fact that the OM SYSTEM predecessor worked to get IP ratings in their cameras, and maybe we’ll eventually see an underwater Micro Four Thirds camera. If Google and Apple can make such clean images with their sensors and processors, I’m sure Micro Four Thirds can do the same. And as we’re told, because it’s a smaller sensor, it’s far easier to do any sort fo computer vision hackery than it is with bigger sensor cameras.

Personally, I’d even be curious if they ever made a cool, fun film camera again. I’m totally dreaming about a modern XA or an Olympus Trip digital camera. Consumer cameras have surely died, but the serious compact market could still survive. I mean, look at the Fujifilm X100V and the Leica Q. They’re selling like hotcakes and neither company can keep them in stock.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.