As a huge Panasonic fan, I am quite disheartened by this interview:

Started Feb 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
chillgreg
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Re: As a huge Panasonic fan, I am quite disheartened by this interview:
In reply to tedandtricia, Feb 13, 2013

Personally, I think things for camera manufacturers like Panasonic will improve on the consumer side when they figure out a way to get grandmas parents and teenagers talking about one camera (yes, just one) in a big way the way people talk about iPhones.

Not only are the product line complexities overwhelming with cameras, but add on top of that the specialized knowledge required to learn how to use cameras well. Contrast that with iPhones and Instagram which have become popular precisely because it makes app users and photographers out of people who don't know anything.

I do find it strange to hear Panasonic's leadership confused on how to market image quality. I mean, real cameras dominate iPhones in such an unfunny way that the image quality should sell itself. And yet we live in a parallel universe where poor image quality dominates the market. That is a testimonial to the failure of camera manufacturers to create a consumer product where image quality is easy to achieve. leadership must be a bit confused if they don't know how to sell and market a product that naturally dominates the competition in all the important ways-- the visual results.

Taking an incredibly complicated enthusiast/pro product and slapping a wifi enabled touchscreen menu onto it is not how you build a huge winning consumer product. They need to design their own dumb as doornails consumer smart phone that makes photographers out of grandmas. My guess is such a product does not require you to set the f-stop and ISO and other such things on it.

You make some very astute points. For example, several DPR members, I will mention Ronomy in particular have spent many hours, collectively in the hundreds without exaggeration, attempting to "tune" the FZ200's myriad settings to achieve satisfactory results.

Witness the early user reviews on Amazon; the return rate was frightening, as casual users did what the Panasonic marketing promised - they turned it to iA and got noisy or blurry photos.

Many upgraders simply applied the settings that had worked (in the main) for the previous FIVE generations of FZs. Only to find the results full of noise and artefacts.

So the obvious question begs to be asked: what exactly are the entire teams of (presumably) university-qualified software engineers doing at Panasonic??? Following orders? If so who is responsible for the seemingly irrational, illogical and sometimes just plain dumb decisions with regard to the software/firmware/interface/controls at the Lumix division?

Why don't they have a rep answering questions at the world's biggest forum?

Why don't they issue regular (any!) firmware updates to address issues that arise after production commences? Can you just imagine if the software/hardware/gaming industry didn't issue ANY updates?

No, we'll fix it in the next model, so you have to keep upgrading every year or two. Whoops, we forgot to fix that bit at all!

They have an exclusive, lucrative and extremely successful licensing contract with Leica; has no one at all at Panasonic ever thought to do a similar deal with NeatImage or Topaz?

Since the FZ18 people have been collectively scratching their head over Panasonic's lack of commitment to customer satisfaction; a case could be made that they struck gold with the Leica deal and have been riding the wave of digital camera growth and market penetration since the early to mid 90's.

Releasing swathes of near identical cameras every year with iterative software gains and ineffective marketing, combined with close to zero retail presence and support, has left you in a very difficult position I imagine.

Most companies in any industry reflect the management's and owner's ethos and drive with the "top-down" effect. Eg Amazon and Virgin. Join the dots and it's not hard to surmise why nearly all Panasonic's consumer divisions are in (Japanese terms at least) fairly serious financial strife.

Well the games up boys. And your worrisome financials are just the tip of the iceberg for what's to come.

Greg

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