by Ian Burley
DSLRs to continue and CSC range to be strengthened say Olympus In what appears to be a hastily compiled and rather brief press release, Olympus has moved to refute press reports that it is to drastically scale back its 'DSLR' business. The press release, which quotes Olympus Corp. president Hiroyuki Sasa, also says that the company will continue to strengthen its mirrorless system camera line up.
The release is a response to reaction to news a few days earlier of continued losses at Olympus, including a doubling of losses in the camera division from 8 billion Yen (£55M) to 16 billion Yen (£110M).
The fact is that the digital camera market is now in sharp decline because of the impact of smartphones on the compact camera sector in which sales have contracted by 25% in the last 2 years. However, the mirrorless interchangeable lens Compact System Camera market has grown 28% in the last year and is an area that Olympus is doing well in with its Pen and OM-D ranges.
There is a specific commitment to 'DSLR' cameras in the statement, saying that DSLRs will continue to be offered 'without any changes, as in the past'.
This is curious because there have been no new DSLR products since September 2010 when Olympus launched the E-5 DSLR. The E-5 remains a current model but its market is extremely specialised, focused on existing Olympus DSLR users who need replacement camera bodies for their investment in Olympus Four Thirds lenses.
Speculation is now growing that Olympus will launch a new system camera later this year that will effectively replace the E-5. The expectation is that the new camera, which will almost certainly be mirrorless, will offer an uncompromised solution for users of Four Thirds lenses, something that isn't properly delivered by the company's Pen and OM-D Micro Four Thirds cameras.