Panasonic multi format company

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Gerry Siegel
Gerry Siegel Senior Member • Posts: 2,146
Panasonic multi format company
4

The crystal ball can be a distraction in electronicsworld

Panasonic products over the years prove market presence over the long haul. They made fans and toaster ovens. They were once big in TVs like their Viera, which still work by the way..... I have trouble developing real deep angst over the coming introduction of a larger sensor ( full frame) model with a new lens mount. Why> (Under the Technics label they still produce a classic 1200 direct drive turntable which is a specialty item that has a professional price tag and very small buyer base) It must be cost effective I am thinking... The argument seen lately that Panasonic engineers and designers cannot devote energy and marketing to TWO formats and TWO lens lines is not persuasive in light of the past multi product menu of this company. Without a crystal ball handy I place no bets of course. If nothing else, their video expertise will give the company an edge for the aspiring videographer. What concerns are valid. What are conjecture based on itchiness of the community that reflexively scratches itches. ( PS. I like Olympus as well. And no grievance at Fuji. Their binos are super duper)

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BruceB609
BruceB609 Contributing Member • Posts: 530
Re: Panasonic multi format company

I'm perfectly happy with the more compact bodies and lenses of MFT and couldn't justify replacing it.

I'm dug in and if there are enough others like me, Panasonic would probably do better nurturing both format markets. FF is no lure at all for what I can already do.

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BruceWB

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Skeeterbytes Forum Pro • Posts: 15,538
Re: Panasonic multi format company

True enough, and it's not as though those who don't work there have any meaningful insight as to how Panny nurtures and directs their resources. if they announce "We reassigned people from the small appliance division to the m4/3 team" then I'll worry.

Further, I don't know why building m4/3 and 135 format systems isn't actually smarter than building APS-C and 135, since they provide a more distinct choice. Both would also seem to dovetail with longterm video efforts.

To be fair they did drop four-thirds like a hot rock after a modest but promising start, but that was a decade ago.

Cheers,

Rick

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FrankS009
FrankS009 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,172
Re: Panasonic multi format company

I was hoping they would make medium format. Hasn't happened yet.

F.

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alcelc
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 10,719
Re: Panasonic multi format company

You don't need a crystal ball. Just had read the market movement could be well enough. I suppose you know the XL (?) of Leica was made by Pany? Pany, under the cooperation (might be a Leica design) with Leica, had the experience and resources to produce a FF MILC. It might add some of its signature, a new firmware from that used on M43, and implant some features used by M43 but Leica might not like to have, to its new FF MILC.

On purely production front, it won't be a problem at all. Upon its popularity, I also don't expect a lot of expansion be needed for this line of product.

Marketing? Despite Japanese conglomerates were among the best (before the global financial crisis), I don't find Pany has committed its real marketing power on its M43 business. I saw ads on new cooker, massage chairs, healthy products but just a handful not for its cameras in last half decade. I suppose it might likely ride the train of Leica, might be Sigma also on the FF front for this new product...

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Albert

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JakeJY Senior Member • Posts: 3,012
Re: Panasonic multi format company
2

Panasonic is already a multi-format company. Just look at their pro video camera line. They have 2/3" B4 mount cameras, and also super 35mm EF and PL mount cameras. They are no strangers to supporting multiple ILCs at the same time.

Much has been made by naysayers about how Panasonic FF will steal their resources, but the fact that they went with L-mount suggests the opposite. L-mount is the least amount of effort they can put into a FF format (given the Leica SL was rumored to be developed with help of Panasonic).

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James Stirling
James Stirling Senior Member • Posts: 4,411
Re: Panasonic multi format company

JakeJY wrote:

Panasonic is already a multi-format company. Just look at their pro video camera line. They have 2/3" B4 mount cameras, and also super 35mm EF and PL mount cameras. They are no strangers to supporting multiple ILCs at the same time.

