Olympus cameras have been among the world's leading sellers for several decades, first with film cameras, and now with digital camera models. Olympus cameras ranked fourth in 2007 in worldwide digital camera units manufactured with 11.8 million, which represents a 9.0% market share, according to Techno Systems Research.
Olympus was founded in 1919 as Takachiho Seisakusho, and the company began making microscopes and thermometers. The company registered Olympus as a trademark in 1921, using that brand name on its first camera in 1936, called the Semi-Olympus I. In 1949, the company was renamed Olympus Optical.
Olympus has groups located throughout the world. Olympus Imaging America is headquartered in Center Valley, Pa.
Some Olympus milestones related to cameras include:
- The first 35mm film camera with a lens-shutter system available in Japan was from Olympus, called the Olympus 35 I and released in 1948.
- The world's first compact weather proof camera was the Olympus AF-1 Quartz Date in 1986.
- An L-shaped film SLR (single-lens reflex) camera, called the Olympus L-1 SLR, appeared in 1990.
Today's Olympus Offerings
Olympus offers digital cameras aimed at beginner, intermediate, and professional photographers.
- SLR. The Olympus E series of digital SLR cameras offers models aimed at advanced beginners to intermediate photographers. You can expect to pay about $500-$2,000 for E series digital cameras, although Olympus sells some of its digital SLR models with the camera body only, and lenses cost extra.
- Consumer. For consumer-level cameras, Olympus has three model lines. Olympus FE cameras are thin models with colorful camera bodies. They're aimed at beginners and cost about $100-$200. The Stylus models, which cost about $150-$400, are thin and colorful, too, but they offer a few more intermediate features. Finally, the Olympus SP line of cameras is aimed at advanced beginners. The SP models, which cost about $400-$600, are larger models that look like SLR cameras but do not offer interchangeable lenses.
- Related products. Through its Web site, Olympus sells many types of accessories for its digital cameras. If the company doesn't have a particular item in stock, the Web site can help you find another dealer. You'll find interchangeable lenses, lens filters, underwater housings, external flashes, batteries, AC adapters, camera bags, and neck straps, among many other items, through the Web site.