Panasonic has no imminent plans to join the 8K video arms race, believing that there "is not enough" demand for the technology in the consumer marketplace at the moment.
This comes after reports in March that the long-awaited successor to the Panasonic Lumix S1H might feature a 50MP sensor and 8K capability – but the manufacturer appears to have stamped out those rumors in no uncertain terms.
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A panel of Panasonic executives fielded questions at the recent Photo & Imaging 2023 event in China, including Kentaro Tamaki – director of the global marketing for the imaging division.
Among the questions asked were about Panasonic's video strategy, with journalists noting that other manufacturers had pivoted towards video and 8K in particular. The panel's response was unexpected, if not unsurprising.
"The current popularity of 8K in the consumer market is not enough, it will be released later," reported Chinese outlet Camera Beta.
It's the latest in a series of 8K pregnant pauses from Panasonic, dating all the way back to 2017 when it teased 8K technology for the first time. While it promised a professional 8K camera for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in 2019 it noted that a consumer 8K camera wouldn't come until 2022.
Obviously, it didn't – which left the field wide open for the Canon EOS R5 and R5 C, the Sony A1 and the Nikon Z8 and Z9. Yet Panasonic feels that the overall 8K ecosystem is not sufficiently popular to warrant investment in the tech.
"Panasonic said that it cannot yet disclose when it will launch 8K, but Panasonic also expressed its opinion that in the current consumer field, such as TVs, it has not yet reached the stage of 8K popularity," reads a story on Beijing Worth Buying.
"So in technology development terms, the priority of 8K video is not that high, because in Panasonic's view, 6K and 6K super-sampling to 4K, multi-ratio video specifications that support multiple social media, etc. are more important."
It's a valid argument, as the market probably doesn't demand 8K cameras just yet. However, given that it already has 8K, it could be argued that the 3-year-old Canon EOS R5 is more future-proof a 2023 update of the Lumix S1H without 8K.
It will be fascinating to see when Panasonic does think the market is ready…