It's been almost exactly a year since Olympus announced it was leaving the camera business, but a leak may have just given us our first glimpse of a debut camera from the Olympus brand under its owners, OM Digital Solutions.
According to 43Rumors, the photos above and below are of the incoming Olympus E-P7, which will apparently "be announced very soon". That's it in terms of details so far, but it's fair to assume that the E-P7 will be a successor to the Olympus E-P5 from 2013.
The E-P5 was a much-loved travel camera with a Four Thirds sensor, and was part of the Olympus PEN range, which was based on the classic styling of the company's original film cameras from the 1960s.
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The E-P7 certainly appears to continue that trend with its iconic looks, but what else can we expect from the camera? Well, like the E-P5 and E-P3, it appears to not have a built-in viewfinder, which will help to keep the price down but will also limit its appeal for keen photographers.
On the front, there's an intriguing 'color / mono' switch, which will likely let you switch between photo styles without having to dig into the menus. And on top there are three dials, including a mode dial, which would give the camera a similar tactile shooting experience to Fujifilm's X-series.
What isn't yet clear is whether the Olympus E-P7 will have a new Four Thirds sensor, or will stick to the 20.3MP chip we've seen in previous cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. Given that the leaked images show the camera fronted by Olympus' familiar 14‑42mm f/3.5‑5.6 EZ pancake lens, we'd imagine it will also stick with that tried-and-tested sensor, too.
Either way, the Olympus E-P7 will likely be aimed at anyone looking for a compact, stylish travel camera with smartphone-beating image quality, and vloggers who need a portable companion for making YouTube videos.
As attractive as the E-P7 looks, it would be slightly strange to see the Olympus cameras brand under its new owners continue down a similar path to the one that ultimately led to it being sold a year ago. After all, one of the main reasons Olympus cited for the sale was "rapid market shrink caused by the evolution of smartphones".
Still, one of the unique appeals of Olympus cameras has always been their heritage and design, so it's possible that the Olympus E-P7 will be something of a 'halo' launch that represents those much-loved traits, while the company looks to develop imaging products in new areas.
In a revealing interview last month with Digitech, Olympus' Vice President of Sales & Product Management Sandro Rymann said that those market trends "could mean, for example, that we will invest less in entry-level models in the future, if we see that they are no longer in demand".
He added that the photographers who now benefit from the small and light Micro Four Thirds system are "adventure and outdoor photographers", along with those who shoot "bird and other wildlife photography, but also macros and landscape images are part of it".
To that end, we're also expecting to see Olympus launch a new 8-25mm PRO lens, possibly at the same time as the E-P7 – we'll bring you all of the official news as soon as they land.
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