Panasonic Planning a "Very High-End" Micro Four Thirds Camera
Speaking to Amateur Photography (AP) at CP+ 2012, Ichiro Kitao, director of Panasonic's digital stills camera business, revealed that Panasonic is "restructuring the range of products that we offer to include a very high-end model." He asserted that Panasonic is not abandoning the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) standard to create another line of APS-C mirrorless system cameras:
"But we do not need to change our sensor size to do so. It already offers enough space for good resolution, and is actually not much smaller than APS-C anyway."
Kitao did not elaborate, and it's not clear if he's referring to the Panasonic GH3, rumored successor to their current high-end MFT camera the GH2, or a new camera altogether. The GH1 was released in April 2009, with the GH2 following nearly a year and a half later in September 2010. If the time in-between upgrades is any indication, we should be seeing the GH3 soon. Kitao underscored this possibility, as well as hints of possibly another GX model later this year by saying:
"We will define more clearly what GH and GX means this year, so consumers have a better idea of what their characteristics are."
Panasonic also states in the interview with AP that they are focusing on their lenses, and that they "still have a very strong relationship with Leica and we are learning a lot from the company's philosophy, but we are also very good at designing and making lenses ourselves." It seems that future MFT prime lenses from Panasonic will still come with the Leica name, but their zoom lenses will come with the Panasonic X brand.
One interesting reveal from the interview is that one of the reasons Panasonic is focusing on quality and improving their range is the possibility of Canon introducing a mirrorless system camera of their own later this year. Every major camera manufacturer has already introduced a mirrorless system camera except for Canon, and while speculation about a Canon mirrorless system camera has been rife nothing has really been confirmed.
More details about Panasonic's strategy and products can be found over at Amateur Photography's article.