Panasonic has finally taken wraps off its GH3 successor and 4K Micro Four Thirds camera, the Lumix GH4, which features a 16.05MP Live MOS sensor and a quad-core CPU. Most notably, the camera can capture true 4K (4096×2160) video at 24fps and UltraHD 4K video (3840×2160) at up to 30fps.
The GH4 has been thoroughly updated over the GH3. It uses high-resolution OLED displays for both the EVF and the rear display, and also features an improved AF system featuring face/eye detection and 49-point AF sensors with a focus time of 0.07 seconds. The camera sports a max 1/8000s shutter speed with a life cycle of 200,000 actuations. WiFi and NFC are built-in for connectivity with mobile devices via Panasonic’s Image App.
Powerful Video Features
The most significant aspect of the GH4 release is the collection of powerful video features. The camera records 4K video in .MOV or .MP4 formats using IPB codec at a bit-rate of 100Mbps. UltraHD 3840×2160 video can be recorded at 30p or 24p, while 4K 4096×2160 can be recorded at 24p (non-drop frame)
The GH4 also has powerful HD video capture capabilities. It records 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p and 60p video in 1080p in .MOV and .MP4 formats using either an ALL-Intra codec at 200Mbps or an IPB codec at 100Mbps. A much more compressed AVCHD codec is also available for HD capture at 28Mbps and lower bit rates. The camera is a global camera, giving users the ability to select 59.94Hz, 50Hz or 24Hz signals depending on their intended delivery.
The VFR (Variable Frame Rate) feature enables recording 1080p video at up to 96fps, which is 4x slow-mo for 24p footage. Early details on this feature are slim; however, it appears that the camera will capture these files and conform them in camera to 30p or 24p footage using .MOV or .MP4 formats at 100Mbps bit rates. The VFR feature also allows time lapse shots to be captured down to 2fps and conformed to a .MOV or .MP4 file in-camera.
In addition to all of the powerful features built into the camera, Panasonic also unveiled the new DMW-YAGH video interface unit for the GH4. The DMW-YAGH attaches to the bottom of the GH4 and is much larger than a tradition battery grip or other interface unit we’ve see for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras over the years. The YAGH is built exclusively for professional video use and is obviously intend for GH4 configurations where the camera is rigged out for a serious production.
And serious it is.
The DMW-YAGH features 4 SDI outputs for HD 4:2:2 and 4K 4:2:2 10-bit output with timecode. (It can also be configured to record 4:2:2 to an external unit via the on-board HDMI-output on the GH4 itself.) The interface unit also has dual XLR inputs with optional phantom power and level adjustments on the unit. These inputs can be monitored on the GH4’s display. Additionally, the interface unit includes a 12v DC input for external power to the unit and the GH4.
There is much more on the video side to get excited about in the GH4, but I’ll let you read the full press release and spec sheet for yourself to wrap your head around it.
No word yet on pricing or availability; however, you can find a listing for the new GH4 here at B&H Photo.
Panasonic Lumix GH4 Press Release
Panasonic is proud to introduce an ultimate photo/video hybrid Digital Single Lens Mirrorless(DSLM) camera DMC-GH4 for the successor of DMC-GH3 that created an industrial sensation with its outstanding video recording performance. The image quality for both photo and video is dramatically improved by crystallizing Panasonic’s cutting-edge technologies.
The newly developed 16.05-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor for DMC-GH4 excels both in sensitivity and response and suppresses rolling shutter effect even when using electronic shutter or recording motion image. The image processor Venus Engine is also newly developed dramatically boosting its performance with new quad-core CPU that lets high speed signal processing required for rich video recording such as 4K. Integrating superior noise reduction systems, DMC-GH4 enables shooting at max.ISO25600. Sensitivity, gradation performance, resolution and color reproduction are dramatically improved to achieve even higher picture quality. The DMC-GH4 boasts high speed burst shooting at 12 fps(AFS) up to approx.40 (including RAW) / approx.100 (excluding RAW) and 7.0 fps(AFC) to capture fast moving subject just in-focus.
