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08-02-2020, 03:00 PM - 1 Like   #211
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As someone who spent decades of my life working for Eastman Kodak I can honestly say I have heard that speech many, many.................... times. After awhile all we listened for were layoff announcements. Those speeeches management had no problem making come true.

08-06-2020, 09:24 AM   #212
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QuoteOriginally posted by Serkevan Quote
Put a 3-400mm-equivalent lens on each of them and suddenly the Oly is a very maneuverable camera
And now this has arrived!




08-06-2020, 11:39 AM - 1 Like   #213
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QuoteOriginally posted by surfar Quote
The new Oly 100-400 looks pretty good, maybe a smidgen sharper than the QC-plagued Panny 100-400. The 1:2 max magnification and compatibility with TC's are definite pluses.
08-06-2020, 01:19 PM   #214
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
the QC-plagued Panny 100-400.
I have read about the NIGHMARES that lens provides,this Oly is being described as pro grade by some(?) but we can wait till its in consumers hands for the real opinions.

08-06-2020, 01:30 PM - 2 Likes   #215
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'Tis a brave man buying an expensive Olympus lens at the moment! Nice lens though.
09-09-2020, 07:41 AM - 1 Like   #216
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Slight "update" for those interested:

"The Olympus brand will be maintained for the time being" says JIP | Digital Camera World
09-09-2020, 10:19 AM   #217
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flubber Quote
Thank you. Here below an automatic translation of the original interview published by Toyo Keizai Online.

Olympus: Conditions necessary for the revival of the camera business
Will the acquisition of JIP bring back the "VAIO Revival"?

Olympus announced in June that it would be withdrawing from the digital camera business. From now on, the "Olympus" brand will be maintained under JIP for the time being, and maintenance of sold products will continue.

Olympus is withdrawing from the imaging business, including digital cameras, which had been in the red. The business is being acquired by Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), an investment fund that is engaged in corporate revitalization. The amount of the acquisition has not yet been decided, but a final contract will be signed by the end of September and the acquisition will be completed by the end of this year.

Why take over the struggling digital camera market, especially the imaging business of Olympus, which is suffering from losses? Contrary to these questions in the industry, Shinichi Inagaki, managing director of JIP, who is in charge of this acquisition, is confident in the revival of Olympus' digital cameras.

Mr. Inagaki said, "In the past 30 investments we have made, we have never had a case of bankruptcy. Some in the industry may ask why invest in a struggling imaging business. But I think it has strengths that we haven't realized because the world thinks so," he asserts.

Leveraging VAIO's experience

This confidence is underpinned by the success of the VAIO PC business, which was once acquired from Sony. The company has also launched a contract manufacturing services (EMS) business for robots and other products to expand its core business.

Mr. Inagaki joined VAIO Corporation as head of investment. The key to success, according to Inagaki, was to "focus on unique features and technologies," and in the case of VAIO, Sony was not able to devote sufficient resources to this business.

Inagaki explains, "In the case of VAIO, Sony was not able to devote sufficient resources to its core business. By shifting the focus from the consumer electronics market to the business market, the company was able to narrow down its sales channels and scale of operations to make the most of the characteristics of VAIO. Olympus plans to make use of this experience in the revitalization of its digital camera business. The Olympus brand will be maintained for the time being, and maintenance of sold products will continue.

Mr. Inagaki said that, as in the case of VAIO, Olympus's digital camera business, "The problem is that the company could not allocate enough resources to individual businesses. Olympus has had a policy of focusing on medical equipment business, such as endoscopes, as its core business, and has not made sufficient strategic investments in its imaging business, including digital cameras.

Therefore, Mr. Inagaki said, "we will review the key assets of the imaging business, which were not visible within Olympus, and determine in which market these assets can be used", and then he expressed confidence that "I feel from experience that the strength will come alive even in the shrinking digital camera market if we can change the scale and structure to suit the market and challenge it easily".

So what are the key features of Olympus' digital cameras? Mr. Inagaki says, "Small size, light weight, high performance image stabilization, etc., but the technology behind it is a sensor called Micro Four Thirds".

