Watch Out For Panasonic's Proprietary Battery Cameras

Many of Panasonic’s cameras will only work with official Panasonic batteries—the newest models require “an embedded security ID chip,” while older models have been issued a firmware upgrade that locks out third-party vendors. This is already pretty obnoxious, but what makes it even worse is Panasonic can’t keep up with demand, so the batteries they insist you buy for your camera aren’t available.

James writes,

New consumer digital cameras introduced by Panasonic in 2009 have been disabled to require the use of Panasonic original batteries with an embedded security ID chip. The problem? Panasonic cannot supply batteries! Third-party batteries (at a cost of $10-20) no longer work.

Panasonic brand batteries ($40 to $80) with the security chip have never been available from Panasonic or anyone else. Users have only the battery supplied with the camera, and when it’s depleted you are done taking photos for the day. In an effort to sell over-priced batteries that they are unable to supply, Panasonic has crippled a line of fine, expensive cameras ($300 – $1,200 retail). The situation has existed for months and involves sixteen of their latest cameras.

Today, three new cameras were introduced and each will work only with the unavailable Panasonic batteries. While Panasonic frames their decision as a safety issue, the lack of any batteries from any source [see the B&H, Panasonic, and Crutchfield websites for examples] clearly indicates this is a failed marketing ploy.

Panasonic issues firmware update for existing cameras that prevents use of less expensive 3rd party batteries
Panasonic claims battery change is a “safety issue”
Panasonic locks down sixteen camera models