Olympus says it has no plans to sell its camera business

“For Imaging, however, we currently have no plans to sell the business. The task is therefore to stabilize and strengthen its market position. To achieve that, we are actively running marketing activities, and have already established a clear and exciting product roadmap for the coming months and years. We are actively pursuing future technology developments that will enhance photography and video for creators. Furthermore, Imaging is and will continue to be an important technology and innovation driver for our other businesses.

Source: Olympus addresses rumors of sale | Photofocus

A few days ago, a Russian blogger posted rumors that Olympus Imaging staff were looking for new jobs and that the camera division would be sold or shut down in January.

Then Bloomberg ran a report that implied the Olympus CEO was not opposed to selling the division, but did so in a unusual way without direct quotes. This only furthered the rumor. (Bloomberg ran a fake news story last year claiming a secret chip was installed on servers at Amazon, Apple and other U.S. companies during manufacturing by agents of the Chinese government, for the purpose of spying. All of the companies and Homeland Security denied any such chip existed.)

Olympus has replied with a statement that it has no plans to sell the business.

The weirdest is that the micro four thirds community that posts to online forums, is the most negative group of people ever met. Those that post frequently focus on gloom and doom and seize upon every poorly source rumor to further their victimization mentality. I do not get this attitude at all.

Olympus is still recovering from their mega accounting scandal in 2011 and like all camera makers, is in the midst of a shrinking market that impacts all camera makers. They have, however, continued to introduce new cameras and lenses and have moved manufacturing to a new factory in Vietnam.

3D theaters continue to increase in number

From: 3D is “dead”, but 3D cinema screens rise is steady – Personal View Talks

And while “3D TV” is mostly gone at present, 3D video projectors are very common. Most video projectors support 3D because it is very inexpensive to add 3D to a projection system while it was expensive to put the tech into flat panel TVs.

If you are looking for 3D viewing options at home, 3D projectors are a good option. Another option is 3D computer monitors, which are used in gaming and engineering and other visualization applications.

16-lens, 3D live streaming VR camera

Delivers 4K stereoscopic live stream or 6k for post editing:

The Live Planet VR system may look like something out of a science fiction movie, but this stereoscopic, 16-lens camera and its associated cloud platform may be one of the best tools out there for live-streaming events in 360 degrees.

Source: Review: Live Planet VR live-streaming system: Digital Photography Review

I find VR “interesting” and enjoy doing occasional VR shooting. But viewing seems cumbersome with use of VR helmets versus wearing 3D glasses. So far, little VR has been shot in stereoscopic 3D – yet VR 3D is far more interesting to view than plain VR.

Worth reading: “The Smartphone vs The Camera Industry”

  • Cameras are large and unwieldy
  • Cameras are generally complex and hard to use, relative to a smart phone’s camera
  • Posting photos taken on a camera is complex relative to posting from a smart phone
  • Post processing camera photos on a computers means a decently powerful computer and learning specialized software
  • Most photos are posted online, and end up viewed at about a 1.2 megapixel resolution. Meanwhile, camera makers are pushing 50 to 100 megapixel cameras … which is a disconnect from how most photos are being used.
  • Smart phones sell in far larger volumes than cameras creating economies of scale, plus R&D budgets much larger than camera R&D budgets.
  • Some camera users are now former camera users and only take photos with their smart phones.

The author’s conclusion is that smart phones will consume most of the market for cameras.

Source: The Smartphone vs The Camera Industry

Samsung drops Gear VR support on new devices; Google drops Daydream VR support on Pixel 3A

But with Gear VR not being compatible with Samsung’s newest flagship phone, and with Google announcing in May that the Pixel 3A wouldn’t support Android’s built-in Daydream platform, it’s hard not to think that phone-based VR may be on the decline.

