February 27, 2014

New Cameras from Panasonic: 4K RAW & 120FPS 'VariCam 35' & 2/3-Inch 1080P 240FPS 'VariCam HS'

Panasonic has been teasing a 4K VariCam for a few NAB shows in a row now, but the camera has, up until now, just been a prototype hidden under glass. Back in the fall it became clear that the real thing was coming at NAB 2014, and now the company has unveiled the first images of the final model, along with a number of specs, which include 4K RAW and 4K variable frame rates up to 120fps. They've also got a brand new 2/3" VariCam high-speed camera, which can do 1080p up to 240fps.

Here are the main specs of the camera:

  • 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
  • Availability: Fall 2014
  • Price: TBA

And a particularly interesting part from their press release courtesy of Creative COW (click for larger):

With its innovative design, the 4K camera module unit (AU-V35C1) is separate but dockable to the recording module unit (AU-VREC1), which is also interchangeable with Panasonic’s new 2/3” camera module unit (AU-V23HS1) (see separate news release). This system flexibility can be expanded with an umbilical cable between the s35mm 4K camera and the AVC-ULTRA recorder, providing “box” camera functionality for jibs, cranes and other “remote” camera needs. This common recorder module is also interchangeable with Panasonic’s new 2/3” 1080p camera, enabling professionals to switch between s35mm and 2/3” camera heads to best suit their creative needs.

It's also unclear right now how similar the final design will be to the prototypes, but it likely won't be too different. Here is a video showing off the camera as it was back in September (thanks to cinema5D):

Panasonic has stuck with their modular design concept, which means the sensor head and recording modules will not be one piece. Regarding the 4K RAW, Panasonic isn't completely clear on whether this will ever be able to be recorded internally, though with a modular design there is no reason they couldn't create a new 4K RAW module for the camera. We do know for sure that the camera will output 4K RAW from its 3G-HD-SDI outputs (likely uncompressed), so you'd need an external recorder like the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q to record that (and obviously they would have to release an update supporting the camera). We don't yet know precisely what frame rates will be available in 4K RAW, but from the press release it seems like it will at least be able to do 4K compressed internally up to 120fps.

Panasonic Varicam HS

Here are the specs for the VariCam HS:

  • Three 1920 x 1080 2/3" CMOS Sensors (Red, Green, Blue)
  • 14 Stops of Dynamic Range
  • AVC-Intra Class 100 at 1080/24p/30p/60p with VFR (up to 240p)
  • AVC-Intra Class 200 up to 1080/30p/60i
  • 12-bit AVC-Intra Class 4:4:4 up to 1080/30p
  • 1.5 to 6 Mbps Proxies
  • Log, FilmRec, VideoRec and Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS) image contrast management controls
  • Two expressP2 card slots (32 minutes of 1080p 240fps)
  • Two microP2 card slots (Record HD/2K at more typical production frame rates)
  • RGB 4:4:4
  • One 3G-HD-SDI supports 1080/60p
  • HD-SDI out for monitoring
  • Two XLR inputs can record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio
  • Availability: Fall 2014
  • Price: TBA

Panasonic has smartly made the modules interchangeable between these two cameras, so if you're a production that intends on using them at different times for different purposes, you could just use the same modules. It doesn't look like this second camera will be capable of RAW in any way, but it will probably be used more for news, sports, and docs where RAW may not be as necessary -- and compressed codecs are actually preferable.

The VariCam 35 is definitely going to be interesting if Panasonic gets the pricing somewhere near, or below, Sony's F5 or F55. The original VariCam (even the 720p version) produced some gorgeous images, so if the new Super 35mm camera can build off that, it will find its way onto plenty of productions. Panasonic was once at the forefront of digital filmmaking -- with the DVX at the low-end and VariCam at the high-end -- and only time will tell if these new offerings get them back there.

More will likely be revealed at NAB this year, so we hopefully won't have long to wait before we can see some actual images from the camera.

Links:

Your Comment

98 Comments

I know the prices are TBA, but any guesses on price range?

February 27, 2014

-3
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i think price would be 4, 5 lac........

February 28, 2014

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kishor rawat

lac? this isn't india.

February 28, 2014

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S

RIP BlackMagic 4k camera......