The new DMC-GH4 further evolves to bridge the gap of consumer video camera and professional video camera. One of the most prominent advance is unlimited*1 4K video recording (Cinema 4K: 4096×2160 / 24 fps and QFHD 4K: 3840×2160 / up to 30 fps) in MOV/MP4*2. The DMC-GH4 is also capable of recording Full- HD video with ultra high bitrate at 200 Mbps (ALL-Intra) or 100 Mbps (IPB) without recording time limit *1*2. Users can freely choose the format from MOV, MP4, AVCHD Progressive and AVCHD at a variety of frame rates according to the usage. For the global business of professional users, the system frequency can be flexibly selectable between 59.94Hz (23.98Hz) / 50.00Hz / 24.00Hz. The DMC-GH4 is also capable of real-time image output to the external monitor via an optional micro HDMI cable simultaneously while recording video. For more unique video expression, VFR(Variable Frame Rate) or Time Lapse/Stop Motion Animation can be produced with DMC-GH4 without postproduction process. In addition, a variety of practical functions required for professional video recording are newly integrated.
The high-precision Contrast AF system in the DMC-GH4 is further enhanced by Panasonic’s integration of DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology which even shortens the time to set focus to achieve ultra high speed AF of approx.0.07 sec*3. Not only speed but also the operability is enhanced thanks to the addition of Face / Eye Detection AF or 49-point AF with Custom Multi AF mode.
The DMC-GH4 boasts newly developed high-precision, high-speed dual OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) displays for 2,359K-dot LVF (Live View Finder) and 1,036K-dot rear monitor. Both LVF and rear monitor adopts OLED to achieve high speed response with minimum time lag while enhancing the resolution. Notably, the OLED for the LVF in DMC-GH4 boasts 10,000:1 high contrast for superior color reproduction. Now the excellent visibility comes closer to OVF.
To be tough enough to withstand even heavy field use, the main structure of the DMC-GH4 is composed of magnesium alloy full diecast front/rear frame. It also features splash / dustproof construction thanks to the sealing on every joint, dial, and button. The shutter unit that allows max. 1/8000 fast shutter release is also redesigned to be even more durable for approx. 200,000 times release*4.
Even a moment’s waste matters in professional shooting condition, hence it is possible to make target setting intuitively thanks to the optimum layout of control devices on DMC-GH4 . The DMC-GH4 also incorporates Wi-Fi® with NFC technology, terminals highly connectable to external equipment. Now RAW files can be developed in camera.
Evolving further in every aspect – performance, mobility, durability and expandability, Panasonic is proud to offer DMC-GH4 for a reliable first camera to professional field photographers, film creators and hybrid photographers.
*1 Motion image can be recorded up to 29 min 59 sec depending on the recording format and the camera’s sales area.
*2 Use SDXC/SDHC Memory Card compatible with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) when using high bitrate video recording mode over 100 Mbps.
*3 In AFS, With LUMIX G VARIO 14-140mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. or LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm / F2.8 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
*4 Panasonic in-house examination.
1. The Newly Developed 16.05-Megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor and Venus Engine Achieving High Speed, High Sensitivity Image Recording
Panasonic developed new 16.05-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor for DMC-GH4 that achieves high quality, high sensitivity image recording with quick response. Approx. 50% higher speed signal readout suppresses rolling shutter effect even when using electronic shutter or recording motion image. The maximum number of recordable images is up to 40(including RAW) / 100 (excluding RAW). Taking full advantage of the Live MOS Sensor, gradation range is expanded by max.1/3 step at low ISO end with fine tuning control by the Venus Engine. Plus, superior noise reduction realizes max.60 min long exposure in B(bulb) mode.
The image processor Venus Engine is also newly developed dramatically boosting its performance with new quad-core CPU that lets high speed signal processing required for rich video recording such as 4K. The advanced Multi-process NR (Noise Reduction) applies effective noise reduction and edge processing according to each component frequency. Plus, newly added Random Filter granulates chromatic noise to be blended into the image even more naturally. As a result, the max. ISO 25600 is achieved. On the other hand, optimizing the combination design of new sensor, new imaging engine and low-pass filter enhances the limit resolution by more than 5% while suppressing moire. Newly adopted aperture filter is capable of controlling over wider frequency range. It adjusts the amount of sharpness according to the frequency level, resulting in faithful stereoscopic effect. The Venus Engine also improves color reproduction with accurate evaluation of each color even it is similar not only in color phase but also in saturation and luminosity.
The combination of the Digital Live MOS Sensor and the Venus Engine achieves stunning picture quality in its natural way – that is what LUMIX aspires for.
