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Panasonic in trouble?


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When I first started working in the tall buildings in the city, I was really taken back and concerned when hearing the next rumour about how big company X was about to downsize by 600 people, and big company Y was going to outsource it's blah department.  This was in the wake of the GFC, and bonuses were only a month or two salary at best!  

After three years I realised there are always rumours and that disaster is always looming.

It takes more than whispers to cut through the noise for me.  Covid is putting pressure on the whole world, there will be blood in the water, but it's not there yet.

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4 minutes ago, kye said:

It takes more than whispers to cut through the noise for me.  Covid is putting pressure on the whole world, there will be blood in the water, but it's not there yet.

I really hope you're right. Panasonic is one of the few camera brands that I really trust and satisfies me with their products despite them not being perfect (as such thing doesn't exist). 

Also considering i'm fully invested into Panasonic system as a lot of people here, it kind of makes me uncomfortable knowing they are hardly recovering from this bad financial year. 

Hope everything will be fine in the end. 

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Well I don't know about them being in trouble, but first Canon and then Panasonic, lost about 10k in regard to gaining a new customer.

No biggie for them, but multiply by several thousand prospective punters...

Canon for all the recent shit and Panny for falling short on the AF and too low res EVF on the S5.

Olympus of course sold/being sold and there are rumours about Nikon all the time.

No idea what the truth of any of it is but don't build (or deliberately cripple) what I need, then I don't spend my money with you. Simples.

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There's a saying in business that "a rising tide lifts all boats" - it means that when times are good everyone does well, and the implication is that it's only when the going gets tough that you see who was running a solid company and who was only profitable because the going was easy.

The death of compact cameras due to smartphones and now with covid, the tide is lowering and will continue to lower for some time, as the economic impacts of covid will not go away quickly.

Unfortunately, business is not only about customer satisfaction, it's about money.  History tells us that companies who work on hype and market protectionism and take advantage of market distortions can be successful, and often are.  The camera industry is gradually being disrupted and I'm not sure that product quality will be the defining factor about who survives and who doesn't.

It should also be mentioned that many cameras already out there are "good enough" to provide a steady stream of content in difficult market conditions.  In that sense, content creators can choose to pay their bills instead of buy new equipment, so from that perspective the manufacturers are kind of last in line, so to speak.  Unless you break your equipment, you can just choose not to upgrade.

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1 hour ago, Dimitris Stasinos said:

I am getting goosebumps only by thinking this. It’s the only established company right now that prioritizes usability and reliability on low cost hybrids. I am going to buy the S5 and ignore the R6 and whatever Sony will announce this month.

I just think, Panasonic, how could you not put a full HDMI in that beautiful S5! It would have been the perfect full frame GH5, with full VLOG, a Varicam Pocket with better photo quality than a Canon 5D IV. A Megaseller! That micro hdmi is hopefully not keeping this camera from doing well in sales.

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Panasonic were first to the mirrorless market but late to the full frame mirrorless market.

They need to take a long term view and hope that Canon RF / Sony E-mount lenses don't come to dominate.

The lenses are very important.

Panasonic have made great cameras, and in Micro Four Thirds had a great range of optics at all price levels.

With the S-series optics they are starting all over again, but E-mount is already very well established.

This is a problem.

Sigma are competition in their own backyard with more appealing lenses across the board at better prices.

With Leica and Sigma on board, L-mount has a enthusiast and professional niche of customers, who will be around long after the mainstream has moved on from cameras entirely and Canon has gone back to concentrating on medical and selling photocopiers.

But if Panasonic want to compete for Sony and Canon proportions of the market in terms of volume, I think they need to take the long term view... And get people on board with the L-mount system. Lacking phase-detect AF or good AF with EF lenses doesn't help.

Fundamentally I think Panasonic can only continue to move forward in cameras.

It is Nikon I am more worried about!

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1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

They need to take a long term view and hope that Canon RF / Sony E-mount lenses don't come to dominate

E-mount already dominates.  RF sells because it is...well...Canon there are a ton of Canon enthusiasts who will buy anything from them.

 

1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

Sigma are competition in their own backyard with more appealing lenses across the board at better prices.

I think they work closely together to fill out the system. It’s curious the Sigma fp and S series cameras don’t really step on each other’s toes. At this point any traction in L-mount, wether sigma selling glass or Panasonic, is good for the mount’s future.

 

1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

I would suggest Panasonic buy Leica BTW

Leica is in a good position at the moment. They control the L-mount. Panasonic and Sigma cameras are a potential “gateway drug” for users wanting to buy a Leica L-mount camera (other L-mount glass will work on it) so the investment is less. They sell their name to be attached to lenses without doing much at all except making sure they don’t soil their good name with crappy performance.

