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4K Panasonic GH4 May Arrive This Spring to Compete Against Canon Cinema Cameras

10.23.13 @ 11:49AM Tags : , , , , , ,

panasonic gh3 rumors higher bit rate wide dynamic rangePanasonic has done a tremendous job with the video quality on their mirrorless photography cameras (especially when hacked in the case of the GH2), but their video options in a dedicated camera have lagged behind both Sony and Canon, who chose to go with larger sensors for their dedicated video cameras. Now, it looks like Panasonic is trying to come back at the game at the lower end with a 4K-shooting camera, and give excellent capabilities in a small form factor.

Thanks to 4/3 Rumors, here is the rundown of the possible 4K Micro 4/3 camera:

16mp
1/8000 shutter
1mil dot OLED screen
21mm OLED viewfinder, 3,000+ dot.
Time code
200mbps mp4 All-i/100mbps IPB
4k/30p
4:2:2 10/8bit output
3G-SDI and XLR adaptor (An adaptor that the camera sits on with XLR x2, HD-SDI x4)
Price: €2799


They have given this a very high rating, but as with all rumors, everything has to be taken with a grain of salt until it’s announced. 4/3 Rumors also mentioned that the camera is a bit bigger than the current GH3, which apparently will be even bigger with the SDI and XLR adapter underneath. If there does turn out to be some truth to this, I would imagine that this will represent a new line in the Panasonic lineup. Since it seems like it’s going to be coming in a mirrorless/DSLR form, it’s not going to interfere with the high-end video in their lineup.

Panasonic was at the very forefront of high-end digital cinema with the Varicam (which still looks great, by the way), and at the lower-end with the DVX (and then the HVX), but the AF100 never took off the way their cheap mirrorless cameras have, possibly due to the fact that it had a smaller sensor than Sony and Canon’s products. This meant it wasn’t as good in low-light, and there was a crop factor on lenses you probably already owned. When the GH2 was hacked, the very good image quality compared to other DSLRs at the time (like Canon), combined with the inexpensive price of the camera, meant that people were more willing to overlook sensor crop issues, and it did very well in the low-budget filmmaking world. Now they could be trying to capitalize on some of that following with a slightly more expensive product.

panasonic_af100_gh2

As much as I prefer the ENG style for video cameras, this move would make a lot of sense. This new line wouldn’t cannibalize their higher-end the way that the GH2 did to the AF100 because the larger and more expensive cinema-oriented camera they’ve been showing off at a few NABs will have a Super 35mm sensor. There was a second rumor source over at 4/3 Rumors who mentioned that this would be all of Panasonic’s best tech and would also compete with the C300 (probably on image quality and form factor). It’s unclear if it will have ND filters, but there have to be subtractions in order to make it affordable and still leave something for the their higher-end.

Not all the specs are perfectly clear at the moment, like the part about the 10/8-bit output. Up to 4K 30fps (and presumably good downscaled 1080p) and good bit rates would be welcome in a small form factor, and it would not be surprising if Panasonic has also noticed what a certain Australian company (Blackmagic) has been doing with their cameras. While the latter company has faced a few delays getting their products out, they have been in very high demand, proving that sensor size can be less of an issue when the image quality is there and you’re getting RAW and ProRes formats. Blackmagic has worked to give the highest possible quality in the most affordable package possible, and the fact that two of the cameras can utilize Micro 4/3 lenses makes for more directly competing products than they otherwise would have been.

I wouldn’t mind seeing them put this new sensor into a body like the AF100 with ND filters — and we very well could get that at some point. For now, all we’ve got is rumors, so we’ll just have to wait and see what they’ve got up their sleeves come NAB time.

What do you think? How much would you pay for a more professional GH camera with 4K and presumably better image quality than the GH2 and GH3 — something close to the C100/C300?

Link: (FT4) Full Panasonic GH 4K camera specs! — 4/3 Rumors

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  3. Panasonic Officially Starts Shipping the GH3 (Plus New Test Videos)

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  • For the last two years I’ve used a CanonXF305 to produce broadcast documentaries and it’s usability is great. Cheap cards, great lens, very portable. The noise reduction is pretty good given you often have to shove in a lot of gain. But there are two elements you can’t get around, massive depth of field and limited low light performance. So, Panasonic, rework your AF100, give me 2 to 3 stops more light than a XF 305, put the LCD out front as per the XF 305, a decent codec, hand grip, and get rid of your stupid P2 cards.

