In an interview with the Japanese magazine Fashion Camera
(方法カメラ) yesterday, a spokesman for the Panasonic Corporation revealed the company's ultimate aspirations for its GF mirrorless camera: to make it as small as a contact lens.
"Engineers need goals," said Toshiro "Elmer" Kikuchiyo. "People really liked the size of the GF1, so we made it smaller. That made our customers 23% happier, so, when our engineers came to us looking sort of aimless and lost, our management direction was clear."
Elmer said he expects the current direction to continue. In Japan, one iteration or generation of a concept is enough to establish a tradition. At the current rate, the Panasonic GF camera will be essentially too small to see easily by 2023, at approximately the GF18.
"We envision it being too small to find when you drop it on the floor," said Elmer, smiling, "like a contact lens. This will make our customers 819% more happy."
As the camera gets smaller, its instruction book will get larger.
Asked if perhaps the ever-diminishing size might not have consequences in terms of photographic competence and capability, Elmer replied that only one of their designers, who he identified as Hideo, is a photographer. Hideo originally thought that the best direction might be to start with the excellent base of the GF1 and add photographic capability. Panasonic opted for the opposite approach. "First, in the GF1, we eliminated the superfluous viewfinder," said Elmer. "Now we've eliminated the hot shoe. Some of our more visionary designers are already proposing to eliminate the LCD viewing screen next. And why not? You can't see it outside anyway." He added that Hideo is a good employee and keeps quiet.
If he ever does say anything, Hideo will be assigned to figuring out how to make ink cartridges for inkjet printers hold less ink.
*Satire Alert. This post in no way reflects the views, beliefs, or intentions of Panasonic Corp. or any of its employees named Hideo.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Edward Taylor: "Then there is this—quoted from Engaget: 'We know some of you have been a little disappointed in Panasonic's GF line of Micro Four Thirds cams as they've shed advanced features and become more "consumer friendly"—terrifying words for any serious user to hear. But, we've got some good news, at some point in the future the GF line will split with a more professionally-minded model sold alongside the more simplistic GF3. That's straight from the mouth of Ichiro Kitao, the head of Panasonic's camera division, who spoke to PhotoRadar about the company's plans. When the GF1 will finally get a spiritual successor isn't exactly clear, but we're glad to hear the pocketable Micro Four Thirds series will finally get another serious shooter.'"
Mike replies: Will this happen before or after the pro-level Olympus Micro 4/3 body arrives? Sorry, I'm being cynical again. Can't help it sometimes, though.
Featured Comment by Jim McDermott: "Stop knocking Panasonic and Sony. We all realize the benefits of the truly pocketable camera, or as Mike calls it, the DMD. That magical moment arrives, you plunge your hand into your pocket, whip out the DMD, pause only to blow off the tissue fluff, take a second look, blow off that last, stubborn bit of fluff, switch on the camera, deftly descend through three menus on the touch screen, set the action program, touch back to shoot mode, raise the camera at arm's length to peer into the rear screen (your only option), whack celebrity in face accidentally as you do so, get knocked to the ground by said celebrity's boyfriend, land heavily on DMD, make mental note as you lose consciousness to bring along Gandolfi next time."