February 27, 2014

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Al

lol

February 27, 2014

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Jérôme

I think the Blackmagic 4k camera is still highly relevant due to the cost

February 27, 2014

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Henry

I think both have their place, but there is no doubt this camera will be more expensive than the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K. I would venture it's going to be twice as expensive at the least.

February 27, 2014

0
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avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

If the price is around $6000.00 to $7000.00 then this Panasonic camera will be a second Panasonic camera this year that will change paradigms.

February 27, 2014

2
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Gene

If this is going to be only US$6k we'd better all start saving our pennies right away as this is a bargain!

But it is a PL mount camera, I doubt the price bracket they'll be aiming for will be cheap.

February 28, 2014

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It's way too late to the S35 party. It seems to be matching specs to the Red One MX. I've got multiple Panasonic cams, all very nice, all gathering dust. They are hammering home "workflow" but after editing 5k at real speed without any issues on a computer that cost 7 grand, I can't see what professional environment is gonna need a better workflow than that. Go after reality TV, and TV live broadcast, Panasonic. You might have a chance. You won't sell many S35 systems unless you price yourself in the basement.

February 28, 2014

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Paul Watt

If they can get colors close or better than current Varicam, they have contender. I sold all my RED gear because of the thin color gamut. Old Varicams get better fleshtones. My guess, this camera will ring in at about 20-25k.

February 28, 2014

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This will likely be a Sony f5/55 competitior, nothing under 10K I believe. This is a 20K+ camera or even more

February 28, 2014

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Ebrahim Saadawi

Why is Blackmagic the camera company to beat? LoL. That's sad, less than two years making cameras and noone can shut up about them.

Congrats, BMD.

February 27, 2014

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Kholi

What is it with the camera community and the need to "kill" other cameras just because one from a different brand with different specs comes along?

February 27, 2014

1
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Coty

These people are not from camera comunity, they are just the hype whores, gadget noob geeks which even dont have money to buy anything but moan about everything :)

February 28, 2014

0
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Kuk

Preach it brother.

February 28, 2014

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Anthony

No. If this were cheap enough to "kill" the BMPC 4K then it would also "kill" Panasonic's own new GH4 which wouldn't make any sense for them to do. It's obviously going to be way more expensive (especially looking at those specs).

February 27, 2014

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Paco

lol - just need to spec it against the Sony F5 which costs $16k and I would be gobsmacked if this camera comes in anywhere under $14,000. So NO - not a threat to the BMC4K in any was shape or form.

Of course Id love it to come in closer to $10k and give Sony a real run for their money. Clearly Canon has no interest in doing so at all so thank god we now have to big name companies who actually GET IT when it comes to the right gear at the right price.

Canon is on the precipice of obsolescence for mine.

February 27, 2014

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Peter

I don't think Panasonic will be able to match whatever the price that BlackMagic is offering, so saying RIP to BlackMagic camera is not really the case here.

February 27, 2014

1
Reply

Sigh

February 28, 2014

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Panasonic, I think you may have done it. If the image is nice and the price isn't too high, this will most likely be the camera I have been waiting so long for. Dynamic range, true 4K, high frame rates, S35, raw and internal codec, decent low light (I assume), xlr's, all in one camera body. Oh my!!!!!

February 27, 2014

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Jonesy

The GH4 would probably make a great B cam.

February 27, 2014

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Jonesy

Prolly make a great A cam too in some cases.

February 27, 2014

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Gene

The image of the AG/AF100 looks great. If the image from this camera looks as good or better this will be a very exciting camera to use!

February 27, 2014

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Gene

True 4k (9MP)? and price below 10k? Then it gets very interesting for me!

February 28, 2014

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Markus

Two very interesting sounding cameras. Panasonic has been listening to the community so I think these will be priced extremely competitively I mean look at the GH4. I'm excited For Panasonic.

February 27, 2014

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Caleb

You can guarantee this will not be in the same ballbark as the BM4K.

More likely a closer competitor to Sony's F55 I think.

February 27, 2014

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Tone13

I think comparing it to the F55 is a stretch. I would venture to guess that the cameras would be targeting the FS700 crowd. Maybe a little more expensive but not over $16k. Cameras are getting cheaper with time, and pricing it to the point where there are already other proven options available doesn't seem like the right move.
Who knows, it might end up costing $30k for all we know.

