Panasonic patches cameras to block rivals' batteries
DRM-like tech implemented for 'customer safety'
Panasonic has used a firmware update to prevent punters using batteries bought from other suppliers in its digital cameras.
The update, which applies to 16 cameras which between them use three models of Panasonic battery, was posted this week.
The company claimed the move had been made to protect its customers, though some will argue that the protecting profits was the motivation behind the move.
"Panasonic developed this technology after it was discovered that some aftermarket third-party batteries do not meet the rigid safety standards Panasonic uses," the company said.
It stated these are "imitation" battery packs.
"Some of these aftermarket batteries are not equipped with internal protective devices to guard against overcharging, internal heating and short circuit. If these aftermarket battery packs were used, it could lead to an accident causing damage to your camera or personal injury."
That's undoubtedly true, but not in the case of all third-party batteries. Even if that were the case, is it really Panasonic's job to mandate what power packs customers can and can't use? After all, if a third-party battery is used and it does fail the way Panasonic describes, that's a matter for the user and the battery maker, not Panasonic's responsibility.
Buyers could, of course, opt not to apply the firmware update, but in the case of some models, the update's details do not state that the new software has this effect. No, that's mentioned on a separate page.
This page is present on Panasonic's global camera downloads page, but below the announcements for the software updates. Panasonic isn't hiding the information, but it would be easy to overlook, especially if you went straight to the update download page. ®
'I'd be surprised if the EU said anything about this. Nikon have had a similar thing in their cameras since the D200 (about 4 years?)...'
er, dont think so. bought a D90 in december last year and a Jessops spare battery at the same time. only the +, - and ground terminals on each.
*dons tinfoil bowler*
unless thats what they WANT us to think...
fail, because I was looking at a Lumix as a new compact when I dont want to carry a DSLR around... I dont think I will now. cheeky twunts.
I am completely dissapointed that Panasonic - my favorite brand before - starts to do a desperate decisions trying to fix a profits in economic downturn.
This will only dissapoint customers, no profits will be achieved as customers will shift to buying more open solutions.
Simply: Big Mistake. In the nearest firmware release this must be corrected, replacing with the message on starting the camera: "Non approved battery. By using it, you void all the product warranties, and you take all the risks". But no "disable" actions shall be taken.
Its must be up to the customer, if in his car he wants a third-party radio, or the radio from the car manufacturer. This looks like placing a microchip on car radio so engine will not start if radio is not original. Because, you know, non-original low quality radios can cause a fire, burn the car and kill the driver in the flames.
Instead of there nonsense actions, I would better put a press release with all the detailed information about the real accident they say happened with third-party battery: what exactly happened?
Only a matter of time.
That will certainly put me off buying a Panasonic camera for a while as they charge way over the top for their batteries. I'll just wait for the third party battery makers to clone the chip.
I use a Canon EOS; and while it has a funny-shaped battery pack, you can buy (from Canon) a "holder" of the same shape which uses 4xAA batteries.
I don't get this.
Is it possible to back out this "upgrade", or install an older version of the firmware?