July 16th, 2015

Panasonic GX8, FZ300 Deliver 4K Recording, Faster Processing While Company Eyes Focus-Free Future

GX8_s_slant_H_HS12035_LVF_PopUp

Panasonic continues to expand the number of 4K cameras in its arsenal with the introduction of the new GX8 and FZ300. Beyond the new models, Panasonic said it was prepping a Lytro-like “post focus” capability for its new cameras that would leverage 4K recording and touch screens to allow users to adjust the focus point after capture. New lenses, too, are also in the works.

Let’s start with the cameras.

GX8

In addition to 4K video, the Micro Four Thirds-based GX8 is the first in Panasonic’s lineup to offer a dual image stabilizer–one for the camera body, the other for the lens–that work in tandem to combat camera shake at all focal lengths. According to Panasonic, most of its image-stabilized lenses will be able to work with the new dual stabilizer system in the GX8. When filming videos, the GX8 will employ a 5-axis hybrid stabilization that combines sensor shifting and digital corrections and is similar to the system used in the company’s video cameras.

The GX8 features a new 20.3-megapixel image sensor and quad-core Venus Engine CPU to drive continuous shooting at 8 frames per second in AFS mode and 6 fps in AFC mode. Dynamic range has been improved by a 1/3 stop over its predecessor, the GX7.

Like most recent Panasonic cameras, the GX8 will record 4K video (3840x2160p30) as well as 1920x1080p60 video in either AVCHD Progressive or MP4. Similar to the G7, the GX8 features a 4K Photo Mode that lets users shoot 4K video in any aspect ratio and isolate an 8-megapixel clip from a 4K video file during playback. According to Panasonic, the virtue of using 4K Photo Mode versus simply grabbing stills from 4K video is the ability to change aspect ratios and the faster shutter speed of 1/500 sec. that keeps 4K Photo Mode stills in sharper focus than 4K video frame grabs. The color range is also wider in 4K Photo Mode than it is during 4K video capture.

GX8_k_back_LVF_PopUp

There will be three new 4K photo modes in the GX8.

A 4K Burst Shooting mode captures frames at 30fps for the duration of your shutter press (up to 4GB worth of data). A 4K Burst S/S (Start/Stop) mode starts consecutive shooting with a single press of a shutter button and stops it with the second press. Finally, a 4K Pre-burst mode automatically records 30 frames before and 30 frames after your shutter press for a total of 60 4K video frames to choose from.

Other features of the GX8 include:

* a tilting OLED Live Viewfinder with a magnification ratio of 1.54X and a 100 percent field of view

* a free-angle 3-inch OLED touch screen display

* 240 fps Contrast AF system with DFD (depth from defocus) technology that calculates the distance to the subject by evaluating 2 images with different sharpness level while consulting the data of optical characteristics of the current lens to deliver a .07 sec. AF speed

* 49 AF points

* 1/8000 mechanical shutter speed and a 1/16,000 sec. electronic shutter

* improved low-light focusing down to -4EV with a Starlight AF mode to help users shoot stars in the night sky using autofocus by narrowing the AF zone

* Wi-Fi and NFC

* weather proof magnesium alloy die cast frame

* in-camera RAW processing

* focus peaking

The GX8 is due to ship in mid-August in two versions: all black and a model with a silver top with a black bottom for $1,200 (body only).

The FZ300

FZ300_slant_Hood

Panasonic also rolled out the successor to the FZ200. The new FZ300 delivers a similar optical package with a 25-600mm f/2.8 built-in lens with optical image stabilization and adds 4K recording and a new Venus Engine image processor to improve ISO sensitivity to a max of ISO 6400.

The FZ300 features a 12-megapixel image sensor, 4K video recording and the same 4K Photo modes as the GX8 above.

You can frame your compositions through a 1,440K-dot OLED LVF with a 100 percent field of view when shooting in 4:3.

Additional features of the FZ300 include:

* 3-inch, free angle LCD

* 12 fps continuous shooting in AFS mode or 6 fps in AFC

* .09 sec. AF speed with DFD technology

* low light focusing down to -3EV

* Wi-Fi

* 5-axis hybrid stabilizer for HD video recording

* focus peaking

* in-camera RAW processing

The FZ300 will ship in mid-October for $600.

Coming Soon: Post Focus Mode

According to Panasonic, a new Post Focus mode will leverage a 4K burst mode to compile multiple exposures which a user would then use to freely determine a focus point in the frame using a touch screen. Post Focus mode will come to both the GX8 and FZ300 later this year via a firmware update as well as future models not yet announced by the company.

