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Old Mar 4, 2004, 11:13 AM   #11
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Default A few parting general comments ...

Bob,

As I said, I don't want to rekindle this entire debate so I won't address each of your posts point by point, I just want to make the following concluding comments:

People on forums like this one are potentially either the best friends or the worst enemies that Panasonic has. We are the photo enthusiasts whom many other people approach for advice. To the extent that we are "happy" with Panasonic, and the way it is responding to us, we will recommend Pansonic products, to the extent we feel that we're being "blown off" (even if that isn't factually true) we won't.

My read is that for a company like Pansonic, which isn't as widely known in the digicam field as Canon, Sony, Olympus or Kodak, this is a REALLY big deal. Your "average" digicam consumer probably isn't going to go to a photography store and plunk down $500+ for an FZ-10 unless someone like a user on this forum recommends that he or she do so. He or she will probably end up buying a $200-300 digicam at Walmart, Best Buy or Office Max.

Moreover, as far as we ourselves are concerned, how willing Panasonic is to address our concerns will determine how likely we are to purchase future Panasonic products. To make it personal, when I go to purchase my next digicam I will compare features and price, I will then carefully read about what faults each model has and make a short list of "leading contenders". If I see that one company is willing to work to correct its faults (say by releasing firmware upgrades) while another company is not, that will heavily influence my decision regarding which camera to buy. Now I understand that certain faults CAN'T be corrected, or they cost too much to correct, or even that certain things that I consider faults may not be considered faults by others. However, I would like to suggest that it's probably a VERY bad idea to tell me that something that IS being corrected in another market is in fact, not a fault, or that my concern isn't important and that I shouldn't worry about it.

In sum, I think that most of us here are happy to do what we can to help promote and improve Panasonic products. We appreciate your participation in these discussions and look forward to positive, constructive exchanges in the future.

Regards,

Chris
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Old Mar 4, 2004, 10:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
Any modification, feature set upgrade or firmware change requires us to repeat the entire product evaluation and certification. Itís a very time consuming process not to mention costly when you consider the man hours. For anyone who has not worked in the consumer electronics industry, comprehending all of this is next to impossible.
Haven't there already been multiple updates to the firmware? I have 1.05 on mine, I've seen lower releases as well. And that doesn't include the sub versions. I've never worked in the electronics industry, but I used to be a manager at a little computer company. Perhaps you've heard of them...IBM. I'm very familiar as to what goes into debugging and upgrading software. I am also aware that there are teams who do nothing but. So I find it hard to believe that once something as small as a firmware code is written, that it would be that hard to modify the code. Without the 12x Lecia lens, the FZ10 would have been just another bottom feeder in Panasonicís digital camera range. Thatís because no one considers Panasonic to be a respected name in digital photography. Some sites wonít even review Panasonic cameras because they feel that they are sub-standard. If Panasonic wants to be considered a real contender in the digital camera market, they will need more than a lens to match the likes of Canon, Nikon and Olympus. I know you feel it's your job to defend Panasonics decisions, but think about this, Panasonic doesn't pay your bills, we do. All in all, I still appreciate your taking the time to discuss these issues with us.
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Old Mar 5, 2004, 8:43 AM   #13
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1.05 is the only version I'm aware of in the U.S. and it's what we are currently shipping. There were earlier versions but these were all pre production.
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Old Mar 7, 2004, 10:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
You misunderstood, what I was trying to explain. Our participation begins when the first working sample is made, not during development.
Ergo, we are barking up the wrong tree.

So here's the question that needs to be asked:

Let's say that there is a group of current and potential customers that would really like to see a certain feature, either in an upcoming product or in an upgrade to an existing one ("Really" meaning: would buy it and proactively recommend it to others).

What would be the best and most reliable way to pass this message to those that can influence the development decisions in Panasonic Japan?

