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

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a 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 like 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, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.