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Business trends

Olympus set to bring shutter down on camera business

Japanese company aims to sell loss-making unit this year to private equity firm

Olympus’s OM-1 model (left) was released in 1972, while Japanese actress Aoi Miyazaki holds a Pen E-P1 model (right) during a press conference in 2009. (Source photos by Kyodo)

TOKYO -- Olympus Corp. is ending a storied era of camera manufacturing after unveiling a plan to sell its loss-making imaging unit and focus on its core medical business.

The company started making cameras in 1936 and became one of the best recognized Japanese brands, with well-known models such as the Olympus Pen. But like many companies in the same lines of business, it has struggled to adapt to a market transformed by digital imaging and smartphones.

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