Much has been made by naysayers about how Panasonic FF will steal their resources, but the fact that they went with L-mount suggests the opposite. L-mount is the least amount of effort they can put into a FF format (given the Leica SL was rumored to be developed with help of Panasonic).

I can really see a niche of high end FF video where Panasonic could outdo everyone else , looking at the rumoured { for what that is worth } price point I think they are aiming quite high . If I was not already so much invested in Nikon and Sony FF gear { I hope to drop down to using just one of them in 2019 } I would be very tempted , I really enjoy the ergonomics of my Panasonic m43 kit and they already excel at video . So much gear so little money

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uncle dunc Contributing Member • Posts: 647
Re: Panasonic multi format company

As long as Panasonic continues to produce cameras marketed for video with unreliable AF, they risk being eclipsed by other manufacturers. It's a shame, because Panasonic's M4/3 video features make the other manufacturers look like rookies - until it comes to AF.

Once the word gets out about the Fuji XT3, it could take a big bite out of the GH5 market. Fuji's AF appears to be better than Sony's (and significantly better than the GH5.) Fuji's touch focus can rack slowly between the current focus point and the new, touched focus point, and a linear focus motor for manual focus are video-centric features Panasonic should have implemented years ago.

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JakeJY Senior Member • Posts: 3,012
Re: Panasonic multi format company

uncle dunc wrote:

As long as Panasonic continues to produce cameras marketed for video with unreliable AF, they risk being eclipsed by other manufacturers. It's a shame, because Panasonic's M4/3 video features make the other manufacturers look like rookies - until it comes to AF.

Firmware 2.3 supposedly improved GH5 video AF drastically to on par with something like Canon's DPAF. I don't think they Panasonic is anywhere near the limits what DFD is capable of yet either (unlike PDAF which is already a pretty well developed tech).

Once the word gets out about the Fuji XT3, it could take a big bite out of the GH5 market. Fuji's AF appears to be better than Sony's (and significantly better than the GH5.) Fuji's touch focus can rack slowly between the current focus point and the new, touched focus point,

The GH5 had this feature already:

http://eng-ca.faq.panasonic.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/44014/~/how-to-use-the-focus-transition-function---dc-gh5%2C-dc-gh5s

Many older cameras (like G7) had a similar feature although without the speed adjustments (called "Pull Focus"). Even my GX85 has it.

and a linear focus motor for manual focus are video-centric features Panasonic should have implemented years ago.

Panasonic had linear focus motors in MFT for a while. A quick google found the original 14-140 introduced with the GH1 (2nd MFT camera) from 2009 had it.

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/3082101807/panasonic14-140mmhd

If you are talking instead about the software feature (having a toggle in camera to switch between linear and accelerated focus), it's true Panasonic doesn't have it (nor does any MFT camera). The closest is the focus clutch function in some Olympus lenses.

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Max Iso
Max Iso Senior Member • Posts: 7,146
Re: Panasonic multi format company

I think Panny will stay with MFT for novice and enthusiast, and their FF will be a pro line.

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yanisha Senior Member • Posts: 2,507
Rice cooker designers and engineers
1

Rice cooker, vacuum cleaner, etc. designers and engineers are usually not interchangeable with camera and lenns designers and engineers.  We do not know how many of the latter they have.

Gerry Siegel
OP Gerry Siegel Senior Member • Posts: 2,146
Re: Rice cooker designers and engineers

yanisha wrote:

Rice cooker, vacuum cleaner, etc. designers and engineers are usually not interchangeable with camera and lenns designers and engineers. We do not know how many of the latter they have.

Production lines are still production lines.  Raymond Leowy  might argue the point and showed that design is design is design.  But that is beside the point that a large company can do multiple things and yen resources can be fungible.  That is the whole deal.  Look at the array of products from Samsung and LG. Or don't. It is a brave corporate world and interconnected in its parts.  Who knows what Apple will promote next for instance.

