The announcement of the Panasonic HC-X1 comes amidst a storm of camera releases. With a 1 inch sensor, 4K DCI and up to 60p in UHD mode, this run&gun handheld camera is surly aiming to suit the needs of modern news and documentary shooters, allowing greater creativity with its relatively large sensor. Once again we are seeing evidence that what in the old days used to be a rather boring, 1/3 inch segment is growing up to be an interesting sector by combining enhanced specifications and sensor size. At times, indie filmmakers might dismiss this type of handy cameras, but we shouldn’t forget that there is a very large community of news shooters out there that will be very happy to adopt this kind of working tool. In a nutshell, here is what the new Panasonic HC-X1 has to offer (in no particular order): World camera with a wide variety of resolutions and frame rates. Optical image stabilizer in 4K 24p / UHD 5-Axis Hybrid Image Stabilizer in HD and lower resolutions Synchro Scan to help when shooting computer screens 4K DCI (4096×2160) at 24p, 100Mbps 4K (UHD) in 23.98/25/29.97/50/60p at 150Mbps. HD in 23.98/25/29.97/50/60p at up to 200Mbps. Up to 120fps in FHD FHD Variable Frame rate Recording: 2-60fps Wireless remote control via the AG-ROP iPad App Triple manual rings (Zoom/Focus/Iris) 25-480mm (20x) optical zoom F/2.8 – F/4.5 aperture 1/4, 1/16, 1/64 ND filter IR Filter (ON/OFF) Recording in MOV, MP4 and AVCHD formats. 4K (UHD) output via HDMI 2 x XLR inputs. 8 Gamma Curves including Cinelike V and D If you are a professional using a 1-inch sensor sized camera like the Panasonic HC-X1 for your creative work, share with us your working experience. Did you ever try working with an even larger sensor camera or do you find this type of working tool good enough for you at the end of the day?Read more
Please note: This review is only concerning the video capability of the Panasonic LX100. Edit: You can now download the 4K file from Vimeo If you are a matured woman, you might have heard in the past the sentence “it’s not you, it’s me”. If you are a grown up man, you might have heard something like “So close, yet so far away”. Well, if I have to define the Panasonic LX100 in two sentences, those are the ones I would have chosen to use but this time, it’s not me it’s her (the camera) and yes, so close yet so FAR away…. With 4K internal recording, a relatively large sensor (4/3”) and other professional features like Zebra, peaking and a fast lens (f1.7-2.8), you might have mistaken the Panasonic LX100 to be a serious working tool especially when considering its price tag ($899). Well, it is and it’s not….True, the overall picture quality is nice, but when starting to look at it carefully, that’s when the disappointment is starting to build up. Moiré can be very ugly and the “rolling shutter effect” is unavoidable. Moiré on Panasonic LX100 4K footage But before talking about the picture quality, here is something about “usability”. Unless I got a “lemon”, every time after switching the camera “off” and then turning it “on” again, it made a reset to its “default mode” and if this is not enough, here is a list of its shortcomings: -Region camera, not a world one -15 min. recording limit time when shooting in 4K -No tilt LCD screen -When shooting in 4K the picture in the LCD looks strange, as if there is some kind of picture enhancer running at the background. -The camera has a “manual audio level control” but no audio inputs. Go figure why there is a need for level control for the on board mic -No headphone input -No USB connector (Very useful when you forget your charger and have the possibility to charge it via your computer) -Tripod plate must be taken off if you need to change a battery or SD card -The lens is 24-75mm (35mm Equivalent). Not wide or tele enough for my taste -Auto focus is very slow when shooting in 4K especially in open aperture like f4.0 and below -In 4K mode, when pressing “REC”, the picture will “jump in”. Apparently some “cropping” is happening (edit: this can be eliminated by changing the following in the menu: Custom\Rec Area. Change from “Picture” to ”Video”. Thank you Benjamin for the tip). -After some seconds, some of the LCD display “disappears”. It is so confusing to the point I was not sure if I’m recording or not -For professionals who are looking for a better dynamic range or match this camera easily to the GH4, there is no LOG picture profile -Last but not least, The focus ring and the aperture ring are placed wrongly….Aperture ring at the front and focus ring close to the camera body. Extremely confusing for anyone who is used to working with any other camera -When tripod plate is attached to the camera, manual focusing is very difficult as the ring touches the tripod plate On the positive side: -4K video recording in your pocket -Manual video controls -Battery life is absolutely great (like with most of Panasonic’s cameras) -Good EVF -Video quality to satisfy the many who are looking for a portable 4K video solution (I can imagine this camera doing well on drones) -Low light capability is good (in the above video I used ISO 400-1600) A small tip if you have the camera and can not see aperture changes in “realtime”- Go to “Custom”- “Constant preview” and set it “on” Cameras settings used in this video: -Motion pic: (4K), MP4 2160, 24p -WB:incandescent -“Photo style”: Natural Most of this video was shot with the shops lights. In two of the interviews additional light was added. Audio recorded externally on a Tascam D60D NO colour correction or sharpening was added in post. In some shots I’ve “tuned” the brightness. Music: https://www.musicbed.com/ The Like Of Us – Jingle Bells (short version) – Instrumental Thank you: http://www.block44.at/Read more
