My visit to Panasonic’s HQ

When I was in Atlantic City earlier this month teaching at WPPI’s On The Road, I had the killer opportunity to visit Panasonic’s USA HQ in New Jersey. It was such a cool experience for me to see their old facility before they move into their new, state of the art HQ this summer. I was there not only to tour the HQ but also to meet with the Lumix team to talk about the future of photography and what products they have in the works that will make the lives of photographers easier as they transition into hybrid.

While I can’t get into detail about what went on or what I saw I can tell you that what IS planned is just freaken awesome, game-changing stuff. I can also tell you that it’s an honor to be one who’s helping create the future of photography. Panasonic really cares about how photographers use their gear and how as a industry leader they can develop tools to help solve everyday challenges for photographers. It’s super cool to meet with their engineers who want to know what I personally want to see in their future cameras and to be shown how they plan to make those feature requests work.  :-D

High Tech, High Security

Panasonic HQ sign

Even though I get to test out the Lumix prototypes I still had to get special clearance to take any photos on HQ’s property. Panasonic takes their security very seriously which I totally understand. That said it’s impressive that a cutting edge tech company such as Panasonic even allowed me access to their inner sanctum to begin with!

After I made it past the first security post I noticed a Tesla sedan parked out front which Panasonic manufactures batteries for. As a benefit for top performers, Panasonic employees get to borrow the Tesla on weekends!

Tesla, Powered by Panasonic Batteries

Tesla

When I went inside I had to turn off my GH3 and check in all my gear with a second security team. I did wish I was able to take photos of the entrance since it was a Panasonic museum loaded with all their milestone technologies. What I did get to see was the Panasonic archives! The archives was underground a floor or two I think…I kinda got lost in the place, its freaken huge!

Into the Panasonic Lumix Archives

Could the LC1 be inspiration for a future Lumix camera?

Could the LC1 be inspiration for a future Lumix camera?

The Panasonic Lumix archives is just what you’d expect, pretty much every Panasonic camera you could think of in one place. I saw old Super Disk cameras, VHS-C cameras, but what interested me was the LC1. It’s styling is one that is both classic and modern and it has that legendary Leica lens. In fact it was one of the many Lumix cameras to be rebranded by Leica to great success.

Further into the maze of awesome that is Panasonic’s HQ I spent time with their head Lumix engineer Bob inside what I call their tech cave. The tech cave is like a laboratory of camera tech goodness packed with vintage products, current products as well as prototypes. There’s also other stuff in this area of Panasonic like this crazy huge vintage phone! It had to be well over 10lbs but I think it would still work, ya know incase you can’t get service with your iPhone.

Giulio Sciorio at Panasonic HQ

Sorry folks but I had to blur out what’s behind me in this shot.

To my surprise I learned that Panasonic has made a lot of tech for other companies for years and this includes camera gear too.

Don’t be too surprised if you ever find out that your non-Panasonic gear has a bit of Lumix inside.

I did get to see something new that I can talk about now and that is the new Lumix 20mm/1.7 MKII. It’s very similar to the classic, which I own and love, but its refreshed and looks more sleek. If you have the current model keep it but if you want the new body style or if you don’t currently have the 20mm this is the one to get.

The styling on the new 20mm looks similar to the LC1 doesn't it?

The styling on the new 20mm looks similar to the LC1 doesn’t it?

As a gift my friend Tom who heads up Lumix Professional Services, gave me an early GH3 chassis. This trophy of hybrid photography now has a home in my collection. When I look at it I see what was at one time an idea which became a reality which in a way is a metaphor for photography.

It started as an idea and became reality. Kinda like making an image.

It started as an idea and became reality. Kinda like making an image.

Next time I’m invited to the Panasonic HQ it will be in their new facility which I hear is going to be crazy cool. Rest assured that I’ll get as many photos as I can and will report here on Small Camera Big Picture.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Giulio Sciorio

Since 2009, Hybrid Photography pioneer Giulio Sciorio has been blending still + motion & sound with his photography. Giulio is a Lumix Luminary, commercial photographer and founder of SmallCameraBigPicture.com - the resource for everything Hybrid. A portfolio of Giulio’s hybrid work can be found at GiulioSciorio.com.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 Responses to My visit to Panasonic’s HQ

  1. John Pszeniczny July 1, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    The LC1 looks like something from the future even now. That’s great industrial design. I’m looking forward to getting a copy of the 20mm since I don’t own the current one and that’s a big hole in my collection.

    • Giulio Sciorio July 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      You’ll love the 20mm. :-) It’s the M43 version of the nifty fifty.

  2. Rick Green July 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your special experience at Panasonic’s U.S. HQ. It’s great to know they welcome input from working pros like you. I hope they also invite input from those of us who are hobbyist/enthusiasts! I’m glad you got to handle the LC1. I agree with John that the LC1 has a classic form that seems timeless. I’ve kept my Lumix FZ1 for sentimental reasons as my first of many Lumix cameras, and I’m amazed that the FZ1 also has minimalist, functional lines that make it seem fresh today.

    • Giulio Sciorio July 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      Hi Rick,

      believe it or not they do keep track of what is being discussed online so when the engineers notice something that needs improvement via a forum post they take note and get to work.

  3. Chris Leskovsek July 1, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    is that LC1 the new GX2 inspiration?. sounds like it. tell us more G.

    • John Griggs July 1, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Ha ha, Chris! That would be TELLING! Although, I have the same question, lol.

      Fun stuff, Giulio.

      • Chris Leskovsek July 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

        awww c’mon John you know brands love a little bit of “telling”…is free advertising

    • Giulio Sciorio July 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      You’ll have to wait and see Chris. :-) I will tell you though that Panasonic is uber serious about the Lumix system and its pretty rare that any photographic company to allow even this much access to their top secret stuff knowing that it would be put on public display.

      • Chris Leskovsek July 2, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

        looks like it G. only wait now!. dont doubt about their seriousness, i know that as most of my lens collection is lumix stuff. Is just that i dont like their ui and camera design, but thats something personal and have nothing to do with what they do deliver. but i gotta be honest, im really looking forward to this GX2 cam!

  4. Joe Gunawan July 2, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    Wow, how awesome G! I gotta get myself down to New Jersey sometimes, lol! Would love to get a chance to visit the Panasonic HQ. By the way, can you tell us more about that 20mm? Specifically any AF improvements and/or weathersealing?

    - Joe | fotosiamo.com

    • Giulio Sciorio July 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

      I only played with the new 20mm for a few minutes. I totally forgot to ask about weather sealing but I can’t comment on the speed of the AF since I had such limited time. The lens does look very nice cosmetically.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Lumix GX7 Review Part 1 - Tech and Design - Small Camera BIG Picture - August 7, 2013

    […] kinda hinted at the GX7 in a post about my tour of Panasonic’s old HQ in Jersey. Now we can compare that classic LC1 to the Gx7 […]

Leave a Reply