2. The World’s First Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) Camera Recording High Quality Video in 4K – To Meet Professional Quality and Standard
The predecessor DMC-GH3 created an industrial sensation with its outstanding video recording performance that meets the professionals’ quality and standard. The new DMC-GH4 further evolves to bridge the gap of consumer video camera and professional video camera. One of the most prominent advance is unlimited*1 4K video recording (Cinema 4K: 4096×2160 / 24 fps and QFHD 4K: 3840×2160 / up to 30 fps) in MOV/MP4*2. The DMC-GH4 is also capable of Full- HD video with ultra high bitrate at 200 Mbps (ALL-Intra) or 100 Mbps (IPB), which does not have limit of recording time*1. Users can freely choose the format from MOV, MP4, AVCHD Progressive and AVCHD at a variety of frame rates according to the usage [Figure#1]. In MP4 / MOV, high quality sound in LPCM (Linear Pulse Code Modulation) is recordable. For the global business of professional users, the system frequency can be flexibly selectable between 59.94Hz (23.98Hz) / 50.00Hz / 24.00Hz.
The DMC-GH4 is also capable of real-time image output to the external monitor in 4:2:2 / 8-bit*3 via an optional micro HDMI cable simultaneously while recording video. Even 4:2:2 / 10-bit is available which is suitable for the professional video making that requires serious monitoring of the footage. Users can choose to output only the recording content or the content with the setting menus individually depending on a display.
Plus, the VFR( Variable Frame Rate) enables recording video with slow/fast motion such as 96 fps, 4x, all in Full-HD[Figure#2]*4. Time Lapse/ Stop Motion Animation video can be produced in camera, too.
For more precise control over video image quality, the DMC-GH4 integrates Zebra Pattern to watch white wash-out or Focus Peaking. The DMC-GH4 even allows Master Pedestal system is newly integrated with which users can adjust the brightness balance ±15 steps based on the color of black. Gamma presets exclusively for video recording are newly available in Creative Video mode – “CINELIKE D” and “CINELIKE V” for rich video expression like a cinema. Synchro Scan mode is also newly available to reduce suppress flicker. It is selectable to display Center Marker while recording.
The DMC-GH4 is equipped with functions that meets global standard for synchronous video recording. 1KHz Test Tone and Color Bars(SMPTE / EBU / ARIB Standard) are newly available on DMC-GH4. The DMC-GH4 also embeds SMPTE-compliant Time Code either in Rec Run or Free Run count-up methods, which makes it easy to synchronize the multiple video footage or sound source in the post production workflow. Time Code Value can be started at any point of [Reset], [Manual Input] and [Current Time]. Drop frame or Non Drop Frame time code is selectable*5. When recording the video in MOV, AVCHD Progressive, AVCHD or MP4(LPCM), the DMC-GH4 automatically generates multiple seamless files for continuous recording. During playback, the AVCHD Progressive / AVCHD files are reproduced with seamless, interruption-free continuity.
A total of 22 LUMIX G digital interchangeable lenses offers any creative perspective according to the scene. Especially those crowned as HD lenses allows silent, high performance AF control suitable for video recording.
*1 Motion image can be recorded up to 29 min 59 sec depending on the recording format and the camera’s sales area.
*2 Use SDXC/SDHC Memory Card compatible with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) when using high bitrate video recording mode over 100 Mbps.
*3 Setting the HDMI output picture quality
[4:2:2 10bit]:You can output the image through the HDMI connection in higher picture quality, but you cannot record it as a motion picture or still pictures. Ideal when the HDMI output is to be saved on external devices.
[4:2:2 8bit]:You can record the image while outputting it through the HDMI connection. Ideal for recording while checking the motion picture on an external monitor. When using 4:2:2 / 8-bit output, video is recorded in 4:2:0 / 8-bit on SDXC/SDHC Memory Card.
*4 In 24p playback. Effect value varies depending on the recording format and frequency.