I think if anything, Leica needs to lend something more to the L-mount besides their name if they want it to survive.

The relationship between Leica, Panasonic, and Sigma already existed before the alliance. I think many of the PL lenses were perhaps designs by either Leica or Sigma, manufactured by Sigma or Panasonic, and sold under the Panasonic Leica name for Panasonic cameras.

The companies have proven they can work together, I just think Leica could do a lot more to promote the mount.

 

1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

Lacking phase-detect AF

This is the single biggest reason, by a long, long mile, that Panasonic doesn’t break into the professional market.

If the S5 had competent PDAF it would be hard to ignore for people waiting to see Sony’s A7IV hybrid and how things shake out with the R5/R6. It would at least be on peoples top 3 lists.

Even if you don’t use AF it has become a required feature in any camera. It’s like Bluetooth in cars now they just all have to have it and it has to work well.

I really do believe, if Sony doesn’t cock up the A7IV, that after that camera is released the market will shift in their favor for the years to come.

Many many people in the wedding and event shooting scenes are going to migrate to a A7SIII and A7IV. They have all the features people want and need right now and best in class performance. Sony has done an amazing job with their AF since the A7SII.

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8 minutes ago, Video Hummus said:

Many many people in the wedding and event shooting scenes are going to migrate to a A7SIII and A7IV

Absolutely.

As you say, if Sony do not cock it up, as a hybrid pair especially, the former shooting video and the latter stills, has to be the best combo out there.

If I’d had even a semi-decent year this year, it’s where I’d be headed for 2021 and sticking with for many years after...but it’s too much cashidos for me to switch.

I do think that Nikon is going to have a really decent alternative with the Z6S and hope the company as a whole is not in trouble.

We need serious players to give us choice and keep the competition on their toes.

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2 minutes ago, MrSMW said:

Absolutely.

As you say, if Sony do not cock it up, as a hybrid pair especially, the former shooting video and the latter stills, has to be the best combo out there.

If I’d had even a semi-decent year this year, it’s where I’d be headed for 2021 and sticking with for many years after...but it’s too much cashidos for me to switch.

I do think that Nikon is going to have a really decent alternative with the Z6S and hope the company as a whole is not in trouble.

We need serious players to give us choice and keep the competition on their toes.

Problem with Nikon is that they have just as crappy marketing department as Panasonic. Sony has been absolutely crushing it with the marketing, influencers, and getting the mind share (AP camera deal for example). They have a lot of momentum in the market right now. I think even Canon should be scared! Which is funny because they have the perfect hybrid camera in the R5 by a long shot. They just couldn’t help themselves with the cripple hammer. They have now thrown away not only trust but some sales as well.

Not to mention Sony has a monopoly in the sensor market right now...especially the mirrorless camera sensor market. They hold almost the full deck.

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The other advantage Sony has with E-mount is they can coordinate the entire E-mount roadmap and strategy, under one roof.

With L-mount, Panasonic, Sigma and Leica cannot collaborate fully over strategy due to antitrust laws.

So if they both end up releasing a similar set of lenses or similar cameras that cannibalise each other, there's not much they can do about it.

In my opinion Sigma would be wise to invest in more than one mirrorless mount.

The SA2 mount I suggested to Kazuto in the interview could do really well, with adapters from SA2 to E-mount, L-mount, RF-mount, etc.

It gives this range of lenses a unique selling point (buy one lens for multiple systems), to differentiate it from Panasonic L-mount lenses.

Sigma were going to develop their own mirrorless mount anyway before the agreement was signed to use L-mount.

Also Panasonic need to push like crazy on the camera side. GH6 should be L-mount and APS-C sensor. New cinema cameras with L-mount to compete with Sony FS cinema line. They really need to up the investment.

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15 hours ago, kye said:

you see who was running a solid company

Well, there's you go in regards to Olympus. 

Personally I'm still hoping they're gonna try to do a little Japanese corporate tap dancing and attempt to wiggle out of letting their camera division go...but that still doesn't excuse their numerous mistakes running the company. 

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Unfortunately, I think there are simply too many camera companies and not enough customers.

There are zillions of older cameras that still work just fine and every day more and more go to phone cameras instead.

I would not be surprised if Panasonic went in a year or two and even if Nikon went soon enough too.

Give it another fifteen years and the biggest camera company will be some Chinese company I have never heard of (and may not even exist yet).

My little 1 inch sensor RX100iv does much of what i want and it is already getting old ...a phone in three years will be better than all but the better FF sensors in low light but better for everything else (ok that is not a given but you never know).

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