Evidence that camera makers may attempt to exempt themselves from potential European import duty on models featuring a movie mode emerged during the unveiling of Panasonic?s DMC-FX100.

This summer the European Commission (EC) is expected to decide on whether digital still cameras with a movie function will be classed in the same category as camcorders, thereby attracting an import duty if they are imported from a non-European country.

Campaigners against the move warn that any reclassification could lead to an import duty of 4.9% and raise prices for consumers.

Speaking to Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine, Michiharu Uematsu, product planning group manager for Panasonic’s DSC Business Unit, suggested that the firm was not able to confirm the exact technical details of the FX100?s movie mode because it was awaiting the outcome of the EC?s talks on import duty.

A draft of the spec sheet shown to AP during the FX100?s launch presentation stated ?HD Motion picture 1280×720 [pixels] 15fps?, in the movie mode?s technical box. Next to it were the words ?under study?.

The UK?s Photo Imaging Council (PIC) ? which is campaigning against any import duty on behalf of camera makers ? said the European Commission has not yet decided on whether a certain ?frame rate? limit would be used to determine which class a camera falls into.

A PIC spokeswoman told AP that movie ?recording time? may also play a part in determining whether a still camera is classed as a camcorder.

The spokeswoman added that the EU?s 27 member states are expected to reach a decision on import duty in ?early July?.

When asked whether Panasonic would be prepared to raise prices if such a duty was introduced, Panasonic?s UK product manager Mark Robinson indicated that this would depend on what competitor camera makers decide to do.

The DMC-FX100 was unveiled yesterday. See here:

Lumix DMC-FX100