But if Panasonic, who by all means needs to play catch up in the S35 market, it would be wise for them to come in lower than the C300 and just a tad bit more than the FS700. With it being modular in design I could see the base camera being $6-7k and then with all add ons closer to $15k for full RAW pipeline.

February 27, 2014

1
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Jorge Cayon

I think you're right that it will likely be targeted at the FS-700 crowd, although probably priced a little higher.

February 28, 2014

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Brian

The current Varicam is $60,000. It's pretty likely this will come in at a similar price point.

February 28, 2014

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Jake

Although $60K is what's listed on the website, I believe it's the list price from when it was first introduced. I don't think it sells for nearly that much now, if people even still buy them new.

February 28, 2014

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Brian

That's the current sale price on Adorama with lens. http://www.adorama.com/PCAJHPX3700.html

February 28, 2014

0
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Jake

I would love to see a sample image when released. I'd imagine it's going to be that Panasonic video look, for lack of better terms. I hope I'm wrong.

February 27, 2014

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Chris

No way this Panny 4K is going to be less than $15K.

February 27, 2014

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AVC-Ultra 4K has a 400 Mbps recording rate or about half of Pro-Res (AVCU4K will be ~ 150GB/hour) or four times of the GH4 4K internal. This doesn't sound like a F55 competitor on specs. My guess $15K or so for the camera itself + another $5K for the module.
.
PS. My price guesses have been wrong before (aka Arri Amira).

February 28, 2014

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DLD

I highly doubt this will sell for under 30 grand but hopefully I'm wrong.

February 28, 2014

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This is gonna be pricey, no doubt. Sweet specs though.

February 27, 2014

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Kraig

Seems nice but I reserve judgment until it has been on the market for 4 months.

February 27, 2014

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$12-$20k I'm guessing.

Is there anything announced to replace the Af100 camera?

February 27, 2014

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VinceGortho

IT MUST HAVE cropping at 2K so it can use super 16 lenses like F5/F55 does. Small detail for some HUGE ONE for me. STILL F55 seems a more complete camera. Already has 240 fps capability !

February 28, 2014

0
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Cristian

The specs are there. Now time to see the color science.

February 28, 2014

1
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Steve

Does this mean we'll never see an AF200 (successor to their AF100 series)?
Or is there still hope they'll bring out a 4/3" videocamera underneath this but above the GH4? (which has a stills body)

February 28, 2014

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"14+ Stops of Dynamic Range"

NOW WE'RE TALKING!!

February 28, 2014

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Indeed!! (but i'll believe when i see it ;)

February 28, 2014

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Alex Roman

Doesn't seem a smart move to me. They are ranging towards expensive(ish) productions by adopting a PL mount (I never heard of a Canon or Nikon to PL adaptor), so even if the camera is in a bellow $10k price range, like some suggested, you would still need to afford or rent PL glass. Just think its not ideal. Panasonic should have made the M4/3 mount able to cover at least APSC sensors (like E-mount, which covers up to full frame).

And 2/3" sensor for the other camera? How does it make it desirable? I don't seem to get it, sorry. Also, no word about the mount on that one, but I'm guessing M4/3.

And again with the proprietary media. First microP2 and now expressP2... I wonder how much will they charge for that...

February 28, 2014

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Miguel Franco

2/3" sensor is still hugely desirable for 90% of TV production, presumably it will be B4 mount so you can keep all your $10k ENG glass. You can buy the back end recorder and whichever front end you like (or both) and switch between cinematic s35 and TV 2/3" as and when you need. I've been waiting for a replacement for my much missed Af101, and this isn't it - like Erik says, it's got to be $20k at least, but it's going to be stiff competition for both markets - F5/55, C500 etc AND PDWF800s and the like. Good move Panny, now give us a cheaper m43 version as well please!

February 28, 2014

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Tom Lenham

This camera is probably gonna come in closer to the F55 pricing. I'd be surprised if it was under $20k.

The 2/3 Varicam will probably be a $10k or slightly under offering.