You have said several time that Panasonic does not ignore their customers so who should we, as cutomers, contact with our feedback?
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Old Mar 8, 2004, 11:28 AM   #15
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Hi Alex,
OK, this is an easy one.
Several times a week I exercise the "cut and paste" feature of Windows to compile a list of comments, suggestions and complaints found in several discussion forums. These are shared with several "key" people within the company, both here and abroad. To answer your question, "right here" is the place to download your comments.

As I've explained, one of my purposes is to gather direct public feedback. Please don't think that all of you who take the time to voice your opinions and suggesions are doing so in vain - you're not. But in realizing this, also understand that just because 10 people suggest the same thing, that in itself will not transform the suggestion into reality.

Here's a simplified flow of data - it's not the exact process we use and many steps have been left out.

Such ideas are sent for consideration. The source from which it was obtained is noted as is the country of origin. This is one reason why it's more meaningful for me to be on a North American based forum (as in Steves vs DP Review). Sources of input would include, but not be limited to, on line forums, letters to our call center, and trade shows.

When a common issue starts showing up from multiple regions we obviously know that it's worth considering or in the case of a problem it requires immediate attention.

A list of suggested features is compiled for the next generation. Along the design process the list is comapred against a working budget and the selection process begins.

As you can see, before it gets to that stage many things have to happen, and they have to happen in several markets.
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Old Mar 8, 2004, 11:49 AM   #16
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Not owning an FZ10, yet, I'm guessing my opinion won't really count for much, but two digital camera magazines have recently reviewed the FZ10 here in the UK. One magazine gave it the Editor's Choice for that month, the other marked it a bit more harshly. One comment common to both reviews was the view that the lack of a RAW image capability hampered the capabilities of the rest of the camera, this was partly involved in the more harsh review's marking down of the camera on its features. Most other negative aspects of the reviews can be put down to personal preference, things like not liking a particular finish to the camera, or finding the right-grip to be uncomfortable (either too small, or too square). Thankfully, none of these problems has put me off the FZ10, I still plan to buy one, once I can find it in enough UK online stores to do some comparions (the only "UK" site I've seen carrying it so far is Panasonic's own online store). I'll most likely be more than happy with the JPEG format, for the time being, as I'll be moving from a 2 megapixel camera.
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Old Mar 8, 2004, 3:19 PM   #17
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I'd agree that it would have been nice to have RAW, but as we know it doesn't.

I believe a more objective way to write a product review is to rate the performance of each feature a product does offers. In the conclusion, note that it would have been nice if the product had the following features, though a lack of any one feature should not significantly skew the results.

Lately, several reviews I've read seem to rate the product against the reviewers expectations and not necessarily on just the performance. The significance of this is that a feature that's important to one person may not be to the next. But, if you consider the varied opinions you can find on any given product, it should be obvious that any review is only the starting point to making your final decision.
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Old Mar 8, 2004, 9:15 PM   #18
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Which magazines are you refering to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YenRug
Not owning an FZ10, yet, I'm guessing my opinion won't really count for much, but two digital camera magazines have recently reviewed the FZ10 here in the UK. One magazine gave it the Editor's Choice for that month, the other marked it a bit more harshly. One comment common to both reviews was the view that the lack of a RAW image capability hampered the capabilities of the rest of the camera, this was partly involved in the more harsh review's marking down of the camera on its features. Most other negative aspects of the reviews can be put down to personal preference, things like not liking a particular finish to the camera, or finding the right-grip to be uncomfortable (either too small, or too square). Thankfully, none of these problems has put me off the FZ10, I still plan to buy one, once I can find it in enough UK online stores to do some comparions (the only "UK" site I've seen carrying it so far is Panasonic's own online store). I'll most likely be more than happy with the JPEG format, for the time being, as I'll be moving from a 2 megapixel camera.
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Old Mar 8, 2004, 9:47 PM   #19
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So why in the heck didnít you say that in the first place Bob? Are you saying this now just to pacify us, or have you actually succumbing to our line of reasoning? Do you even realize the conflicts that could have been avoided had you said this in the first place? Look, no one wants Panasonic (or brand X for that matter), cameras to perform better than the people who have spent their hard earned money on them. Thatís why we have been trying to suggest ways of improving our cameras, while you have been defending PanasonicĎs decision to do things the way they did. Nearly everything we have suggested can be done with a firmware upgrade, just like was done for the FZ1 in Japan. The participation in this particular forum may be small, but there are hundreds of people through the web who desire the same improvements, and perhaps thousands who do not participate in these groups. As I've pointed out from the start, and has since been confirmed in nearly every single review I've read, both domestic and abroad, the FZ10 needs a higher capture quality level. I sincerely hope your change of heart is not just to silence the masses.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
Hi Alex,
OK, this is an easy one.
Several times a week I exercise the "cut and paste" feature of Windows to compile a list of comments, suggestions and complaints found in several discussion forums. These are shared with several "key" people within the company, both here and abroad. To answer your question, "right here" is the place to download your comments.

