Panasonic plans high-end CSC to fend off Canon threat

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Henk, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Henk

    Henk Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 18, 2010
    the Netherlands
    Saw this link on TOP to this interesting article on Amateur Photographer

    Administrator: if this has been published on this site please be so kind to remove this thread.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    GH2 replacement?

    I suspect that this new "Very Very High End" camera will be a direct replacement for the GH2 and will be housed in a metal / weather sealed body.

    The basic elements are already there by way of high performance sensors / high quality EVF and faster AF so a new engine to drive it all and make IQ even better all housed in a body that competes not with Canon who will probably use an APS-C sensor, but directly with the Olympus OMD!

    Everyone ramping up the CSC range so we all benefit from wider choice - hooray!
  3. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    This is exciting, seems Pany really are committed to making high quality cameras and lenses.
    I'm happy with the G3 at the moment so think I'll hold fire on the OM-D and see what else is released this year from Pany, both camera and lens wise.
    Interesting times ahead.

  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Wonderful, informative article! The thing that strikes me though (which I mentioned on a related forum), is how Amateur Photographer chose the headline "Panasonic plans high-end CSC to fend off Canon threat".

    Panasonic was the very first to make a Compact System Camera at the start of 2009, even before Olympus and even before we knew the term "Compact System Camera". They were the first to make what the entire industry considers a "higher-end" class of CSC cameras in the GH series... which they made BEFORE their compact GF series.

    How does AP think that Panasonic is planning on making a new high-end CSC camera model just because it's threatened by a Canon that doesn't even exist? Making higher-end CSC cameras is Panasonic's business, and what they've been doing over the past 3 years! That's like saying that Lexus is planning a new full-size sedan to fend off the threat of the Hyandai Genesis!

    They need to give credit where credit is due, not to some newcomer who hasn't even done anything yet!

    It's like Iansky says... this camera would be an evolution of the GH lineup which exists and was very well-received, not a response to Canon who has made nothing to respond to!
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  5. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    I hope everyone is right in that we'll still only have a GF/GX and G/GH lineup. It's simpler and hopefully less confusing to customers. And maybe, just maybe, panasonic would get their logistics in supply better.

    With that said, I wouldn't be surprised at seeing a high end "GHX." That would give a good 3-tier lineup for the EVF based system. GH could continue on with basically a new sensor. GHX would get the hefty body sealing and get a top end EVF first. Maybe sneak in a global shutter =)

    Regardless, what's more important to me is they focus on getting those new X zooms out and distributed =)
  6. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 18, 2011

    Ned, I couldn't disagree more. :smile: If I was Panasonic (and Olympus) I'd be terrified by the prospect of the 800lb gorilla of camera world entering the CSC market, and I'd be doing everything in my power to have a very solid lineup of lenses and bodies already on the shelves. Preferably some filling niches I think Canon might not go after.

    The "doomsday" scenario from PanOly's viewpoint:
    Canon listens very closely to the two main complaints people have about the NeX 7, the lack of native lenses, and the size of the lenses that are available. So Canon comes out with a Nex 7 style, APS-C sensored CSC body, along with 17mm, 25mm and 40mm pancake primes, a small 18-55mm zoom, and an adapter that lets you use any EF or EF-S lens with full AE, AF and IS.
    How much of the :43: market do you think that would capture? A whole lot, IMO. Given the Canon lens I already have I'd probably have my GF1 and lenses for sale in about 1.3 nanoseconds. :smile:
  7. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    I generally agree. Panasonic's biggest advantage right now is the fact that Canon and Nikon still continue to make tons of money from their entry and mid-level dSLRs. That is a cash cow that they will milk as long as they can. Any attempt to replace their entry/mid dSLRs is fraught with risk - will consumers embrace them? Will they be as good as their current dSLRs? Will the profit margins be sufficient?

    The Canon G1X and Nikon 1 are clear signs that neither are willing to replace their cash cow just yet. But there'll be a tipping point eventually, when both will have to leap in seriously or watch their market share slowly erode as it has in Japan and Europe. When they do you can be sure that they'll have their best engineers on the project and turn up their marketing and sales machine to 11. Until they get to that tipping point, Panasonic and Sony and Olympus need to establish strong footholds in as many markets as they can.

