Dating zuiko lenses
Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, who was later to become President of Olympus, foresaw the demand for the digital SLR, and is credited with the company's strategy in digital photography.
He fought for commitment by Olympus to enter the market in high-resolution photographic products.
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.
In 2011, the company attracted worldwide media scrutiny when it fired its newly appointed British chief executive (CEO) Michael Woodford, a 30-year Olympus veteran, for probing into financial irregularities and unexplained payments totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
Although the board initially dismissed Woodford's concerns via mass media as "disruptive" and Woodford himself as failing to grasp the local culture, the matter quickly snowballed into a corporate corruption and lead much of the board to resign in disgrace.
One of its companies, for example, is Olympus Imaging and Measuring Systems, specializing in imaging instruments for testing and measurement during industrial inspections.
The 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.
Woodford, an Olympus veteran of 30 years, was previously executive managing director of Olympus Medical Systems Europa.
Olympus appointed Woodford its CEO six months later, but the board suddenly removed him as chief executive two weeks into the job, while allowing him to retain his board seat.