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Olympus Corporation (オリンパス株式会社 Orinpasu Kabushiki-gaisha ) is a Japan-based company that manufactures optics and reprography products. Olympus was established on 12 October, 1919, initially specialized in microscope and thermometer businesses. It global headquarters are in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, while its United States' operations are based in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, and European operations are based in Hamburg, Germany. It's original global headquarters was in Hatagaya, but it is currently under reconstruction.
Cameras & audio
In 1936, Olympus introduced its first camera, the Semi-Olympus I. The first innovative camera series from Olympus was the PEN, launched in 1959. Half-frame format, allowing 72 pictures of 18 × 24mm format on a standard 36 exposure roll of film, made PEN cameras compact and portable for their time.
The PEN system design team, led by Yoshihisa Maitani, later created the OM system, a full-frame professional 35mm SLR system designed to compete with Nikon and Canon's bestsellers. The OM system introduced a new trend towards more compact cameras and lenses, being much smaller than its competitors and presenting innovative design features such as off-the-film (OTF) metering and OTF flash automation. Eventually the system included 14 different bodies, approximately 60 Zuiko-branded lenses, and numerous camera accessories.
However, Olympus did not implement autofocus, ultimately leading to their decline as a maker of professional film camera systems.
In 1983, Olympus, along with Canon, branded a range of video recording equipment manufactured by JVC, and called it "Olympus Video Photography", even employing renowned photographer Terance Donovan to promote the range. A second version of the system was available the year after, but this was Olympus' last foray into the world of consumer video equipment until digital cameras became popular.
Olympus is a leading manufacturer of digital cameras, with a large range of compact digital cameras. Olympus is the designer of the Four-Thirds System standard for digital single-lens reflex camera design and development. The Four-Thirds system includes the first consumer-grade digital SLRs to feature live preview, a feature now adopted by all major DSLR makers. Olympus' flagship DSLR camera is the E-5 released in 2010. Olympus is also the largest manufacturer of Four-Thirds lenses, under the Zuiko brand.
At one time Olympus cameras used only the proprietary xD-Picture Card for storage media. This storage solution is less popular than more common formats, and recent cameras can use SD and CompactFlash cards. The most recent development is Olympus' focus on the Micro Four Thirds system.
Olympus also invented the Microcassette. The Olympus Pearlcorder L400, released in the 1980s, was the smallest and lightest Microcassette Voice recorder ever offered for sale, 2.9 (L) × 0.8 (H) × 2.0 in. (W) / 73 (L) × 20 (H) × 52 (W) 3.2 oz (91 g).
Medical and surgical
Olympus manufactures endoscopic, ultrasound, cleaning & disinfection equipment, and microscopes. Since the beginning, the company has also been a manufacturer of microscopes and optics for specialised needs, such as medical use. The first microscope manufactured at Olympus was called the Asahi. Nowadays Olympus is a worldwide renowned manufacturer of microscopes. Olympus offers a complete range of microscopes, which covers applications from education and routine studies up to state of the art research imaging systems both in life science and materials science.
Olympus manufactures and sells industrial scanners, flaw detectors, probes and transducers, thickness gages, digital cameras, image analysis software, industrial videoscopes, fiberscopes, light sources, XRF and XRD analyzers, and high-speed video cameras.
Evolution of the name & logo
- 1919: The company was founded as Takachiho Seisakusho. In Japanese mythology, deities live on Takamagahara, the peak of Mt. Takachiho. The first corporate logo was TOKIWA, derived from Tokiwa Shokai, the company that the founder, Takeshi Yamashita, had worked for. Tokiwa Shokai held an equity stake in Takachiho Seisakusho and was responsible for marketing Takachiho products. The logo reads "TOKIWA TOKYO". The "G" and "M" marks above are believed to be the initials of, Goro Matsukata, the president of Tokiwa Shokai.
- 1921: The Olympus brand was introduced in February 1921. This logo was used for microscopes and other products. Brochures and newspaper ads for cameras also used this logo. The OLYMPUS TOKYO logo is still in use today. There was a period in which OIC was used instead of TOKYO in the logo. OIC stood for Optical Industrial Company, which was a translation of Olympus' Japanese corporate name at that time. This logo was used for the GT-I and GT-II endoscopes, among others.
- 1942: The company was renamed to Takachiho Optical Co., Ltd., when optical products became the mainstay of the company.
- 1949: The name changed to Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. It was named after Mount Olympus, which like Mt. Takachiho is the home of gods, this time of Greek mythology. In the words of the company, they chose the name to "reflect its strong aspiration to create high-quality, world-famous products".
- 1970: The new logo was designed to give impressions of quality and sophistication.
- 2001: The yellow line underneath the new logo is called the "Opto-Digital Pattern" and it represents light and boundless possibilities of digital technology. It symbolizes dynamic and innovative nature of Opto-Digital Technology and Olympus Corporation. This logo is called the Communication Symbol of Olympus and it represents Olympus' brand image.
- 2003: Renamed Olympus Corporation.