It’s probably not much of a surprise, but as Newswitch reports, Panasonic Entertainment and Communication President Akira Toyoshima has stated in a press conference that Panasonic is essentially done with the low-end and compact camera trade. They’re not giving up on cameras entirely, though, saying they’ll be focusing on “mirrorless video cameras” among other things.
This essentially confirms the August rumor that Panasonic was planning to shed low-end devices – an idea that seemed to be bolstered by the discontinuation of the Lumix LX100 Mark II last month. Getting rid of the compact point-and-shoots and cameras that were designed primarily for taking photos and not video. The move definitely makes a lot of sense in a world of smartphones – and every other camera maker has done it.
The company will shift revenue streams from its existing TV and camera businesses, which are not expected to grow significantly in the future due to the rapid advancement of Chinese and Korean companies and the proliferation of smartphones.
In addition to new business, the growth business areas include televisions, mirrorless video cameras, headphones and intercom systems, which offer a high degree of installation freedom.
Akira Toyoshima, President, Panasonic Entertainment & Communications
The way it’s worded can seem a little ambiguous and I think something might get lost in translation. As resources are siphoned from the camera business, Panasonic is shifting its attention to “mirrorless video cameras.” However, I don’t think we’ll now only see updates to video-centric products like the Panasonic GH6, Lumix S1H or Lumix BS1H at the expense of more stills-centric bodies like the G9 or S1R – or whatever their future replacement will be.
I think the term is only used to illustrate hybrid mirrorless cameras that can capture both stills and video. However, whether we’ll see still-focused bodies for specific applications, like super-fast, fast-response action cameras for sports and wildlife, or ultra-high-resolution cameras for landscapes and fine arts… well, I guess we’ll see. Hopefully.
Of course, it could literally be that they turn all their attention to video and that the still image capabilities are just an afterthought. I really hope this isn’t the case, especially for the L-mount system and especially if Sigma hasn’t released their full-frame Foveon camera yet. It would be annoying to have bought into L-Mount or even Micro Four Thirds as a stills shooter in recent years to find out there wouldn’t be new cameras specifically tailored and geared to your needs.
That being said, Panasonic has this reputation for video among its mirrorless cameras, so maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all. I shoot Panasonic MFT for video. I’ve bought half a dozen Panasonic MFT cameras specifically for video since 2020 and have no regrets, but I still use my Nikon DSLRs for stills. So if you’re willing to shoot multiple systems for stills and video, or you’re only interested in video then it doesn’t matter if that’s the case.