Olympus shows Stylus XZ-10

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olympus xz10

The Stylus XZ-10 enthusiast compact is about 40 percent smaller by volume than the XZ-2, Olympus says, “but still offers all the advantages of a super-bright, large-aperture i.Zuiko lens that retains its brightness right across the zoom range.”

The 5x lens zooms from 26-130mm. The 12 megapixel 1/2.3-” sensor captures 1080p video, at 120fps. The camera has a 3-inch touchscreen, and manual controls on a lens ring. It’ll be about $550.

Olympus cuts profit forecast, expects camera loss

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Olympus cut its operating profit forecast by 24 percent on an expected loss at its camera unit, BusinessWeek reports.

Operating profit will be $478 million in the year ending March; the camera unit is expected to report a loss of 8 billion yen in the current fiscal year, compared with its previous forecast of a 1 billion yen profit, as the compact camera market is shrinking, the Tokyo-based company said. “The compact camera market is shrinking rapidly because people are switching to smartphones.”

Olympus cut its full-year sales forecast for digital cameras by 11 percent to 7.3 million units.

The full report is here.

 

Olympus and Sony confirm business and capital alliance

Sony Make.Believe Logo

Sony Make.Believe LogoOlympus and Sony announced the two companies entered into a business alliance agreement and a capital alliance agreement, through which, “the strengths of the two companies will merge,” Olympus says, making it possible for it “to contribute to world medical progress by developing a variety of new medical devices that would not be possible by Olympus alone. In the field of digital cameras, we will seek to achieve collaboration in a manner that further improves the competitiveness of the two companies.”

More to the point for the PMA audience: Sony say it “also believes there are many potential opportunities for collaboration between Olympus and Sony’s digital camera businesses, and are confident that by building on our respective strengths we can also enhance and grow our presence in this market.”

Olympus and Sony say they plan to “explore opportunities for collaboration between their respective camera businesses including transactions involving core components primarily for compact digital cameras, with the aim of enhancing the corporate value of each company.”

The companies say the business and capital alliances are expected to allow them “to combine Olympus’s lens and optical technologies, as well as the strength of its brand and R&D, with Sony’s broad range of technologies including digital imaging technologies and apply them in the rapidly growing medical market.”

The two companies “also aim to enhance their competitiveness, primarily in the area of compact digital cameras, by exploring opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions and collaboration between their respective camera businesses, including the supply of Olympus technologies such as camera lenses and mirror cells to Sony, and the provision of Sony image sensors to Olympus.”

 

Olympus says it “has been pushing to enhance its financial strength and weighing the possibility of a business and capital tie-up for greater business synergy in the core business domains of medical and imaging.” Olympus decided to ally with Sony, “which is strong in image sensors and other image-related technologies. Partnering with Sony will provide great advantage to Olympus and enable the two companies to exchange various complementary competencies. Investment from Sony will help strengthen our financial base.”

Sony adds it is “aggressively pursuing the growth of our medical business, with the aim of developing it into a key pillar of our overall business portfolio. The business and capital alliances we have agreed with Olympus today will be integral to these plans. By combining Sony’s cutting-edge technologies in areas such as digital imaging, 3D, and 4K with Olympus’s long-standing experience and established foundations in the medical market, we believe that we will be able to create highly innovative and competitive products and generate new business opportunities in surgical endoscopes and other related areas where significant future growth is anticipated.”

 

The capital alliance agreement calls for Olympus to issue 34,387,900 new common shares to Sony through a third-party allotment. Sony’s ratio of voting rights after the third-party allotment will be 11.46 percent. The price is 1,454 per share.

Sony to invest $642 million in Olympus

Sony Make.Believe Logo

Sony Make.Believe LogoSony is about to become the biggest shareholder in Olympus, getting a 10 percent stake for a $642 million investment,

It’s not likely to be about cameras, however: Sony will set up a joint business with Olympus to develop new medical equipment, Reuters reports.

Olympus has been plagued with accounting scandal this year; Sony reported bad fiscal results itself, with a lower operating profit.

The full report is here.

