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Old Feb 17, 2004, 5:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Panasonic
Before this conversation evolves into a collection of opinions, let me make this brief statement.

The decision to sell the upgrade in Japan, and the current situation where itís not available to U.S. customers has nothing to do with PR or poor PR. There are factors that are delaying the release of the firmware outside Japan.

At this time I can only comment that we are aware of the situation and itís not a case of ignoring our customerís. Installing the new firmware in your FZ1 is definitely not advised.

As more information is obtained, Iíll be sure to share it with all of you as Iím permitted to.
Would these factors have anything to do with the impending release of the FZ2 in North America...maybe even the USA? If so, then it is a PR issue because Panasonic (the company not the Bob) is alienating its original FZ1 customers by making them buy an entirely new camera to get FZ2 features when Japanese FZ1 owners get the $50 upgrade option.

From a customer's point of view, there is no reason to not release this upgrade worldwide (at least wherever the FZ1 has been distributed) if Panasonic is going to release it in Japan. The PR problem is that Panasonic doesn't seem to realize that with the internet being available to so many households, the planet Earth is now one market...not many individual ones. I'm not talking about the mumbo jumbo legalese -- I'm speaking from a customer point of view. If it's released in Japan, it should be released everywhere...

...unless there's something wrong with the upgrade? If that's the case, then it's still a PR issue because it should've never been released anywhere if it's problematic -- that means it wasn't tested properly.

You have to understand that opinion and speculation is all we customers have to resort to if Panasonic (again, the company not the Bob) continues with strange or non-existent PR, marketing, distribution, etc. strategies.

Love the cameras...I really do, but the company is driving me nuts.
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Old Feb 17, 2004, 5:52 PM   #12
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I'm not aware of any plans to offer one for the FZ10. I'm really sorry you and others were not able to be at the PMA show. We had about 75 photos, as large as 16x20 that show no signs of excessive compression. JPG files @ 1.5 MB are hardly "excessive compression.

Most of the photos were shot by Bruce Dale and we had hundreds of people that were amazed how clean the prints were.
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Old Feb 17, 2004, 6:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
The decision to sell the upgrade in Japan, and the current situation where itís not available to U.S. customers has nothing to do with PR or poor PR.
I meant that the decision has resulted in bad PR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
Installing the new firmware in your FZ1 is definitely not advised.
Bob, could you please clarify that?

Are you saying that installing the upgrade in any FZ1 (even Japanese models) is not recommended or are you referring to cameras that were not purchased in Japan?
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Old Feb 17, 2004, 7:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
I'm not aware of any plans to offer one for the FZ10. I'm really sorry you and others were not able to be at the PMA show. We had about 75 photos, as large as 16x20 that show no signs of excessive compression. JPG files @ 1.5 MB are hardly "excessive compression.

Most of the photos were shot by Bruce Dale and we had hundreds of people that were amazed how clean the prints were.
I wish I could have been at PMA too

Bob, I have an Olympus D40Z which is a 4MP compact camera that fits in my pocket. The files it produces can be over 2.5MB in size because they arenít compressed as tightly as the FZ10, and they are noticeably sharper, provide more detail and have less noise than the FZ10. I am convinced that the lack of detail in the FZ10 is because of the heavy compression employed. I still like the camera, but I'm certain that the pictures would look better if they were allowed some "breathing room". Itís just a fact that the more an image is compressed, the worse it will look. Didnít they add another level of compression to the FZ1/2 for this very reason? Someone must have thought the pictures would look better.
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Old Feb 17, 2004, 7:59 PM   #15
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I suspect that the engineers were also considering the available SD media at the time. Up until very recently, you could only get SD cards up to 512mb. At 2.5mb per image...well, everyone can do their own math, but that wouldn't allow much on the maximum SD card.

The same thing happened to the Sony Mavica floppy disk based cameras. Sony (and their customers) wanted to stick with the floppy well beyond its real useful life, and because of that Sony had to compress the heck out of their images on their later Mavicas, even though they were as high as 2mp cameras. One of the later models would compress the image differently if it was stored on a Sony Memory Stick versus a floppy (it could take either), so that was a move in the right direction.