100400_F40-F63_forDevelpmentRelease

Beyond the focusing capabilities, Panasonic also said it was working with Leica to develop a Leica DG 100-400mm f/4-6.3 telephoto lens for its Micro Four Thirds lineup. The lens would offer a 35mm equivalent focal length of 200-800mm and a dust and splash-proof build. Panasonic said its light weight and image stabilization would allow for handheld shooting out to the very end of the focal length.

The company is also prepping a Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 prime lens. Release date and additional specs for both lenses are not yet available. Product photography is preliminary.

25mm_F17_K_forDevelpmentRelease_slant

April 14th, 2015

Panasonic Will Give GH4 New Tricks, Adds 4K Video Camera, New Action Cam at NAB

 

AG-DVX200Panasonic hit NAB with an update to its GH4 mirrorless camera plus a new point-of-view camera and preview of a new video camera we can expect to see in the fall.

With a Version 2.2 firmware update at the end of this month, the GH4 will be able to record anamorphic video content to mimic the widescreen, cinemascope aspect ratios used by cinematographers. With the new firmware, GH4 owners will have be able to shoot in 4:3 Anamorphic Mode to capture video at  3328×2496 at a frame rate of either 23.98, 24, 25 or 29.97 fps.

The GH4 will also get a faster electronic shutter speed with the new firmware, maxing out at 1/16,000 sec. after it’s installed.

Panasonic will also launch a new 4K camera in the fall. The AG-DVX200 (pictured above) is a fixed lens camcorder with a new Four Thirds CMOS image sensor capable of 12 stops of dynamic range.

The DV200 will record 4K (4096×2160) at 24 fps as well as UHD (3840×2160) at up to 60 fps and HD up to 120 fps in either MP4 / MOV file formats to a pair of SD cards.

According to Panasonic, the DVX200 will feature the same tonality and colorimetry as the company’s VariCam lineup.

On the optics front, you’ll find a 13X Leica Dicomar f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens with three manual rings for focus, iris and zoom. The lens uses a five-axis hybrid image stabilizer to keep footage blur-free. Additional features include time-code in/out, 3G HD-SDI and HDMI 2.0 (4K) video outputs.

Panasonic plans to ship the DVX200 in the fall for under $5,000.

A1_Slant1_DPanasonic also launched a new point-of-view action camera. The New HX-A1 is an HD camera weighing in at a svelte 1.6 ounces. It’s waterproof to a depth of 5 feet without a housing, shockproof up to 5 feet and freezeproof.

It features built-in Wi-Fi for remote control and image sharing via a mobile device. It can also send a video stream to Panasonic’s W970 and W870 camcorders to merge its video in a sub-window with footage captured by either of the two conventional camcorders.

A loop recording function enables continuous recording by erasing earlier clips after you’ve recorded for more than an hour. You can shoot up to 120 fps at 848×480 or up to 60 fps at 1280×720. Full HD is captured at 30 fps.

When connected to a computer via USB, the A1 can double as a webcam. Pricing and availability were not announced.

 

October 30th, 2014

PhotoPlus Expo 2014: LG Intros 4K Monitor, Super-Wide Screen Models

lg_4k_monitors_announced_in_the_us_0

Looking to jump on the growing number of 4K capture devices entering the market, LG has announced a new 4K-capable monitor tipped at video editors and others needing a large, high-resolution and color-accurate workspace.

The 31-inch IPS monitor (model 31MU97) will have a resolution of 4096 x 2160 with support for Maxx Audio and the Adobe RGB color space. The display has an aspect ratio of 16:9 with a color depth of 10-bit. It offers two HDMI ports, DisplayPort, MiniDP and three USB 3.0 jacks.

It’s shipping now for $1,399.

The company also showed off a new pair of “ultra-wide” monitors with an aspect ratio of 21:9.

The 39UC97 is a curved monitor that measures in at 34-inches diagonally. It features an IPS panel with a resolution of 3440 x 1440. It features a Thunderbolt 2 port and supports Maxx Audio with a 7 Watt speaker system built in. It’s available now for $1,299.

Finally the 34UM95 will share some of the features of its curved sibling but will be slighly smaller at 33.7-inches diagonal. It ships with True Color Finder calibration software and features LG’s 4-Screen Split feature that divides the screen into four sections with a choice of eight screen ratios. It also supports Dual-Link Up which lets you connect two sources to the display and display both on the screen simultaneously. As far as connectivity goes, this monitor has two HDMI ports, DisplayPort and two ThunderBolt 2 connections.

