Panasonic Photo Contest Restricts Entries to Lumix S9, 26mm f/8, and In-Camera JPEG

A collage of various photos with centerpiece text reading "S9 PHOTO CONTEST '24" and a subtext "26mmで切り取るあなたの世界." The images depict flowers, a cat statue, abstract art, architectural elements, a bowl of green treats, ceramics, and a hand holding a phone.

Panasonic is holding a Japanese photo competition over the next few months with a very specific set of rules: images must be captured only with the Lumix S9 and the 26mm f/8 lens and images have to be shot in JPEG in-camera; no RAW processing is allowed.

While the camera and its launch ended up being quite controversial, the Lumix S9 brought with it a new “LUT” button that took the film simulation concept that Fujifilm has used with great success for years and expanded upon it. What most would probably call filters, Panasonic referred to as a Real Time LUT (Look-Up Table) and built an app-based system that encouraged photographers to build their own LUT recipes.

The ongoing photo contest, which is being hosted by Panasonic Japan, leans heavily into the in-camera system and requires all photos submitted to be straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured with the S9 and the 26mm f/8 lens.

“To celebrate the release of the Lumix S9 and Lumix S 26mm f/8, we are holding a photo contest,” Panasonic Japan writes on X, formerly known as Twitter. “During the period, well-known creators from various genres will judge and award works every month. Please enjoy taking photos with a small and lightweight camera body and lens combination… We have prepared a total prize of one million yen and look forward to your applications.”

The photo competition is titled “Your World Captured in 26mm” and will run from July 1 through October 24, 2024. Awards will be announced every month starting in August and continuing until December. The grand prize is 100,000 yen (about $620) of which there will be five winners, the “Excellence” prize is 30,000 yen (about $185) for 10 winners, and the Honorable Mention prize is 10,000 yen (about $62) for 20 winners. Winners will be selected by two Japanese photographers, a fashion designer, an art director, and an interior designer.

In order to enter, photographers must purchase an S9, must be a resident of Japan, and must agree to all application requirements. Panasonic is accepting entries only through X and the hashtag “#lumixs9photocontest” so it is not clear how the company plans to check if the photo was taken as a JPEG and did not have any RAW processing.

The LUT system felt like a risk when it was first announced and its success is hinged on the company’s continued support of it. While the competition is restricted to Japan, it does show that Panasonic is committed to its Real Time LUTs.

Image credits: Panasonic