I’ve been working on writing a post on Olympus cameras for over the past 4 months and just couldn’t find the right angle to take on these unique cameras. Now I think I know why. In my gut I think I know why Olympus camera is leaving the camera business.
My backstory on Olympus cameras for birding and wildlife photography
Let me start off by giving you some background on Olympus cameras and my bird and wildlife photography. Back in late 2018 I was able to get my hands on the flagship camera for Olympus the OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1X and the OLYMPUS M.ZUIKO ED 300MM F4.0 IS PRO lens. Now this was supposed to be the ultimate kit for any serious birder or wildlife photographer. This gear had some serious specs and utility to them. On 3 separate occasions I had this gear (and some more lenses) for about 3 weeks each time. My goal was to take it out and shoot some birds and wildlife. You can read my Olympus camera review to get more details about my experience and sample photos too. In a nutshell the challenge I had was the over complexity and fundamental lack of real image quality. Now don’t get me wrong when this camera worked it shot some good photos. But that took a lot of luck and even more fiddling around to get it right. When you compare this flagship camera with its competitors from SONY, CANON or even Nikon you were left wondering what was Olympus thinking?
Why Olympus Camera is going out of business
Do you remember way back in the early days of smartphones or smartish phones. Blackberry was in a league of its own and dominated the cellphone market. Apple, Google, Samsung, Huawei didn’t exist. It was all Blackberry. In my opinion the same thing happened to Olympus camera that happened to Blackberry. They weren’t listening to the customer.
You see the Olympus mirrorless camera is a technology orphan. The micro four thirds technology which is in all Olympus cameras is simple, old and out of date. Olympus double downed on this tech pushing it’s crop factor advantages specifically for wildlife and birders. Basically anyone who didn’t want to carry heavy camera gear could still get the same zoom reach with a lighter more compact system. But they forgot one really important thing, image quality. I’m sorry but this flagship camera was nowhere close to the same image quality as the other major camera manufacturers.
The other major drawback was the basic functionality. Now I know every camera manufacturer wants to think they got it right but seriously Olympus was way out of step with ergonomics and simple to navigate menus systems. I like to think of myself as a good photographer and I am a tech junkie so when I got my hands on the OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1X I thought I could at the very least get it to work right out of the box. Nope I needed to be trained on it first. Are you kidding me?
To me these 2 major defects in the Olympus ideology are what brought this iconic brand down. They needed to move with the times and not have such large ‘Blackberry’ egos as to not see the writing on the wall.
Are Olympus cameras any good?
So this naturally begs the question: are these cameras any good? Well yes and no. They certainly work but you have to invest some serious time to train yourself on how to use them. Again the other major brands are out of the box easy to use like a point and shoot camera. I wanted this camera to work. I honestly did and I was seriously considering a move over to them. But I couldn’t get past these basic flaws.
Which Olympus camera is best?
That all depends what you think ‘best’ is. Take a look at my post, a review of the Olympus flagship camera and you’ll see why this is an almost impossible question to answer. There might not be any best camera.
So where do you go from here if you’re an Olympus shooter?
Best advice I can give you is to keep your gear (or sell it fast) and drive it into the ground. For the average photographer these cameras will work well enough. Spend your money on going to new locations to shoot photos with the Olympus camera you have. When it all breaks, because all cameras do at some point, buy yourself some else.
Too bad Olympus I was really hoping you had some tricks up your sleeves but it looks like Olympus cameras has left the camera business for good.
Olympus camera out of business!