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. Olympus released a teaser video for an unnamed OM-D camera with a launch date of January 24.
The 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.
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 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 its 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, like 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.