by Fabian Chaundy | 4th January 2017
With the expected shipping date for the Panasonic GH5 just over the horizon (here’s our detailed feature GH5 hands-on post from earlier today), we thought it would be a good time to catch up with Panasonic’s M. Uematsu to chat about some of the more technical aspects of the next member of the popular GH line of mirrorless cameras. Check out our interview at cinema5D HQ… shot, of course, on the Panasonic GH5. We all know how much of a cut-throat business the camera world is, with manufacturers constantly trying to one-up one another in a constant and quick succession of new camera releases. As the first big camera release of 2017, the Panasonic GH5 aims to come out swinging, promising to bring a host of truly nice features for indie filmmakers. And about time, too, as after almost 3 years, the popular GH4 was slowly starting to lag behind next to the competition. But before diving into the great features that the GH5 will bring in a couple of months, we first wanted to know why Panasonic didn’t decide to go all out with some much-requested bells and whistles, especially given its popularity among filmmakers both amateur and professional. So, Panasonic, why didn’t you include internal ND filters and RAW recording? Panasonic’s M. Uematsu. Interview shot on the new Panasonic GH5. With an RRP of $2,000, Panasonic has continued their history of keeping their popular line of Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless at a rather affordable price. M. Uematsu also goes into some details about just how they have managed to do so. Our interview with M. Uematsu is also packed with information regarding the camera’s hardware, such as the new dual SD card slot implementation, the technical measures taken to avoid overheating problems now that the camera can handle 4K at 50/60p, the limitations of the new in-body 5-axis image stabilisation system, sensor performance and the the new DMW-XLR1 Microphone Adapter. You can find all this and more at the following time marks: 00:13 – Why doesn’t the Panasonic GH5 offer internal RAW recording? 00:59 – Why wasn’t an internal ND filter implemented? 01:50 – How did Panasonic manage to keep such an affordable price for the camera? 02:30 – Is the sensor inside the new GH5 made exclusively for or by Panasonic, or can it be found in other devices in the market? 03:02 – How good is the Dynamic Range in the new GH5? 04:05 – In high ISO settings, an automatic noise reduction function will kick in. Can this be prevented and switched off? 05:18 – Why is the new 5-axis stabilisation system limited to work with Panasonic Lumix lenses only? 06:09 – The GH5 incorporates 2 SD card slots. In video mode, can you record to both simultaneously? 07:10 – How did Panasonic solve potential overheating problems, especially when the camera has no recording time limitations? 08:35 – Will the new DMW-XLR1 Microphone Adapter work only with the GH5 or across the new Lumix line? If you’re looking to purchase a GH5, or are remotely interested in the camera, then I’m sure this interview will serve to quench your curiosity during the next few weeks. In the meantime, do let us know what you think about the new GH5 features in the comments section below! Interview shot on a Panasonic GH5 using CineLike V, edited in Premiere Pro and graded using a FilmConvert preset for the GH4.Read more
by Graham Sheldon | 4th January 2017
The GH5 was announced back in September last year, but Panasonic kept many features of the camera close to the chest. Today, at CES, Panasonic pulled back the curtain. We have the full feature list and were invited to an exclusive prior GH5 hands-on event in Los Angeles. Spoiler alert, the camera looks great and it’s a cinematographer’s dream. Features, pricing and availability below: Watch our new interview about the GH5 with Panasonic advisor M. Uematsu in this new article by clicking here. The built-in flash found in the old GH4 is gone and a whole new array of magical features aimed squarely at indie filmmakers have taken its place in the MFT Panasonic DMC-GH5, unveiled today at CES in Las Vegas. However, the Panasonic GH5, like a fine wine, will need to age gracefully into the summer to reach its full potential. More on that later. Back in May of 2014, the Panasonic Lumix GH4 hit the market and became an instant favorite. Lauded for its internal 4K, variable frame rate option, XLR input module and professional video features such as peaking, zebras and cinema color profiles, it was clear that Panasonic built the camera with the cinematographer in mind. On paper, engineers have outdone themselves in every way with the new GH5. Panasonic will be squishing features like 4:2:2 10bit 4K with a bitrate of 400Mbps and 180fps FHD variable frame rate recording into the tiny 2.0 pound body of the GH5. Over the years you get used to seeing specs like this from companies such as RED Cinema, but with the price point of a BMW 5-series. For the GH5, we are more in 1998 Honda Civic territory with a camera body price point of $2,000. In short, the GH5 looks stylish, feels great to hold and shoots gorgeous video. The camera launches with a max resolution of 4096×2160 up to 60fps with a bitrate of 150Mbps. Notice the differences from the features in bold