    • Would love to see the G4 spec in a camcorder format! Agree with HMS. If the G4 is as above, I would buy it, but would really want the ND filters. If you are going to do a job, do it well!

  • This would be the best stabilizer for the new panasonic G4 4k coming next spring!

  • Im just hoping canon do something, because most of the other brands are stepping up, at least give us DSlr users more features, not even a 60fps thats a shame man they keep giving us the same similar sensor!! smh

  • I just cancelled my BMPCC (ordered in April in Germany!), was fed up waiting longer and told BM, I will also not consider the 4k Camera any more, but wait for the successor of my GH3 from Panasonic, which I am very pleased with, except the low light performance.
    I am surprised, that my expectations might come true that fast, spring would be perfect, but I am afraid, it will be later.
    I hope, at least 12 stops DR, better low light performance and it will be true 4k, like BMCC with 2,5k sensor produce a true 1080p)
    I also expect at least 100 fps in 1080p, since they do things better than Canon (1D-C only ridicules 60 fps!)

    • I also cancelled my BMPCC. Had Blackmagic gotten their act together and shipped the units when people were actually excited about them, they might have gotten a warmer reception.

      Now I’m just holding out for something like this GH4 as well.

      • Wonder how well will codec handle that 4K resolution? Also better dynamic range will be important. But competing with bigger senzors in Canon cameras??? I dont think so. At the end of the day I allway want bigger sensor camera. Wide angles and shallower DOF with smaller sensors are pain.

        • How wide is wide enough for you? I have a 7-14mm on my gh2 which I only use sparingly since it’s ridiculously wide. It’s almost in gopro territory at 7mm.
          Shallow depth of field is easy with fast lenses that m43 have in abundance. Voigtlander 17.5,25,and 42.5mm f0.95. Slr magic also has a lot of fast glass.

          • Norm Rasner on 10.25.13 @ 9:37AM

            12mm SLR Magic on the GH2 is topper.
            Has anyone bettered that camera yet? Alexa aside, I think not.

          • @Norm, while I love the GH2, you must be kidding. Did you just buy one and now feel that you have to justify it by bringing it up whenever you see a chance?

    • The black Magic 4k has an internal fan which is why I’m not crazy about it. I know its very quiet while filming but still that means you need an elaborate audio set up and/or you have to have low audio gain.

      The 4k30p GH4 will be steller, I’ll be buying 2.

      The crop factor doesn’t bother me in the slightest, you still get plenty of bokeh with anything over 20mm (40mm equivilent).

      I’m actually a Canon fanboy so I’m really pissed that they are taking their sweet time with 4k, and the 1DC only does 24p/25p not 30p. There should have been a 4k T6i by now but I guess Panisonic is going to win this one.

  • So, just to clarify, this will NOT be a full frame camera? I’m not too savvy with different sensors and ratios. I’m a bit dumbfounded as to why anyone would compromise this…

    • So you don’t need a chiropractor visit after logging the full frame zooms all day.

    • I love full frame too but heres why ASPC or micro 4/3 are used sometimes….

      -Further view with smaller lenses, as DLD noted. This is not ideal obviously for maximum quality but for speed/action/sudden shots this can be very good especially in well-lit places, like street photography.

      -Cost! Probably the main reason, sensor surface area is bloody expensive. Of course more means a better image but there’s a point of diminishing returns. For example a T3i with its ASP-C 1.3 crop sensor is %95 as good as a 5diii with full 35mm sensor in my opinion, yet costs 1/5th as much.

      -Power usage, a smaller sensor is more efficient with energy since each scan takes less.

      -Field of view, some people want a broad field of view. When you can’t run the risk of the photo not turning out because of focusing (again, like action photography), a large field of view is very handy. This is why tiny sensors like cell-phone cameras produce almost no background blur (which is a bad thing for pro photography). Plus you can still get bokeh on a ASPC or 4/3 with the right lens.

