Panasonic and Codex Get RAW with Varicam Pure

VariCam Pure
Varicam PureCredit: Panasonic
Panasonic has directly integrated a RAW camera module for its Super35mm Varicam platform from Codex, the leader in high-end raw workflows.

Varicam is one of the oldest brand names in HD, going back to the original 720P DVCProHD tape ENG system of a decade ago, through today's 4K Super35mm data-focused models. Panasonic moves the line into the future with the release of the VariCam Pure, its raw-only model released today in advance of  IBC in conjunction with Codex.

Codex has long been a leader in on-set capture tech, and is probably best known for their Onboard-S line of recorders being used frequently with the ARRI Alexa platform. While a company the size of Panasonic could easily have developed their own raw media recorder, it makes sense that they choose to work with an outside developer in this application. RAW is still considered something of a niche application for these cameras (which are still largely targeted at traditional broadcast workflows where it isn't used frequently), and the combination of the VariCam 35 with the Codex V-RAW proved popular on projects for Netflix such as Death Note and The OA. Taking that successful combination and enhancing the integration between the camera body and recorder—while allowing users to continue to work with the familiar workflows of the Codex— seems like a very smart move.

Varicam Pure Side View
VariCam Pure Side ViewCredit: VariCam

By using the new V-RAW 2.0 recorder, specially designed to work with the native Varicam 35 body, users can now skip the previously required AU-VREC1 unit that used to interface between the body and the older V-RAW recorder. This creates a camera more than 6" shorter, which will have real benefits on Steadicams, gimbals, drones, and of course when sitting on the operator's shoulder. The new V-RAW 2.0 recorder can mount on any VariCam 35, creating a "VariCam Pure," and should ship by the end of the year.

This combination will be especially popular with shows already shooting VariCam Raw, of course, but it should also help Panasonic make inroads with episode narrative and low-end feature production.

Tech specs

  • 14 stops of latitude
  • Dual Native ISO
  • 120fps 4k raw
  •  Panasonic VRAW, Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHR
  • Codex Production Suite dailies and archiving
  • Codex Capture Drive 2.0

Your Comment


Can't wait to find out more details at IBC 2016. It's way out of my price range, but I am curious to see how the Varicam Pure RAW image compares to the Alexa or RED.

September 6, 2016 at 6:22PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Def better in low light than both, but the Alexa still does better with highlight falloff, motion cadence, and color. Hope that answers your question

September 6, 2016 at 8:06PM


Well I've shot on Varicam 35 and LT (not RAW), Alexa and Red Dragon.

FWIW you don't require RAW to get all the stops of DR in any camera. If you expose right, WB right, then RAW over the Varicam codec @ 444 or 422 actually doesn't offer a lot more apart from making some of those choices in post.

Now that's out of the way. Of the three:
My favourite for DR and highlight handling: Alexa (by a narrow margin over the varicam).
My Favourite for low light / artistic choices like shooting large pupils in eyes: Well Varicam - nothing touches it.
My favourite for colours and skin tone: Varicam
My favourite for blue / green screen / VFX at normal frame rates: Red Epic Dragon.
My favourite for over crank: Red Epic Dragon

September 15, 2016 at 12:37AM, Edited September 15, 12:37AM

Noel Evans
Director / Director of Photography / Cinematographer

Uncompressed RAW is a different beast altogether. Massive file sizes, but 100% quality retained.

September 15, 2016 at 12:38AM

Noel Evans
Director / Director of Photography / Cinematographer