Both have some quality specs and their own place in film/TV. I'm excited to see more.

February 28, 2014

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Ben Howling

Still, to expansive for the most indie filmmakers. Many will go for gh4 or something similar

February 28, 2014

0
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Why AVC-Ultra etc? Just give us ProRes. Didn't they learn anything from Arri?

February 28, 2014

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Tulio

1) AVC-Ultra4K files are smaller than Pro-Res
and
2) Panasonic has an own codec, so they don't need to buy/license anything from the outside vendor (Apple) here.
and
3) If the file size isn't a problem and budgets are flexible, you can always record Raw with the external recorder. Aja and Convergent Design would probably be prime candidates to have a suitable Raw recorder.
.
PS. Pricewise - B&H is selling a full FS-700 Raw kit for ~ $23.5K (was on sale for $20K over the holidays, as I recall). Their F5 "documentary" kit is ~ $25K. You figure F55, depending on the package, is ~ $45K and up. So, mid-$30's, for the full shooting kit appears reasonable.
.
PPS. The Red Shark News report out of a UK based broadcast conference that the GH4 footage on a 4K screen looks phenomenal.

February 28, 2014

2
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DLD

NAB 2014, April 5 to 10. I won't be going. But will look forward to seeing footage online of all the fun stuff and video samples---as good as can get it anyway.

February 28, 2014

0
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Gene

It will be interesting how this camera is gonna stack up against the Arri Amira! Price will be a big factor for sure.

February 28, 2014

0
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Strictly rumor but I've read prices for complete packages will start around $36,000. Didn't say anything about lower end models. If I remember correctly from a post here the camera will have several interface units, sound, recorder and battery. Plus there's an EVF to consider, I think I will sit nicely between the f5/55 there's no way in any shape or form this camera will be priced to compete with the BM4k or or even the Scarlet for that matter. It's Panasonic's flagship professional series camera geared towards the broadcast and film industry. Still it seems there's room on their roster for a af101 replacement, I can see that around the10 grand mark. But Certainly not for this camera.

February 28, 2014

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Anthony Marino

Sure... PL mount is not intended for a low indie filmaking and I bet those expressP2 cards will be really expensive.

February 28, 2014

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Alex Mand

PL anything ain't cheap. A decent adapter with support can run you a grand. Plus from Panasonic's perspective it's the only thing that makes sense, why try to compete in a saturated market with the F5 and 55? Put something in the middle around the mid $30's and grab from both markets. You gotta laugh at some of these posts thinking Panasonic waited all this time to put out a bargain basement camera. They gave us the arm and now we want the leg. Lol

February 28, 2014

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Anthony Marino

Separate recording devices to get more money from us. This is bs. Off course they can make raw recording in camera if the wanted to. BM does it in a small pocket cam.

February 28, 2014

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bruce

Blackmagic Cameras can't do RAW past 30fps if Im not mistaken. So there's that.

February 28, 2014

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Jorge Cayon

BM's can't do anything over 30fps in any format. It's a heat issue. Seems they better get to work and fix that!

Speaking of needing to get to work, where is the Digital Bolex??

February 28, 2014

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Gene

I suspect it'll probably be priced somewhere between 0 and infinity pounds/euros/dollars and capture light through a piece of glass, convert it to data and save it to solid state media, possibly.

February 28, 2014

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Filthy Punt

I'm thinking this is going to be priced much lower than the Sony F5 and F55. Those Sony 4K's are at old price points. Who would have thought the GH4K would be sub $2000.00? Or that the BM4K would be, now, $3K? I'm not expecting the Panasonic 4K to be at an old 4K price point. It's a whole new game now.

If the next Nikon 1 V (3?) really does have 4K video at the 30 minute limit, as is rumored, instead of just bursts, or even for 10 minutes, will it be sub $700.00 as is rumored? At this point I wouldn't be surprised.

February 28, 2014

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Gene

It will cost 30 000 minimaly, maybe even more.

February 28, 2014

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Kuk

Yes. If Panasonic prices this like any of their higher end HD Varicam's of the past, this camera is easily in the $30K to $40K range or higher.

February 28, 2014

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They even will aim at Alexa teritory. It will be quite interesting. Im really looking for quality and color of picture from this machine.