Micro four thirds is a medium-sized sensor developed by Olympus and Panasonic that is used in mirrorless cameras. Generally, full-size sensors are used for professional and high-amateur use, but their small size has been used for small and lightweight models.

JIP expects that there are a certain number of markets in Japan and overseas where the characteristics of Micro Four Thirds are highly regarded, and that the company will be able to establish a solid business foundation by digging into these markets where its core users are located.

Aiming to become profitable in a sustainable manner

At the same time, it will be essential to identify promising new markets where they can take advantage of these strong technologies. From a medium- to long-term perspective, the company is looking at a variety of markets, from consumer products specializing in video to surveillance cameras and other business applications. It is necessary to find the optimal market by repeatedly challenging beyond the current Olympus camera line-up.

We are also exploring sales channels and production. However, we do not intend to pull out of overseas markets like VAIO did, and it will continue to sell its cameras in Europe and other major markets. Inagaki says, "We have no plans to go fabless" and will keep the main plant in Vietnam, although we are still discussing the production system.

Although the company will carry out structural reforms suited to the size of a medium-sized company, it will not simply restructure or sell off plants, but will aim to return the business to profitability in the first year. After that, the company will continue to seek a path to revitalization under JIP, rather than selling off its operations to outside firms.

This is not the first time that Olympus has sold a business to JIP; the company sold its mobile phone sales agency ITX in 2012. Since that time, the company has had regular discussions about other businesses. The question of whether or not to outsource the imaging business came up, and from the beginning of 2012, the company began to seriously consider selling it.

"We knew that the company had its own unique characteristics and technology, and that top management, including Olympus President Yasuo Takeuchi, wanted to continue the business, and that the people on the ground were enthusiastic about the technology. That's why we decided to acquire the company," said Inagaki.

Securing human resources is the key to the future

Mid-level Olympus employees in the imaging business, which includes digital cameras, also have a ray of hope that the parent company will change. They are hoping that, after the carve-out, they will be able to allocate sufficient resources under JIP. On the other hand, it has not been decided whether all the personnel in the imaging business will be transferred.

For example, Hiroyuki Sasa, former president of Olympus, used to say, "The technology of the imaging business can be used for our mainstay endoscope technology". In fact, it is reported that Olympus transferred personnel from the imaging business to other divisions, such as the administrative department at headquarters several years ago. The purpose of this move was not only to improve the loss-making nature of the imaging business, but also to transfer the know-how of the imaging business to the medical equipment business.

In other words, the imaging business is an important part of Olympus' medical equipment business. In fact, JIP is also concerned that it will not be able to acquire excellent human resources along with the acquisition. "One of the problems with carve-outs from large companies is that R&D personnel do not follow the carve-out destination. We are negotiating with Olympus on this matter," said Mr. Inagaki.

On the other hand, an analyst familiar with the digital camera industry is sceptical about the carve-out. "Similar to VAIO, sales of 20 billion yen and operating profit of 700-800 million yen can be achieved by cutting costs even if it"s not JPI,". He added: "The problem is expanding business and entering new fields. The digital camera market can only survive with products for professionals and high amateurs. In this environment, it is unlikely that professional and amateur photographers will actively purchase micro four thirds cameras. In addition, if they cut costs to achieve the same level of performance as VAIO, they won't be able to maintain the production scale needed for surveillance cameras and other products for business use" he said.

In fact, some believe that Panasonic, which has adopted the Micro Four Thirds format, has failed to enough differentiate itself from smartphones and has therefore begun to focus on full-size cameras. Although it may be possible to break the ties of large companies, it is extremely difficult to grow the imaging business of Olympus into a business that can grow its core activities and achieve profit growth every year like VAIO.

Will JIP's carve-out of the Olympus imaging business repeat the success of VAIO? All eyes will be on JIP's skills.
09-09-2020, 01:46 PM   #218
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mistral75 Quote
Thank you. Here below an automatic translation of the original interview published by Toyo Keizai Online.

Olympus: Conditions necessary for the revival of the camera business
Will the acquisition of JIP bring back the "VAIO Revival"?