September will bring A LOT of exciting announcements and one of the first once to come is from Panasonic in the shape of a prosumer world 4K camcorder (50/60)p. Priced at $3,499.99 this new consumer-4K camcorder is packed with pro-level features. The camera allows you to record in 4K, UHD, or Full HD 1080p in a variety of frame rates and codecs, and is meant to be a bridge for consumers entering into the Prosumer world of 4K videography. The camera features a single 1/2.3″ sensor design that always shoots in 4K and internally scales down the video when recording at Full HD. The professional features include ND filters, zebra pattern, histogram display, and focus assist functions such as peaking. The 20x optical zoom lens features two different O.I.S. systems, and three independent manual adjustment rings — one each for zoom, focus, and iris. Two XLR audio inputs with either manual or automatic level adjustments provide professional inputs and control. Our friends at B&H had a chance to take a first look at the new Pansonic camcorder and shared this video with us Actual footage recorded with the Panasonic HC-X1000 See the below chart for the full variety of frame rates the camera can utilise. Head to Panasonic’s site for the full specification of this new camcorder.Read more
Download the full 4K source file at vimeo: www.vimeo.com/95030149 Panasonic raised many eyebrows when they announced the new iteration of its highly popular interchangeable lens camera series, the Panasonic GH4. A small form factor camera that not only shoots 4K with an MFT mount, but even sports a 10bit signal via an optional XLR/SDI unit. (or give 10-bit 4:2:2 4K and 10-bit 4:2:2 1080p from the HDMI port on the camera).We took the GH4 for a spin and tested it in the field together with an hexacopter team. I don’t know how many of you had the chance to work with the legendary Panasonic DVX-100 and remember the joy when we finally used an affordable progressive camera with a “cine-gamma” preset that helped produce a unique image that was very special and cinematic at that time. Fast forwarding to the present time that same feeling is here again! With the GH4 Panasonic managed to create a very unique and extremely affordable working tool. It’s not that the camera doesn’t have its limitations (low light capability) and irritating tidbits, but all in all, I’m sure this camera will capture an honorable place in the arsenal of documentary style film makers and drone operators. In the above GH4 field test, the sole purpose was to imitate a “documentary style” shooting day and boost up the production value with some aerial shots in order to see how the Panasonic GH4 performs on a mid size drone. (pay load up to 5 kilos, caring a camera/lens/gimbal) When I write “imitate a documentary style shooting day” I mean having the camera, up to 2 relatively fast zoom lenses, a tripod, a very small light kit and a single wireless mic set. The full equipment list can be found at the end of the article. FYI: The YAGH XLR/SDI unit was not used for this test as I felt it was not relevant for this type of run & gun shooting. It will be used in a different test. So, how is it to work with the GH4? Let me start with the things that could be issues for some shooters as myself: • Lowlight capability. Somehow I felt that the camera produces very nice images when it set it not higher than 400 ISO. When you move to 800 ISO and above the footage becomes blocky (noisy + codec), especially on flat single surface elements. • No 25p in true 4K mode (not UltraHD). This is a serious limitation for the “PAL” countries’ broadcast market. I’m not sure why companies like Panasonic (and Canon before with their 1DC) choose to ship “half backed” products and exclude 25P from their first release. • One camera, multiple identities. I am sure that every professional person that will start working with the camera will have troubles with the camera menu and would love to skip the photo and, to say it more precisely, the consumer part of it. Panasonic, take a free advice from cinema5D and make a “video only version” of your GH4 camera. • Low data-rate when shooting 4K (100 Mbps) • Soft full HD picture quality • The input pre-amps for on-camera audio are a bit noisy • Average quality LCD and EVF • Hard to see the whole frame when looking through the tiny EVF • Wifi has very limited range • Another quirk that should be noted is the location of the headphone jack. As the use of headphones doesn’t allow the articulation of the camera LCD screen for low angle shots. The strengths of this camera comes in picture quality and of course its price point. High quality 4K shooting just became extremely affordable… • Moire and aliasing have been greatly reduced. • The extensive “video menu” helps adjusting many parameters for your preferred picture style (Photo style, Highlight Shadow, Luminance Level, Master Pedestal Level) • Unlike other (Canon or Nikon) cameras, when using the GH4’s EVF, you can stay very compact for documentary style shooting. No urgent need for an external EVF if you need to be quick. • Kinotehnik’s LCDVFBM LCD Viewfinder for Blackmagic Pocket Camera will perfectly fit the GH4 LCD screen if a loupe is needed for easier focusing. • The “lock button” prevents accidental rotation of the “mode dial”. • Focusing is made easy with automatic zoom of a portion of the frame • Zebra • Audio monitoring levels and manual adjustment • “Syncro scan”- for fine shutter adjustments • Panasonic recommends SD U3 cards for sustaining 200 Mbps (ALL-Intra) at 1080p for best results. While this is true, If you are after 4K shooting, the Transcend SD HC U1 are just fine! When it comes to flying the Pansonic GH4, I used the help of two colleagues whom I consider to be the best in Austria to preform such a task, DOP Thomas Kirschner and pilot Raoul Gorka from copterunit.com. Their experience in building custom made drones and their ability to perform amazingly in such a short time, opened the room for some extra creativity. Thomas and Raoul are used to flying the Panasonic GH3 and were very curious to see how the GH4 performs as they are currently looking for a 4K camera solution which does not exceed 5 kilos together with lens. For those who are familiar with flying the GH3, there is a little surprise. The mini HDMI port was replaced with a micro one… This unexpected little surprise gave us the chance to test the “wifi mode” of the camera. At the beginning we were relived to see that downloading and installing the app is very straight forward (look for “Panasonic image app” in the search box of your smartphone), but later when trying to view and control the camera from the app we were disappointed to see that the wifi connection is very weak and unreliable. By the way, Austria became one of the first countries to regulate flying drones. Outdoor flying is not permitted anymore unless you have a specific permission which takes time to acquire. This is the reason for the lack of shots taken with the GH4 outside. Camera settings used in this video: • Photo style: Cinelike D (all set to 0) • Rec format: MOV • Rec quality: C4k (4096×2160) • Exposure: M • Highlight Shadow: Brighten shadows • Luminance Level: 0-255 Edited on Adobe Premiere CC. and treated with “filmconvert”. Music: themusicbed.com Dexter Britain – From Truth A special thanks to: -Bernadette Kerschbaummayr, DDr. Karl Rehberger and Sacristan Wolfgang Hammer from St.Florian’s monastery -Thomas Kirschner and Raoul Gorka from copterunit.comRead more
Too little too late? Panasonic announced today prioritized development of a 4K Varicam camcorder with Super35mm size high sensitivity image sensor. Read the full press release here: “AMSTERDAM. 13 SEPTEMBER 2013 — In response to the growing worldwide demand for 4K production, Panasonic Professional Camera Solutions is prioritizing the development of the 4K VariCam camera recorder. The VariCam will be a highly practical camera, boasting features and performance suitable not only for 4K cinema, but also HDTV content production. The camera is set for launch in 2014. Panasonic has also unveiled the development of the new Ultra P2 cards at IBC. With the 4K VariCam, Panasonic is tending to businesses that are increasingly looking for suitable, and above all affordable, equipment to create 4K production environments. By using large-scale integration chip technology (LSI) boasting AVC-Ultra, the new extension of the AVC-Intra codec format used widely in HD recording, Panasonic will speed the development of its 4K VariCam. By integrating the latest 4K technology, the VariCam will support 4K shooting from 24p to 100/120p. To enable even better 4K video productions, Panasonic will fit the 4K VariCam with a newly developed Super35mm size high sensitivity image sensor with 4K resolution. The sensor will feature wide dynamic range, extended colour space, and support for Log. Moreover, in order to support highly reliable recording at high bit rates, new Ultra P2 cards will start shipping in conjunction with the 4K VariCam camera recorder. The form will be the same as traditional P2 cards, with a high speed PCIe interface adopted to enable high speed data transfer. Currently, 256GB Ultra P2 cards are planned for production. Shipment of the 4K VariCam and the new Ultra P2 cards will start in 2014″.Read more
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