Former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford has gotten his wish: the entire Olympus board resigned this week in the aftermath of the company’s epic financial scandal and stock tumble. They did, however, pick a new president and chairman before handing in their letters of resignation. Hiroyuki Sasa from the company’s medical equipment marketing division was picked for president, while banker Yasuyuki Kimoto has been chosen as chairman. The changes are expected to be finalized at an April 20th shareholders meeting. Sasa has promised to both win back public trust and to prevent another scandal from every occurring.
(via New York Times via Engadget)
Image credit: Olympus Film Camera by Matt Cunnelly
An update to the financial scandal over at Olympus, which has quieted down quite a bit in recent days: former Chairman and President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa has been arrested with six other people (including three former executives) for “suspected violation of Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act”. As you might remember, Kikukawa replaced ex-CEO Michael Woodford after Woodford’s abrupt dismissal and stated that the move was because Woodford — who’s from the UK — didn’t fit into the company’s culture. Less than two weeks later, Kikukawa himself stepped down as the company found itself in an international financial fraud case.
Olympus Ex-Chairman Kikukawa Arrested With Six Others After Payment Fraud [Bloomberg]
Update: Apparently Michael Woodford has being approached by Hollywood to discuss making a movie about his whistle blowing and the ensuing scandal.
Today Olympus finally announced its OM-series Micro Four Thirds camera, the OM-D E-M5. In chrome and without a battery grip, the camera actually looks a lot better than the leaked images we saw a couple days ago. Styled like an old school SLR, the E-M5 is a 16-megapixel camera with blazing 9fps continuous shooting, RAW capabilities, weatherproofing, 1080i video recording, the “world’s fastest autofocus” on any camera, 5-axis image stabilization, a 3-inch tilting LCD screen, an ISO range of 100-25,600, and a 1.44m dot electronic viewfinder. It’ll be available starting in April — though it’s already available for preorder on Amazon — at a price of $1,000 for the body only, $1100 when bundled with a 14-42mm lens, or $1300 when bundled with a 12-50mm lens.
Here are the first full photographs of Olympus’ new OM-D series Micro Four Thirds camera, the EM-5 (with an optional battery grip attached). The images were published to Amazon Japan before quickly being taken down. The camera is expected to become official on Wednesday, so we’ll have a full spec list in a couple days.
New photos have emerged showing the retro OM-styled EM-5 Micro Four Thirds camera that Olympus is planning to unleash on the photo world. It’s the first camera in a new OM-D line, and offers a beautiful old school SLR aesthetic. The image above, which looks like some kind of ad, reads,
A new digital SLR era is about to begin. Digital SLRs, which simply replaced film with an imaging device did not change significantly in terms of size, weight and user interface. The revolutionary, new mirrorless camera, the OM-D, has an exceptionally light and compact body. Its Electronic View Finder enables photographers to check the Art Filter effect, color temperature, and exposure levels in real-time. When shooting, you can instantly “create” a truly unique world and preserve it in exceptional quality. The “world” will be transformed from something you see to something you “take part” in.
The OM-D is a groundbreaking, new digital interchangeable lens camera perfect for people who want to “take part,” “create,” and “share.”
You can see a higher-res version of the ad here.
Wells Fargo Advisors is becoming a pretty reliable source for news regarding cameras before they’re actually announced. Just weeks after the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Nikon D4 were announced early by the service, the soon-to-be-announced Olympus OM-D camera is now semi-official as well. The wire confirms that Olympus will be reviving its old OM brand for SLR cameras through a new line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, and that the camera will sell for over ¥100000 (~$1300) in Japan. It also states that the new camera will resemble the Olympus OM-1 film SLR camera — originally launched in 1973 — and be equipped with high-speed autofocus (rumored to be the fastest of all mirrorless cameras) and image stabilization.
(via Wells Fargo Advisors via Photo Rumors)
Update: To clear up any confusion: Wells Fargo Advisors doesn’t write the news, but simply publishes press releases received from a third party. In this case, the press release wasn’t published before it was supposed to — it’s simply a Japanese news source confirming that it had also heard about the new camera and upcoming announcement.
Here’s the first photo showing a portion of the upcoming Olympus OM-D (it appears to be the shutter release, two dials, and buttons on the upper right hand corner of the camera). The high-end enthusiast camera will reportedly cost around $1,100 when it starts shipping in March. What are your observations based on this glimpse?
(via 43 Rumors)
We’re about three weeks away from the rumored February 8th unveiling of the Olympus OM-D — a new Micro Four Thirds camera designed in the style of old school Olympus OM SLRs. The mockup above shows what the camera might look like based on the latest spec rumors. The 16MP camera will reportedly offer ISO 200-25600, a grip and a leather-covered surface, built-in flash, in-body image stabilization, a 610000-dot swiveling LCD screen, and speedy autofocus
(via blog.livedoor.jp via 43 Rumors)
There might be a giant corporate scandal hovering over its head, but that’s not stopping Olympus from planning big things for its digital camera lineup. The company has placed a giant full page advertisement in Amateur Photographer magazine with the headline “OH MY GOODNESS!”. 43 Rumors is reporting that the company will be announcing a new Micro Four Thirds camera around February 8th that’s part of the 40-year-old OM camera lineup — in other words, a digital mirrorless camera that’s beautifully retro-styled. A trademark application filed on January 3rd indicates that camera will be called the Olympus OM-D (D as in digital). Watch out Fujifilm: Olympus is coming for you!
(via 43 Rumors)
Image credit: Olympus OM-1n by Attila con la cámara
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.
TPG willing to invest $1 billion in Olympus [Reuters]
Image credit: OLYMPUS E-P1 by DORONKO