    This is a smart move for Panasonic, and a 180 degree change in direction from what they said just over 12 months ago. That just shows how fluid the market is.

    In any case, it's good news for us!
  8. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hmm. Maybe. OTOH, there has been speculation that the sensor in the N1, with the built-in PDAF sensors, is a test for implementing the same technology in FF or APS-C MILCs.

    And I think it's arguable that the G1x is simply the first use of a sensor that will show up in MILCs before too much longer. Canon likes to cut production costs by using the same sensor in many different cameras. All the APS-C bodies from the T3i to the D7 use the same basic sensor. It seems unlikely the G1x sensor will be used only in that model. A sensor that's smaller than APS, to allow smaller lenses than Sony, but bigger than m43, so they can brag about the sensor and IQ, might be just the ticket for them.
  9. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 18, 2011
    I think we're at the point that their biggest risk lies in waiting any longer.
    In a lot of ways the Nex 7 is a watershed product. Not because it's perfect, but because both its strengths and its weaknesses clearly show the way forward.
    I think the biggest decision Canon has to make is whether to totally optimize their CSC camera around the APS-C sensor, or make the back focus distance long enough that it could work in a full frame format. I.e, so that they can replicate their current EF/EF-S lens strategy in the CSC world. Long term, I just don't see a future for SLRs. The mirror causes more problems than it solves.
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Absolutely, Canon is major competition and Panasonic is wary of that. The director even said that he's not concerned about most of the other brands, but Sony and Canon are the ones to look out for.

    However, the hyperbole is to say that Panasonic is planning this new camera just to fend off the Canon threat. Whether Canon exists or not, Panasonic and Olympus both need to keep making the best cameras they can, capture most of the market they can, and turn as much profit as they can. We've heard plans and seen results of high-end Panasonic and Olympus cameras long before any rumor of Canon entering the Non-Reflex market. The competition is only good incentive for them to step up their game, but it is not their reason for making new cameras. Making new cameras is their business, and the presence of Canon is not going to "threaten" them to carry on business as usual.

    I don't bust my ass to land photography contracts because I'm afraid some more well-known photographer is going to spring up in my town and take all my business away. I go out and land contracts because taking photographs is my job, and why they call me a "photographer" (or if you prefer the term my clients use - a "schmuck").

    If Panasonic and Olympus don't continue to make new and innovative products, they won't stay in business... Canon doesn't need to be there to make that happen.

    Besides which, I doubt anybody even has an inkling yet of what Canon is ready to produce. How can you plan a new camera around another that you know nothing about? Are they trying to out-spec thin air? It's a different thing to say that they are doing their best to stay on top of the market, which is what they are in reality doing.
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  11. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Knowing when to leap is the big question. Imagine a scenario where Canon moves first but mis-steps - on price, on CDAF, on ISO, on QC, on delivery. Whatever. As a result, Nikon takes their lunch money and grows their entry-level dSLR market by 10% mostly at Canon's expense. Canon's stock price will drop big, investors will lose confidence, and heads will roll, particularly the ones that made the decision. You can rewrite the story, just swap names.

    Alternately, either of them can move at the right time and hit it out of the park while burying their biggest rival. That's possible too, but big multi-billion Yen companies are conservative by nature.

    This is a classic case of disruptive technology. Ten years from now they'll be studying this in business schools.
  12. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 18, 2011
    Absolutely. The trap that Canon and Nikon have to avoid is letting concerns about protecting their (very substantial) short term SLR cash flow blind them to the opportunity to dominate the next platform's era.
    There's an old truism in business: At some point your product will be obsolete. Who will be selling it's replacement, you or your competitors??
    For Canon, the time to act is now. :smile:
  13. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    There's no reason to think that if Canon releases a large sensor MILC that they'll stop selling Rebels. Ditto Nikon. If Canon's MILC tanks, they'll continue to sell Rebels. If the MILC is a huge success, they'll take business away from not only themselves, but from Nikon, Pentax, Oly, Panasonic.....
  14. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    Not Exactly On Topic But ...

