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June 05, 2012

(NOT!) Panasonic to the rescue, will invest up to $630 million USD in Olympus

UPDATE (June-7-2012 at 5pm NYC time): The Panasonic President denied that Panasonic plans to invest in Olympus according to Reuters...

The Olympus financial saga became a little bit of a soap opera, and it turns out, the most obvious of candidates is going to date the Bachelor/Bachelorette. Panasonic. The New York Times writes that the Kyodo news agency (subscribers only) writes that Panasonic will invest up to 50 billion yen (over $630 million US dollars) in Olympus. The companies have been linked, photography wise, since the early days of Four Thirds and then with Micro Four Thirds (via dpreview Olympus forum).

Despite the onslaught of new mirrorless systems, Micro Four Thirds seems to be holding up quite well, and they currently have the hot camera du jour in the Olympus E-M5 (reviews, stock status). Fuji's mirrorless system is priced like a Leica-for-the-rest-of-us, Nikon's mirrorless system was designed as a compl[i/e]ment to their DSLR line-up, Samsung's NX mirrorless system has not been greeted as a liberator outside Korea, Ricoh GXR and Pentax Q and Kenko C-mount are very niche systems, Leica's TBD-mirrorless will likely be in the X1/X2 and above price range, etc. etc, etc. Sony's NEX system appears to be the biggest challenge at the moment. And the mystery of the Canon TBD-mirrorless system. This in terms of mass-market appeal, not in terms of the photographic quality of individual cameras and lenses - which is a separate and independent discussion.

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