Panasonic recently launched their spring collection of new Lumix compact cameras, and we were invited for a hands-on preview in Queenstown to shoot with their latest and greatest (we know, what a difficult life). Here's what we learned during the conference, and discovered while using their cameras.
Panasonic is relatively young in the digital camera game, compared to some of its competitors. In fact, it's only just celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Lumix cameras in 2011.
But Panasonic has achieved considerable growth since its inception, with sales growing at an average of 125% year on year. It also owns an average 11% of the total digital camera market in Asia, which includes DSLR cameras, and is the number two compact camera volume sales leader in Singapore.
They forecast total sales of 1,000,000 units in FY2010, with 40,000 units belonging to their G-series Micro Four Thirds system cameras, and 960,000 belonging to the compact cameras. They're setting themselves a target of 1.5 million unit sales in 2012, with a goal to make one hit product in the top three, one in the top five and one in the top ten of digital cameras.
Panasonic also revealed that they plan to expand the line-up and sales of their G-series system cameras, and launch a limited edition product to celebrate their 10th anniversary (details of which are still secret). To achieve their goals, Panasonic is pledging US$50 million to invest in developing their Lumix cameras.
According to Panasonic, the secret to their success lies in the unchanged vision for Panasonic Lumix. Panasonic aims to 'create a new photo culture in the digital era' by focusing on three core pillars: Strengthening their 'black-box' technology, pursuing photo quality and improving digital networking.
They aim to improve the image quality of their Lumix cameras through improving their lenses, HD movie quality, sensors and software engine. They want to establish new design and UI concepts through stylish and slim camera bodies, advanced touch operation and the evolution of their iA (intelligent Auto) mode. Finally, they want to enable easy photo sharing, through sites like Facebook and YouTube.
Together with their digital camcorders, home AV systems, Panasonic has aimed to create a complete 'digital hearth' for their users, which has now been updated to a 'digital hearth in 3D.'
All this talk was interesting, but I was itching to start shooting.
Confused about the new Lumix compacts being released and which is right for you? You're not the only one. To be honest, there are so many models being released nowadays that it can be hard to keep track of them and decide just which you want. For quick reference to the new releases, the Panasonic TZ series belong to the 'Traveler Zoom' category, the FX their 'stylish compact', the FP their 'stylish leader', the FHxx their 'stylish zoom', the FHx their 'entry stylish' and the S to their 'simple stylish' category.