March 1, 2014

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Kuk

They will be priced for the rental market.
Comparing it with the BMPC4K is a total non sense. Blackmagic cameras are gadget regarding a production point of view. I own a BMCC mft myself and love it, but I only use it on small project . I will never use it in a big proffesionnal environement: it lacks too many basic tool (tc, synchro, xlr etc..) and is not the most reliable camera on the market.
I use regurarly HPX2700 on series, these are wonderfull camera: great compression, great ergonomy, and best color rendition I have seen on ENG Cameras.
People need to stop this "owning the camera with the biggest hype generated by specification on paper" logic. One right tool for one job. Besides cheap camera (as dslr bmd cameras ...basically all camera under 5K) to have autonomy on small project, the rental way is the only reliable way.
Both of these cameras will cost more than 10K and it will not be overpriced at all.
This is not about 4K, it's about the way it is engeneered...everyone who shot on Alexa or in a proffessional environement in general will understand my point of view. "4K price point" means nothing at all. If you won't be disapointed, you should excpect a 20 000 bucks pricepoint at least...less is a dream that will never come true.

February 28, 2014

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Adrien

Yep. They cost that much because of build quality and reliability. And they are designed to be used long hours everyday by a TV News Crew or some other group that is going to use them hard.

February 28, 2014

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I don't know if you were including my point in your comment, but I was not implying it will be priced near the BM4K. My point is prices are lower than we had at first thought they would be. This 4K camera could be $20,000.00. But that is still lower than you'd think at first blush. I think it's going to be lower than $20,000.00 though. 4K competition is standing room only.

February 28, 2014

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Gene

File this news under "general interest" for most of you. I think you're going to be seriously disappointed when you hear the price. As others have pointed out, this is designed for broadcast television. If you're not familiar with that world, let me tell you - although it's cheaper than it's ever been, it's NOT cheap...and almost everything costs a bundle.

I don't know why every time a new camera is announced, no matter how upscale the features, people start getting delusional about it costing < $5K and thinking it was designed with shooting their wedding and corporate videos in mind. The cheapest 14 f-stop camera config is about $12K (FS700 + Odyssey 7Q). As far as 4K, S35, broadcast spec'd cams go, the F55 is the cam Panasonic is probably going after. If you can't even afford the F5, you probably shouldn't get your hopes up.

February 28, 2014

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Brian

My take is that the hopes are based on the fact that it's going to cost considerably less - one has to assume - than F55 and Red Dragon and this will put a lot of pressure on the price points for the entire camera industry, bringing the cameras in the F5/C500 weight class down toward the $10K range from the current $15K-$20K. In other words, every new release delivers more for less and ought to be celebrated for that reason alone.
.
BTW, the same line of reasoning applied to the 2.5K BMCC, BMPC4K and GH4. Some of those were pretty giant leaps for the (film making) mankind.

February 28, 2014

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DLD

I hear what you're saying but that's true across the board, not just for the low-to-mid ranges. Epic Dragon is more for less than Epic-MX originally was before it. The original Alexa was less money than the D-21 before it. F65 is less money than the F35 before it. The Varicam 35 will less than the 3700. And so on… But, Dragon is brand new at $30K and Arri's 4K offering will who knows how much. The high end starts at $30K and goes up from there. Those prices, for that level of tech, are pretty much set for maybe the next 1.5 years. If 14 stops of DR on an S35 sensor at 2K were easy and cheap to do, everybody would do it - let alone at 4K.

As midrange features trickle down to the entry level, so will more advanced and refined features debut in high end models. In 4-6 years, perhaps even F55 level specs will be common in the sub-$8K camera market, but that's 4-6 years from now. If you're shooting a project today or later this year, there's a (narrowing, admittedly) price and performance divide you're going to have to deal with right now.