above? That’s because Panasonic is rolling out a free firmware plan upgrading the camera into the summer, and 4K (400Mbps) All-Intra recording will unlock by July. Of course, it would be great to have all the banner features right as you open the box, but like many video games these days, you’ll need to wait for updates before the camera has its full feature list, but what a list of features it is. Here is the full firmware breakdown: GH5 Firmware Upgrade Path: 4:2:2 10bit – Available April, 2017 6K/24p Anamorphic Video Mode (4:3) – Available Summer, 2017 (200 Mbps) FHD 4:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra – Available Summer, 2017 (400Mbps) 4K 4:2:2 10bit ALL-Intra – Available, Summer 2017 V-Log Color Profile – Available at launch, Cost: $100 6K/24p Anamorphic Video Mode will be available in a 4:3 aspect ratio in the Summer and the very fact we are talking about getting 6K, or close, Anamorphic out of a $2,000 MFT body is exciting. Panasonic is calling this upcoming mode: “High Resolution Anamorphic” as it is 6K resolution in terms of pixel density, but not 6000 pixels of horizontal resolution. **Update: The camera ships with Anamorphic 4K (4:3) with H.264 compression enabled. Come Summer 2017, 6K (4:3) will be shootable in H.265 compression with free firmware update. Firmware schedule below. Unfortunately, if you previously purchased V-Log for your GH4 you will not be able to transfer that update over to the new GH5. A new purchase is required. While the GH5 has the same dynamic range as the Panasonic GH4, it has slightly improved lowlight performance, but I wouldn’t call this a lowlight camera by any means. We were presented with a ISO 6400 video sample and noise in the picture was very evident. On top of that, when shooting with high ISO settings, the camera will automatically reduce noise internally. This feature cannot currently be turned off and can only be controlled via the menu with high/mid/ and low settings. Panasonic is certainly willing to listen to feedback and might consider adding a complete “off position button” if there is a demand for it. Color depth is improved and the GH5 will eventually shoot internal 4:2:2 10bit, compared to the 4:2:0 8bit of its predecessor, but launches with 4:2:0 8bit only in IPB compression. 4:2:2 10bit color is double the information of 4:2:0 and provides greater grading flexibility in the post process before the image falls apart. Here is some gorgeous footage, shot on GH5, from the good folks over at Neumann Films: Dual SD Recording in the GH5 is a new added feature and has three modes: continuous, backup and distribution copies. When “distribution copies” is selected the camera will save stills to one card and video to the other. Thankfully, no cropping is required in 4K anymore with its 20.3 megapixel sensor. I’m not a fan of calculating the crop factor with my lens each time I switch my resolution settings in-camera and hopefully those days are soon behind us. The body is about 10% larger than the GH4, so you may be able to fit the GH5 into your old cages, but the HDMI port will likely not line up correctly. Time to buy a new camera cage. 5-Axis Internal Stabilization: Not to be outdone by Olympus or Sony, the GH5 includes internal 5-axis stabilization that, when paired with a Lumix OIS-capable lens, will work together with the lens to further stabilize the shot, especially at longer focal lengths. Slow Motion (Variable Frame Rate): Achieving those slow motion and quick motion shots is possible with a wide range of selectable frame rates available in the GH5. You can now shoot up to 60fps in 29.98 in full cinema 4K, up to 180fps in FHD, or you can under crank as far as 2fps in both 4K and FHD. Panasonic GH5 with optional XLR accessory. DMW-XLR1 Microphone Adapter: The blocky looking XLR module for the GH4 required a separate battery to power and wasn’t the greatest thing to look at in my opinion. This time around, Panasonic has created a microphone adapter that is powered from a hot shoe on top of the camera and will still feed phantom power. This is a much more elegant solution and a cold shoe (not visible above) on top of the adapter makes a great spot for a small external shotgun mic. Note that the microphone adapter supports a very welcome feature: high-resolution audio (96khz) mode. Other accessories include an HDMI lock shipping with the camera (thank you, Panasonic) and an optional battery grip. Technical Highlights of the Panasonic GH5: Max Resolution: 4K/60p (Output Only) Internal 4:2:2 – 10bit – Available April, 2017 6K Anamorphic Video Mode (4:3) – Available Summer, 2017 Slowmotion (Variable Frame Rate): Max of 180fps/23.98 in FHD Improved Auto Focus (0.05 sec AF, 9 FPS AF Burst) Large HDMI (Type A/USB 3.1) 3.2″ 1,620-dot Free Angle Monitor 4K Hybrid Log Gamma (4K HDR Video) – Available Summer, 2017 SD Card Slot x2: UHS-II U3 (Vide grade 60) No Recording Time Limit H265 for 4K 50/60p, Edit: Now confirmed that H264 will be used for all 4K formats while H265 will serve “6K photo mode”. H265 6K anamorphic mode is still being tested by Panasonic. Waveform Monitor Display Separate Video Menu Mode .MOV, MP4 (AAC, LPCM) AVCHD Progressive Selectable System Frequencies (59.94, 50.00, 24.00 Hz) Splash, Dust, Freeze proof up to -10 Degrees Celsius Bluetooth Weight: 2.0 lbs Power: Same batteries as GH4 If the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is the perfect Micro Four-Thirds camera for photographers, then the Panasonic GH5 might just be the answer videographers have been looking for. However, with the planned firmware rollouts, the GH5 may be a purchase that requires a little bit of patience. Cost: $2,000 Availability: Shipping March LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 12-60mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH OIS New Lens – LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 12-60mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH OIS Alongside the GH5, Panasonic announced a new lens today: the LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 12-60mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH OIS. The lens focal range is equivalent to 24-120mm on a 35mm camera and is the first lens to be added to this new series, with planned additions of 8-18mm and 50-200mm to the LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT F2.8-4.0 series in the future. No pricing or availability information yet. Panasonic is also renewing four lenses to improve weather proofing and compatibility: LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 II ASPH. OIS, Price: $999.99 LUMIX G X VARIO 35-100mm F2.8 II ASPH. OIS, Price: $1099.99 LUMIX G X VARIO 45-200mm F4.0-5.6 II ASPH. OIS, Price: $449.99 LUMIX G X VARIO 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 II ASPH. OIS, Price: $649.99 What do you think of the new Panasonic GH5? Will it find a place in your kit for shoots this year? Comment below!Read more
by Fabian Chaundy | 2nd January 2017
Yes! 2016 is over and 2017 is getting started. But before we move on to new things (likely to start with CES later this week), we wanted to revisit some of this year’s biggest announcements and releases. Here are the most notable cameras of 2016! Sony A6300 / Sony A6500 The Sony a6300 released early in 2016 was a true upgrade to the earlier a6000, improving on almost every aspect. Autofocus, build quality and feel, processing, low light… everything was just better. A true entry-level 4K video mirrorless camera, it aimed to go for the throat of the venerable Panasonic GH4, but featuring an APS-C sensor rather than Micro Four-Thirds and better low light performance than the competition. It also proved to be a stepping stone for shooters wanting to enter the emerging and very popular Sony video mirrorless market, offering A7S-esque performance at a lower price. In terms of its codec and picture profiles, it also worked as a great little B-cam to use un conjunction with other Sony cameras, from the A7 line, FS5, FS7, and so on… And then, just a mere few months later, came the Sony a6500. Packed with a host of additional nice-to-have features — even faster autofocus, touchscreen LCD, chunkier grip, an easier menu structure, and A7S II-style In Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS) — these days it goes for a slightly higher price than the Sony a6300. It seems Sony is intent on aggressively saturating the market with options for potential buyers so that, whatever your budget, they have the right camera for you. This is a similar strategy to the one we saw with the introduction of the Sony FS7 II: a slightly better camera for a little bit more cash. The choice is yours! Recommended reading: Sony a6300 Review – Real-World Video & First Impressions Sony a6500 Review – Real World Video Samples and First Impressions Sony a6300 vs. Sony a7S II Image Quality – How Good is it Really? FUJIFILM X-T2 At first glance, it may seem that the X-T2 mirrorless APS-C camera from FUJIFILM is rather lacklustre. On paper, it doesn’t really offer that much more than the tried and tested, indie favourite Panasonic GH4 other than the larger sensor. But it is in practice that this first foray by FUJIFILM into the mirrorless video market that this camera really shines. With a dynamic range that challenges that of the Sony A7S II, and offering astounding image resolution and detail, the FUJIFILM X-T2 certainly has earned a place in our most notable cameras of 2016. The lesson with this one, folks, is that FUJIFILM is listening and ready to compete with the biggest names out there, having released the X-T2 and the GFX for medium format in quick succession. Recommended reading: FUJIFILM X-T2 Review – Real World Video Samples and First Impressions Fujifilm X-T2 vs. Sony a7S II – Which One is the Best Mirrorless Video Camera? Olympus OM-D E M1 Mark II Another first foray into the 4K mirrorless video market, the Olympus OM-D E M1 Mark II was one of the cameras of 2016 that really caught our attention back at last year’s Photokina. Although this Micro Four-Thirds has been inevitably marketed as a stills camera with video capabilities, it still offers 24p, DCI 4K, high data rates and a very well-behaved rolling shutter. Most notably, though, is the camera’s IBIS technology that gives an almost tripod or dolly-like quality to handheld shots (up to a certain extent, of course). It needs to be seen to be believed, but even experienced Steadicam operators are singing its praises, so make sure to check it out if your style of shooting calls