Olympus announced in June that it would be withdrawing from the digital camera business. From now on, the "Olympus" brand will be maintained under JIP for the time being, and maintenance of sold products will continue.

Olympus is withdrawing from the imaging business, including digital cameras, which had been in the red. The business is being acquired by Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), an investment fund that is engaged in corporate revitalization. The amount of the acquisition has not yet been decided, but a final contract will be signed by the end of September and the acquisition will be completed by the end of this year.

Why take over the struggling digital camera market, especially the imaging business of Olympus, which is suffering from losses? Contrary to these questions in the industry, Shinichi Inagaki, managing director of JIP, who is in charge of this acquisition, is confident in the revival of Olympus' digital cameras.

Mr. Inagaki said, "In the past 30 investments we have made, we have never had a case of bankruptcy. Some in the industry may ask why invest in a struggling imaging business. But I think it has strengths that we haven't realized because the world thinks so," he asserts.

Leveraging VAIO's experience

This confidence is underpinned by the success of the VAIO PC business, which was once acquired from Sony. The company has also launched a contract manufacturing services (EMS) business for robots and other products to expand its core business.

Mr. Inagaki joined VAIO Corporation as head of investment. The key to success, according to Inagaki, was to "focus on unique features and technologies," and in the case of VAIO, Sony was not able to devote sufficient resources to this business.

Inagaki explains, "In the case of VAIO, Sony was not able to devote sufficient resources to its core business. By shifting the focus from the consumer electronics market to the business market, the company was able to narrow down its sales channels and scale of operations to make the most of the characteristics of VAIO. Olympus plans to make use of this experience in the revitalization of its digital camera business. The Olympus brand will be maintained for the time being, and maintenance of sold products will continue.

Mr. Inagaki said that, as in the case of VAIO, Olympus's digital camera business, "The problem is that the company could not allocate enough resources to individual businesses. Olympus has had a policy of focusing on medical equipment business, such as endoscopes, as its core business, and has not made sufficient strategic investments in its imaging business, including digital cameras.

Therefore, Mr. Inagaki said, "we will review the key assets of the imaging business, which were not visible within Olympus, and determine in which market these assets can be used", and then he expressed confidence that "I feel from experience that the strength will come alive even in the shrinking digital camera market if we can change the scale and structure to suit the market and challenge it easily".

So what are the key features of Olympus' digital cameras? Mr. Inagaki says, "Small size, light weight, high performance image stabilization, etc., but the technology behind it is a sensor called Micro Four Thirds".

Micro four thirds is a medium-sized sensor developed by Olympus and Panasonic that is used in mirrorless cameras. Generally, full-size sensors are used for professional and high-amateur use, but their small size has been used for small and lightweight models.

JIP expects that there are a certain number of markets in Japan and overseas where the characteristics of Micro Four Thirds are highly regarded, and that the company will be able to establish a solid business foundation by digging into these markets where its core users are located.

Aiming to become profitable in a sustainable manner

At the same time, it will be essential to identify promising new markets where they can take advantage of these strong technologies. From a medium- to long-term perspective, the company is looking at a variety of markets, from consumer products specializing in video to surveillance cameras and other business applications. It is necessary to find the optimal market by repeatedly challenging beyond the current Olympus camera line-up.

We are also exploring sales channels and production. However, we do not intend to pull out of overseas markets like VAIO did, and it will continue to sell its cameras in Europe and other major markets. Inagaki says, "We have no plans to go fabless" and will keep the main plant in Vietnam, although we are still discussing the production system.

Although the company will carry out structural reforms suited to the size of a medium-sized company, it will not simply restructure or sell off plants, but will aim to return the business to profitability in the first year. After that, the company will continue to seek a path to revitalization under JIP, rather than selling off its operations to outside firms.

This is not the first time that Olympus has sold a business to JIP; the company sold its mobile phone sales agency ITX in 2012. Since that time, the company has had regular discussions about other businesses. The question of whether or not to outsource the imaging business came up, and from the beginning of 2012, the company began to seriously consider selling it.

