Panavision and Panasonic Making a ComeBack?

Over the last few years we have seen Canon and Sony leave other big brand camera makers in the dust behind them. A lot of people thought that after the big success of the AF100 by Panasonic that they would continue down the road to be neck and neck with the other two. But that did not happen until September of 2014 when they came out with some footage of their new Varicam 35 which was announced at NAB 2014.

4 Varicam Flavors

Varicam 35-4K Camera and Recorder
Varicam 35-4K Camera and Recorder
Varicam 35-4K Camera and Recorder
The VariCam 35 features superb image handling in multiple formats ranging from 4K RAW to 4K, UHD, 2K, HD and ProRes capture formats.
Varicam LT-Cinema 4K Camera
The Next Generation in Digital Cinema Innovation
Varicam-HS-HD Camera and Recorder
The 2/3" VariCam® HS camera/recorder produces extraordinary 1080p image quality at up to 240fps for the most demanding documentary, sports or SFX slow-motion applications.
Varicam Pure-4K Raw Only. 
Powered by Codex, VariCam Pure contains the existing VariCam 35 camera head but with the new Codex VRAW 2.0 recorder, creating a RAW only solution in a lighter and more compact body (approximately 11-lbs.). With Codex Virtual File system, users can transcode additional file formats, including Panasonic V-RAW, Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHR.
Before the announcement everyone was asking panasonic if they were still in the game, but  think they did not know which direction to go as they wanted to grow the DSLR market but also clientele the digital cinema. With all the changes in the last 5 years who can blame them. I think they really has to re discover themselves as they have been very successful in the ENG market. I  think that as we start to see more impressive images people will jump back to panasonic.

Last But Not Least 

I really wanted to save this one for last because this is not the first time that 2 camera makers teamed up to design a camera together. Back in 2006 Panavison and Sony Teamed up to introduce not 1 but 2 cameras called the Panavision Genesis and Sony F23. It was an attempt to take on Red which had some hits and misses. But this one interestingly enough was built by RED, Panavision and Light Iron to create the worlds more technological advanced camera called the Panavision Millennium Digital XL 8K.

Panavision focused on the optics, Light Iron took care of color and RED developed the sensor tech to create what may be the most complete system ever made. The team came together to marry the lenses to the camera and the camera to the workflow. The Panavision DXL was designed for their Primo 70 lenses and shoots 8K .r3d RAW, which is fully supported by RED’s workflow.

It is even capable of shooting 4K proxy files in ProRes and DNx at the same time. Even with all this technology packed in, the camera only weighs about 10 pounds. My friend Zane Townsend said that this is one of the best cameras for a camera operator. But you can't just go out and buy a panavison camera as they have always been a rental house only, so you will need to rent it if you want to get your hands on it :).
I have been waiting the entire blog to say this but I think both camera makers have finally got back into the game. NAB 2017 is going to be an interesting one for sure.

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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