It’s available now for $999.

September 15th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Samsung Reveals 4K-Recording NX1 (Hands-on Preview)

NX1_002_Front-Lens-Out_Black

Samsung is making a concerted push at hybrid still and video shooters with its new flagship, the NX1, introduced at Photokina 2014. It’s one of the first cameras capable of recording 4K in the new HEVC codec, which promises more efficient compression than its H.264 predecessor.

We had a little hands-on time with the unit ahead of its Photokina debut and we think it will definitely pique the interest of video and still photographers alike.

New Sensor

The NX1 is built around a 28-megapixel backside illuminated, APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor (23.5 x 15.7mm). It’s a sensor of Samsung’s own design and is the first of its size to feature backside illumination. While it offers roughly 8 million more pixels than the NX30, the photo diodes are the same size (a space-saving consequence of the BSI sensor). This endows the NX1 with better low light performance, up to ISO 51200 (from a native 100). The sensor construction was also changed from polysilicate to copper, which Samsung says makes it faster and more energy efficient.

Video
One of the highlights of the NX1 is its 4K and Ultra HD video capture. The NX1 will record compressed 4K (4096 x 2160) direct to an SD memory card at 24 frames per second (fps) and compressed Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) footage at 24 or 30fps. It employs the new, more efficient H.265 or HEVC codec, which is what enables the NX1 to store 4K video to a Class 10 SD card rather than rely on an external recorder. The HEVC codec is used on many new 2014 4K televisions as well, so the NX1’s video can be played directly from a memory card on a compatible TV without prior transcoding.

You can also record uncompressed footage to an external recorder via the NX1’s HDMI 1.4 output. The NX1 can also record 4K to a memory card and output 1080p footage to an external recorder. What it can’t do is simultaneously record 4K to a memory card and an external recorder. There are mic and headphone jacks as well for audio recording and monitoring.

If 4K isn’t your thing, the NX1 also supports 1920 x 1080 HD recording at 60, 50, 30, 25 and 24fps.

Autofocus IMGP3443
Another highlight of the NX1 is its new autofocus system. It employs 205 phase detection points, of which 153 are cross type sensors, for 90 percent frame coverage. This phase system is combined with 209 contrast AF sensors enabling the NX1 to track focus on moving objects even while bursting at the NX1’s rapid 15fps.

The phase detection AF will also come as a boon to videographers since the NX1 will be able to lock focus faster and smoother than a purely contrast AF system could.

From our brief dalliance with the NX1, it was immediately obvious that the camera is fast. We aimed it outdoors at cars streaming down a busy New York Street and it locked focus quickly and burst rapidly. Reviewing the results in camera and we were impressed with how crisp (and reckless) the cabs appeared.

Rounding out the new AF features is its patterned AF assist beam which stretches out up to an 15m to help establish focus in very low light.

The DRiM processor has also been supped up from the NX30’s 64-bit chip to the NX1’s 128-bit engine. In terms of performance, the processing power delivers in-camera RAW image processing that’s three times faster than the NX30, in addition to a host of ultra-specific new scene modes such as Auto Shot. In this mode, designed for shooting baseball games, you highlight the batter and the path you suspect the pitcher’s ball will travel. The camera scans the scene at 240fps for the ball and Samsung promises the NXi will be able to reliably capture the moment the bat makes contact with the ball and snap a photo.

The new processor also powers a new multi-shot HDR mode that snaps two images in rapid succession so that even if objects are in motion in the frame, it wouldn’t scuttle your HDR composition. There’s a standard three image HDR mode in the camera too.

The NX1 offers a new, dust and weather-resistant magnesium alloy build. It feels sturdy in the hand, something professional shooters will feel right at home with. Samsung added a top LCD display for camera settings, another feature pros should appreciate. The pronounced hand grip gives you a firm hold on the NX1’s body. There will also be a battery grip for the NX1 that provides an extra 500 shots worth of life.

New EVF
The NX1 is outfitted with a new electronic viewfinder that Samsung says has a 5-10ms recycle time that is “imperceptible” to the human eye. In our time with the camera, the scene flashing by on the viewfinder’s OLED panel appeared extremely crisp. The main LCD display on the camera flips out between 45 and 90 degrees and has a resolution of 1,036k dots.