"We knew that the company had its own unique characteristics and technology, and that top management, including Olympus President Yasuo Takeuchi, wanted to continue the business, and that the people on the ground were enthusiastic about the technology. That's why we decided to acquire the company," said Inagaki.

Securing human resources is the key to the future

Mid-level Olympus employees in the imaging business, which includes digital cameras, also have a ray of hope that the parent company will change. They are hoping that, after the carve-out, they will be able to allocate sufficient resources under JIP. On the other hand, it has not been decided whether all the personnel in the imaging business will be transferred.

For example, Hiroyuki Sasa, former president of Olympus, used to say, "The technology of the imaging business can be used for our mainstay endoscope technology". In fact, it is reported that Olympus transferred personnel from the imaging business to other divisions, such as the administrative department at headquarters several years ago. The purpose of this move was not only to improve the loss-making nature of the imaging business, but also to transfer the know-how of the imaging business to the medical equipment business.

In other words, the imaging business is an important part of Olympus' medical equipment business. In fact, JIP is also concerned that it will not be able to acquire excellent human resources along with the acquisition. "One of the problems with carve-outs from large companies is that R&D personnel do not follow the carve-out destination. We are negotiating with Olympus on this matter," said Mr. Inagaki.

On the other hand, an analyst familiar with the digital camera industry is sceptical about the carve-out. "Similar to VAIO, sales of 20 billion yen and operating profit of 700-800 million yen can be achieved by cutting costs even if it"s not JPI,". He added: "The problem is expanding business and entering new fields. The digital camera market can only survive with products for professionals and high amateurs. In this environment, it is unlikely that professional and amateur photographers will actively purchase micro four thirds cameras. In addition, if they cut costs to achieve the same level of performance as VAIO, they won't be able to maintain the production scale needed for surveillance cameras and other products for business use" he said.

In fact, some believe that Panasonic, which has adopted the Micro Four Thirds format, has failed to enough differentiate itself from smartphones and has therefore begun to focus on full-size cameras. Although it may be possible to break the ties of large companies, it is extremely difficult to grow the imaging business of Olympus into a business that can grow its core activities and achieve profit growth every year like VAIO.

Will JIP's carve-out of the Olympus imaging business repeat the success of VAIO? All eyes will be on JIP's skills.
Well, That doesn't sound so hot for Oly ILC camera enthusiasts. I hope some come here! But I guess if I were going through this, I'd be looking at Sony.

09-09-2020, 03:39 PM   #219
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QuoteOriginally posted by texandrews Quote
Well, That doesn't sound so hot for Oly ILC camera enthusiasts. I hope some come here! But I guess if I were going through this, I'd be looking at Sony.
Downsizing Olympus's ILC camera production seems proposed: "the strength will come alive even in the shrinking digital camera market if we can change the scale and structure to suit the market" [my emphasis on "scale"] and the resources thus released look like going to other cameras types like surveillance and (I'm guessing) maybe action cameras, self-driving vehicle cameras - any areas possibly open to new cameras with 4/3 tech. The flip side of the comment "maintenance of sold products" is an implication that the introduction of new ILC kit will cease but production of the ILC kit currently sold will continue, but scaling down. However, I'm not sure if he is talking about after-sales service or continuing to sell existing models.

The independent analyst mentioned near the end sees little future in Micro 4/3, describing it as unappealing to "professionals and high amateurs", and he points to Panasonic going to FF.

They and others keep refering to the "success" of VAIO under JIP, but these are accountants and they mean financial success not necessarily technical success. I have read that VAIO computers are now of poorer quality than when under Sony, now selling under a brand name that does not mean much any more, like many other brand names that have been sold out to cheap manufacturers,

Last edited by Lord Lucan; 09-09-2020 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Clarity
09-10-2020, 06:09 AM   #220
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"Micro four thirds is a medium-sized sensor" - I still remember when 35mm film was the small format... apparently, things are shrinking
09-10-2020, 06:43 AM - 2 Likes   #221
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
"Micro four thirds is a medium-sized sensor" - I still remember when 35mm film was the small format... apparently, things are shrinking
They are shrinking no more.

