Olympus, once one of the world’s biggest camera brands, is selling off that part of its business after 84 years.
The firm said the digital camera market was no longer profitable. It recorded losses for the last three years. The arrival of smartphones, which shrunk the market for separate cameras, was one major factor.
The Japanese company made its first camera in 1936 after years of microscope manufacture. The Semi-Olympus I featured an accordion-like fold-out camera, and cost more than a month’s wages in Japan.
The company continued to develop the camera business over the decades, becoming one of the top companies by market share.
The 1970s was a high point, with their cameras advertised on television by celebrity photographers. A cult following stayed with the firm, despite teething issues with new technologies such as autofocus.
Olympus Corporation, however, will continue to make scientific and medical equipment.