Source: Samsung confirms Galaxy Note 10 won’t work with its Gear VR headset – The Verge

VR was sort of dead at CES 2019, sort of buried at E3 2019, and then Samsung and Google dropped out of the Cardboard-like phone-based viewer market. Paid VR content is said to be dead. IMAX said it is shutting down its VR theater offering.

Over the past six years since the Oculus Rift was introduced, the total number of VR users is estimated at 10 million – most of whom are video gamers.

I have three friends that are professional VR film makers, and one that has built a VR product for the dental industry. I get the dental product business model but do not get 2 of the 3 filmmakers’ business models.

A very few places are projecting VR video on to theater domes – this makes sense versus having everyone wear a large headset. But this is a far smaller market than was 3D.

I shoot VR myself, mostly still photos, that can be easily panned on Flickr or Facebook for 360 viewing without VR headsets.

VR was fading at CES 2019 – and it sort of seems that this might presage a collapse in 2020, similar to the path that was followed by consumer 3D (I shoot both 3D stills and video). VR remains stuck in gaming and is not being adopted by a wider consumer community. Proponents think it just needs better, new tech headsets.

Canada now requires a written exam for RC model aircraft flying

The topics covered on the exam are fairly extensive. Take a look.

I suspect this is where we are headed in the U.S. The FAA has yet to release details of the U.S. exam, which was required by last year’s Congressional vote to re-authorize FAA funding.

Additionally, the FAA has postponed to later this year, a proposal for remote identification of all flying model aircraft.

Important note: If you are not a Canadian resident, such as a U.S. resident making a trip to Canada, if you wish to fly your drone in Canada, you must apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate before you go to Canada. If you do not comply with the new rules, you may face fines of thousands of dollars.

Australia proposes A$20 license fee per model aircraft

The proposal would assess a fee of about A$20 for each model aircraft owned, plus a fee of A$100 to A$160 for each commercially used model aircraft:

CASA is planning to introduce a drone registration and accreditation scheme later this year.

Source: Drone registration and accreditation scheme – update | Civil Aviation Safety Authority

The UK is proposing an annual fee of 16.5 pounds. The U.S. assesses a fee of US$5.00 per pilot, good for 3 years; the registration number is applied to all aircraft operated by the pilot.

2018 Camera Market at 1985 Levels – Thomas Stirr Photography

Thomas Stirr observes the tremendous changes in unit sales that have hit the camera gear market.

This lengthy article discusses the fact that the 2018 camera market has fallen to 1985 levels and provides thoughts on the impact of this shift.

Source: 2018 Camera Market at 1985 Levels – Thomas Stirr Photography

Thomas ends his post with suggestions for what you might want to do with your existing camera gear: sell, adapt, extend?

  • Push yourself to use your gear more fully. Many of us do not fully utilize all of the capabilities of the gear we currently own. Using it more fully will extend its useful life.

  • Experiment more in post. Every piece of camera gear comes with some kind of trade-off. Spend some time in post to experiment with your current software to learn how you can squeeze more quality out of your current images.

This is spot on. Since last fall I gave much thought and investigation to whether I should move up to “full frame”, due to indirect peer pressure and marketing hype.  I realized I continue to learn how to use my existing 1″ and micro four thirds cameras nearly every time I put them to use – and for what I typically shoot there is little to no advantage to full frame – and actual drawbacks (bigger and heavier). Instead, I’m learning new tricks that make my existing gear deliver expanded capabilities.

Second, I downloaded the DxO PhotoLab 2 trial version and quickly discovered its noise reduction is so good that it was like increasing my camera’s useful ISO range by several stops. I no longer needed a larger sensor to achieve the results I wanted at higher ISOs. This was a far less expensive alternative than buying a new camera and lenses!

Third, I began using various well known techniques such as averaging multiple exposures to reduce noise, and shooting multiple-image panoramas to achieve enormous resolution (typically 80 to 200 megapixels).

Software post processing completely changes how we look at photography – and for us hobbyists, is a practical way to expand our gears’ capabilities.

Guide to 3D VR video and photos