Business / Corporate

Panasonic to release high-end mirrorless cameras in March

JIJI

Panasonic Corp. said Thursday that it will release its first high-end mirrorless cameras, equipped with a large image sensor, on March 23.

The high-end mirrorless camera market in Japan had been dominated by Sony Corp., which launched such products in 2013 ahead of its rivals, until Nikon Corp. and Canon Inc. joined the market last autumn.

Panasonic’s entry is expected to make the competition fiercer, observers said.

The S1R and S1 models from Panasonic’s Lumix S high-end mirrorless camera series are priced at around ¥500,000 and ¥340,000, respectively. They can also take 4K ultrahigh-definition videos.

A mirrorless camera with a large image sensor offers delicate color contrast.

Mainstay products from the companies are priced at more than ¥200,000 but have enjoyed robust demand, mostly from people switching from single-lens reflex cameras and those wishing to take more detailed pictures to post on social media.

“(The cameras can) meet the demand from professionals,” Hideshi Fuchiue, executive officer at Panasonic, said.

Competition among the four companies may help activate the high-end mirrorless camera market and lead to price drops, said Ichiro Michikoshi, chief executive analyst at research firm BCN Inc.

While low-priced cameras have been losing customers to smartphones, the market for mirrorless cameras has been expanding.

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