Olympus to rise again soon as first OM System camera gets likely launch date

An OM System poster containing five cameras
(Image credit: OM System)

Olympus cameras may have been consigned to history, but their spirit is expected to live on with the launch of the first OM System camera – and that symbolic event has just been given a likely launch date.

As spotted by 43 Rumors, a new teaser image from OM Digital Solutions – which is the new owner of Olympus's camera division – shows its upcoming camera on a poster for the CP+ 2022 camera trade show. The show kicks off on February 22, but OM Digital Solutions' first talks are scheduled to take place on February 24, making that the likely launch date of its first post-Olympus camera.

If you're unfamiliar with the Olympus story, the company's camera division was sold to a Japanese investment fund called JIP in June 2020. After that deal was completed, we saw the arrival of the Olympus PEN E-P7. But in October 2021, it was announced that the classic Olympus name would be abandoned, with new launches instead bearing the new OM System sub-brand.

Since then, we've seen the launch of the OM System M.Zuiko 20mm f/1.4 Pro lens, but no new cameras. That looks likely to change, though, on February 24 from around 1am EST / 6am GMT / 5pm AEST, when OM Digital Solutions is hosting a talk at the CP+ 2022 show called 'The New Dawn of OM System'. This will be followed a couple of hours later by a talk titled 'The new OM System you want to know'.

So far, all we know about this first OM System camera is that it'll be a Micro Four Thirds model with interchangeable lenses that'll apparently bring improved image quality "through the use of computational photographic technology". The first teaser image also suggests it'll be a relatively advanced model, with a design that's closer to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III than the brand's more classic PEN series. It looks like we won't have to wait long for the full official details.

Analysis: a big month for Micro Four Thirds cameras

An example long exposure photo of the sea using Olympus' Live ND feature

Previous Olympus cameras have included early examples of what's now known as computational photography (Image credit: Olympus)

February is going to be a big month for Micro Four Thirds cameras, which have been left behind by larger-sensor formats in recent years. But with this new OM System camera expected to be joined soon by the Panasonic GH6, it's going to feel a bit like 2016 again in the camera world – and that's a good thing for choice.

At one time, it seemed that smartphones had killed smaller sensor formats like Micro Four Thirds. In fact, "rapid market shrink caused by the evolution of smartphones" was the main reason Olympus gave for selling its camera division in 2020. But smaller sensor formats still bring advantages over both phones and full-frame cameras, and this first OM System camera is promising to capitalize on those.

Alongside compact form factors, one of the main benefits of small sensors is that it's easier to apply additional features like in-body image stabilization and computational processing to them, compared to full-frame. Olympus cameras were known for pioneering software-based tricks like 'Live ND' well before the Google Pixel 4's computational tricks, and OM Digital Solutions is promising to build on this groundwork with its first OM System camera.

This concept was intriguing enough for us to include the unnamed OM System camera on our recent list of the most exciting cameras of 2022. That said, it still isn't clear how much appetite there is for a standalone camera with computational photography tricks – after all, the original Olympus camera division wasn't able to survive despite creating innovative software features.

As 43 Rumors notes, we also don't yet know if OM Digital Solutions' announcements at CP+ 2022 will be more teasers ahead of a launch later in the year, or a full unveiling. But photographers and videographers who are still interested in the prospect of a small hybrid camera with a huge range of lenses should certainly stay tuned on February 24 to find out.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.