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 37,044
The essence of this thread
3

Before this thread turns into angst about M4/3 let’s be sure that we understand the essence.  Th OP says that Panasonic is quite capable of supporting more than one mount format just like little Canon might be able to support EF-M, EF, and R mount forums simultaneously.

If Canon had their way the EF will still have a long life and they will no doubt keep making dslr bodies and EF lenses as long as anyone still buys them. Similarly EF-M and we can also include EF-S in that list as that “system that never was” is still supported as both these systems are a mere shadow of what M4/3 presently is.

Often household budgets are the basis of how many visualise R&D expenditure.  Panasonic as a very large viable corporation can make a financiall decision and allocate a competely new extra string of R&D budget for FF development purposes.  With them it is not a case of potatoes or rice - they can afford to have potatoes and rice at the same time.

The OP cites many products that the diverse Panasonic corporation makes and sells without any evidence that one product type languishes because yet another new product type is added to their very large suite of products.

It makes no sense whatsoever for Panasonic to walk away from its extremely productive investment in M4/3 product to concentrate on a very speculative foray into FF ML mount systems.  But if Nikon and Canon are weak whilst they transition to FF ML then the L-Mount consortium seems a well timed tilt at grabbing some market share in the lucrative FF sensor field.

We should be pleased that Panasonic is a member of the L-Mount Corporation and has obviously decided to extend its investment in digital camera and lens manufacturer.  In an industry where a few makers have effectively walked away we can see another successful big player emerging.

Interestingly the digital camera industry seems to be an ideal playing field for huge muti-national highly diverse corporations altready entrenched in the electronic goods field.

Why Sony is now recognised as a serious camera company and Panasonic’s name is still seen by some as the “microwave company that tried” is something that slightly amazes me.

Perhaps Panasonic has realised that until you can count FF ML bodies on your product stock-list then the company “is not a proper camera company”?

Nor is this a subject of whether one sensor system is better or worse than the other as they are recognised alternatives each with its own strengths and weaknesses.  It will take years before any of the new FF ML mount systems will be anywhere as completely supported as M4/3 is.  And with four competing new mount systems vying for a relatively small market producing expensive camera kit we might wonder if all of them can be successful enough to fully stand the heat and become well fleshed out fully mature mount systems.  And I am not even considering where Ricoh/Pentax might sit in this new hierarchy.

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Tom Caldwell

MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 37,044
Re: Rice cooker designers, engineers and “Furphys”
3

yanisha wrote:

Rice cooker, vacuum cleaner, etc. designers and engineers are usually not interchangeable with camera and lenns designers and engineers. We do not know how many of the latter they have.

Well if Panasonic is hiring and the price is right then I am sure that they will find the right people.

This is the old “microwave” furphy where Panasonic is regarded as not a proper camera company.  It is more than possible that Panasonic has more (quantity) of experinced and capable camera and lens designer/engineers than many of its rivals.  They did lean on Leica for a while but maybe that leaning is more “collaboration” these days.

In fact I would suggest that most of the old analogue mechanical engineers have retired long ago as if their experience with film cameras was hugely useful.

Notably Panasonic started with a complete blank sheet and has now proved its mettle in the M4/3 forge.  Clean sheet has its disadvantages from a heritage point of view but it also requires a fresh look at the imaging business and that can also be an advantage when many of your rivals wth a longer “heritage” are still thinking “slr with a digital back”.

* “furphy” is an Austalian word for a widely disseminated completely unsubstantiated piece of information - true or otherwise.  I can think of no better word to describe this in “regular English”.  That making rice cookers is not a rumour but its relevence to being a well respected digital camera manufacturer in fact adds nothing to the present situation.  Panasonic is obviously making great digital camera gear and as this foray into FF ML production was not a recent executives “thought bubble” we can be assured that sufficient staffing has produced an L-Mount camera body without holding up the development of many new M4/3 camera bodies and lenses over recent years - many more camera bodies than Olympus has managed without the distraction of building for a new mount system.

