Panasonic's DMC-GH4 is first interchangeable lens mirrorless camera to shoot 4K video
By Paul Ridden
February 7, 2014
Panasonic has announced a LUMIX G Series successor to the DMC-GH3 digital single lens mirrorless (DSLM) camera. The 16 megapixel DMC-GH4 is not just a capable stills shooter, but is also capable of recording video at four times the resolution of Full HD.
Aimed at professional photographers and, naturally, movie-makers, the LUMIX DMC-GH4 is capable of recording 4096 x 2160 video footage at a cinema-like 24 frames per second (fps) and QFHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at up to 30 fps. The camera benefits from selectable system frequency for flexibility when recording footage for overseas markets, and boasts support for IPB and ALL-Intra codecs, for the promise of 100 Mbps bitrate at 4K or 200 Mbps at 2K. It also offers slow or fast motion shooting of up to 96 fps at 1080p resolution thanks to Variable Frame Rate functionality.
Zebra Pattern, Cinelike Gamma and Master Pedestal adjustment are among the features of likely appeal to pro movie-makers. The camera comes with a built-in stereo microphone and mono speaker (and a 3.5 mm headphone jack for less public monitoring, too). A new high performance optional interface unit has been developed for the GH4, catering for 4:2:2/10-bit 4K output with time code, and which features two-channel XLR inputs for line or condenser microphones.
Panasonic has accompanied the camera launch with a new UHS Speed Class 3-compatible Gold Series SDUC media card that's suitable for 4K video recording and boasts a minimum write speed of 30 MB/s (240 Mbps). It comes field-ready, offering protection from the damaging influences of water, shock, magnets, temperature, and electrostatic, and packs a built-in fuse.
The new LUMIX G is no slouch in the stills department either. The DSLM has been treated to a new 16.05 MP (17.3 x 13 mm) Digital Live MOS sensor and a new Venus Engine IX image processor, which work together to deliver full resolution burst shooting of up to 12 frames per second (AFS) for up 40 shots including RAW format, or 100 excluding RAW, up to ISO25600 sensitivity, and a shutter speed maxes that out at 1/8000 sec.
The GH4's 49-point Contrast AF includes something called Depth From Defocus technology, described as a "spatial perception technology that instantaneously detects distance according to the level of lens blur" and claimed to help achieve accurate autofocus in just 0.07 seconds.
There's a choice of a 2,359K-dot resolution OLED live viewfinder with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, or a free-angle 3-inch, 1,036K-dot OLED display panel to frame up stills or video. The device is capable of in-camera processing of RAW images, with adjustment of parameters like white balance, exposure compensation, contrast, saturation and sharpness or hue possible prior to conversion to JPEG for sharing.
The GH4 sports a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, a durable shutter that's been designed for a lifespan of up to 200,000 releases, USB 2.0 and mini-HDMI interfaces, and a Li-ion battery that should be good for about 500 stills. The camera works with over 20 LUMIX G interchangeable lenses, as well as 46 MFT lenses.
Built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity and enhanced NFC capabilities offer wireless connectivity with a smartphone or tablet, and non-NFC smart devices can also get in on the action courtesy of QR code scanning.
Panasonic is due to launch the new DSLM at CP+ 2014 at Pacifico Yokohama in Japan next week, ahead of global release in the coming months for an, as yet, undisclosed price.
The promo video below outlines much of what to expect.