All that being said, it should be up to the photographer if they want to get more or less pictures on a media card...even if it's just one great, big huge TIFF file! It shouldn't be too difficult for the engineers to have three or four different compression settings instead of just two. I mean, it might be difficult to do that now that the camera has reached production, but would've been rather easy to do during the research/design stages (one would think).
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Old Feb 17, 2004, 8:23 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by EffZeeOne
I suspect that the engineers were also considering the available SD media at the time. Up until very recently, you could only get SD cards up to 512mb. At 2.5mb per image...well, everyone can do their own math, but that wouldn't allow much on the maximum SD card.
Actually, my Olympus uses Smartmedia cards which will never be larger than 128MB and the camera is capable of shooting TIFF images at 11MB each. A 512MB SD would hold a lot of 2.5MB JPEGs, somewhere around 200.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EffZeeOne
All that being said, it should be up to the photographer if they want to get more or less pictures on a media card...even if it's just one great, big huge TIFF file! It shouldn't be too difficult for the engineers to have three or four different compression settings instead of just two. I mean, it might be difficult to do that now that the camera has reached production, but would've been rather easy to do during the research/design stages (one would think).
Agreed!
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Old Feb 18, 2004, 8:32 AM   #17
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"Bob, I have an Olympus D40Z which is a 4MP compact camera that fits in my pocket. The files it produces can be over 2.5MB in size because they arenít compressed as tightly as the FZ10, and they are noticeably sharper, provide more detail and have less noise than the FZ10."

<RESPONSE>
File size alone is not an accurate indication of quality. The type of compression used will determine the amont of artifacts. Let me illustrate one situation. During the late summer I was atop a small mountain here in New Jersey. While testing the FZ10 I shot some photos of Paterson NJ, the downtown area at the full 12X. I printed the image of what was over one file away. The print was 12" x 18" In the photo there are stores that measure less tha 1/4" EVERY sign, every car is razor sharp and within the entire photo there is absolutely no sign of any artifacting. I have about 20 such prints, each the same. BTW, these were printed at the local Costco / PriceClub so we aren't talking about any special printing conditions.


"I am convinced that the lack of detail in the FZ10 is because of the heavy compression employed."

<RESPONSE>
If anyone is in New Jersey, or will be, I'd enjoy showing them my work and I'd like them to say there is a lack of detail in any of them. I really believe that some of what is being discussed is the result of printing. The offer stands if anyone is interested.


I still like the camera, but I'm certain that the pictures would look better if they were allowed some "breathing room". Itís just a fact that the more an image is compressed, the worse it will look. Didnít they add another level of compression to the FZ1/2 for this very reason? Someone must have thought the pictures would look better.

No.. The FZ2 added aperture / shutter priority. No compression addition. Another possibility is that some of you may be cropping during printing. Doing so effectively reduces the overall pixel count. Crop in the viewfinder, not in the printing. Here again, Bruce Dale had some stunning examples of 11x14's shot on the FZ1. Absolutely NO artifacting.
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Old Feb 18, 2004, 8:49 AM   #18
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Would these factors have anything to do with the impending release of the FZ2 in North America...maybe even the USA? If so, then it is a PR issue because Panasonic (the company not the Bob) is alienating its original FZ1 customers by making them buy an entirely new camera to get FZ2 features when Japanese FZ1 owners get the $50 upgrade option.

<RESPONSE>
No, nothing to do with it.
As I've explained, each Sales region of our company has the choice to makes decisions based on their respective markets. What is done in Asia or Europe may not occur in the U.S. Here on the Internet the "community" is as you say "one." But in the corporate world we are not selling to this one unified sales territory; each individual pice of the company must determine what its region can support.


From a customer's point of view, there is no reason to not release this upgrade worldwide (at least wherever the FZ1 has been distributed) if Panasonic is going to release it in Japan. The PR problem is that Panasonic doesn't seem to realize that with the internet being available to so many households, the planet Earth is now one market...not many individual ones. I'm not talking about the mumbo jumbo legalese -- I'm speaking from a customer point of view. If it's released in Japan, it should be released everywhere...

<RESPONSE>
I can understand how the customer might conclude that, but the reality of the situation is that situations or conditions that apply in one country may not apply in another part of the world.


You have to understand that opinion and speculation is all we customers have to resort to if Panasonic (again, the company not the Bob) continues with strange or non-existent PR, marketing, distribution, etc. strategies.

<RESPONSE>
In a sense, you've answer your own question...
It's the opinions and speculations, that are often incorrect, which fuel these debates. The speculations morph into "fact" and before you know it the "experts" have formed their own conclusions.

The reality of such situations is that before any changes or additions can be made to a product, several branches of the company must agree on it. The approval process would include Legal, Sales, Marketing, Service and Engineering participationl. This applies to any large company.

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Old Feb 18, 2004, 8:57 AM   #19
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[quote="EffZeeOne"]I suspect that the engineers were also considering the available SD media at the time. Up until very recently, you could only get SD cards up to 512mb. At 2.5mb per image...well, everyone can do their own math, but that wouldn't allow much on the maximum SD card.

<RESPONSE>
Nothing to do with it. Hypothetically, one could also conclude that larger images would sell more SD cards.