      So heres the basics:

      Full frame 35mm = Huge Sensor. Scoops up light, resolves detail/sharpness.
      ASP-C= about 1/2 the surface area as 35mm and about 1.3 crop factor. Still big sensor.
      Micro 4/3= about 1/4 the surface area of 35mm and 2x crop factor. Minimum in my opinion for Pro-Work

      Consumer sensors…
      1/2″= Found on a lot of older consumer cameras and even some Professional camcorders (which drives me nuts). Too freaking small, needs massive amounts of light and even then still can be grainy.
      1/3″= Same issues as 1/2″ but a tad more so. The only advantage is a super broad depth of field, your subject is ALWAYS in focus lol (unless you do something dumb like focus on a mountain in the background then turn to your subject)
      1/4″= Really noisy.
      Cell Phone sensors 2mm – 6mm= The bottom of the sensor chain. Can still make a Decent image with good glass in front of it, apple did this well with the newer iPhones. Samsung’s 4k video Note 3 is also a good example of a tiny sensor done well.

      The same evolution happened with 1080p, early on all you could get was a 1/3″ camera for anything under $10k and even those were 1080×1440 not true 1920 untill 3 years into 1080p like 2009. With 4k I’m happy to see its being adopted properly without some stop-gap (like hdv was).

      In short, full frame rules. But if no full frame camera has the features I want (like 4k recording) ASPC or 4/3 will do just fine and still look great.

  • Speaking of GH hack/patch/cluster, I have read that Nick Driftwood has been working on one for the GH3 and it is expected to be done in November. Anyone know if that’s true?

  • It’s amazing how we’re all spoilt now. A MFT sensor is still huge, just a few years ago most were shooting with only a 1/3 inch sensor. A 2/3 sensored ENG camera was the ultimate and costly biggest you could get, and only few did. A 4/3 sensor is exactly 4X that.
    Sometimes I see videographers constantly pull focusing on every shot and or worse being out. Shallow focus is good here and there but all the time ? If our eyes were like a full framed DSLR none of us would be allowed to drive and we’d all be extinct long ago. I allows try to light and focus to look like it’s the way we see. So the viewer isen’t always reminded he is watching a artificial machine’s interpretation of the world.
    A full frame DSLR’s sensor is twice the size 35mm motion picture camera. 2/3 inch to 3/4 I find a nice compromise on most shooting situations.
    Lets face it on fashion parades and action/sports I still prefer 1/3 inch sensors.

  • kodak for me…cheaper…faster…better

  • I really wouldn’t mind paying close to three grand on the body alone, but if they can manafacture it for less then they will really blow a storm through canon’s line of DSLRS. I still use my GH2 over everything, even though I have access to the 5D Mark 3 with RAW video hack I still retain more latitude and overall sharpness with my driftwood hacks at 150MBPS+. I would love to see panasonic make their firmware more hack friendly to vitality because what he is doing is helping them and this camer could really set a milestone and blow a lot of peoples minds away. Also like the GH3′s Venus sensor was capable of doing, 720P 120FPS at least please you guys can do it I don’t know what’s stopping you.

  • i recently cancelled my BM4k preorder after months of waiting. I think have done the right choice, what is the point for having 4k footage and to worry about storage, post production issues. I am very new to cinematography.
    Canon on the other hand is good only with magic lantern, but then again there are issues with lantern download. So for me the best choice for a great picture is the panasonic GH3. Great picture quality and looks much better the Canon 5d mark iii and Nikon. To my limited knowledge of cinematography, it is not so much the camera, it is all about your imagination of moving pictures.

  • apart from not having a follow focus yet i wish there was focus peaking on the GH3 is my main gripe on a camera in this price range, especially with my eyesight. next would be 100/120fps. even the gh2 looks great so i dont know much about 4k everyones raving about tho a few shots of the BM looked good there are other areas to be improved. sadly too many features of the gh3 were dumbed down. like the ext tele mode in 50p shhoting. the fast /slow frame rates only in 24p havnt excited me as much as i hoped. who manages to get pro results from these features? not sure about Pany’s OIS or whether the incamera system of Olympus would be better and cheaper than having it in the lenses but…..geez, sorry to go off topic. its all a new playing field for me. loving it just the same.

  • Would love to see the G4 spec in a camcorder format !!! If the G4 is as above, but would really want the ND filters. If you are going to do a job, do it well!..then will give others to put on the thinking cap :)

  • WrongCrowd on 03.3.14 @ 6:37PM

    So far I’ve seen great images online and specs that seem great. But my question is how would it hold up next to a 5Diii in a low light setting? That’s what I really want to see. Anyone has any info on this?

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