And now for some news that can be taken both well and incredibly sad…
According to Bloomberg and 43Rumors, Panasonic is currently citing a massive profit increase due to restructuring of the company. Essentially what they’ve done is what any other company would do when they’re not surviving–trim the fat! Combined with layoffs, part of this is attributed to getting rid of emphasis on things that aren’t profitable for the company like Plasma TVs. Bloomberg states,
“President Kazuhiro Tsuga, in his second year at the helm, is pivoting toward products for cars and homes as he accelerates changes to recover from back-to-back annual losses. Panasonic suspended plasma panel production, trimmed smartphone and circuit board operations and sold a stake in semiconductor factories to focus on growing businesses.”
What the articles aren’t really citing though is a report from the Credit Suisse earlier on this year that states that Panasonic recently sold off 51% of its Imaging Division. In fact, the company has given them until March 2016 to become profitable or else they get the axe. That means that within the next two years, we need to start seeing some seriously game changing technology from Panasonic. This will be a tough task overall for the Four Thirds industry as Panasonic needs to work with Olympus to become a stronger force in the industry. Micro Four Thirds has the most market share in the mirrorless industry, but the offerings that we’re seeing from Fujifilm and Sony are both taking massive Great White Shark sized bites out of them.
Panasonic has also changed up a lot of their game plan–with mostly trying to cater to pros and those reaching for higher hanging fruit.
Today, Olympus announces the latest model in its OM-D line of Micro Four Thirds cameras, the E-M10. Together with the camera, a new 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens is announced, sporting a pancake-like profile as slim as that of the 17mm f2.8 lens. The second new Micro Four Thirds lens introduced today is the 25mm f1.8, which sports an angle-of-view comparable to that of a classic normal 50mm lens. The third new lens is a 9mm fisheye body-cap lens. All the details on the new OM-D camera and M.Zuiko lenses after the break.
Ever had the feeling that a company had too many cameras?
For the first time in a very long time, I began to really feel that with Olympus. Earlier this month, we sat in a meeting with them while they briefed us on their new Olympus OMD EM10, their 25mm f1.8, and a couple of other products. The EM10 is what the company describes to be their low end OMD camera: placing the EM5 in the mid tier and the EM1 at the top of the food chain. And to do this, the company essentially created a severely crippled OMD camera. The camera borrows from the OMD EM5, PEN EP5, and the OMD EM1.
And in all truthfulness, we’re scratching our heads just a bit.
Gariz, a manufacturer from South Korea, have made themselves a name in the photo industry in the recent past by producing beautiful leather half-cases for numerous camera models. Their half-cases combine beauty with practicality, providing both a slightly retro look as well as extra comfort and protection.
One of the company’s latest additions to its product portfolio is a half-case for the Panasonic GM1, which due to its extremely miniaturized body suffers from a severe lack of ergonomics. For one, the body is so small that even regularly sized hands have a hard time finding a grip. And secondly, its small height makes it awkward to use with larger lenses.
While Panasonic’s own aluminium grip does a decent job of looking good and providing extra grip plus a little bit of extra height at the same time, we have to admit that it looks nowhere near as nice as a proper leather half-case. Just like the good old days! The Gariz half-case for the Panasonic GM1 comes in a choice of black and brown leather and can be yours for US-$ 99 on eBay.
If you’re a Micro Four Thirds user, get ready to be very excited. At CES 2014, we had the opportunity to test the brand new Panasonic 42.5mm f1.2 lens. Typically, Zeiss lenses are really the only ones that leave us this speechless. But somehow Panasonic has not only left me speechless, but in serious lust.
This lens may be the most important to the entire Micro Four Thirds system so far. To date, it is the fastest aperture lens with autofousing abilities in a surprisingly small package. However, it is a tad pricy at $1,599. But when you really think about the folks that will want to buy this lens, then you’ll see that it’s an absolute no brainer. Professionals that do work with the Micro Four Thirds offerings (and yes, they exist) will have their hearts melt.
And when you see the images, you’ll exhibit a feeling synonymous to falling in love with photography all over again.
That right there is the Kodak-branded SMART LENS in the Pixpro line of digital cameras from JK Imaging, a young company that struck a licensing deal with Kodak in January 2013. This SMART LENS is awfully similar to Sony’s QX10 and QX100 units, and it does the exact same thing. There are two flavors of this lens-camera hybrid: the SL10 and SL25. The SL10 has 10x optical zoom in a 28-280mm 35mm-equivalent lens, a microSD card slot, HD 1080p video capability, and built-in Wi-Fi. The SL25 differs slightly with 25x optical zoom in a 24-600mm 35mm-equivalent lens. Both will available in Spring 2014 for $199 and $299 respectively. [click to continue…]