Today Olympus Agreed on Transfer of Imaging Business with JIP

Today Olympus and JIP reached a final agreement. You can read the full details in the following press text. It’s the end of a glorious history :(

Olympus Agreed on Transfer of Imaging Business with JIP

Tokyo, September 30, 2020 – Olympus Corporation (“Olympus”) today concluded a definitive agreement with Japan Industrial Partners Inc. (“JIP”) regarding the transfer of the Olympus Imaging business. Under the agreement, Olympus will transfer its Imaging business to a newly established wholly-owned subsidiary of Olympus (the “New Imaging Company”), through an absorption-type split. This is to be followed by transferring 95% of the shares of the New Imaging Company on January 1, 2021, to OJ Holdings, Ltd., a special purpose company established by JIP.

Olympus began the manufacture and sale of cameras using the Zuiko lens in 1936 and became one of the world’s leading camera makers. Olympus was among the first companies to make small, lightweight compact cameras with professional quality, such as the award- winning Olympus ‘OM’ and ‘Pen’ series. Driven by the desire to make people’s lives more fulfilling around the world, the company applied innovative technology and unique product development to distinguish itself in a highly competitive industry.

In recent years, however, the market has shrunk rapidly due to the evolution of smartphones, leading to a significant downturn for the digital camera market globally. Despite taking various steps to improve its cost structure and efficiency, Olympus’ Imaging business recorded operating losses for three consecutive fiscal years up to March 2020.

Under such circumstances, Olympus concluded that, by carving-out the Imaging business and operating the business under JIP, its business structure would become more compact, efficient, and agile, and it is the most appropriate way to realize self-sustainable and continuous growth. With a loyal following and long history of innovative products, the New Imaging Company would be committed to building on Olympus’ accumulated expertise and to continue providing customers with innovative, high quality cameras under the new business structure.

“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all our customers for their patronage and support of Olympus products, and for their passion devoted to photography. I have the utmost confidence that this transfer is the correct step forward in sustaining the value of our products and services,” said Yasuo Takeuchi, President and CEO of Olympus Corporation.

“At the same time, I am certain that this opportunity is the best choice for our long-time patrons, new customers and photography enthusiasts. Under the new company, the development, manufacturing, sales and service functions will continue tight collaboration to introduce new products that will satisfy customers,” Takeuchi added.

Olympus Agreed on Transfer of Imaging Business with JIP

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The agreement applies to Olympus’ global Imaging business, which includes all R&D and manufacturing facilities currently dedicated to its Imaging business. The New Imaging Company will continue to provide high-quality, highly reliable products. Built on a solid foundation, including the Zuiko and OM brands, which are grounded in optics and digital imaging technologies cultivated by Olympus over many years, the New Imaging Company will be appropriately positioned to further pursue new developments.

Head of sales and marketing, R&D and designing departments for imaging products will be relocated to the headquarters of the New Imaging Company in Hachioji, Tokyo. Production will continue at the location in Dong Nai province, Vietnam, where imaging products are currently manufactured. The New Imaging Company will continue to provide customer support for the imaging products which have been manufactured and sold by Olympus.

Following the transfer of the Imaging business, Olympus will concentrate on Medical and Scientific Solutions, in our ongoing efforts toward making people’s lives healthier, safer and more fulfilling.

Information on the New Imaging Company is as follows.

  •   Company name: OM Digital Solutions Corporation
  •   Location: Hachioji, Tokyo
  •   Representative Director: Shigemi Sugimoto
  •   Business operations: Operations involving the manufacture and sale of digital cameras (primarily mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras), interchangeable lenses, IC recorders, and other audio products
  •   Capital: Not fixedFor the details about the company split and the transfer of shares, please refer our corporate disclosure “Signing of Definitive Agreement for Divestiture of Imaging Business.”(https://www.olympus-global.com/news/ir/2020/)

 

British company makes a new MFT camera that uses your smartphone as a screen and controller

This is genious! Or maybe stupid…don’t know. Sony tried this in the past with the QX series and it didn’t work out well.

A British company made the “Alice camera” that has MFT mount and a new 11 Megapixel Quad Bayer Sony sensor. It uses your smarpthone as a screen and controller through the Alice own APP. This is the spec list:

Press text:

Alice Camera™ is an AI-accelerated computational camera being built in Britain from the ground up for content creators. An interchangeable lens camera with a dedicated AI-chip that elevates machine learning and pushes the boundaries of what a camera can do. Alice is in concept prototype stage and will be available on Indiegogo in Autumn 2020.

Alice is a compact and low-profile camera which can be mounted onto the back of almost any standard smartphone. An ergonomic handle enables better hand placement and stability whilst capturing your scenes.
Alice uses the Micro Four Thirds lens mount, the most flexible and compact interchangeable lens system around, with over 50 professional-quality lenses available. Attach an adapter to use lenses with different mounts too!

Alice’s Micro Four Thirds sensor excels in low light conditions and allows you to capture high-quality 4K video with no crop. Large pixel sizes and an innovative Quad Bayer structure enable exceptionally low noise and high dynamic range.

Artificial Intelligence is transforming photography in the 2020s like digital technology did back in the 1990s. Alice has been designed from the ground up to harness AI and computational photography for modern content creators, offering you new capabilities and techniques for autofocusing, autoexposure, colour science and more.

The Alice Camera native app will provide you with a familiar smartphone user interface and experience. It will be easy to use and navigate with touchscreen interface and customisation. The camera system and firmware will improve with future software updates through our app.

We want to give creatives as much control as possible. We will be providing open-source software access to Alice allowing you to deeply customise your creative process, encouraging collaboration and software development. Regular software updates means Alice will stay up-to-date with the latest computational photography technology and features.

Fast wireless data transfer between camera and phone gives you a seamless real-time viewfinder on your smartphone. Instantly share your content to social media and live stream directly to your favourite platform. A selfie screen will appear when you turn your phone around so that you can view yourself at all times. Alice will even work when your phone is not attached. You can set up across the room and have your phone in your hand and content will still stream. Double whammy!

Here is a video showing how it works:

Some real world images:

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Thanks Mike!