Olympus rumors 2021
Last year the company celebrated its 100th birthday, but this year the celebrations turned to commiserations as Olympus is selling its camera business.
The new owner, Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), insists that the imaging business will continue and that we will see the OM, PEN and Zuiko lineages continue – but it is possible that the Olympus brand will be dropped starting in 2021.
So, is it all doom and gloom for one of the most storied camera lines in history? We don't think so. This year we've seen the introduction of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, the latest in the entry-level line of Olympus OM-D mirrorless cameras. Sleek, stylish and slick, the E-M10 IV is an entry-level camera that does pretty much anything. And while the Olympus brand's future may be a little uncertain, the Micro Four Thirds lens mount on the E-M10 IV means that users can expect to have a huge choice of lenses for a very long time.
Olympus PEN E-PL11
The enduring E-PL (Electronic PEN-Lite) line has been a consistent success for Olympus, particularly in Japan where it is a popular choice for young fashionistas. Despite its modest 16MP sensor and 3-axis in-body image stabilization, the Olympus PEN E-PL10 provided an appealing upgrade for Instagram-conscious shooters looking for a compact, interchangeable lens alternative to taking smartphone snaps.
Since the E-PL series has seen annual updates every year since 2016, it seems likely that an Olympus PEN E-PL11 will appear on the horizon. However, we dearly hope that it finally features some updated specs – at the very least, a bump to the company's celebrated 5-axis IBIS would be appreciated (a la the E-M10 series), though we don't expect to see the 20MP sensor make it to the entry level body.
Still, the appeal of the E-PL line has never been its cutting-edge specs, but more its slender design, 180° selfie screen and proliferation of Art Filters – so we're far more likely to get an extra filter or two than we are a significant specs upgrade.
The Olympus verdict
It's anyone's guess what happens to Olympus in 2021. After a tough year of trading, thanks in large part to transplanting its manufacturing facilities across Asia, and the news that it is selling off its camera business, it's been a tough time for Olympus. With the professional E-M1 and enthusiast E-M5 tiers of cameras having been newly updated, along with the entry-level E-M10, the next on our list is a PEN E-PL11. When it's coming, though, is an open question...