February 28, 2014

1
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Brian

The divide between the "indie" and the "legitimate pro" gear is dwindling down quickly though. As Junan-i posted, Sony is preparing upgrades for the F5 and F55. They're also preparing to announce a 4K DSLR-style camera (A79?). Of course, GH4, BMPC4K and "A79" at under $3K aren't going to match pro cams at $30K but what they do provide is still incredible compared to what out there just a couple of years ago. Plus, one is likely to soon see the "middle class" product in the $10K-$15K range that is virtually as good as the absolutely best. There's 4K FS-700 footage on YouTube that is just gorgeous (it may look a bit different on a 75 foot screen but online it looks great) that's a $23K package that should be replicated with the FS-700+Odyssey 7Q Raw for ~ $13K. And the next step in calculation is to think, "OK, if 4K Raw can be had for $13K, then perhaps a 4K XAVC @ 200 Mbps a la Z 100 in the same style body can be had for half that amount". Now, do Zacuto Shootout again and see how a $10K cam stacks up against the top of the market and you might find the $10K camera winning it much like GH2 won it a couple of years ago.

February 28, 2014

1
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DLD

Those low priced 4K DSLR's and Mirrorless may not be able to compete with the big 4K cameras but what's going to happen to the Canon 1D which in priced in the mid-range you are talking about? One thing that saves Canon in this frolic is its still photo ability. Sorry Panasonic and Sony, but Canon beats you at that (though Panasonic does Black and White pretty dam good). But Canon over Nikon and Fuji.......... no, just no. But that depends on tastes.

February 28, 2014

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Gene

I love the fact that it says the modules will be interchangeable for both cameras. The beginning of swapping sensors like film stocks?

February 28, 2014

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Pat

Autumn 2014 release... Too little, too late.

There will significant updates for the Sony "F-line" during the next 4-5 weeks.
Those interested should follow #NewFTransformed (Twitter).

February 28, 2014

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Juhan-i-

You are very correct sir.
SONY are playing hardball right now.
Have noticed a serious spike in F55 requests for jobs lately.
Around here it goes: Alexa/F55/Epic currently.

/loved the old Varicam. Hope this one rocks too. And it will not be anywhere near BMPC/GH4 pricing.

February 28, 2014

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marklondon

I finally realized that most people on these forums seem to believe that most of these professional cameras are designed with them in mind. They're not, most of these cameras are designed and intended for big studio films, and professional Television.

The GH4 and BlackMagic are all the Indies get.

February 28, 2014

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Daniel

The word you're looking for is 'delusional'. :-)

There are now so many decent cams under 5k to make a doc or indie feature with it boggles my mind.
Yesterday I saw a short on our grading screen shot with the Pocket in Raw using a $300 'antique' zoom lens that looked FANTASTIC. And there are 'better' cams only a few thousand more!

Why people in that market bother to comment (usually very derisory) on camcorders aimed squarely at ENG pros I have no idea, but they do.

February 28, 2014

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marklondon

Delusional is a bit strong. Wishful fits better. But then no one really thinks it will be priced near the BM4K and GH4---I hope no one dpes anyway.

BTW, on a side but similar, note, the GH2 hacked really doesn't look much different than the ARRI. That some feel the ARRI does look $79,600.00 worth better than the GH2 hacked, well, that really is delusional. ;-)

February 28, 2014

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Gene

4k, Super 35mm, 14+ stops... probably 25 to 40 k. A global shutter would've been nice but Amazing features and the panny mojo is pretty sweet.

February 28, 2014

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looks like an Alexa but the menu screen is on the wrong side.

February 28, 2014

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bestdp4life

The BM4K camera is $3,000. This Panasonic will be no less than $30,000.

People comparing the two are idiots.

February 28, 2014

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Robert

I've worked with all the latest flavors of studio cameras (F55, Alexas, Epics, etc) and this is exciting news. Why? Because one thing many DP's like myself miss is the richer and more tonally accurate color palette of the three chip Varicams of yore. Sure they were 2/3" cameras but none of the new generation CMOS super 35 cams seem to have a truly full color gamut. Epic is thin IMO, somewhat monochromatic. I sold mine because I couldn't come to terms with it, no matter the grade. Even Alexa, though much better still has areas where the color isn't great.

Color is really the only arena left wide open for competition. They all have slo mo, super 35, PL mount, decent codecs,4k is overrated (see Alexa) and good DR. But not all are created equal in the color space category. While Panasonic doesn't seem to have any deal maker spec, I'm hoping they kill it with the one that requires using eyes and not reading spec sheets.

