Finally Panasonic is in the 4k Game

Well it seems like Panasonic is finally making a come back in the professional video market with two new 4K cameras. I must say it's better late then never for panasonic as they had a prototype 4k Varicam out about 2 years ago and a lot of people thought they were never going to come out with it as the market was taken over by Canon, Sony, Red and Black Magic.
Just like Arri and Panavision are the film industry cameras, Panasonic and Sony are those for the video industry. I was not to sure myself if panasonic was going to come out with it or not with so much change happening but they have always been known for there Varicam line of cameras and they needed an update really bad.
The first camera to come out from Panasonic was their new GH4 which finally came to light during this years CES.
The Panasonic GH4 is coming off the heels of the GH3 which is still very popular with DSLR shooter's today. But this is Panasonics first 4K camera but in a DSLR form which everyone is goig crazy over.
  • 16.05 Megapixel Micro 4/3 Sensor
  • 4096 x 2160 up to 24fps (100Mbps)
  • 3840 x 2160 up to 30fps (100Mbps)
  • 1080p up to 60fps
  • Variable Slow Motion in-camera up to 96fps (not a sync-sound format)
  • 200 Mbps (ALL-Intra) or 100 Mbps (IPB) at 1080p
  • 2,359K-dot LVF (Live View Finder)
  • 3 inch 1,036K-dot Rear Monitor
  • 4:2:2 10-bit or 8-bit External HDMI (4:2:0 8-bit internal)
  • Cinegamma Modes
  • Peaking and Zebras
  • ISO 200-25600 (Extended Mode: 100-25600)
  • New UHS I Class III SD card (min. 30MB/s) format needed for over 100Mbps
  • 1/8″ Headphone, 1/8″ Microphone, AV Output, HDMI D (Micro), USB 2.0, Wired Remote Port
  • Approx. 50% higher speed signal readout suppresses rolling shutter effect even when using electronic shutter or recording motion image
  • 12 fps(AFS) up to approx.40 (including RAW) / approx.100 (excluding RAW) and 7.0 fps(AFC)
Specs with the new YAGH Interface
  • 2 Monaural XLR Inputs
  • Line/Mic Level Switch
  • Audio Level Display Monitor
  • 3G-SDI Capable BNC Connectors
  • Quad-Link SDI Output for 4:2:2/10-Bit 4K
  • HDMI Output
  • Timecode In
  • 12VDC 4-Pin XLR Power Input
Now the good thing is that you can get output 10bit at 4:2:2 but you are still recording internal in 8bit which is ok and not ok to me. They just came out with the price for the camera which is $1,699.00 (Body Only) and for the additional YAGH it will be $1,999.00.
So 4K for under $4K I will take it but remember you may have to get an external monitor to get 10bit on your output. Now I am sure most of you know that Panasonic came out with a prototype of there VariCam 4K Camera about 2 years ago and since then they have been in the dark leaving us all to wonder what happened to it. Well back about a month ago now they did a press release with one image that shows us a glimpse at what it looks like and word has it that it will be show at this years NAB.
Just by looking at it, it looks like a mix of an Arri Alexia and a Sony F5 which is a pretty interesting combination. To see the full press relase just click here.  A few key features I like about the camera so far is that it has a super 35mm CMOS sensor and it does up to 120fps internally in 4K which is pretty sweet :). (Starting to drool all over my keyboard at the moment).
  • 4096 x 2160 Super 35mm CMOS sensor
  • 14+ Stops of Dynamic Range
  • PL Mount
  • Internal 4K up to 120fps
  • Records 4K & UHD in AVC-ULTRA 4K
  • Records 2K & HD in AVC-Intra 100/200
  • Capable of 4K RAW
  • 1.5 to 6 Mbps Proxies
  • Two expressP2 card slots (Record 130 minutes of 4K/24p with these cards)
  • Two microP2 card slots (for HD and 2K)
  • Four 3G-HD-SDI Outputs for 4K QUAD
  • Two 3G-HD-SDI Outputs for RAW
  • HD-SDI out for monitoring (down-converting from 4K)
  • Two XLR inputs can record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio
  • Removable Control Panel
  • OLED Viewfinder with Optical Zoom
There will be two different models of this camera coming out, one being the 4K and the other a 2/3. They will both use Panasonic’s new expressP2 card for high frame rate recording; each camera is  equipped with four total card slots, for two expressP2 cards and two microP2 cards. Both VariCam models will launch fall 2014, with pricing to be announced. If you have ever used Varicam in the past then you should already know their AVC-Intra codec which I used a lot and I loved it so very much, but the cool this is that you also are able to record in their newest codec known as  (AVC Ultra).
I sure can't wait for NAB this year as I will be there in person working as a technical advisor for BlueShapeUSA and I will be taking lots of photos :), so if you are not following me on twitter please do so that way you can see all of the awesome toys in real time.
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Corey Steib

I am an award winning cinematographer and photography based in Orlando, FL. I have worked on over 200 feature films, tv shows and live events.

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