Home Cameras/Lenses Olympus OM System announces the OM-5, the first camera without the Olympus brand

OM System announces the OM-5, the first camera without the Olympus brand

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Following the sale of the Olympus camera division two years ago, we’ve known that one day the brand would Olympus brand would disappear from the range. Despite this, it comes as something of a shock to see the arrival of the new OM-5 with “OM System” replacing the proud OLYMPUS brand on the viewfinder housing.

Never again will we see OLYMPUS on a new camera body

From the original Olympus OM-1 in 1972, the company has been noted for excellent but compact instruments. The OM-1, originally intended to be the M1 until Leica objected, was a welcome change from the growing bulk of many SLR cameras of the time and rapidly worked its way into amateur and professional photographers’ affections.

Proud name

I am no longer invested in the OM System, although I have used and enjoyed Olympus film and digital cameras over the years. But it’s sad to see such a proud name disappear.

What would we think, for instance, if Leica sold off the camera division and the M, the SL and Q suddenly started being sold under the brand LM system or suchlike? The magic would truly be gone, although I admit Leica is a special case, and there is little prospect of such a turn of events.

If you are inclined to join me in mourning Olympus, maybe you should give the OM-5 a chance. You can read a full review here at Amateur Photographer. The OM-5 body costs £1,200, including tax, in the UK.

What’s your view on the disappearance of the Olympus name in photography?

Macfilos features on Olympus cameras

J-P Rau: Old memories, optical masterpieces

Contemporaries: When the Olympus OM-1 appeared, it was first named M-1. Leitz was not amused because of the nomenclature parallels to its own M system. The current Leica in those days was the M4. Note the similar sizes! The OM lens, a 50/1.4 with its silver front ring, is from the early Seventies, while the Summicron on the Leica is obviously much younger (Image Jörg-Peter Rau)

26 COMMENTS

  1. Having been a Nikon man since 1973, I have no emotional investment in Olympus. Still, it seems a shame to lose this iconic brand. I would assume that since Olympus continues in the lucrative medical products arena, it was probably a condition of the sale that the cameras could no longer bear the Olympus name.

  2. Hi Mike, you may want to read the first sentence after the comma 😅. Your field editor. Thanks, Grammerly.

    The change of name will be a sad reminder of the shrinking camera market. I almost purchased their film camera but was investec in the Nikon system. I did own a number of their awesome lenses for use on my amazing Panasonic G9.

    • Give it some time and… everybody will be using a smartphone for pictures, digital will very niche and extremely expensive… film will have surpassed non-smartphone digital again…

      • No, smartphones are the NOW not the future. Something smarter will come.They have also been around for some time already and we still have cameras.
        Too bad they couldn’t have done something, anything really, to make that OM SYSTEM logo at least interesting. It looks like it was pasted on without any thought whatsoever.

        • We still have cameras but quite honestly you don’t see many younger people with a camera anymore and if you do it is often film, it is a shrinking market, smartphones will continue to get better with AI and other technology.

          • Someday creative photography will consist of downloading one of gazillions of images of anywhere in the world, then verbally instructing your AI computer to modify it in some way, then sharing the result on the internet.

            Until then I will keep using cameras.

          • Food for thought..
            Most of the younger people I know ( and I teach kids ) take silly selfies and throw away snapshots with those phones rather than photographs with any artistic merit. I took my class out for a photo walk last week and with ‘real’ cameras and we did portraits. Every single person who looked at the results remarked on how much better the pictures looked compared to the usual images they make on their smartphones.
            Yes AI and new tech will continue to improve but to the point where we don’t need to carry phones anymore.

    • Dave Seargeant grabs the major prize (a personal letter from the editor) for spotting that typo. I won’t blame Grammarly in this instance, tempting as it is.

  3. I have a couple of Olympus digital cameras (and a film one as well) and some six or seven lenses. I don’t need more (at present), but surely feel sad for the disappearance of the brand. Besides, they are excellent travel cameras, and in 1.5kg I can bring with me two cameras and lenses ranging from 9 to 150 mm (18 to 300 mm full frame equivalent)!