“Rice cookers” and “Microwaves” are distinct “furphys” and the production of many camera and lenses over many years as part of a now fully fledged mount system proves that whatever else Panasonic makes and sells their camera division is quite capable and can stand alone in being accorded professional respect.

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Tom Caldwell

MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 37,044
Re: Panasonic multi format company

alcelc wrote:

You don't need a crystal ball. Just had read the market movement could be well enough. I suppose you know the XL (?) of Leica was made by Pany? Pany, under the cooperation (might be a Leica design) with Leica, had the experience and resources to produce a FF MILC. It might add some of its signature, a new firmware from that used on M43, and implant some features used by M43 but Leica might not like to have, to its new FF MILC.

On purely production front, it won't be a problem at all. Upon its popularity, I also don't expect a lot of expansion be needed for this line of product.

Marketing? Despite Japanese conglomerates were among the best (before the global financial crisis), I don't find Pany has committed its real marketing power on its M43 business. I saw ads on new cooker, massage chairs, healthy products but just a handful not for its cameras in last half decade. I suppose it might likely ride the train of Leica, might be Sigma also on the FF front for this new product...

Albert - advertising to the public is called “institutional advertising” and is only intended to make the public aware of the brand name.  The real underying theory is to sell to the retailer - because once the retailer buys they simply have to sell to the public as they have to move stock

So most manufacturers have developed all sorts of systems to get their stock into shops (also think on-line vendors as well even though different startegies might be involved - such a progressive restrospective discounts the more product is moved). So called “advertising” as the consumer sees it would be and is useless if the retailers are not buying up big.

Even cameras that (Pentax) sold that were exactly the same but in a myriad of colour schemes were (not terribly good) attempts to get shelf space in a retailer by lining up several cameras in differnt colour schemes where as one lonely little black camera on a shelf does not look nearly as impressive.

Ricoh seems to have pionered another “trick” by keeping several superseded models for sale - at one stage up to four of them.  They all looked a bit different and were in steps and stairs pricing - so to the casual prospective user they looked like different model levels.

Sony has a bit of the same thing going on currently by selling later RX100 models wth dfferent zoom configurations as being able to occupy extra shelf space and grab buyer attention - just another way of fitting the retailer up with stock, getting more shelf space.  And a retailer loaded up with stock at the right price is the best marketing a company could have.

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Tom Caldwell

cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 1,008
Re: Rice cooker designers, engineers and “Furphys”

Tom Caldwell wrote:

yanisha wrote:

Rice cooker, vacuum cleaner, etc. designers and engineers are usually not interchangeable with camera and lenns designers and engineers. We do not know how many of the latter they have.

Well if Panasonic is hiring and the price is right then I am sure that they will find the right people.

Tom, I have worked 6 years for a very large Japanese company. It is very different than working for say an US company. They hire people, with the expectation for them to stay with the company for life. Consequently they can and do invest heavily in training for their employees, and provide career paths within the company. They tend to put on young engineers fresh from uni, only the best get a highly sought after job with one of the big Japanese companies. A company like Panasonic, will have no problems recruiting camera and lens designers from their own ranks. As for capability in the optics segment, just look at Panasonic's vast history in professional, broadcast, medical and industrial video. I can see no problem them fully supporting several camera formats at the same time.

To get a feeling for company sizes, Panasonic has 257,000 employees worldwide, Canon 198,000, Sony 117,000, Fujifilm 79,000 , Olympus has 40,000, Nikon 26,000, Zeiss 26,000, Tamron about 5,000, Leica 1,600, Sigma about 1,200. Out of all these companies, only three have the capability to manufacture image sensors, not only design them. Sony, Canon and Panasonic.

Regarding the L mount, it is interesting to visualize that Leica and Sigma combined, have about 1% the number of employees of Panasonic. Who do you think will have the bigger say in this consortium?

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