The french website Photorend interviewed Yosuke Yamane, Director of Imaging Business Division at Panasonic:
2020 market forecast:
The full-size hybrid market will experience greater growth this year. Compact or SLR cameras will be on the decline.
MFT and FF:
There are two categories of users: one who appreciates mobility and the other who wants to have the best photo and video quality. These people are divided between the Micro 4/3 and the full format. The Micro 4/3 is still a very important format for us and we must continue to promote it for now.
The basic requirements of a camera for a photographer are its small size, lightness and mobility. These needs will not go away for camera users and we are trying to strengthen our advantage in the global market. For this purpose, we want to energize the Micro 4/3 as much as possible.
Regarding size, if a full-frame hybrid camera is smaller, combined with a lens, the total size remains large. On the other hand, the Micro 4/3 allows lenses and a whole much more compact than in full format. We will improve the functions and the quality of our Micro 4/3 ecosystem, please wait for future developments.
APS-C L-mount camera is not coming:
our strategy is very clear: we will strengthen the Micro 4/3 mounts and the L mount in full format. A small L-mount sensor could cause confusion on the market. We have two sizes of sensors. If we have three, this could cause confusion, so we will not develop an APS-C version of the L-mount and will focus on the full screen.
Panasonic considered making the L-mount compatible with m43 lenses:
Sony’s E-mount supports both APS-C and full frame, but we don’t expect a large number of users using large, full frame lenses to turn to small Micro 4/3 sensors. A common Micro 4/3 and full format system therefore makes little sense.
We understand this request and we seriously considered the issue when we developed our full format cameras to offer a unified format for full format and Micro 4/3 sensors, but we decided not to do it because we think it would does not bring great added value for the user.
Covid 19 effects:
we are trying to minimize the damage caused by the Covid-19 [Response dated March 5, 2020. Editor’s note]. We have a production site in China, but near the eastern coast, towards Taiwan, so the damage is not as great as in other cities; 80% of the employees have already returned to the factory, but some suppliers still have difficulties. In these circumstances, we try to minimize the damage. Camera factories in China are starting to operate again right now.
It’s interesting to read they considered to make L-mount somehow compatible with MFT (don’t know how this would have worked). But what’s more important is that we can expect new exciting MFT products to be announced sooN!