Along with the release of the Panasonic LUMIX S5, we had the opportunity to speak to Yosuke Yamane-san, Director of Panasonic's Imaging Business Unit. We learned more about the design and functions of the Panasonic LUMIX S5, as well as the future of the LUMIX S and GH lines and 8K resolution. Please don't forget to enable "Subtitles" in the YouTube video for English subtitles. Let's take a closer look!
Panasonic, COVID-19 and Creators
The new Panasonic LUMIX S5 camera has just been announced. If you missed them, check out our full review by clicking here. Along with this announcement, we also had the opportunity to speak to Yosuke Yamane-san, Director of the Imaging Business Unit at Panasonic.
Before we talked about the LUMIX S5, we talked a little bit about the current situation and the implications for Panasonic:
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: Dear Mr. Yamane, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me. Very appreciated! 2020 has become a very challenging year for many manufacturers. How is Panasonic?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: COVID-19 affects a customer's way of buying, and the main demand is for the basic products of life, which is understandable. But that is why the market for a camera – which is not a basic product of life – is shrinking. This can also be the case with other camera manufacturers. However, the entertainment and leisure culture has not disappeared. After COVID-19, we believe that many people will return to the market and create new things. But it will take time.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: Is Panasonic doing something special to encourage people to buy new cameras, or is your answer just introducing new film tools?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: Before COVID-19, our mission was to create new products based on new technologies that would impress developers. However, the world has changed a lot with COVID-19, and we believe that just making new products is not enough. That's why we try a lot of new things. We will introduce new forms of use and how to use them. COVID-19 has significantly reduced the ability to take photos outdoors. And the demand for videos as well as videos and their home publishing will increase. For example the G100 with V-Log function, the S1H update for outputting ProRes with the Ninja or the LUMIX live streaming – we help our customers enjoy films with LUMIX. We also try to improve the exchange of new information. We have already introduced the G100 and S5 through online channels. This was the first experience for LUMIX. And since our customers may currently have difficulties trying out our real products, we are holding workshops with influencers and reviewers to inform you about our new products and their features.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: Will your leadership style change due to the situation? I know that many of your employees work from home.
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: Since many employees work from home, the way of working has changed fundamentally. More than half of the LUMIX team members currently work from home. We are therefore trying to achieve more output with the help of online tools. It is difficult for engineers to work from home, so they share the samples and the like and work things out. This way we can keep working even during the COVID situation and there are no delays in our development plan.
The main talk of this conversation was of course the new Panasonic LUMIX S5, but we also discussed the Panasonic LUMIX G100 and S1H:
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: You recently launched the G100. This camera wanted to attract the attention of vloggers. How was this camera received for you in the market it was intended for?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: We're targeting traveling vloggers with the G100, but it's pretty difficult to travel right now so we were concerned before its launch. However, many vloggers post their own home videos, so actual sales are much better than expected. We believe that the Selfie mode or the OZO Audio function that supports video creation will be well received.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: You just announced the release of the Panasonic S5 and it seems like you've recognized the need for a good budget L-mount camera that can appeal to many. Who are you aiming at with this camera?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: The S5 is aimed at a wide range of users, from professionals to amateurs who create videos or photos. For photographers, it's the high sensitivity and resolution, and for filmmakers it's not just 4K / 60p, but 10-bit recording in the 14+ dynamic range. These are the features that we provide. I think the S5 is a product that we can ship to a wide range of users at a reasonable price, while our focus is on enabling expression by shooting.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: When it comes to videos, this camera can easily compete with the Panasonic S1. Does this camera want to replace you? And aren't you also concerned that this will cannibalize S1 sales?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: The S1 is treated as a still / video hybrid camera. It is more professional, robust and resistant to environmental influences. As a function for still images, it has one rank higher image stabilization and we have thought deeply and tried / challenged to improve it specifically for the viewfinder and shutter function. Therefore, the target group differs from the target group of the S5, which appeals to a larger number of users. However, there are some pieces of video functionality that overlap with the S5 and S1 so there may be competition, but I think these two models will generally expand the realm of target users.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: Panasonic has managed to reduce the size of the camera, keep it fanless and still allow long recording times. Do you think we can see a future S2H follow in the footsteps of the S5, or is it a little more technically involved?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: The S5 managed to achieve such a small size by taking full advantage of our heat dissipation technology cultivated in the S1H and GH5, as well as the low-power technology. Of course we are considering a successor to the S1H. In terms of video performance of the successor to the S1H, I'm thinking of a higher rank, so I think the technical difficulties will also get higher. We are continuously developing heat dissipation technologies and hope to develop this technology into an attractive product.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: What is your "personal favorite" in the S5? Mine is size, convenience and ease of use.
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: The S5 is a product that was launched with the aim of being comfortable in size and ease of use and I am delighted to hear such a comment from you, Johnnie-san. It's a compact and affordable model that combines high-performance video and still images, and I hope many people will like it soon.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: When people consider replacing a brand, they also have to think of lenses. With the introduction of the S5, you seem to have recognized this too. The 20-60mm kit lens is used at a very reasonable price! Will we see this kind of marketing across the "L-line"?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: Because developer needs are different, we offer lenses at an affordable price so that more developers can use them. This is why the price for the 20-60mm is pretty low. Along with the announcement of the S5, we announced the roadmap for L-mount lenses with one focal length. We develop these lenses with the aim of creating price ranges that allow as many developers as possible to use them.
Successor to Panasonic GH5 and future camera with 8K resolution
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: The very popular GH5 can now be viewed as an aging camera. Should people expect new GH cameras in the future, or is your attention now focused on making the "L-line" bigger?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: It has been almost 3.5 years since the GH5 was introduced and many customers are still buying GH5, but many developers are still making Micro Four Thirds movies. As I have assured you many times, we will continue to develop products for both Micro Four Thirds and Full Frame to meet the needs of a wide variety of developers. Regarding the replacement GH camera model that you asked for, I will let you know, but the information can be disseminated. Of course we think about it and look forward to seeing you there.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: We last talked after the introduction of the GH5S. In this interview you mentioned a Panasonic 8k mirrorless camera around the Tokyo Olympics. Unfortunately the games won't take place this year, but is your attention still the same? (Introduction of an 8K camera), or did you choose to focus on reliability and features instead of joining the "Pixel Race"?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: I've already talked about 5 miles for the Olympics. I think the excitement created by filming athletes moving five miles at the Olympics is immeasurable. So I have the same expectations for 8K. Unfortunately, the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until next year, but I believe the 8K era will come. We are currently studying the future potential and marketability of 8K and we continue to develop technologies for the future and the growing demands of the market. I feel that the needs of the market are a little below what I thought 3 years ago. As we design products for each customer, we want to capture a customer's needs and make sure we don't miss out on timing. Last but not least, this S5 model is the pinnacle of our current technology and products. I hope many people will use it and experience its kindness.
For our full camera review, please click here.
What do you think of the new Panasonic LUMIX S5? Do you think the next Panasonic GH camera should have an 8K recording mode? Don't hesitate to let us know in the comments below!