Yosuke Yamane, President of Panasonic’s Imaging Community Enterprise Division.

With the official launch of Panasonic’s new full-frame S1 and S1R getting shut, we’re trying again to Photokina 2018, the place we sat down with Yosuke Yamane, President of Panasonic’s Imaging Community Enterprise Division. In our interview, Mr. Yamane discusses his hopes for the longer term, why Panasonic determined to go full-frame, and the challenges going through his business.


Why did Panasonic make the choice to maneuver into full-frame?

5 years in the past, full-frame mirrorless cameras entered the market, and the development [since then] has been shifting in direction of full-frame mirrorless cameras. However at the moment, we weren’t prepared. Each by way of know-how, and likewise service and assist, and so forth. However now the time has come when our know-how is able to go.

As you realize, since we joined the digicam enterprise, we now have launched a number of worlds first applied sciences. [Full-frame] is a brand new problem for us as an innovator. We imagine that we are able to present worth within the full-frame digicam market.

You have stated that the ’S’ stands for specialised – what are these cameras specialised for?

They’re specialised for professionals. That could be a core goal for us however we’re additionally concentrating on high-end amateurs and fanatics.

“Operability with out compromise”

What’s your technique for attracting professionals?

The whole lot with out compromise. Picture high quality, construct high quality, operability and efficiency. It takes all of our effort. As for picture high quality, we’re utilizing newly developed 47 and 24MP full-frame sensors, and likewise a brand new processing engine, plus a high-quality lens lineup. And 4K 60p video. Quick, and really correct autofocus, which is a mixture of high-speed distinction detection autofocus and DFD know-how. And this additionally contains deep studying Ai. Plus twin picture stabilization and a high-precision, high-speed shutter.

Additionally a really excessive decision viewfinder – the highest-precision finder within the business. Twin card slots, SD and XQD, which is important for professionals, and a 3-axis tilting LCD. Operability with out compromise.

Our designers ran numerous simulations and made numerous prototypes of the grip, for instance, to suit the wants {of professional} photographers. Additionally optimum button structure, for intuitive controls.

4 mockups of the S1/R’s grip, which went by a number of rounds of refinement primarily based on suggestions from skilled photographers.

Is there a technical purpose for the unusually giant physique dimension of the S1 and S1R?

DSLRs incorporate mirror containers, however we now have double card slots, an in-body stabilization system and high-quality film options. So the physique clearly will get greater due to these options. We didn’t need to compromise on options for the sake of physique dimension. Possibly some prospects assume that mirrorless cameras needs to be small, however we predict that as knowledgeable instrument, this physique dimension is acceptable.

The recommendation from professionals is that they place extra significance on efficiency, not dimension

Now we have made this digicam with our Lumix ambassadors. We acquired numerous suggestions from them and many of the professionals don’t really feel that [these cameras are] ‘massive’. They really feel that they’re a really applicable dimension.

The recommendation from professionals is that they place extra significance on efficiency, not dimension. For instance the shutter. Best cameras are assured to 200,000 actuations. Our digicam can be examined for extra. That’s the sort of factor that we prioritize, for skilled use.

Is it your intention that the S1 and S1R would be the most sturdy cameras in the marketplace, once they’re launched?

Sure. We’re concentrating on the very highest degree of sturdiness within the business. [The S1/R] are 100% sealed in opposition to mud and water, and function in very low temperatures – even exceeding the bounds of the GH5. The GH5 really went to the South Pole in minus 40 levels C, and labored completely. Such sorts of ‘no compromise’ options are all included [in the S1/R].

There are numerous photographers taking landscapes, sports activities, and nature, and we’re gathering suggestions from all of them. The cameras have to work in every kind of situations from very heat to very chilly. So we deal with the entire requests from shoppers with the intention of constructing [these cameras] with none compromise.

Panasonic claims that the S1 and S1R will provide the very best commonplace of sturdiness within the business, whereas providing professional-oriented characteristic units and a really DSLR-like dealing with expertise.

