Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Panasonic L10 officially announced in Japan

The Panasonic L10 has already been announced by Panasonic, but today they have officially announced it in the DSLR motherland, Japan. One of the reasons we look forward to these announcements is because some of the camera companies reveal their monthly production outputs. These can tell us how big the intended market for the camera is. For example, if a camera is produced at 5000/month it should not be seen the same way market/price-wise as a mass market camera at 100000 units/month.

As always, digitalcamera.jp is a great page to visit for that. There we learn that the L10 kit (with 14-150 14-50 Leicasonic lens) will go on sale in late October for 150000 Yen, while the L10 body only will go on sale in late November for 100000 yen. The initial monthly production output according to Panasonic Japan is 5000 units per month for the L10 kit and 2000 units per month for the body only L10.

As far as the two lenses announced in Japan, the Leica 14-150 f3.8-5.6 (product name L-RS014150) and the Leica 14-50 f3.8-5.6 (product name L-RS014050) will have an initial monthly production output of just 500 units per month for each lens. Yes, just 500 units. The 14-150 lens will MSRP for 170000 yen, while the 14-50 will MSRP for 100000 yen.

Panasonic is sending the buyers a clear message. Want the 14-150 lens? Buy the L10 Kit! The combined monthly output of 7,000 L10 units shows that Panasonic has moved to the next stage from the production outputs of the LC-1 and L1 but they are still limited supply cameras. This was expected when we saw the price of the L10. This is not a camera designed to outsell any other camera out there. It is simply an alternative option for those who like it (or the Leica lenses). And because of this, Panasonic thinks they can charge a premium. This is in stark contrast to the Nikon D300 for example that is produced at 60,000 units per month. The L10 is produced at the monthly production rate of a flagship/pro DSLR, even though it obviously isn't the same as a Nikon D3 or Canon 1D/1Ds.

In the first press release, Panasonic Japan prints estimates for the overall Japanese digital camera market. The DSLR market was 550,000 units in 2005, 800,000 units in 2006, and estimated at 1 million units in 2007. The overall digital camera market was 8.7 million in 2005, 9.9 million in 2006 and estimated at 11 million in 2007. As you can guess from these numbers, they are referring to the overall Japanese market only.

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