  4. Yes, the name Olympus was Olympic. But, hey, they release a new model, keep the lenses mount and line (thing Leica doesn’t with apsc L lenses and cameras) and are not so far of all models called OM something. Like the OMG I had for a while with funny brilliant letters. I also had a rarity called Ekru

  5. Perhaps someone can make an exact-fit Olympus emblem, which can be stuck on the penta non-prism of the new camera, to rectify this serious mistake and make us feel good again.

  6. Never owned one but have been tempted a couple of times with the prospect of a small body coupled with the 12-100mm f4 Pro lens as a perfect (small) travel camera. Surprised that this camera still uses the old 20MP sensor and that they didn’t adopt the newer option. Seems like a fairly cosmetic change. For the time being at least they still look like the old Olympus cameras so the look will out-weigh the spelling of the name (they seem to use the same font).

  7. As many readers will know, I have had a stong connection to Olympus for more than three decades. An OM-1 was my first camera ever, and in my opinion the analogue OM system had many parallels to Leica’s design principles. The article I wrote for Macfilos on the occasion of the launch of OM Systems is one of the most read from the last few years here.

    With this background, I have to says that the small size (Olympus’ old virtue) of the OM-5 is tempting. I still have some Micro Four Thirds gear which I use when I have to work in inclement conditins. Olympus’ weather sealing is top notch to this day. However, my newest camera is the OM-D E-M1 (original) and it still works flawlessly after many years and quite some hard jobs.

    I tried out the new OM-1 a bit and found it very impressive with a very good EVF. This one for the fat tele lens, and the OM-5 as a second body with a small standard zoom plus two primes make an excellent and very versatile travel kit. I do hope they will continue with new products to keep MFT alive. The OM-5 is not more than an intermediate step in this respect for sure as it more or less combines features that were already available in earlier Olympus cameras. Not the worst you can say.

    But again, I wish them all the luck. JP

    • I have never understood why Leica has not explored MFT in the form of a rebadged Panasonic. There is large catalogue of Leica-branded lenses (ok, made by Panasonic, but they are Leica branded) and it would be an easy task to rebadge a camera in the same way that they do the D-Lux V-Lux. Apart from anything else, this would give Leica the lower entry price-point they are currently missing and it could bring in new users who could eventually trade up to an M, Q or SL. It would make sense within the L2 technology cooperation because Panasonic as also said it will not enter the APS-C market. The more distinct difference between MFT and FF makes more sense, because APS-C is in the middle.

      I suspect the main reason they haven’t considered this is that they are not members of the Micro Four Thirds Alliance. Possibly there would be resistance from Olympus because Leica would not be a developer, just a sort of licensee. But it’s an intriguing point.

  8. When you look at a camera like the Olympus OM-1 you have to acknowledge that it is a very beautifully designed camera. Same for old Canon and Nikon cameras. So the Japanese camera manufacturers were once able to design a beautiful camera. Where and when did they loose that skill?. If you e.g. look at present day Canon cameras they are obviously excellent but the design is so incredibly uninspiring. Where did it go wrong?

    • As I agree, I also miss in Leica the plasticky or rubbery possibilities they never explored. Though perhaps exceptionally, sometimes beautiful, and definitely strong and durable

  9. I used to own an OM1 and OM2 and regret ever selling them for a newer shinier camera.

    Design for Canon and Nikon appears to have rejected the “machined from metal” school and embraced the “melted from chocolate” school in the pursuit of more human, more tactile, cuddlier user-friendliness. Even though most cameras are more electronic and less mechanical these days, I’m not sure melted chocolate is the aesthetic they want. It somehow seems to signal that it is a lesser camera.

    It’s interesting that Fuji continue to pursue the blocky, sharp edged and cornered aesthetic as does Leica and neither has deviated too far from that. Maybe buyers recognize this aesthetic as connoting precision and strength and for some of us old lags consistency of design.

    It might be interesting to ask someone from MOMA to review camera design since WWII and see what stuck out to them.

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