Skip to main content

Panasonic to halve compact camera production, focus more on higher-end models

Panasonic Lumix GM1
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Panasonic, which recently exited the consumer TV sector, is continuing to wind down some of its underperforming business units to concentrate more on products for businesses, according to a report by the Nikkei Assian Review (via Reuters). One of those struggling areas is compact digital cameras, which Panasonic will halve the production down to five models in 2014.

But instead of budget variants, the five compacts will be highly advanced models that start at $300 or more, and will include features like high-magnification zoom. By cutting production, Panasonic hopes to return to profitability in 2014, although the company is already expecting losses for the second straight year in its digicam business.

But Panasonic isn’t dropping out of camera manufacturing entirely. It will continue to focus more on its mirrorless Micro Four Thirds models, like the new Lumix GM1 (shown above) and GX7, as well as lenses, surveillance cameras, and digital camera components. In the budget cam space, Panasonic is also exploring the possibility of licensing its name to other camera makers.

As we reported, camera companies are struggling to figure things out. It’s not just the increase use of smartphones for photography that’s hurting sales, but companies like Panasonic are saddled with overheads. Digital cameras sales are expected to decrease by 2 million units this year to about 4 million worldwide. Olympus and Fujifilm have already announced they are cutting back on compact camera production. Having made the bold move to vacate the TV sector (even though Panasonic makes some of the best TVs), we said Panasonic might not hesitate in doing the same for its camera business. While not as drastic, this news reaffirms our point.

Editors' Recommendations

Les Shu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am formerly a senior editor at Digital Trends. I bring with me more than a decade of tech and lifestyle journalism…
Sony teases the more approachable FX6 cinema camera
sony fx6 cinema teased announced line teaser

Sony’s upcoming cinema series could potentially lower the bar for entry into the category to more creators. Announced in a teaser on September 2, the new Sony Cinema Line will mix two existing but updated cameras with a new, smaller cinema camera before the end of the year. While cinema cameras are typically reserved for the high-end pros, the company says that the new line is designed for “a broader range of creators.”

The Sony Cinema Line starts with the existing Venice camera, designed for digital movie production, and the FX9, favored by documentary photographers. Both cameras are expected to see updates. The third generation of FX9 will incorporate remote control and additional lens support next year, while the Venice will see new firmware features aimed at broadcast users in November 2020.

Read more
Smaller and cheaper, the full-frame Lumix S5 is exactly what Panasonic needed
Panasonic Lumix S5 back panel

Panasonic has officially announced the Lumix S5, a lightly teased and heavily leaked full-frame mirrorless camera that brings many of the capabilities of the Lumix S1 and S1H to a smaller and friendlier form factor. At $2,000 (body only), it is the cheapest S-series camera yet, but carries over several professional features from its larger siblings.

Weighing 25 ounces, not only is it more than half a pound lighter than the S1, but it's a hair under the Lumix GH5, a camera that uses a much smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor. Fortunately, Panasonic did not sacrifice build quality to get there. The S5 is built on a full magnesium-alloy chassis with a weather-sealed body. It has a robust hand grip, dual SD card slots, and a fair amount of direct-access control, although the top LCD display has vanished.

Read more
The Panasonic Lumix S5: Everything we know
panasonic lumix s5 everything we know teaser

Panasonic teased the upcoming Lumix S5 mirrorless camera Wednesday, August 19, ahead of the official announcement set for September 2. This is Panasonic's first acknowledgment of the purportedly lower-end full-frame camera that has been heavily rumored.

If a leaked spec sheet is to be believed, the S5 will sit a tier below the Panasonic S1, a beefy mirrorless camera that earned a Digital Trends Editor's Choice award when we reviewed it in 2019. The S1 is a powerful, high-end camera that targets professional shooters. It also weighs more than most DSLRs. The S5 is rumored to weight 715 grams, making it about 30% lighter than the S1.

Read more