New Olympus-branded cameras, perhaps including an Olympus PEN-F Mark II, will be arriving in 2021, according to comments made by an executive from Olympus Germany.
One of the brand's most beloved cameras, the original Olympus PEN-F (opens in new tab) was apparently discontinued in February 2019 and has disappeared from many retail outlets. As one of the best Olympus cameras (opens in new tab), fans have long been asking for a successor to the 2016 original – and such a new camera is "under consideration" by the manufacturer.
It would certainly seem easy enough to update, even if that simply means taking the existing PEN-F chassis and putting the newer 20.4MP image sensor in (with phase detect autofocus and 4K video). Of course we would love to see a more comprehensive update, but given Olympus' post-sale business realities that may not be possible.
Either way, it has been confirmed that a number of new Olympus cameras will be released in 2021. Significantly, these cameras will apparently bear the Olympus brand – despite being distributed by new company OM Digital Solutions, set up by Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) which will officially absorb Olympus' Imaging Division in January 2021 after agreeing to purchase it earlier this year.
There has been ongoing speculation about if and how the new company will use the Olympus name, after it was clarified that the branding will only be used "for a certain period" (opens in new tab). However, according to Nils Häußler of Olympus Deutschland, the next batch of new bodies will indeed feature the Olympus name.
In the above video on the Olympus Europe YouTube channel (spotted by 43 Rumors (opens in new tab)), Häußler also noted that there will be a particular focus on the video market going forward. It definitely feels like this is a case of "dead man's shoes" here, as Panasonic had previously cornered the video segment of the Micro Four Thirds market.
However, with its former partner having shifted its attention almost exclusively towards full-frame cameras, it would seem to create an opportunity for Olympus to step in. Though with its current bodies – including the flagship Olympus OM-D E-M1X (opens in new tab) and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III (opens in new tab) – all limited to a maximum of 4K 30p, there is a long road to hoe in the video stakes.
While there is clearly still uncertainty over the future of Olympus / OM Digital Solutions, it is reassuring to hear from the horse's mouth that exciting new cameras – and an exciting new version of an old camera – are on the way.