OM Digital Solutions, owner of the Olympus brand, has stated that it will partner with other companies going forward – and notes that it is looking beyond its main business to other areas of photography culture, such as running photo tours.
The change in ethos comes as OM Digital Solutions, free from the large corporate structure of Olympus Corp, looks for ways to expand beyond its remit of producing the best Micro Four Thirds cameras (opens in new tab) and best Micro Four Thirds lenses (opens in new tab).
"I believe we can provide value to the photography activities and culture of our customers in areas other than cameras and lenses," said OM Digital's chief technology officer, Setsuya Kataoka, at CP+ 2021 (opens in new tab).
"As a manufacturer, we may be able to add value by providing a bag or a strap. Or maybe photography tours. Because now we are free to be involved in the culture of photography, I would like to try some new things.
"I’m interested in further exploring the potential of the optical technologies of cameras and lenses. as well as the audio technologies from IC recorder and other areas, exploring new avenues."
At this point, he was asked by photographer Koichiro Saito, "In other words, there is a possibility of collaborating with other companies?"
"That’s correct," replied Kataoka. "Instead of just doing things on our own, we will work with other partners when necessary. I also want to actively engage in creating new value going forward.
"Although becoming a smaller company presents new challenges, there are no limits on what we can do. We are ready to take on new challenges. Of course, we will still focus on our main business, but we do not want to ignore the possibility of broadening our horizons."
While the prospect of running photography tours is a little left field, the idea of partnering with other companies makes a lot of sense. Hasselblad, for example, provides cameras for drones like the DJI Mavic 2 Pro (opens in new tab) (though of course, the former is owned by the latter), and Leica supplies the camera system for phones like the Huawei P40 Pro (opens in new tab).
On a more fundamental level, is Kataoka suggesting that Olympus might even partner with another manufacturer on a camera? It seems farfetched, but we've already seen technology partnerships between rivals Samsung and Xiaomi (opens in new tab) on camera phones – so stranger things could happen!