Panasonic Australia is calling on the specialist camera retailers to support the launch of its new GX7 compact system camera by up-selling consumers from compact and entry-level system cameras and cross-selling the body with lenses from Panasonic’s increasingly broad lens range.

Launched globally overnight, the GX7 is a Micro Four-Thirds model that will join the brand’s Lumix G range and will sit under the GH3 as Panasonic’s second-to-premium interchangeable model.

It’s availability in both a traditional black shade and a two-toned black and silver unit emphasises Panasonic’s push into the street photography space with this model, and more direct competition with Olympus’ very successful retro-modern PEN cameras.

Alistair Robins, group manager – marketing, at Panasonic Australia said retailers need to match the GX7 to the right customer.

“Our message to retailers is to make sure you are selling the GX7 to the right customer,” Robins said. “It has a small body and a lightweight lens. If a customer comes in wanting to buy a DSLR, they might be going on a once in a lifetime holiday — with a lighter system they can take much better images than a compact and images that are just as good as a entry-level DSLR, but without the bulk.”

Robins continued to say the GX7 should also appeal to professionals and enthusiasts as ‘another’ camera that they can shoot with, in addition to their primary kit.

Panasonic Australia sources have confirmed to Digital Retailer that the GX7 will be sold primarily through the specialist channel: Paxton’s, Ted’s, Camera House and Michaels, for example. The sales and marketing team from the local office will be running state-based training sessions for floor staff in the lead-up to the mid-September on-sale date.

Available for RRP $1,249 for the body only, or in one of the three different lens kit bundles, the GX7 hits the sweet spot in system cameras: 17.1 per cent of all sales in the category occur in the $1,000 to $1,500 price bracket, according to figures cited by Panasonic Asia Pacific MD, consumer marketing Junichiro Kitagawa.

This is the single biggest price band in the system camera market, which has seen a continuous incursion of compact system (also known as mirrorless) cameras, to the point now where these smaller, lighter and cheaper units make up 30 per cent of all sales.

Although there have been downtrends in the total camera market, primarily because smartphones and tablets are cannibalising the entry level compact market, there is encouragement for the industry: the growth in sales in the $1,000-plus band has not come from down-trading DSLR customers but from up-trading cheaper purchases.

The $600-to-$800 camera category has collapsed, Kitagawa said, from 45.8 per cent of the market to only 22.7 per cent. If Panasonic can continue to capture this market as it moves up to higher performing cameras, it can realise its company goal to have at least 25 per cent of the mirrorless market share and to be number one overall.

Panasonic Lumix DMX-GX7.