As I've explained, one of my purposes is to gather direct public feedback. Please don't think that all of you who take the time to voice your opinions and suggesions are doing so in vain - you're not. But in realizing this, also understand that just because 10 people suggest the same thing, that in itself will not transform the suggestion into reality.

Here's a simplified flow of data - it's not the exact process we use and many steps have been left out.

Such ideas are sent for consideration. The source from which it was obtained is noted as is the country of origin. This is one reason why it's more meaningful for me to be on a North American based forum (as in Steves vs DP Review). Sources of input would include, but not be limited to, on line forums, letters to our call center, and trade shows.

When a common issue starts showing up from multiple regions we obviously know that it's worth considering or in the case of a problem it requires immediate attention.

A list of suggested features is compiled for the next generation. Along the design process the list is comapred against a working budget and the selection process begins.

As you can see, before it gets to that stage many things have to happen, and they have to happen in several markets.
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Old Mar 8, 2004, 10:45 PM   #20
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> Hi Alex,

Hello Bob,

> Several times a week I exercise the "cut and paste" feature of
> Windows to compile a list of comments, suggestions and
> complaints found in several discussion forums. These are shared
> with several "key" people within the company, both here and
> abroad. To answer your question, "right here" is the place to
> download your comments.

While I appreciate your work, there are a couple of problems with the process. Nothing that cannot be easily fixed but still...

The number of suggestions on this forum is huge. We have no idea which ones you pass on and which you filter out. Plus, we never get any feedback. No "interesting idea, we'll consider it", no "in your dreams", not even "thank you for participating".

It would really help if you could do some of the following:

1. Deliver a message to Panasonic Japan. Perhaps there should be some minimum amount of "signatures" on the letter for it to carry any weight but hey, this forum supports polls!

2. Tell us which ideas you already passed to Panasonic Japan. That way we can avoid beating dead horses.

3. Tell us whether the response to each idea was positive, neutral, negative or none at all.

> As I've explained, one of my purposes is to gather direct public
> feedback. Please don't think that all of you who take the time to
> voice your opinions and suggesions are doing so in vain - you're
> not. But in realizing this, also understand that just because 10
> people suggest the same thing, that in itself will not transform
> the suggestion into reality.

The problem is that, so far, we have no idea whether our suggestions even reached the people who can transform them into reality.

> Such ideas are sent for consideration. The source from which it
> was obtained is noted as is the country of origin.

If I make a suggestion on this forum, what is the country of origin?
Incidently, I reside in Canada.

> This is one reason why it's more meaningful for me to be on a
> North American based forum (as in Steves vs DP Review).

Bob, I really don't understand this. What difference does the physical location of the server (or, for that matter, the forum administrator) make? The Internet is global.

But you know what? Let's play with numbers just for fun.
Steve's Digicams generates half a milion impressions per months. DPReview generates about 60 millions impressions per months.
If we look at DPReview's statistics (same link), we'll see that about 60.9% of the sessions come from the US, 6.7% from Canada and only 5.6% from the UK (2001 figures but I doubt that the ratios changed much). So DPReview is only nominally "UK based" and most likely has more US visitors than this site.

Best wishes,
Alex.
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