for a lot of handheld work. Recommended reading: Olympus OM-D E M1 Mark II Review Testing the Olympus E-M1 MK II – On the Go Ep. 40 – feat. Janne Amunét Olympus E-M1 MK II: The End of the Steadicam? – On the Go Ep. 41 – feat. Janne Amunét Panasonic GH5 One of the most anticipated cameras of 2016, the successor to the GH4 was announced last September to the delight of GH4 fans worldwide, and what an announcement it was. Expected in 2017, the Panasonic GH5 promises to bring 10-bit 4:2:2 4K, and 4K at 60/50p for the first time ever to a mirrorless system, among a host of other photography-related features. When it finally hits the market, we can expect the GH5 to be as popular and revolutionary as its predecessor, likely forcing Sony to up its game significantly with its (hopefully upcoming) A7 III line. The GH vs A7 battle is a hot topic among video users, with interesting features on both sides of the equation. But with a history of being priced at less than half of the Sony, the Panasonic certainly has a lot going for it. More news about the GH5 (which will be released in 2017) are on the horizon. Recommended reading: Panasonic GH5 Announced – 4K 60p 10bit 4:2:2 internal Panasonic Varicam LT Announced at the beginning of 2016, the Panasonic Varicam LT came as the little brother to the larger, more expensive Varicam 35. It features a lighter, more compact body ideal for single operators, while maintaining key features from its bigger brother such as its sensor, switchable native ISO 800 / 5000, and a host of resolutions and frame rates. Although the Panasonic Varicam LT starts at a relatively low price for a professional cinema camera, as is usually the case the price starts to add up quickly when adding essential accessories. But at $16,500, it is not out of the realm of possibility for potential owner operators. Recommended reading: Panasonic VariCam LT is a Lightweight High-End 4K Cinema Camera Panasonic VariCam LT – Hands-On & Exclusive 4K Footage Canon C700 While Panasonic moved down the range of available models with the Varicam LT, the new Canon C700 is aimed at the polar opposite of the spectrum. Introduced as Canon’s new flagship cinema camera in 2016, the C700 abandons the signature vertical form factor of the C series, opting for a more traditional shape. It features 10-bit 4K, and records ProRes 422HQ and 12-bit 4444 in 2K, as well as allowing for up to 59.94p 4K in the XF-AVC codec, and RAW capabilities via the optional Codex CDX-36150 recorder. The body is also available in a Global Shutter version at the expense of 1 stop of dynamic range for a total of 14 available stops. Recommended reading: An Introduction to the Canon EOS C700 Cinema Camera The Canon C700 meets Aston Martin – On The Go Ep. 33 – Clive Booth, Christian Anderl & Ingo Leitner RED Helium 8K Ok, so this one is not really a camera, or at least not one you can just buy off the shelf, as there were only 20 of those white RED Helium bodies released to a limited crowd. The sensor upgrade, however, is available for all existing RED Weapon and RED Epic W cameras. The new Helium sensor essentially packs twice the amount pixels, and is the first to bring 8K to the Super 35mm format. In addition, you can now record ProRes 4K proxies. RED, as always, remains at the vanguard of digital cinema and earns a well-deserved place in our most notable cameras of 2016. Recommended reading: First Hands On With RED Weapon Helium 8K Camera New RED Helium 8K Sensor and Michael Bay’s Custom Camera DJI Osmo RAW A very innovative device in and of itself, the DJI Osmo family saw this year the inclusion of its latest member: the DJI Osmo Raw. With it, DJI managed to bring what seemed to be just a fun toy into the league of professional cinema cameras through the 4K, RAW-enabled Micro Four-Thirds imager of the Zenmuse X5R camera. Offering 12 stops of dynamic range and the ability to change lenses, as well as being compatible with the DJI Inspire 1 drone, this was truly one of the cutest cameras of 2016. Recommended reading: DJI Osmo RAW Review – Zenmuse X5R – First Footage How Does the Osmo RAW Compare to Professional Cinema Cameras? DJI Inspire 2 Probably the last big announcement in terms of both drones and cameras of 2016, the DJI Inspire 2 is, as its name indicates, the successor to the very popular DJI Inspire 1. Besides huge improvements in drone performance, safety and ergonomics, the big step up is — again — the DJI Zenmuse camera. This time, however, it’s all about the Zenmuse X5S, featuring a Micro Four-Thirds sensor at a resolution of 5.2K and with both RAW and ProRes capabilities. The quality coming out of this drone’s camera is so stunning in fact, that it could be said to closely match that of the current digital cinema Gold Standard: The ARRI Alexa. Recommended reading: DJI Inspire 2 Review – The Drone that Rivals ARRI Alexa Image Quality? So there you have it: the cameras of 2016 we thought were worth revisiting one more time bher 20 16 focus on what’s coming in 2017. All of us at cinema5D hope for a new year full of more exciting camera announcements and advancements, and wish you all the best of luck in your quest for compelling and beautiful image creation. Happy shooting!Read more
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