*5 When system frequency [59.94Hz] is selected
3. High Speed Response Required for Professionals and Practical AF Options
All cameras of LUMIX G adopt Contrast AF for its focus system. Compared with the Phase difference system AF, the Contrast AF boasts higher accuracy especially in shooting with bright lens with small F value. With the LUMIX G digital interchangeable lens capable of digital signal exchange at max. 240 fps, the focusing is stunningly quick and smooth. The Contrast AF system in the DMC-GH4 is further enhanced by Panasonic’s integration of DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology which even shortens the time to set focus. It figures out the distance to the subject by evaluating 2 images with different depth of field while consulting the data of optical characteristics of the using lens in a moment. As a result, the DMC-GH4 achieves ultra high speed AF of approx.0.07 sec*. This improvement benefits more as focusing distance increases. The speed of burst shooting is dramatically faster than the predecessor DMC-GH3, boasting high speed burst shooting at 12 fps (AFS) up to approx.40 (including RAW) / approx.100 (excluding RAW) and 7.0 fps (AFC) to capture fast moving subject just in-focus.
Not only these, stability of continuous focusing is improved focusing is now even smoother by minimizing wobbling in both photo and video recording. Together with the quick start-up and short release time lag, the DMC-GH4 never lets photographers miss fleeting shooting opportunities.
In addition to the conventional Face Recognition AF, the DMC-GH4 newly incorporates Eye Detection AF which automatically sets focus right on the eye of human face. Focus point is increased from 23 (DMC-GH3) to 49 points for more flexible composition together with Custom Multi AF mode in which users can freely select the blocks to focus out of the 49 focusing area. Now the 1-area AF area can be seamlessly magnified not only in manual but also in auto focus mode. Tracking AF is also advanced in the point of tracking accuracy by estimating the subject’s movement.
Focus point can be set on any part of the 100% field of view. The time to show magnified image can be selectable in Pin-point AF. Focus point can be magnified either with MF ring or with cursor key in MF Assist mode. In the Touch Pad AF, the position can be set either on absolute/relative coordinate. Together with the Eye Sensor AF which starts focusing by just looking into the viewfinder, the AF/AE lock button works for AF for quick auto focusing even when using LVF.
*In AFS, With LUMIX G VARIO 14-140mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. or LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm / F2.8 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
4. Stunning Mobility Supported by Mechanical Advancements
The DMC-GH4 boasts newly developed high-precision, high-speed dual OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) displays for LVF (Live View Finder) and rear monitor. Increasing the resolution of display area to 2,359K-dot, the new 16:9 Wide Screen LVF boasts approx.1.34x / 0.67x (35mm camera equiv.) magnification and 100% field of view and eyepoint of approximately 21 mm. Thanks to the newly designed large eyecup, the visibility of LVF is dramatically improved. The image output between the LVF and the rear monitor is switched automatically with the eye sensor on the LVF, which features options of sensitivity – high, low and off – to reduce false operation during touching on the rear monitor. The 3.0-inch 1,036K-dot free-angle OLED rear monitor (3:2 aspect) with wide-viewing angle rotates 180° to the side and tilts 270° up and down offers approx. 100% of field of view. This rear monitor adopts static touch control for more smooth operation either in shooting or in playback. Both LVF and rear monitor adopts OLED to achieve high speed response with minimum time lag while enhancing the resolution. Notably, the OLED for the LVF in DMC-GH4 boasts 10,000:1 high contrast for superior color reproduction. Now the excellent visibility comes closer to OVF. On the other hand, live view image can be displayed in monochrome through LVF which enables shooting concentrating on contrast.
Even a moment’s waste matters in professional shooting condition but it is possible to make target setting intuitively with DMC-GH4. The 3 dials are equipped on the top and back of the camera and the main dial is now comes with lock structure. A dedicated button allows direct reach to exposure compensation, white balance adjustment or ISO setting and max.5 settings can be assigned to the Fn button. All these external components are designed to be operated easily without taking eyes off through the viewfinder.
To be tough enough to withstand even heavy field use, the main structure of the DMC-GH4 is composed of magnesium alloy full diecast front/rear frame. It also features splash / dustproof construction thanks to the sealing onto every joint, dial, and button. The shutter unit is also redesigned to be even more durable for approx. 200,000 times release*. It offers highest shutter speed at max. 1/8000 not only to capture spur-of-the-moment of fast moving subject but also to use high-speed lens with open aperture even in outdoors to give impressive defocus. Both built-in/external flash can be synchronized with max.1/250 second shutter speed*2.
*1 Panasonic in-house examination.
