The new Panasonic Lumix GH4 DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) camera can capture full 4K or Ultra HD at 24/25/30p and 100Mbps, or HD 50/60p at up to 200Mbps, and is the first compact system camera to offer 4K video.
The GH4 will cost about £1300/€1500 (inc VAT) or $1700, and can record 4K video in both Cinema 4K (4096×2160) at 24 frames per second, and Ultra HD (3840×2160) at up to 30fps in .MOV or MP4 (IPB with LPCM audio). Users can also take 8.8 megapixel still frames during video capture.
It also offers a wide range of HD recording formats, including MOV, MP4, AVCHD Progressive and AVCHD, with LPCM (Linear Pulse Code Modulation) or AAC audio, and variable frame rates of up to 96fps for 4x slow motion at 1080 24p and 25p. It can also do stop motion animation and time lapse shots.
Other video feature include: Zebra patterns to check exposure; focus peaking to accurately focus; and two new gamma pre-sets: Cinelike D and Cinelike V, for more cinematic results.
Micro Four Thirds
The GH4 uses a 16.05-megapixel Micro Four Thirds MOS sensor with about 50% higher speed signal readout compared to the previous GH3. The sensor has a crop factor of 2x the 35mm equivalent when shooting 1080p, but, to improve the pictures’ image quality for UHD or 4K, the camera uses a 2.3x crop in 4K mode. This records using a smaller portion of the sensor to reduce aliasing instead of giving a wider angle of view.
The GH4 can output realtime 8-bit or 10-bit 4:2:2 to an external monitor or recorder (such as the Atomos Ninja 2 or Ninja Blade) via a micro HDMI cable (however, when using the 8-bit 4:2:2 output, video is recorded in 8-bit 4:2:0 on the SDXC/SDHC Memory Card in the camera).
Panasonic also sells a video interface unit (DMW-YAGH), which offers four parallel Full HD (4:2:2 / 10-bit) outputs and can also be used for 4K (4:2:2 / 10-bit) output – both with time code. It also has two XLR input ports with independent volume control and LED audio level meters, allows users to synchronize time code between multiple cameras, and has a 12v DC power input. However, given that it will cost about £1000 (a GH4 body and YAGH bundle is £2,500), a $1000/€749/£595 Ninja Blade, which has a high-quality 5-inch video monitor, or the upcoming Atomos Shogun 4K recorder with 7-inch monitor, which will cost less than $2000 and is due in the Autumn, might be more useful.
The camera uses a new Venus Engine image processor, which is claimed to dramatically boost sensitivity, gradation performance, resolution, and colour reproduction. It also has a new noise reduction system, including a new Random Filter for noise reduction, which is claimed to offer “fantastic results even in low light and at the maximum ISO level of 25600, while a new quad-core CPU allows it cope with 4K video.
It also has an enhanced, faster and more accurate Auto Focus system, using DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology, which shortens the time to set focus, which means that the Contrast AF system can focus in about 0.07 seconds. It also has more focus points (49), as well as both Face Recognition AF and a new Eye Detection AF.