Along with the release of the Panasonic LUMIX S5, we had the chance to talk to Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic’s director of the imaging business unit. We learned more about the design and features 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 turn “Captions on” on the YouTube video for English subtitles. Let’s take a closer look at it!
Panasonic, COVID-19, and Creators
The new Panasonic LUMIX S5 camera has just been announced, and if you missed it, you could watch our entire review by clicking here. Also, along with this announcement, we had the opportunity to talk with Yosuke Yamane-san, the director of the imaging business unit at Panasonic.
Before talking about the LUMIX S5, we talked a bit about the current situation and how it’s affecting Panasonic:
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: Dear Yamane-san, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Very much appreciated! 2020 has become a very challenging year for many manufacturers. How is Panasonic doing?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: COVID-19 affects a customer’s way of purchasing, and the main demand has gone towards the basic products of life, which is understandable. Yet therefore, a camera – which is not a basic product of life – its market shrinks. It may be the same situation for other camera manufacturers, too. However, entertainment and leisure culture has not disappeared. After COVID-19, we believe that many people will come back to the market and create new things. But, it will need time.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: Is Panasonic doing anything specific to encourage people to consider purchasing new cameras, or your answer is simply to introduce new filming tools?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: Before COVID-19, it has been our mission to make new products based on new technologies, which would impress creators. However, the world has changed a lot through COVID-19, and we think that it’s not enough to just make new products. Therefore, we are trying a lot of new things. We will present new forms of usage and how to make use of them. Through COVID-19, the possibility of taking photos outside has been clearly reduced. And the demand for watching videos as well as making videos and releasing them from home will increase. Therefore, the G100, for example, which has a V-Log feature, the S1H update to output ProRes with the Ninja, or the LUMIX live streaming – we will help our customers enjoy motion pictures by using LUMIX. Also, we are trying to improve how we share new information. We have already introduced the G100 and the S5 via online channels. This was the first experience for LUMIX. And, since our customers might have difficulties with trying out our real products currently, we are creating workshops with influencers and reviewers, in order to inform you about our new products and their features.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: Is your managing style changed due to the situation? I know that many of your employees are working from home.
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: Since many employees are working from home, the ways of working have totally changed. Currently, more than half of the LUMIX team members are doing home-office. So we are trying to create more output by using online tools. For engineers, it’s difficult to work from home, so they share the samples and such and work things out. This way, the result is that we can continue to work, even during the COVID situation, and no delays are created in our development schedule.
Of course, the main talk of this conversation was about 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 was aiming to capture the attention of vloggers. As far as you are concerned, how was this camera received in the market it was intended to cater to?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: We are targeting traveling Vloggers with the G100, yet, right now it’s quite difficult to travel, so we were worried before its introduction. But many Vloggers are releasing their own home videos, so the actual sales are much better than expected. We think it’s the selfie mode or the OZO Audio function, which supports the creation of videos, that are well accepted.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: You have just announced the release of the Panasonic S5 and it seems as if you have recognized the need for a good modestly priced L-Mount camera, one that can appeal to many. Whom are you targeting with this camera?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: The S5 targets a wide range of users, from professionals to amateurs who are creating videos or photos. For photographers, it’s the high sensitivity and high resolution, and for filmmakers, it’s not only 4K/60p but 10bits recording at 14+ Dynamic Range. These are the functions we provide. I think the S5 is a product that we are fully prepared to send to a wide range of users at a reasonable price, while thoroughly focussing on enabling expression through shooting.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: When it comes to video, this camera can easily compete with the Panasonic S1. Is this camera aiming to replace it? And additionally, aren’t you concerned that it will cannibalize the S1 sales?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: The S1 is handled as a stills image/video hybrid camera. It is more on the professional side, robust and resistant to environmental influences. Also, as a function for stills images, it has one rank higher image stabilization, and we considered deeply and tried/challenged to make it better especially for the viewfinder and shutter function. Therefore, the target audience is different than the audience of the S5, which targets a wider range of users. There are, however, some parts of the video functions that overlap with the S5 and the S1, so there may be some competition, but I think that these two models will broaden the range of target users, in general.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: Panasonic managed to reduce the size of the camera, keep it fan-less and yet allow long recording times. Do you think we can see a future S2H going in the footsteps of the S5, or it is a bit more technically complicated?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: The S5 has managed to have such a small size by making full use of our heat dissipation technology, cultivated in the S1H and GH5, plus the low power-consumption technology. Of course, we are thinking about a successor model to the S1H. Regarding the video performance of the S1H’s successor model, I am thinking of one rank higher, so I think that the technical difficulty will become even higher, too. We are continuously developing technologies regarding heat dissipation, and we hope to develop this technology will make it an attractive product.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: What is your “personal favorite” in the S5? Mine is size, comfort, and ease of use.
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: The S5 is a product that has been released with the aim of offering a comfortable size and ease of use, and I am very pleased to hear such a comment from you, Johnnie-san. It is a compact and affordable model that combines high-performance video and stills images, and I hope many people will enjoy it soon.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: When people consider replacing a brand, they have to think about lenses too. With the introduction of the S5, it seems as if you’ve recognized this too. The 20-60mm kit lens is thrown in at a very reasonable price! Are we going to see this type of marketing across the “L-Line”?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: Since the needs of creators are diverse, we are offering lenses at an affordable price, so that more creators can use them. This is the reason why the price of the 20-60mm is fairly low. Along with the announcement of the S5, we have announced the roadmap for the L-mount single focal lengths lenses. We are developing these lenses, aiming for price ranges that will enable as many creators as possible to make use of them.
Panasonic GH5 successor, and 8K Resolution Future Camera
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: The very popular GH5 can now be considered as an aging camera. Should people expect new GH cameras in the future or your attention is now to grow the “L Line”?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: Nearly 3.5 years have passed since the launch of the GH5, and many customers are still purchasing GH5, but many creators still shoot movies in a Micro Four Thirds format. As I have assured many times, we will continue to develop products for Micro Four Thirds as well as Full Frame to meet the needs of a wide range of creators. Regarding the replacement model for the GH camera that you asked about, I will inform you but the information may be spread. Of course, we are considering it, and we look forward to seeing you there.
Johnnie Behiri – CineD: We last talked after introducing the GH5S. At that interview, you mentioned an 8k Panasonic mirrorless camera around the Tokyo Olympic games. Unfortunately, the games won’t be happening this year, but is your attention is still the same? (Introducing an 8K camera), or, you decided to concentrate on reliability and features instead of joining the “pixel race”?
Yosuke Yamane-san – Panasonic: I have already talked about 8K for the Olympics. I think the excitement created by filming athletes moving in 8K at the Olympics is immeasurable. Therefore, I have the same expectations for 8K. Unfortunately, the Olympics in Tokyo has been postponed to next year, but I believe that the 8K era will come. We are currently exploring the future potential and marketability of 8K, and continue to develop technologies for the future and the expanding needs of the market. I feel like the needs of the market are a little behind from what I thought 3 years ago. Since we are developing products for each customer, we want to grasp a customer’s needs and make sure that we don’t miss the right timing. Last but not least, this S5 model is the culmination of our current technology and products, so I hope many people will use it and experience its goodness.
For our full camera review, please click here.
What do you think about the new Panasonic LUMIX S5? Do you think the next Panasonic GH camera should feature an 8K recording mode? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!