Just a few months after Olympus finalized the sale of its imaging division to an investment group, the new company – OM Digital Solutions – has hinted that it’s on the verge of releasing a new camera.
In a revealing interview with Digitech, the company’s Vice President of Sales & Product Management Sandro Rymann said that “a new camera will be available in the next few weeks and it won’t be the last one this fiscal year.”
Unfortunately, no more details about the camera were forthcoming, but Rymann did go on to say that OM Digital Solutions is planning a successor to the Olympus TG-6, a rugged compact that still sits top of our guide to the best waterproof cameras.
Talking about the TG-6, Rymann said “we are continuing the line and at some point will also present a successor to the current model, the TG-6.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that OM Digital’s imminent camera will be a TG-7, or whatever it plans to call its next tough compact camera. But it doesn’t sound like we’ll wait long to find out – and interestingly, it may well still be an Olympus-branded camera.
According to Rymann, the sale of the Olympus imaging division doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the Olympus name. “Many ask us whether the name will soon be replaced by another,” he said. “We are allowed to continue using the brand for the next few years and for a longer time than we had originally assumed.”
Into the wild
So what might the new OM Digital, or Olympus-branded, camera be? That’s difficult to predict right now, because the new company is starting afresh on a new trajectory.
That said, the Digitech interview did reveal a few more clues – including that fact that the confirmed Olympus TG-6 successor will likely be the exception rather than the rule. When asked about future plans, Rymann said OM Digital will be looking at market trends and these “could mean, for example, that we will invest less in entry-level models in the future, if we see that they are no longer in demand.”
In other words, don’t hold out for a successor to cameras like the Olympus Pen E-PL10, as it appears that OM Digital will instead be targeting specialist photographers – like wildlife snappers. As Rymann told Digitech “for us it is now a matter of focusing on the target group that actually benefits from the advantages of a small and light system”.
That group is apparently “adventure and outdoor photographers”, along with “bird and other wildlife photography, but also macros and landscape images are part of it.” This does make a lot of sense, as one of the benefits of the Micro Four Thirds system is being able to get long telephoto reach in a much smaller system than full-frame cameras – and the OM Digital lens roadmap shows that’s where its cameras are likely headed.
As Rymann concluded, photography is becoming increasingly niche and “in this niche, we would like to focus specifically on the outdoor adventure photographers. Cell phones will not be able to take pictures of fast animals over long distances in sharp focus and in high resolution.”
The only question is whether OM Digital’s imminent camera is a new weatherproof body for wildlife snappers, or that Olympus TG-6 successor.