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I have an Olympus Stylus 1 camera. When importing photos taken with that camera onto my iMac via finder (not the Photos or iPhoto app) the extension of the photos are always in upper case, for example .JPG

Why is this? If I rename the photo and change the extension .JPG to lowercase .jpg, what effect will it have on the photo? Will I lose picture quality?

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Renaming file do not change the content of the file. So you should not be afraid of this.

Renaming of the file is operation, related to the metainformation of your picture, stored in the filesystem and it is not related to the content of the file itself

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Since you asked why: the reason for this is that the files on the camera are stored using a very simple filesystem using 8.3 file names, which by default are upper-case (originally these filesystems didn't distinguish between upper and lower case in filenames). There's an option in Linux (shortname=lower) that can be used when mounting the USB storage which will result in these names being read as lower case, but not being a Mac user, I don't know if there's a way to tell Finder to do this. You could check the options...

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