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Olympus cuts forecast, denies SLRs are dead

Olympus is the latest imaging company to slash its profit forecast, reflecting a growing trend of consumers turning to smartphones rather than cameras.

Following similar revisions by Canon and Nikon, Olympus has cut its full-year sales and profit forecast.

(Credit: Olympus)

The cuts reflect a growing trend of consumers more rapidly adopting smartphones than standalone digital cameras. Olympus said that it expects its sales to hit US$7.8 billion (740 billion yen) from an initial forecast of US$8.09 billion (757 billion yen). Profits will drop by a quarter to 6 billion yen.

In 2011, Olympus was rocked by an accounting scandal that saw its chief executive blow the whistle on alleged malpractice, which had ramifications on the Olympus stock price throughout the rest of that year and into 2012.

Though many associate Olympus with just cameras, the company also has a large presence in the medical equipment and endoscope market. In 2012, Sony bought a US$642 million stake in Olympus, primarily focused on the medical imaging side of the business.

Over the past two years, Olympus has focused on its range of Pen and OM-D interchangeable lens (ILC) cameras, causing many commentators to speculate that it was slowly pulling out of the traditional SLR market. The last major Olympus release in its E-series of SLRs was in 2010 with the professional-grade E-5.

In a statement uncovered by photography website DPReview, CEO and President Hiroyuki denied claims that it is pulling out of the SLR market. He said that both ILCs and SLRs were important in strengthening the future of Olympus cameras.