Panasonic & m4/3 - where are they headed?

A thread has been started here:- http://www.flickr.com/groups/lumixlovers/discuss/72157625405830370/ by one of my friends from the flickr site. My response is quoted below.



"I am also concerned about the direction that Panasonic seem to be headed towards. The system with its well-specified cameras attracts all sorts of users and it is possible to use m4/3 for a variety of purposes and at a number of different levels. 


Those of us that use the cameras to earn our living are always looking for high quality lenses. While the 14mm, 20mm and 45mm are appreciated it seems a pity that I have to look elsewhere for my really fast primes. My recent purchases, the Voigtlander 25mm f0.95, 35mm f1.4 and 75mm f1.8 do an excellent job with my GH1 & GF1, but they are all manual focus lenses and for many situations AF is required. 


I realise that the system is only just over two years old, and in many ways still developing, but I was surprised that  fisheye and 3-D lenses were given priority over a fast wide-angle prime or fast portrait lens.


I was also surprised that the GF2 wasn't the upgraded GF1 that I was expecting, but a camera aimed at a different market. The GF1 is now a "orphaned" camera and seemingly abandoned in favour of a super compact. 


By starting the m4/3 system in the first place, with its interchangeable lenses and high specification, Panasonic raised expectations as to what the system could provide. Many of us championed its use and praised its virtues. We would like to see a continuation of that development and promise with the addition of lenses that take advantage of those virtues and take the system forward. 


There's no objection here to cameras like the GF2, but I'm certainly not alone in feeling that it should have been a different product line, with a different evolution. With the GH2 Panasonic have clearly shown that they can challenge the DSLR and many of us who are tired of carrying around heavy and bulky systems are encouraged by this. 


When m4/3 first appeared I saw a high-end, quality orientated system that could provide a very real alternative to the DSLR, for beginners, enthusiasts and professionals alike. I hope that there isn't a lowest common denominator approach beginning to surface in the face of competition from elsewhere. Panasonic held the high ground here and it is to be hoped that they don't abandon it in favour of what they see as a more populist approach, and loose many of the people who were so enthusiastic about the system in the first place, along the way."