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Olympus decides not to go medium format

Olympus decides not to go medium format
Image: Olympus

With the release of the Olympus OM-D E-M1X, the Micro Four Thirds manufacturer magically delivered medium format resolution. However, during a press event for the E-M1X, Olympus revealed that it actually contemplated developing a full-on medium format camera.

According to Camera Jabber, Olympus executives Shigemi Sugimoto and Setsuya Kataoka (head of Imaging Business and division manager, Imaging Product Development respectively) revealed that the company had given consideration to developing a medium format system, but that it ultimately chose to remain committed to Micro Four Thirds.

This has long been Olympus' party line, most recently stated at Photokina by European CEO Stefan Kauffman, but such statements have usually been in response to questions about the company going full-frame. 

Sugimoto and Kataoka's comments picked up some traction when images of an Olympus prototype – the modular M-System, pictured, which features a medium format-style body – were unearthed, but this was actually an old 35mm camera, not a recent medium format design. 

Previously, of course, Olympus did make medium format cameras, starting in 1936 with the Semi-Olympus I.

More recently, Hasselblad and Fujifilm have created a new, 'affordable' medium format sector, Hasselblad with the X1D and Fujifilm with its GFX cameras, culminating in the spectacular 100MP Fujifilm GFX 100S.

Read more:

The best medium format camera

Olympus roadmap reveals 8 new Micro Four Thirds lenses

The best Micro Four Thirds lenses

Best Olympus cameras in 2019

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-PhotoDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show. An Olympus (Micro Four Thirds) and Canon (full frame) shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a particular fondness for vintage lenses and film cameras.