I’m sure from the title one may wonder if this is a story about mountain climbing or one related to mirrorless cameras. I hate to disappoint any climbers in our readership, but this is a little write up about the 2013 Olympus Visionary Summit hosted at the Olympus North America headquarters in Center Valley Pennsylvania.
For those who don’t know me or my background my name is Jamie MacDonald, and I am an Olympus Visionary. What is that you may ask? I can point you to this article on SCBP that will elaborate on that. WHAT IS A VISIONARY?
The 2013 Olympus Visionary Summit was set up as a gathering where the current Visionaries could get to know one another as well as get to know various members of Olympus Imaging America Inc. It was a chance to get some product education, offer feedback on products, and to learn more about the company and how things work. And before I move on from this, I want to let you know that Olympus DOES listen to what its customers are saying online. When it was time for our product feedback session, they were very receptive to all the suggestions my fellow Visionaries and myself offered. We, like you, are passionate about photography and we want the same features and improvements as you. So with that said, I can tell you that your voices have been heard. That was one of the coolest parts of my visit. So now that you know why I was there, let’s talk about what the campus is like!
Welcome to the mothership!
Upon arriving at headquarters you must make sure to sign in and get your visitors badge for access to the main building. Once the formalities were taken care of I immediately strolled into the Olympus Store. Yes, they have a store on campus, and it has a LOT of incredible gear! Pretty much any piece of 4/3 and µ4/3 gear was sitting in there, including the gigantic and stunning Zuiko 300mm f/2.8. What a beast! I spent a good 15 minutes with the other Visionaries handling the new PEN E-PL5 and E-PM2 and even the little XZ-2. All the equipment can be shot with in the store so we had a bit of fun with that.
After our “play time” in the store, it was off to the conference room to discuss the things I mentioned above. I won’t bore you with the details of that but I will say that the conference rooms are HUGE! They can even have their walls opened up so they all form a gigantic auditorium. Very cool.
Keep in mind we spent two days at the campus so aside from the meetings we got to do a few really cool things The first was a photoshoot….of US. How weird to be on the other side of the lens. I suppose for some of you this is not such a foreign process or concept to grasp, but for me it was a pretty cool experience. And in case you are wondering, yes, men do get makeup for a shoot. The shoot was to provide Olympus with images of the Visionaries to be used in various formats such as web and print. Again, it was a pretty exciting thing to behold for someone like me who spends their time behind the camera, and has never been involved in a fashion or model shoot.
After the photoshoot we were given a tour of the entire facility, and let me say, it is massive. Not only massive but everything is state of the art. Some things of note from our tour:
- Olympus has a very impressive copy center. They handle printing of thousands of brochures, pamphlets, and posters all from within their location.
- They have a wonderful on site daycare and kindergarten program for their employees. Sure, this isn’t “photography related” but it was one of those things that as a parent I was stoked to see.
- The property on which the campus sits is quite beautiful. They have preserved a lot of greenspace and offer the employees a wonderful set of walking trails to use.
- They have an incredibly well set up web and creative design team. The tour of their department was definitely a highlight of the tour.
I’m sure the Olympus fans out there have a million questions about upcoming products and I would love to answer them all! But you have to know that what was discussed there was all under NDA. Without giving anything away, I can say that I left there truly excited about 2013!
I understand that this was a short write up and I know I have left out things that you may have questions about. Feel free to leave questions in the comments section below and I’ll make sure to answer them provided they are things I can actually answer.
Take care and I look forward to your comments.