Yesterday, I explained why I have a negative bias against Sony cameras. Though one could argue that I have concrete reasons for having them. Continuing with that theme today, I’ll talk about Panasonic.
My thoughts on Panasonic are very different from Sony. I own two Panasonic compact cameras and several Micro 4/3 lenses but I don’t have any Panasonic Micro 4/3 cameras. I always say Panasonic is excellent for video but I prefer Olympus for still photography.
While I think Panasonic makes solid cameras and even prefer them to Sony, I’m only lukewarm about Panasonic the company. Part of this is because Panasonic is a huge multi-national conglomerate. They make electronics, appliances, whole kitchen and bathroom systems and even industrial equipment. They are basically the GE (General Electric) of Japan.
The name Panasonic used to be a brand itself until the parent company, Matsushita, officially changed their name to Panasonic. For a while in Japan, they sold their products under the National brand name. They also have sub-brands. Of course in cameras, they are called Lumix. For audio, you might have heard of Technics. They are basically a jack of all trades and perhaps the master of none.
In consumer electronics, I personally think of Panasonic running second fiddle to Sony. They make bathroom systems in Japan, but why not buy that from the leader, Toto. I’m not going to buy a Panasonic computer, I’ll buy one from Apple. Likewise, I don’t think of Panasonic first when I think of cameras.
This is a bias, certainly. I acknowledge that. And, I have bought some Panasonic imaging products so I like to think that I keep an open mind. However, my “GE of Japan” perception puts them in a second-tier for cameras. In fact, while Panasonic seems to do pretty good in the U.S., they don’t have as much mindshare in Japan. Even with their joint venture with Leica, which I’m sure is a strategy to improve their perception in the photographic community. Of course, a similar thing might be said about Sony’s relationship with Zeiss.
Today’s featured photo is from last year’s 4X5 Fest in San Antonio. I shot it with the then flagship Panasonic Lumix G9 and their Panasonic Leica 42.5mm f1.2 lens. No doubt, excellent products. I hope they have a 4X5 Fest again this year. Though they have yet to announce any details for 2019.
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