All that being said, it should be up to the photographer if they want to get more or less pictures on a media card...even if it's just one great, big huge TIFF file!

The customer doesn't decide the design of the camera, but the market can influence it. That might be true if the "customer" was buying 5000-10000 pieces per month.


It shouldn't be too difficult for the engineers to have three or four different compression settings instead of just two. I mean, it might be difficult to do that now that the camera has reached production, but would've been rather easy to do during the research/design stages (one would think).

Yes, one could conclude that, but the reality is that it's a very time consuming process that is very costly. After ANY change is made the entire prodct must be retested. It must meet the approval of several departments. Add up the man hours and the cost - big bucks! Easy to suggest, but most people have no concept what's involved.
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Old Feb 18, 2004, 9:30 AM   #20
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Quote:
Would these factors have anything to do with the impending release of the FZ2 in North America...maybe even the USA? If so, then it is a PR issue because Panasonic (the company not the Bob) is alienating its original FZ1 customers by making them buy an entirely new camera to get FZ2 features when Japanese FZ1 owners get the $50 upgrade option.

<RESPONSE>
No, nothing to do with it.
As I've explained, each Sales region of our company has the choice to makes decisions based on their respective markets. What is done in Asia or Europe may not occur in the U.S. Here on the Internet the "community" is as you say "one." But in the corporate world we are not selling to this one unified sales territory; each individual pice of the company must determine what its region can support.
When I can buy a Panasonic product that is "only released in Japan" via the internet, you are dealing with one world market. If Panasonic is not considering this in this day and age, then they need to re-shuffle/organize their worldwide corporate structure, because that's the way the current market is. It's like Panasonic is stubbornly insisting on operating in individual, pocketed markets instead of waking up to reality. I think the problem here is that Panasonic's cameras are the first Panasonic product that a worldwide audience is really salivating to get their hands on. There are a variety of similar choices in VCRs, DVDs, TVs, video cameras, shavers, back massagers, and all the other products that Panasonic manufactures. I'm not going to go to a lot of trouble to track down a Panasonic shaver in a German store because I just HAVE to have that shaver, but I would do that for a digital camera that had features no other camera has. I think Panasonic is making a big mistake by not reconsidering their marketing strategies for their digicam division.

Quote:
From a customer's point of view, there is no reason to not release this upgrade worldwide (at least wherever the FZ1 has been distributed) if Panasonic is going to release it in Japan. The PR problem is that Panasonic doesn't seem to realize that with the internet being available to so many households, the planet Earth is now one market...not many individual ones. I'm not talking about the mumbo jumbo legalese -- I'm speaking from a customer point of view. If it's released in Japan, it should be released everywhere...

<RESPONSE>
I can understand how the customer might conclude that, but the reality of the situation is that situations or conditions that apply in one country may not apply in another part of the world.
If the same camera can be distributed to different parts of the world, then the same upgrade can be. There's really no excuse for not doing this. I was perfectly fine with Panasonic not distributing the FZ2 to the USA. That is an acceptable marketing decision. But to market the FZ1 in so many places, and then not provide the upgrade, or (for example) a custom fit case, a teleconverter, etc. That's just bad marketing decisions -- ones that do not make sense and ones that are alienating their US customers.

Quote:
You have to understand that opinion and speculation is all we customers have to resort to if Panasonic (again, the company not the Bob) continues with strange or non-existent PR, marketing, distribution, etc. strategies.

<RESPONSE>
In a sense, you've answer your own question...
It's the opinions and speculations, that are often incorrect, which fuel these debates. The speculations morph into "fact" and before you know it the "experts" have formed their own conclusions.

The reality of such situations is that before any changes or additions can be made to a product, several branches of the company must agree on it. The approval process would include Legal, Sales, Marketing, Service and Engineering participationl. This applies to any large company.
I think you missed my point -- communication is what is important. If a customer doesn't understand what a company is doing with a particularly favored product, they're going to back off and most likely not buy that product. I love my FZ1 and do not really regret buying it, but I am a little tired of all the secrecy and weird marketing strategies of Panasonic -- it makes it very difficult for me to make accurate and logical decisions on future upgrade paths and purchases, which at least partially makes me want to steer clear of Panasonic products until they do come out with better communication on the particular product(s). For example, I bought a FZ1 because I liked the camera. However, had I known that the FZ10 was coming out so soon, I probably would've waited. At the time that the FZ10 (was also referred to as FZ3) was rumored, it was also stated (via Panasonic USA Support) that the FZ10 wouldn't be coming to the US (as they knew nothing about that camera), just like the FZ2 didn't. Again, I couldn't get enough information from Panasonic to make a better informed decision.
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