Connectivity
For connectivity with mobile devices, or for wireless 4K streaming, the NX1 uses the fastest possible Wi-Fi (802.11ac). It also uses Bluetooth for Wi-Fi authentication with a mobile device and for pulling metadata, like GPS coordinates, into image files.

The NX1 will ship in the middle of October for $1,499 (body only). There will also be a “pro kit” bundle that includes a 16-50mm S lens, the battery grip and an extra battery and charger for $2,799.

New Lens

Joining the new camera is another S series lens: the 50-150mm f.2.8 lens (77-231mm equivalent). It will offer four axis image stabilization good for four stops of correction and a nine bladed circular diaphragm. New for the S series is a custom focusing range button that, once pressed, will let you set focusing parameters on the NX1. According to Samsung, the custom focus button will only work on other NX series cameras with a firmware update and no upgrade is scheduled as of this writing.

The lens will be dust and splash resistant and will set you back $1,599. Availability hasn’t been finalized.

 

50-150MM_006_Left_Black

February 6th, 2014

Panasonic Unveils 4K-Shooting Lumix GH4 Mirrorless, Interchangeable Lens Camera

Panasonic-GH4_H_HS12035_slant_LED1_BGGH3Photographers who also aspire to be cutting edge cinematographers can get the best of both worlds with the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, which is the world’s first mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera with 4K video capture.

Panasonic just introduced the Lumix GH4 ahead of the big CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2014 in Japan next week, where it will join several intriguing new cameras. (Yesterday, Pentax announced that its newest 645D medium format camera with a CMOS sensor will also be on display at CP+)

Panasonic first teased the 16-megapixel GH4 at the CES show in Las Vegas last month, showing off a prototype of the 4K-shooting camera under glass. We were able to snap a stealthy photo of the camera during the show.

The new Panasonic Lumix GH4 looks similar to its predecessor, the GH3, which was introduced at photokina 2014 and also used a 16MP sensor.

Under the hood though, the GH4 is a whole new animal, with a newly developed 16.05MP “Digital Live MOS sensor” designed to not only capture 4K video, but reduce the wobbly “rolling shutter” effect you can get when you pan too aggressively with a CMOS-based camera. This is key because rolling shutter can be even more pronounced in ultra-crisp 4K video, which features 4,000 pixels of horizontal resolution, making it approximately four times the resolution of HD video.

We actually predicted this trend of 4K video shooting coming to more digital cameras in our piece “5 Tech Trends That Are Changing the Photo Industry Today” from last year.

Read more of this story about the new Panasonic Lumix GH4 here.

September 4th, 2013

Sony Adds $4,500 4K Handycam to Its Line-up

Sony Handycam® FDR-AX1 4K Camcorder (3)Priced at less than $5,000, Sony’s new FDR-AX1 4K Handycam will appeal to indie filmmakers and videographers on a budget who want to move into 4K video without breaking the bank. Built around a BSI 1/2.3-type Exmor R CMOS sensor, the FDR-AX1 can record 4K as well as HD video.

Movies are recorded in the XAVC S format using MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Long GOP for extended recording time of almost two hours of 4K/60p or 3 hours of full HD when storing footage on a 64GB XQD card. The camcorder features dual, hot-swappable XQD card slots so you can continue to record while replacing a full card.

Equipped with a 20x, image-stabilized G lens, the AX1 has an optical zoom range of 31.5-630mm (35mm-equivalent). The camcorder also features dual XLR connectors and an HDMI out. The latter will be upgradeable to the new HDMI 2.0 standard via a firmware update. Since 4K TVs are expensive and haven’t become as ubiquitous as HDTVs, the AX1 can easily output full HD by changing the camera’s output settings.

Although there are a few 4K cameras that are smaller than the 7 7/16 x 7 19/32 x 14 ¼ inches, 86.1 ounce FDR-AX1 and less expensive (see Greg Scoblete’s roundup of a half-dozen 4K cameras on PDNOnline) but, at first glance, the FDR-AX1 seems to provide entrée to 4K video without too much compromise in terms of pro features and functionality. It’s likely that the competition for prosumer-type 4K video cameras will increase in the coming year. We’ll have to wait and see what happens but our money’s on a very interesting NAB show in April 2014.

The FDR-AX1 ships in October and comes with Vegas Pro 12 Edit software and a 32GB XQD memory card.

Price: $4,500

www.sonystyle.com

http://blog.sony.com

Related articles
6 Cameras to Ease Your Way into 4K Video