Most of those who really wanted shrunk stuff have gone for phone cameras, and now "real cameras" have stopped trying to be as small as phones. Back in film days, the manufacturers tried to push us down to 110 format (Pentax took 110 seriously) but in the end it was only successful with P&S cameras. In the final analysis human hands and fingers are a certain size, so there is an optimum size for knobs, buttons and handles.

The break-point is pocket size. If something cannot go into your pocket it does not really matter if it is 10mm too large for your pocket or 50mm too large for it.

Last edited by Lord Lucan; 09-10-2020 at 06:45 AM. Reason: Format - PF always doubles my paragraph breaks
09-10-2020, 08:09 AM - 1 Like   #222
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Phones aren't small, just flat. Its just that most people find phones to be sufficient for their photographic needs. Comfort beats quality. You see that everywhere. So f you want to sell Camera's you need to build them for enthusiasts and pro's and they are gravitating to larger sensors.
09-10-2020, 12:28 PM   #223
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lord Lucan Quote
They and others keep refering to the "success" of VAIO under JIP, but these are accountants and they mean financial success not necessarily technical success. I have read that VAIO computers are now of poorer quality than when under Sony, now selling under a brand name that does not mean much any more, like many other brand names that have been sold out to cheap manufacturers,
When I looked at the US Vaio site they had 2 models that were priced about the same as a comparable Macbook, but looked like Chinese OEM laptops.

On a side note my Chinese Lenovo Chrome tablet just got a minor OS update and the virtual keyboard is different...
09-11-2020, 02:49 AM - 1 Like   #224
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QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
Phones aren't small, just flat. Its just that most people find phones to be sufficient for their photographic needs. Comfort beats quality. You see that everywhere. So f you want to sell Camera's you need to build them for enthusiasts and pro's and they are gravitating to larger sensors.
I think the biggest thing about phone cameras is that they are "there" already and they are "good enough" for most people. That is to say most people need/want a phone these days and the camera is in the package and while the image quality may not be the best, it probably matches the image quality of fixed lens 35mm film cameras in unschooled hands, back in the day.

Micro four thirds has cameras that won't fit in a pocket and which therefore require a separate bag to carry. Once you get to the point that you are paying extra for something and you need an extra bag to carry the item, people begin to view all ILCs in the same category and then choose, mostly based on price. In the US, that seems to still mean that a lot of people end up with a generation or two older APS-C camera with a kit lens and a variable aperture telephoto.
09-11-2020, 05:59 AM   #225
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think the biggest thing about phone cameras is that they are "there" already and they are "good enough" for most people. That is to say most people need/want a phone these days and the camera is in the package and while the image quality may not be the best, it probably matches the image quality of fixed lens 35mm film cameras in unschooled hands, back in the day.

Micro four thirds has cameras that won't fit in a pocket and which therefore require a separate bag to carry. Once you get to the point that you are paying extra for something and you need an extra bag to carry the item, people begin to view all ILCs in the same category and then choose, mostly based on price. In the US, that seems to still mean that a lot of people end up with a generation or two older APS-C camera with a kit lens and a variable aperture telephoto.
Last year my family and I went on a trip to Europe and my sister- and brother-in-law went, too. They had their phones, I had a K-3ii and a K-30 and an assortment of lenses. When we got back I made up a nice 75-page, 18x11" photo book and had some copies printed. There are ILC pictures intermingled with phone pictures. In most cases you'd have a hard time distinguishing which is which, at least for the situations where the phone can hold its own. Casual people shots, decent lighting, etc. There are a handful of shots where I'd argue the phone did better than the camera might have, such as a very low light photo of my kids late at night in Munich, where auto frame stacking night sight worked pretty well. Of course there were many shots the phones didn't attempt, like the falconry show in Austria, or far off landscapes with a 300mm lens.

Most people aren't going to spend the money and invest the time to get what they see as incrementally better photos from an ILC.

Micro 4/3rds loses because (as you said) it's not pocketable, sensors are smaller than APS-C and FF, and they don't usually have the processing and connectivity of the phone. All they bring is that they're usually somewhat smaller than APS-C and have somewhat better image quality than phones. That niche is probably too small now to thrive.
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