Perhaps the other area that is under scrutinized is ergonomics and usability. Arri gets this. Canon, not so much. Epic, a train wreck. Sony F series handles nicely on the shoulder. Let's see if Panny incorporates some rigless handles and shoulder pad along with good balance. Also, I hope they take a note from Arri and assign dedicated buttons to common functions instead of the Epic touchscreen route. If the buttons are on the AC side then this is intended for studio work. If it's on the driver's side then they're trying to appeal to ENG / Doc crowd too. Can't tell from pics.

The last item no one talks about is power consumption. That alone has me wonder how practical an Arri Amira is for doc work since it's draw is the same as an Alexa. F5/55 uses half the power, half the batts to lug. And the C300 must have gerbils on treadmill inside as I change the batts once or twice at the most. That's a big factor in whether a camera makes it in ENG/DOC/reality world and part of the C300's success. I'm hoping Panasonic has come up with a low draw body.

A little bummed about the P2 Card requirement. They'll be expensive. Though, I never ever had one crash with an HVX or VARICAM.

In terms of price, if the IQ is better than the competition, especially in color, they can ask for whatever they want. If it's splitting hairs, then I expect it to be between the F5 and F55.

February 28, 2014

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good comment. you rarely find someone with an insight for both studio and eng/doc usage. I'd agree with everything you said.
if this wants to be a competitive option it needs to beat arri in price.

February 28, 2014

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Pat

A very good comment indeed. I'm most satisfied when I get to shoot with an Alexa, F35 or F65 (only did once).. if we go for a 90's music video type look it's good old Red One for us (and a truckload of color gels for lights). I can't stand EPIC and I am unsure about the Dragon. Wonder what the look of the Varicam will be.. i don't care about the specs.. i can tell if I like what i'm seeing just from the monitor during shooting.. also i'm getting slightly sick of the Alexa for the TV series work.

March 1, 2014

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Peter

Peter,
Have you ever used the Nikon D800 for video? If yes what do you think of it?

March 1, 2014

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Gene

Dragon seems to look better, but I know what you mean about the color pallet of Red. They just don't seem to be able to render pink/blue/teal tones at all. IMO, Blackmagic's cameras look better than Red and actually come in second after the Sony F's and the Alexa... it's my preference if over-cranking isn't needed.

March 1, 2014

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bwhitz

To be honest, I don't even want to try out the D800. I goofed around with GH2 and goofed around with a friend's Canon 60D and the exprience was pretty meh.. the footage just begged to be drastically graded and when I tried to grade it - it was a headache. The footage itself had almost no potential and I would have to use 10x more lights than I we usually use with a pro-cam.

Yes Dragon seems to be much better (might be even better with DragonColor but I have my reservations) but after the r3d's I've played it - it always forced me to grade in a certain way, that the final result wasn't what I was looking for. I'd have to have that camera for a week and I would have to do a lot of lighting tests to see what I would use it for actually. For now it seems to be a good cam to do unusual artsy stuff with crazy lighting.

And BM cameras vs Red? No competition here.. Red One all the way (or even Epic) :)

March 2, 2014

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Peter

Thanks for the reply Peter.

Those cameras can be graded in camera more. Though I think you aren't looking for that in your work.

I kinda figured that Reds and ARRIs would have a better video than D800's, GH's, and 5D's. For what I do, helping set up for live streaming and recording meetings, those high end cameras are way too expensive. I have to think more on the lines of the lower end cameras, GoPro's and prosumers---cameras you aren't using for the work you do. Even the D800 is more than what is needed for that. But I am thinking I would get a D800 with a very nice lens for my own use when I am personally at the events. I would love to use a Red. But seeing I could set up, for example, 15 to 20 churches with 3 cameras for live streaming and recording meetings for the price of one Red Epic, Red's aren't an option. And Red, Arri, etc quality is overkill for those things.

