Why Olympus Is Not Going Full Frame

I have received quite a number of comments and feedback especially at my YouTube videos as well as in my recent articles here, with some of you commenting that if Olympus is to survive the current camera sales thunderstorm, one of the viable solution is for them to go full frame. While I am excited with the idea of Olympus making full frame cameras, being an Olympus photographer, ex-employee, and an ex-engineer looking at the whole situation through realistic filter, I strongly believe full frame is not the answer for Olympus at this point of time. I made a video (click here) to explore the reasons why it is not the best option for Olympus moving forward, and why staying committed to the current maturing Micro Four Thirds system is the better strategy. 

Kindly take note that I do not represent Olympus in sharing any of my opinion, and I am not doing this to defend Olympus, or with intention of bashing any other brands. I am a photographer, a camera lover and there will be no bashing or negativity toward any camera or products in the industry. 

If you are not the video watching kind of person, here is a very short summary of my points discussed, explaining reasons why Olympus will not consider going full frame. 
1) Maintaining balanced size and weight for both camera and lens combo
2) Larger image sensor is not the solution
3) Entering full frame war is not a good strategy, and is a losing battle
4) Olympus should focus on pushing imaging innovation and technological boundaries

Olympus had a vision when they started the Four Thirds format, they knew to achieve the optimum size and weight balance for camera + lens combo, the best format was the Four Thirds sensor format. They have stayed committed to this format and philosophy all this time, and honestly it is a good strategy, knowing that it will be an impossible battle to collide head on against the big players such as Canon and Sony who, not in secret have infinitely more funds to burn for R&D and marketing. Olympus strives to provide alternative products that are portable and compact, yet at the same time delivering professional grade performance and results, and they have not been complacent in pushing innovations and technological boundaries in their product development. Therefore, instead of fighting a losing battle by entering the full frame market, I strongly believe Micro Four Thirds has a strong footing and is a great alternative, which honestly is more than sufficient for most photographers who don't shoot in the most extreme conditions. 

I am not saying that I do not want to see improvements from Olympus, it is quite the opposite. By committing to the Micro Four Thirds format, knowing well the technical restrictions of the smaller image sensor size, Olympus will need to work doubly hard to come up with advancement in their camera innovations to appeal to mass consumers. They are indeed heading the right direction with the improvement of groundbreaking shooting features that greatly benefit real world photography such as the 5-Axis Image Stabilization, Hand-Held High Res Mode, and computational deep learning focus tracking as seen in the E-M1X. I hope Olympus will surprise us more with new features and continue to push what the smaller camera system can achieve, and I am sure we will find out sooner rather than later. 

So what are your thoughts? Do you think the only answer is for Olympus to go full frame? Do you think Micro Four Thirds has a place in the camera market in the future? Share your thoughts!

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  1. It would be crazy for Olympus to invest in a whole new format that is already overcrowded.

  2. Olympus prepares the 150-450mm zoom... No equivalent lens can't be found on systems with FF sensors. Therefore, this zoom no longuer requires a tripod.
    I think that, during next Olympic games, we will see many 150-450mm zooms, and Olympus bodies !!

  3. Olympus definitely has a place. It's a user base that won't see the purpose and possibilities of the m4:3 system and keeps on bashing at it that has a great voice on social media. Olympus could work more on that as it started with ambassadors and visionaries being active. Technical progress and functionality at the price point Olympus gives it very good and unseen by many.
    I myself use a Sony a7rIII system with lots of joy, but... I also own and use and Pen-F with primes and adore it's simple functionality and usability a lot. I will an cannot part form it. So i hope Olympus stays in the market and will get a better reputation among professionals and gets the appreciation its deserves with bringing so much innovation.

  4. I don´t mind Olympus not going full frame, what I miss is their e-pm line - such a great pocket-size camera. And I think now that e-pl has got bigger, there would be more room for its set of features than before (and it would separate itself from other Olympus lines nicely). After all, many praise Olympus for their camera-size-to-output ratio and if you are more of a casual shooter and don´t miss all those dedicated buttons and special frills that much, e-pm is in my opinion still hard to beat.