Olympus camera rumors 2020
Last year the company celebrated its 100th birthday by releasing its "flagship reimagined" update, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X, boasting some of the most innovative and advanced technology we've ever seen in a camera – including 80MP medium-format resolution from a Micro Four Thirds sensor!
This year, the company kicked off proceedings by giving us the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III – another flagship camera that sits in confusing parallel with the E-M1X, offering almost exactly the same features in the familiar smaller chassis. What does this mean for the X? We're unsure, though it does mean that Olympus is very well catered for at the professional end of the scale.
Its middle tier is in good shape, too, with the fantastic Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III dropping last year. Which means that this year looks like it will probably revolve around entry level models as far as Uncle Oly is concerned…
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Now that it has updated its flagship and mid-range models, Olympus really needs to look at its entry level offering. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III was released in 2017, and a lot has changed in the past three years.
Once upon a time, back when a 16MP resolution was still pretty impressive, Olympus could afford to reserve its top-tier 20MP sensor for its top-tier E-M1 camera. However, in 2020, 16MP is looking a bit anaemic even for an entry level model. Just as it did with the E-M5 III last year, Olympus desperately needs to bring that 20MP sensor to the E-M10 IV this year.
The manufacturer has always feared cannibalization of its product line, typically staggering feature sets so that there was minimal overlap between the E-M1, E-M5 and E-M10. However, there's no time left for those kinds of games – it would be insanity for the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV not to possess the 20MP sensor.
Other than resolution, though, we expect the Mark IV to be largely identical to the Mark III. We think Olympus will still cordon off features to retain the E-M5 III's identity above it in the product line – so don't expect a fully articulating screen or 50MP High Res Shot, for example. If the 20MP sensor does make it across, though, the E-M10 IV may well possess phase detect autofocus – which would be a massive boon for the system.
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.
Olympus WON'T sell its camera business
Despite rumors running rampant at the tail end of 2019 that Olympus would sell off its imaging division after a tough year of trading, the company officially debunked sale rumors and reaffirmed its commitment to the camera business.
"We currently have no plans to sell the business. The task is therefore to stabilize and strengthen its market position. To achieve that, we are actively running marketing activities, and have already established a clear and exciting product roadmap for the coming months and years. We are actively pursuing future technology developments that will enhance photography and video for creators. Furthermore, Imaging is and will continue to be an important technology and innovation driver for our other businesses."
The Olympus verdict
After a tough year of trading, thanks in large part to transplanting its manufacturing facilities across Asia, Olympus fired back with the long-awaited Mark III versions of the E-M5 and E-M1 lines. With those updates covering the professional and enthusiast tier of cameras, 2020 looks to be one where Olympus will refresh its hobbyist systems – we're hoping for an E-M10 Mark IV announcement soon.