    It has been said many times in various places that Canikon did not want to go mirrorless because it might endanger their other camera lines. I never saw any logic to that opinion. I don't think any marketing person with a brain would think that way. It's better to stay away from a burgeoning market niche other manufacturers are exploiting so as to protect what you already have ... meanwhile losing sales to your competitors?! I just think Canon took a long time to realize mirrorless was going to be as big as it has become. And Nikon shot and missed ... even though their marketing expertise has convinced a lot of people that a step down is a good thing.

    Just how long will it take Canikon to come up with three good primes, a couple good telephotos, a macro and some zooms? I don't see them catching Olysonic. Yeah they can push their other mount lenses but small is the thing.
  15. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    The not-quite APS-C sensor in the G1X may well indicate that Canon could be in a position to launch the nearest direct competitor to Micro 4/3 yet. Personally I'd be very happy to see Canon finally show their hand in the mirrorless market, particularly if they combine their own sensor/processing philosophy into a system that offers virtually the same size/weight benefits of Micro 4/3...bring it on!
  16. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    This is true, but even the likes of Canon has finite resources. Assigning engineers to MILC means taking them off other projects which means putting those other products at a competitive risk. Tooling factories to MILC means either reducing production of other products or making the capital investment in new factories. And even if you do manage all of that, you're ultimately competing with yourself - MILC vs dSLR - at one or more price points. And in that game, one will win and one will lose, and they'll both be the same company.

    If you look at Apple's product and pricing strategy, there are clear gaps between products and pricepoints. Thus the most expensive iPhone is cheaper than the least expensive iPad, and the most expensive iPad is cheaper than the least expensive MacBook. This is done explicitly to avoid conflict.

    Part of the theory of disruptive technologies is that the first phase consists of early adopters willing to try new technology for a benefit that it offers even if it is more expensive and not as good as existing technologies. For example, think of the E-P1. New technology allowed it to be smaller than dSLRs, but it's AF was not as good, nor was the IQ (ISO, DR, etc...) when compared to cheaper (but larger). But early adopters were willing to try. Imagine in Canon had jumped in at that point - Nikon would have slaughtered them with cheap and cheerful D40s and D3000s.

    You might argue that we are beyond that phase, but are we really? Is the E-P3 really better than the T3i? Or is it just smaller and more expensive. It's a debatable point, so in my mind we may not be at the tipping point quite yet.

    We'll know better 5 years from now, when we are looking back.
  17. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Real Name:
    I don't know what canon has to worry about... slap the Rebel name on their new mirrorless and incorporate it into the lineup. Bam, problem solved. Eventually the entire Rebel lineup will consist of the new CSC cameras, leaving the larger DSLRs for more advanced/pro users. Win/Win situation.
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    It's not like Canon needs to make another Rebel T-5i that's nearly identical to the XS, XSi, T1, T1i, T2, T2i, T3, T3i, T4, T4i and every other number or letter they can add. They are doing nothing productive in the entry-level DSLR lineup at all, but throwing money into a new name for the same old, tired, boring product.

    There is nothing more frustrating than walking into an electronics store and seeing a lineup of Rebel T-whatevers and people asking, "What's the difference between these?" when you just want to play the voice from the ABC commercial and respond, "Do you see the difference? Price is the difference."

    Yes, they need to recapture the small system camera market which they're letting get away from them because they're still stuck on the old Rebel which they think everybody will just keep buying because it's a Rebel. The last thing we need to see is yet another Rebel T-whatever, and Canon could put their resources into a much better product than that.

    Yes, competition is good for our Non-Relfex market, and I see Canon entering as more exciting than "threatening".
  19. YouDidntDidYou

    YouDidntDidYou Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 18, 2012
    Panasonic is wasting it's time, effort and money chasing Canon users in such a direct manner as Canon users are hard to budge, they need to make their cameras more aspirational like Olympus have done with the PENs and the the forthcoming O-MD range.

    "We already have lenses from 14mm to 300mm" error (accidental or on purpose) from Amateur Photographer (who does the editing there?) , Panny does from 7mm in micro four thirds,including the 7-14mm and the 8mm
  20. YouDidntDidYou

    YouDidntDidYou Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 18, 2012
    You can blame the editor of the AP article who has shown himself to be consistently anti Micro Four Thirds...