With the release of the Olympus OM-D E-M1X (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) and Fujifilm with its GFX cameras, culminating in the spectacular 100MP Fujifilm GFX 100S (opens in new tab).