Olympus, once one of the world’s largest camera companies, after 84 years is selling off that portion of its market.
The company said the “highly serious digital camera market” was no longer competitive given all its best efforts.
One big cause, it added, was the introduction of smartphones, which had narrowed the demand for separate cameras.
The last three years it has reported losses.
After years of making microscopes the Japanese corporation made its first camera in 1936. The Semi-Olympus I featured bellows with an accordion-like fold-out frame, which cost Japan ‘s workers more than a month.
Olympus: the end of an era
Over the decades, the corporation continued to expand the camera industry, becoming one of the leading businesses by market share.
“There’s a lot of love for Olympus coming on there,” says Nigel Atherton, editor of the magazine Amateur Photographer.
The 1970s was a high point, with celebrity photographers such as David Bailey and Lord Lichfield advertising their cameras on television.
“These cameras were innovative-really thin, really light, beautifully built, they had very good quality lenses,” Atherton says.
Facing teething problems with emerging technology such as autofocus, a cult following remained with the company, Atherton says. Yet the company was seeing a second round of video cameras, where they became early adopters.
Yet they concentrated on a middle market of their later collection of mirrorless cameras. “People who weren’t professional shooters-they wanted something more than a point-and – shoot camera. So they didn’t want a DSLR camera.
“Smartphones were eating up the demand rapidly, and at one point it became to be non-existent.”
The demand for independent cameras fell drastically-by one estimation, between 2010 and 2018 it declined by 84 per cent.
One reason he cited was the lack of improvement in the production of film, where rivals made improvements.
The company has faced a major accounting crisis in 2011, involving top executives.