 

Olympus executives plead guilty

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Former Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying accounts, the BBC reports, covering up losses of $1.7bn. “There is no mistake. The entire responsibility lies with me,” Mr. Kikukawa said in court on Tuesday.

Two other former executives filed a guilty plea in Tokyo District Court. They face up to 10 years in prison, the BBC adds.

The three admitted to hiding losses dating back to the 1990s, which were brought to light by former chief executive Michael Woodford.

The BBC News report is here.

The Imaging Resource details the scandal here.

 

Olympus debuts two Pen ILCs

olympus PEN

Two new Pen pocket cameras from Olympus “deliver amazing image quality by packing superior image technology, blazing fast processing speed and total creative control,” the company says, “in classic bodies that combine the portability and ease of use of a point-and-shoot without the complexity of a DSLR.”

The Micro Four Thirds mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, the E-PL5 and E-PM2, have some similar specifications: 16-megapixel sensor, an ISO of 25,600, 3-inch touchscreen, 1080i video, and continuous shooting  of 8 frames per second. The $650 E-PL5 premium model features an all-metal body and a swiveling LCD. The $550 E-PM2 is “ultra-compact, simple and stylish, the smallest and lightest Olympus Pen.”
More information is here.

 

Olympus’ “game changing” Stylus XZ-2

Olympus Stylus XZ-2

Olympus calls its Stylus XZ-2 a “game-changing, flagship high-performance point-and-shoot” that “combines optical brilliance, the manual controls of an SLR, and the unbeatable convenience of a lightweight compact in a body every imaging enthusiast should love.”

The $600 compact has a 12-megapixel sensor with ISO 12,800 sensitivity, 1080p video capture, a swiveling 3-inch touchscreen, and a 4x lens that zooms from 28-112mm with an f/1.8-2.5 aperture for “expressive background defocusing and sophisticated bokeh, plus the flexibility to use short, blur-free exposure times in low light.”

Also, the XZ-2’s hybrid control ring is built around the lens and switches between analog and digital operation: “digital operation provides a solid click on controls, whereas the analog operation offers a smooth, gliding feeling,” the company says.

 

Olympus zooms 40x

Olympus SP-820UZ

The Stylus SP-820UZ from Olympus has a whomping 40x lens, zooming from the 35mm film equivalent of 22.4mm– 896mm.

“With the 40x optical zoom lens, users can capture intense and up-close photos of far away subjects with ease: the expressions on children’s faces at school games and plays, and the action of athletes at sporting events,” the company says, “with a level of detail not visible to the naked eye.” We note that it does lack optical image stabilization, making do instead with various electronic shake reduction methods.

Also, the 14-megapixel camera runs on AA batteries, “so users can take it anywhere,” Olympus says.

And hey, the camera will automatically detect up to ten dog or cat faces! With Auto Shutter, the camera will automatically shoot when a pet faces the camera head-on. “With this function, users won’t miss the whimsical antics of their pets,” Olympus says.

 

Also new: The SP-720UZ has many similar features, with a 26x optical zoom lens — which a few years back would have been a stand out! — in a smaller body.

 

Olympus reports $57 million loss

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Olympus reported a $57 million loss for the April-June quarter, citing a declining compact camera market as one of the causes the Wall Street Journal reports.

However, sales of one interchangeable lens camera increased by 50 percent, and the company’s medical imaging remains profitable.

 

Olympus introduces F1.8 Micro Four Thirds lens

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A new high-speed lens is optimized for studio, stage, indoor sports and portrait photography, Olympus says, and is “encased in a high-quality, compact, stunning metal body.”

Adding to its line of optics for Micro Four Thirds mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, Olympus’ f1.8 portrait lens has a fixed focal length the 35mm equivalent of 150mm.

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm has a nine-blade circular aperture that delivers “beautiful defocused backgrounds,” the company says, “while the high-quality optical design keeps the subject in sharp focus. This is due to an advanced optical design that incorporates 10 lens elements in nine groups that make extensive use of special glass materials, including three extra-low dispersion elements to optimally correct aberrations.”

The 2.7-inch long lens is $900.
More information is here.