Reuters is reporting that US-based investment firm TPG Capital has expressed interest in pouring $1 billion into Olympus in a joint deal, and has notified other possible suitors including Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, and Panasonic.
Nearly all of Olympus’ profits are generated from its dominant 70 percent share of the global market for flexible diagnostic endoscopes. The steady cash flow from that business has allowed it to prop up its digital camera business, which is on course to lose money for a second straight year.
TPG would consider taking over the other less desirable parts of the firm to facilitate a deal. This could include the digital camera operation, which is in need of a major overhaul, including job cuts, the person said.
It’s interesting that the camera division is one of the “less desirable parts” of Olympus, since that’s what most consumers know the company for.
Smartphones are taking huge bites out of the compact camera market. A recent study by market research company NPD found that the percent of photographs taken with a smartphone has increased from 17% to 27% over the past year, while the share of photos taken with a dedicated camera has dropped from 52% to 44%. Senior imaging analyst Liz Cutting says,
There is no doubt that the smartphone is becoming ‘good enough’ much of the time; but thanks to mobile phones, more pictures are being taken than ever before. Consumers who use their mobile phones to take pictures and video were more likely to do so instead of their camera when capturing spontaneous moments, but for important events, single purpose cameras or camcorders are still largely the device of choice.
The point-and-shoot camera market is taking the brunt of the damage: during the first 11 months of 2011, the market lost 17% in units sold and 18% in revenue.
If you’re a photographer and not an architect, why settle for boring ol’ gingerbread houses this holiday season? Gingerbread cameras are where it’s at! They’re not very difficult to build — you just need to know the correct sizes and shapes to cut out. Photojojo has published a step-by-step tutorial on how you can make your own.
The George Eastman House in Rochester, NY is the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography. A couple years ago, curator Todd Gustavson wrote a book on the history of photography featuring the museum’s gigantic collection of historical cameras. This behind-the-scenes video with Gustavson gives a glimpse into the drool-worthy warehouse and a brief tour of some legendary cameras.
A week ago we shared a photo showing Nikon’s factory in Thailand submerged due to the catastrophic flooding happening there. The latest news is that both Nikon and Sony have had their camera factories severely damaged, which may have cause delays of at least 1-2 months. 90% of Nikon’s SLR cameras — the low to mid-range ones — are produced at the company’s Thailand plant, while 100% of Sony DSLRs are made at its now-damaged factory.
Nikon was expected to announce a new DSLR by the end of this year, but it seems like that may be postponed indefinitely at this point. Sony’s new NEX-7 and A65 cameras have been pulled from Amazon due to “manufacturing concerns”.
According to Nikon Rumors, Nikon has introduced a new Unilateral Pricing Policy on DSLR gear sold in the US that will take effect on October 16th. Saying that the policy is “designed to allow customers to make purchasing decisions based on service provided and not have to worry about hunting for a better price”, Nikon plans to withhold sales to any store caught pricing equipment below “national prices” that the company will set for each product. Read more…
Remember the tiny Chobi Cam One “DSLR” that was introduced in Japan at the beginning of the year? Well the camera has found a distributor in the US and is generating some media buzz again after being marketed as “the world’s smallest camera”. While it certainly isn’t the world’s smallest camera, you probably won’t find an interchangeable lens digital camera that’s smaller. You can buy the video-capable 2-megapixel camera over at Hammacher Schlemmer for $100, though it doesn’t appear to come with any additional lenses besides the kit lens.
With the success of the Fujifilm X100, camera companies are starting to realize that consumers love both the design of old school cameras and the ease of shooting digital. Samsung may be looking to join the retro party — the latest rumor to hit the Internet is that Samsung is planning a X100-style camera called the R1… with interchangeable lenses! Read more…
Samsung’s DualView feature adds a small LCD screen to the front of compact cameras for self-portraits, but why use a small screen when you can use the screen on the back? Announced today, the company’s new MultiView MV800 camera has a large 3-inch touchscreen on the back that can flip up 180-degrees, letting narcissists users view it from the front (or above, or below). No word on when it will be released, but the 16MP camera will be priced at $280 when it is. Read more…
As technology improves, features that were once limited to expensive professional models often become available to the masses, but will this ever be true for full-frame sensors? Nikon’s Senior VP David Lee was recently asked this question in an interview with TWICE, and here’s what he said:
I think that there are definitely two different approaches here. What we’re seeing is that sensor performance continues to improve, but obviously there’s really a need for bulk because with a full-size sensor there’s a real low-light performance benefit, high speed performance, framing rates, and so on and so forth. So, I think you’ll definitely continue to see the higher-end pro consumer continue to have that large format. It’s definitely needed in the D3 and D700. You’ll see that technology continue to improve and grow, but the DX sensor form factor is also important. The compactness of the D3100 and D5100 is very popular. I don’t think one approach will ever overtake the other because of the overall image capabilities and the light performance capabilities.
Seems like he either misunderstood the question, or decided to beat around the bush. It’s an interesting question though — will any of the big manufacturers shake up the industry by being the first to put a full-frame sensor in a consumer-level camera? The sensors have already jumped from pro-level cameras to prosumer-level ones starting in 2005 with the Canon 5D, so it seems like the next logical step will be the consumer level. A sub-$1000 full-frame camera. Now that’s a thought.