Do you assume that over time, your L mount lineup will develop to incorporate entry-level merchandise, or do you see it purely as a high-end system?

The primary era can be specialised for professionals however sooner or later, in fact we’re additionally aiming to draw entry-level customers. In that finally, we’ll examine the query of efficiency versus dimension. However our picture to skilled customers is essential. That’s why we’re attacking this section [initially].

We determined that it was higher to collaborate, than to create our personal standalone mount

What’s the strategic worth of the L mount alliance, to Panasonic?

We’ve had a great relationship with Leica for a very long time – 17 years. 4 years in the past we renewed our contract. That contract included a technical collaboration, with our digital know-how and their optical know-how. There can be a convergence. In that contract we mentioned numerous issues regarding the shared mount.

Sigma produces very dependable top quality lenses, [and we knew that] in an effort to get into the brand new enterprise, we wanted a lineup of lenses. So we determined to collaborate with Sigma to make a huge impact. I’ve a great relationship with Mr Yamaki, CEO of Sigma, I belief him and I respect his aggressiveness in direction of the market. This collaboration offers numerous worth for us, getting into into a brand new market and turning into aggressive in full-frame.

Contemplating worth for patrons, we determined that it was higher to collaborate, than to create our personal standalone mount. This fashion we are able to present numerous selections for lenses, and Sigma already has a big fanbase. Clearly Leica with its 100 12 months historical past additionally has a great base of customers.

The Leica L mount lineup contains APS-C merchandise in addition to full-frame. Is Panasonic thinking about APS-C?

No. Now we have our personal Micro 4 Thirds system and we predict that [because of the greater difference in size between full-frame and M43] that is the most effective steadiness. Now we have no plans to develop APS-C merchandise.

In M43, we prioritize compactness. However in full-frame we set increased targets, to fulfill skilled specs

Is designing lenses for full-frame simpler or tougher than designing for Micro 4 Thirds?

It’s tougher. Within the case of M43, we prioritize compactness. However in full-frame we set increased targets, to fulfill skilled specs. This digicam [the S1R] incorporates a 47MP sensor, however to be futureproof, lenses needs to be able to resolving extra decision than that. So we set very excessive specification targets for our full-frame lenses. We’ll develop our lenses with out compromise. Different essential components are build-quality, and bokeh. These are each crucial with regards to creating images.

Do you assume Panasonic’s L-mount lineup may evolve in future to incorporate merchandise just like the GH5S, that are optimized for video?

One among our property is our expertise {of professional} video, over greater than 40 years. This is among the areas the place we contribute to the market, so sooner or later it’s potential that [our L-mount lineup] will broaden to incorporate such merchandise. However even the S1 has superb video capabilities. We can not disclose the precise specification past saying that will probably be able to 4K/60p video however you may anticipate extra. Even the S1 can be used, we imagine, by skilled videographers.

The 24MP and 47MP sensors contained in the S1 and S1R can be able to high-quality 4K video seize in addition to stills taking pictures.

The sensors contained in the S1 and S1R are described as ‘newly developed’. Are they fabricated by Panasonic?

We can not disclose that. I might like to inform you however I can’t – you’ll simply should think about! Clearly we now have sensor-manufacturing expertise, however I can’t disclose something. Even when we outsourced [sensor fabrication] the design would nonetheless be to our specs. Image high quality shouldn’t be solely decided by the sensor. There’s additionally lens design, and processing know-how.

Are you able to clarify how Panasonic and Leica work collectively by way of lens design?

Primarily, optical applied sciences and manufacturing applied sciences come from Leica. We offer our digital know-how and interface know-how to them. For the full-frame lenses, we designed them by ourselves, however the DNA of Leica is included – in fact.

Is there any Panasonic DNA in Leica merchandise?