Anyway, I was just wanting your opinion on the D800. And thank you that you did reply. :-)

March 2, 2014

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Gene

The Varicam 35 and its single CMOS sensor makes me curious about when Panasonic's Micro Color Splitter technology will be ready for primetime. http://bit.ly/1pGhA92

February 28, 2014

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Brian

There are a ton of various sensor technologies out there - Quantum Film, Stack Array, etc. - that have promises but no final product or even licensing. Remind me of Tripath that designed a revolutionary Class T audio amplifier chip a little over a decade ago that promised audiophile quality sound for next to nothing. The chip actually delivered but Tripath went under in 2007. Its patents were purchased by Cirrus Logic which now has sold the chips to all sort of brands. Some run under $50; others in thousands.

February 28, 2014

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DLD

No camera with a Varicam name came under $45k.

Thiese will be professional tools, not for the BMCC crowd. The EVF of these cams alone will probably cost $4k.
Pana is aiming at the ALEXA-AMIRA range with this puppies.

Pros don't own any (proper) camera or lenses or anything.

March 1, 2014

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Henry

Wow, thanks for the insight. I guess for things to be "pro" they always have to stay the same. Great logic here.

March 1, 2014

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bwhitz

Kinefinity is set to announce a 6K camera on Monday. 4K is soooooo yesterday.

March 1, 2014

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DLD

lol, so yesterday.

Well, the Red Dragon looks so good, and the only footage we have all seen was what was done on the spare time of the shooter, rushed. Still 6K looked so fascinating. It only follows someone would see a huge opportunity in 6K and jump over 4K to it. I'm looking forward to what 8K will look like. Who will get there first? I know there's an 8K camera in Japan and in South Korea. But what about Red, or ARRI, or Panasonic, etc. , i.e., cameras we use in America?

BTW, I still have this same question, where is all of these advances going to leave the Digital Bolex? If they get some good sales when they release the DB maybe they should immediately use the profits to go for a 6K sensor.

March 1, 2014

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Gene

NHK has done a successful trial of 8K 12-bit 120 fps system .... 49 Gigabits per second, if you're interested ... better bring along a lot of hard drives.
.
And my opinion of DB hasn't changed for the better. I am not impressed with the image and even less impressed with the price. And, yes, I have seen Phillip Bloom's South Beach video. Meh ...

March 1, 2014

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DLD

12-bit, is that right? Not 10 or 8?

March 2, 2014

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Gene

BTW, to whom it may concern.........

I'm not trying to sound negative about the Digital Bolex. I may be coming across that way to some people. I actually am on their side. I like what they are trying to accomplish in video. And I like their audio specs---a lot---24 bit, 96KHz---very nice! I wish all camera companies went to 96KHz in audio. It is better. But back to my point, I am not trying to be antagonistic toward the Digital Bolex. I have had a couple long comment exchanges with Joe from Digital Bolex. In those exchanges I was never trying to be antagonistic. I am on his side, though it didn't appear I was I suppose, and trying to get across to him that the 'studies' he is trusting in about how slowly 4K would grow were sorely wrong and he should, at the least, consider 4K for the next generation of the DB. What's happening already this year with 4K should show how valuable 4K is for staying competitive---and it's only March. NAB comes next month. And there are more shows coming after that before the end of 2014. I just fear the Digital Bolex is going to get swallowed up alive by all these new, 4K cameras. Now I'm thinking if they leapfrog 4K and go to 6K in the next iteration of the camera they may find an exponentially larger clientele.

Someone (lot of someones I guess) called 2014 the year of 4K. Looks like they were prophetic. ;-)

Back to my point about 96KHz for audio, here's a short video about how 96KHz adds to audio quality over 48KHz, though 48KHz still is fantastic:

4:18 minute video [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD4Jx-iGdxo ]

March 1, 2014

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Gene

...and Blackmagic will announce an 8K camera at NAB. Shipping in May (201?) and rumored to have special features like user selectable color for sun/headlight "center-spots" and a free vintage Gossen Luna 6 exposure meter.

March 1, 2014

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Skeptikal

Great response, Tim. I agree with pretty much everything you said. As someone who already has a P2 workflow in place, however, I am not bummed about its continued use. It has a proven track record for good post-production workflow.

Excellent point about the form factors. I'm in love with Varicam because of its native shoulder-mounting capabilities. It's an excellent system with a million uses.

I like how Panny has avoided the 4k bandwagon in lieu of developing a well-thought-out product. Let's just hope the wait was worth it.

March 19, 2014

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Brendon