2018 was a quiet year for Olympus, but the Micro Four Thirds company will start 2019 with the launch of what appears to be a high-end camera geared toward sports photographers. After releasing two teasers focusing on sports photography, Olympus released a third video depicting a landscape photographer in a series of teasers for an unnamed OM-D camera with a launch date of January 24.
The first 18-second teaser reveals little about the upcoming camera save for a few glimpses of the body and the situations in which it’s apparently meant to excel. While the camera is unnamed, the video does end on the OM-D logo, suggesting it could be a replacement to the OM-D E-M1 Mark II that’s going on three years old.
A silhouette of the camera shows a body that appears to be a bit taller than a typical OM-D — or has a battery grip accessory attached. But what perhaps offers more clues to the new OM-D is where the camera is. The teaser shows the camera shooting at several different sports events, including football, beach volleyball, and water polo, suggesting the camera is geared for sports action. This may also suggest professional level dust- and splash-proofing, something Olympus is already well known for.
The second teaser video shows more of the same — offering brief glimpses of the camera body and suggesting a sports focus by showing the camera shooting races. The end of the video shows part of the camera body with a view of the side and part of the back, where it’s easy to see a screen, a viewfinder, and some physical controls on that taller-than-average body.
The third teaser is the first to depict the upcoming camera outside of sports photography. The 22-second teaser shows a landscape photographer with the teased camera. While earlier teasers showed the camera poolside, the third teaser shows the camera physically wet, another hint at weather-sealing. The end of the video offers a glimpse of the front of the camera, including that OM-D logo but without an actual name for the camera.
While Panasonic, Nikon, and Canon announced full-frame mirrorless cameras last year, interviews with Olympus executives suggest Olympus isn’t planning on ditching the Micro Four Thirds format. The camera body certainly appears to be large enough to support a larger sensor, but sticking with Four Thirds would make sense. The smaller format means smaller and lighter lenses, making extreme telephoto lenses easier to carry, which would certainly be welcome in sports photography.
Last year, Olympus had few product launches, with the beginner-friendly E-PL9 being the most prominent. The company’s OM-D line, on the other hand, is typically more pro-oriented. While more companies continue to push for higher resolution, larger sensors, Olympus’ past launches have focused on other technologies, like image stabilization and advanced shooting modes, such as Pro Capture and the High-Resolution Shot.
2019 also marks Olympus’ 100th anniversary — an important product launch would be a good way to mark the occasion. Olympus has a countdown to the launch set on its website, along with an email sign-up to receive more details.
Updated on January 17, 2018: Added third teaser video.