5. Expandability for A Variety of Workflows
Easy Wireless Connectivity via Wi-Fi® / NFC with Smartphones
The DMC-GH4 integrates Wi-Fi® connectivity (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology camera to offer more flexible shooting experience and instant image sharing with easy operation. With Panasonic “Image App”, remote shooting of both photo and video* is available by using the smartphone/tablet for a remote shutter with a monitor. Not only releasing a shutter, zooming, focusing and settings of shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation are all controllable with a smartphone / tablet. All these flexible shooting / browsing / sharing style are made possible with the DMC-GH4 and the Panasonic’s dedicated application software Panasonic Image App for iOS / Android smartphones / tablets. It is also easy to embed geotag in the image after shooting. For the smartphone/tablet without NFC, the camera displays dedicated QR code on its monitor to complete pairing easily by reading the code.
The DMC-GH4 comes with a variety of connection terminals for more flexible shooting options. The 3.5mm microphone jack is for high quality audio recording using an external microphone and the 3.5mm headphone jack which enables monitoring the recording audio while shooting video real-time. It is also capable of real-time image output on the external monitor via an optional HDMI micro cable simultaneously while recording video. In addition to these, the DMC-GH4 complies with AV outputs (Audio 2ch, Composite), flash sync terminal and 2.5mm jack for remote controller.
For reliable recording of rich video, the DMC-GH4 complies with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) which is the new speed class standard of SD memory card. The UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) guarantees a constant minimum write speed of 30MB/s to respond to market needs for 4K video.
A GN58 powerful External Flash (DMW-FL580L) is newly added to the LUMIX G optional accessories which allows high speed charging of approx.1.7 sec. Not only wireless control but also LED video light function are available. The Stereo / Shotgun Microphone (DMW-MS2) which enables stereo/shotgun switch even allows more precise sound recording with selectable Super Shotgun / Lens Auto / Manual option on DMC-GH4.
6. Other Features
Luminance Level Adjustment
Just as the concept of “ultimate hybrid Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera” identifies, the DMC-GH4 supports smooth postproduction for photographers newly challenging videography. In addition to the standard luminance level of 16-235* and 16-255*, DMC-GH4 offers 0-255* which is equivalent to photo standard.
For more practical control over focusing, the DMC-GH4 incorporates Focus Peaking function that shows the peak of focus in MF and AF+MF mode. Users can see the peaking of focus while monitoring the subject in live view. It can be set to HIGH / LOW / OFF and the color can also be changed to blue, white or orange according to the color of the shooting scene during live view. Users can take advantage of this function when controlling the camera with smartphone / tablet via Wi-Fi in both photo / video recording.
This mode switches shutter from mechanical to electronic and turns all sound (AF, operation) off while suppress emission of AF assist lamp and flash with just a single setting for special shooting occasions.
The Live View function is also advanced digitally making it possible to adjust highlight / shadow separately with the front/rear dial. 3 patterns of settings can be customized in addition to 3 patterns of preset.
RAW data development in Camera
The DMC-GH4 is capable of developing RAW image in camera. In addition to the color space setting ( sRGB / AdobeRGB ), the parameter of white balance, exposure compensation, contrast, highlight/shadow, saturation, noise reduction, sharpness or hue can be flexibly adjusted while LUMIX’s Photo Style, Intelligent D-range Control, Intelligent Resolution can also be applied.
Interface Unit (DMW-YAGH)
Panasonic newly offers Interface Unit (DMW-YAGH) exclusively for professional/industrial workflow with DMC-GH4 that enables more powerful video transmission. It complies with Full HD (4:2:2 / 10-bit) four parallel outputs and these can be used for 4K (4:2:2 / 10-bit) output – both with time code*1. The XLR input terminals (2ch) are also equipped to connect line or condenser microphone. When connecting with microphone, volume can be controlled for L and R separately, which can be monitored LED audio level display on the back of the unit. The 12V DC IN is highly compliant with large-capacity industrial battery and continuously supplies the DMC-GH4 with power*2.
*1 Setting the HDMI output picture quality [4:2:2 / 10bit]
You can output the image through the HDMI connection in higher picture quality, but you cannot record it as a motion picture or still pictures. Ideal when the HDMI output is to be saved on external devices. When using 4:2:2/10-bit output, simultaneous video recording on SDXC/SDHC Memory Card in the camera is not possible.
*2 HDMI output from the camera is not possible when the camera is mounted on the Interface Unit.