I don’t know if they’d admit that, however we do present it! All the Leica-branded lenses for our Micro 4 Thirds system are checked in accordance with Leica’s requirements, and we now have realized rather a lot by that course of.

What are the largest challenges going through Panasonic?

As you realize, within the digicam business we don’t have a big market share in comparison with the likes of Canon and Nikon. They’ve way more historical past in comparison with ours – we have solely been within the business for 17 years. Our model recognition can also be not so excessive. Nevertheless, a paradigm change has lastly arrived. Canon and Nikon are creating new mirrorless techniques, and we’re getting into a brand new world because of the L mount alliance. This can be a new begin for the digicam business.

Our slogan is ‘altering images’. We need to create a brand new photograph tradition for the digital era. Within the full-frame world, I feel that prospects will recognize our contribution. Fairly than competing with Canon and Nikon we’re centered on conveying that message to the shopper.

We need to create a brand new photograph tradition for the digital era

In relation to product planning, we now have to anticipate how prospects conduct will change sooner or later. These fashions [the S1 and S1R] are centered on professionals. Now we have to anticipate how skilled images and videography will change, and we’re continuously these traits, and anticipating how skilled conduct will change. And as professionals change, prospects on the entry and mid-levels will change, too. Now we have to observe this very rigorously, and we all the time plan our merchandise according to altering buyer traits.

What do you assume are the largest alternatives for Panasonic?

The Olympic Video games in 2020 can be a really massive alternative to showcase Panasonic’s applied sciences. I used to be born in 1964, which was the 12 months of the final Tokyo Olympics. We’ll use the 2020 video games as a chance to boost our video applied sciences and photograph applied sciences. After the Olympics, we’ll create a brand new era of 8K video cameras, that are at present in growth.


Editors’ notice: Barnaby Britton

Panasonic is among the most attention-grabbing corporations within the photograph business. Though it enjoys solely a modest share of the market in comparison with ‘giants’ like Canon and Nikon, Panasonic has persistently shocked us with its power and innovation – notably within the high-end video/stills area. Arguably, Panasonic is the one firm that might have created the highly effective GH5, and it is laborious to think about one other firm having the boldness to make the much more narrowly-specialized GH5S.

In relation to high-end video seize in mirrorless cameras, Panasonic has been (together with Sony) a driving pressure within the business, and that is because of the corporate’s lengthy expertise within the video realm. Whereas Lumix as a model is lower than 20 years previous, Panasonic has been concerned in video, in a roundabout way or one other, for greater than twice that lengthy.

The truth that Panasonic’s forthcoming S1 and S1R mirrorless ILCs will each provide highly effective 4K video characteristic units shouldn’t be a shock. What’s attention-grabbing is that they are constructed round full-frame sensors. I am inclined to assume that shifting into full-frame is an efficient determination for Panasonic, however it’s dangerous. I agree with Mr. Yamate that shifting ahead in partnership with Leica and Sigma will add extra worth to the marketplace for fanatic {and professional} photographers than creating yet one more new lens mount, whereas additionally mitigating the potential dangers of going it alone.

Promising the very best degree of sturdiness within the business and loads of superior options, the S-system has the potential to significantly problem the ‘giants’

Whereas there are many full-frame mirrorless techniques obtainable in late 2018, there’s a conspicuous hole available in the market with regards to full-frame video techniques. It’s uncertain whether or not Nikon will attempt (and even really feel the necessity to attempt) to create a video-oriented ILC within the close to future, and Sony appears to have (most likely solely quickly) paused the event of its a7S lineup.

Panasonic, with its many years of expertise making video cameras, have to be eager to place a product into that hole. If the corporate’s intention is to paved the way in full body video, just like what it did with the GH collection for Micro 4 Thirds, it has the potential to disrupt the complete body market greater than its present business share would possibly recommend. Becoming a member of the L-mount alliance is a good first step.

However that is the longer term. For now, Mr. Yamane’s firm is devoted to creating the S1 and S1R as enticing as potential to skilled photographers.

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