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Panasonic feels good, but not in cameras department
  • To hide issues in their camera department Panasonic did same thing that Sony is doing now, merged all stuff and try not to report how things are going publically.

    About my sources considering S1 and S1R situation, as well as new lenses. Panasonic went into alarm mode, for now plans are not met by far. Situation is especially bad with lenses and S1R body.

    m43 sales are not so bad, drop is around 20% YoY here. Lenses sales also dropped, in some areas even more than 30%.

    Panasonic management still can't decide on next moves, as they killed lot of m43 development, moved most people into premium lineup and how their move can destroy consumer department within 1-2 years. As such company can't play same as niche Leica despite fantasies.

  • 8 Replies sorted by
  • Are you hearing any rumours about a GH6?

    From my own selfish point of view, the FF cameras are really uninteresting. A lot more money, size, and weight for a marginally better camera than my GH5. They seem to have forgotten that it is always easiest to sell to your existing "fans", so you really need to understand them. And it's not a matter of money for me, it's just that there is no good reason to spend the money. I bet there are a lot of people inside Panasonic saying "told ya so!" now. :)

  • @kinvermark

    I think more info about GH6 will appear during summer time. Only info I heard is that Panasonic main issue with GH6 is that they want to make it 8K but can't, as Sony is not much caring about m43 and custom LSI cost is huge if you start making it for 1-2 cameras.

    Back in the GH1-GH3 days around 98% of LSI cost had been paid by compact users (as compacts shared exactly same main LSI, just sometimes clocked slower and with smaller RAM and NAND). And development costs for new LSI had been around 8 times less.

    Thing that we see now originates in Japanese mentality and structure of Japanese companies. Almost each is close to different financial group (aka Zaibatsu) and mergers become almost impossible.

    We already must have at most 2-3 Japanese camera companies, no more. All similar industries do mergers as absolutely necessary steps.

    Idea of Japanese companies to somehow go around economic laws will fail, and instead we will see something like instant snap. Some small event that will result in most of Japanese camera industry being transformed and largely destroyed in a matter of months.

    It won't be slow death like we saw with their TV and smartphone industries that also had similar mentality. With cameras I expect it to be much faster and much more bloody.

    As for FF being main target now - very bad role here play "ambassadors", close "professionals" and such. This people play like broken loupe making management not being able to see real people. Even more interesting is that most of innovation and camera progress happened exactly in time where all this supplemental structure had been literally destroyed, as most of them kept using film and became irrelevant. Instead all new sites and most proper guidance had been provided by technical guys who had been mostly just photo hobbyists. Strangely, but true.

  • So we will be left with Sony and a stripped down Canon and one 'niche' camera maker, possibly Panasonic or Fuji? And within those survivors we will see stripped down product lines? 2-3 cameras at most?

    Similar to @kinvermark, I have gotten used to and enjoy the size/cost vs quality factor of (Panny) m43 and don't see any need to "upgrade" to a bulky full frame system regardless of how 'sexy' it looks. As a producer of budget productions I feel that a camera like the G85 is really 'peak' design and usability but sadly looks "boring" and "unappealing" when compared to the glossy possibilities of the full frame cruise ships sailing out at the moment.

    I feel a similar thing happened in the mid-1980s when computerized plastic molded autofocus cameras emerged. At the time, many of the auto-everything cameras that came out in the 80s and 90s looked much more appealing and advanced than the previous generation of late 1970s workhorses. But looking back, the opposite effect has resulted. I'm really enjoying shooting with the early 80s era Pentax cameras which were (and are) incredibly reliable, functional and compact (MX, ME-Super). Those cameras are retaining their value on the used market while you can hardly even give away the 1990s "advanced" plastic equivalents. The same goes for Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Minolta etc. I recently picked up a mint Canon EOS 30 for $40. You will be lucky to find a good working AE-1 for 3 times that. The same goes for a Nikon F95 for example and an FM2 which might cost you 5x as much!

    The coming crash will be worse, of course because, unlike the film camera market, the digital market has alternatives. For kids in 10 years, using a digital SLR/Mirrorless camera will be just as strange or retro as using a film camera. Who would use such a thing when there will be no need for it.

  • For kids in 10 years, using a digital SLR/Mirrorless camera will be just as strange or retro as using a film camera. Who would use such a thing when there will be no need for it.

    And this happened only due to extremely low level of marketing and PR. They partly know how to sell to hobbyists and rich tourists (and it is not great skill!), but all else happened accidently.

  • Demand can be and is created artificially these days. M43 still has perfect portability / quality combination. The problem is that Panasonic overlooked the new markets in 2010s. Instead of advertising the GX series as a fancy tool for vloggers, a much broader potential audience they stuck with the sinking ship of the photo crowd. Back then they had the advantage of the mojo of bokeh. Now smartphones emulate it. The could have packed it with some pro tools like all these fancy codecs, decent audio and convince the audience that smartphones are for losers and real hipsters shoot their YT channel content with a camera dedicated for it. They could have become a GoPro for vloggers. It's a vibrant market, kids are setting up their home studios, they buy lighting, they buy audio, they buy gymbals and drones to shoot outdoors.

  • @zigizigi

    Most of the thing they did not make they just could not make. With number of developers, with closed mentality, with limits on LSI designs.

    For average smartphone LSI/CPU development costs per one real cunsumer is around 50-100x times less, in case of most popular ones can be up to 10000x if compared to S1/S1R LSI.

  • Perhaps. But I'm not talking about technicalities here. They already had enough tech. What I'm talking about has to do more with targeting, marketing and stuff. It's about making average things look sexy, hip and trendy, creating a myth around a product and making a hipster drool at it. The stuff that Apple has historically been good at ;)

  • @zigizigi

    You know that Apple still have best LSI in the industry, by far? :-) Had best IPS screens (actually almost only proper individually calibrated screens), etc.

    Apple issue now is exactly attempts to use old tactics without technical support for them. hence it looks more and more fun.

    So, no myths and such does not work without hardware and software to support them. And to make next move cameras need very complex LSI made using latest (7nm now) tech. Instead we have around 10x less complex and less powerful LSI made using 28nm at best (many are 40nm!).