I don’t make a habit of posting rumors on this site, but this one comes from a very reliable source (43rumors) and is very, very likely to be spot on.
For those of you that are readers of my blog, you know I’m a fan of the Lumix GH line of cameras. I started with the GH2 and to this day use the GH3 on many of my projects, despite having many other cameras. It’s simply one of the best tools for many of the productions I work on. I’m mentioning this to put in context my excitement for the upcoming GH4 camera by Lumix which supposedly will be packed with many features that I will outline below, but the most important of which is that it will shoot 4K!
Before giving you my thoughts on the camera, take a quick look at the rumored specs:
- 16mp sensor with full pixel readout
- 10bit 4:2:2 codec (likely AVC Ultra)
- 200Mbit MP4 ALL-I and 100Mbit IPB options
- Adapter that sits on the camera has 4x 3G-HD-SDI and 2x XLR
- Up to 30fps in 4K mode
- OLED monitor, 1 million dot
- 21mm OLED viewfinder, 3 million dot
- Form factor similar to the GH3 but slightly larger, all output jacks facing out of the left side
- Time code
The biggest deal on this list for most of us is of c0urse the 4K capability. The only other DSLR that can shoot 4K is the ridiculously expensive and overpriced 1DC, and it does so with a poor codec. Assuming these specs are accurate, the 200Mbit ALL-I and 100Mbit IPB options are bound to produce video quality that far exceeds anything coming from the very outdated motion jpeg format of the 1DC. We also know that the camera can shoot 30fps in 4K mode, which means it is very likely that we are going to see high frame rates in other resolutions. 120fps in 1080p could be in the cards. I haven’t heard anything about this specifically, but I do feel that Panasonic are really trying to make a mark with this camera and by integrating a 120fps mode, they will be way ahead of the game.
The camera will likely be priced in the $3000 range, which raises the question of whether or not this will be a replacement for the GH3, or rather a new flagship camera in the GH lineup. It is highly likely that there will be a cheaper camera (let’s call it a GH5), that will be a 1080p replacement for the GH3, and the GH4 (if it is in fact called that) will be the top of the line model.
I can say right now that if this camera is released in the next few months with these specs, Panasonic will have sold me unquestionably. I absolutely love the Micro Four Thirds format, as it is highly adaptable and allows you to use just about any lens on your camera body. Having a Micro Four Thirds camera that can shoot 4K in a body that will likely be quite small, is absolutely incredible. If Panasonic goes the extra mile and adds in built in ND filters, they are going to make a huge wave with this camera and will likely steal a lot of new camera sales from Canon and Nikon. The big advantage Canon and Nikon will still have is of course the fact that some of their cameras have full frame sensors, which for some shooters is essential. Like I said though, for me personally – I love the Micro Four Thirds format. And in many cases I prefer it over full frame as I don’t love overly shallow depth of field. However, the only issue I have with the smaller sensor size is the fact that it traditionally is not as good in low light. Even shooting at ISO 1600 on my GH3 is usually pretty noisy, so I am really hoping that Panasonic have addressed this and figured out a way to get a clean image out of the GH4 at higher ISO’s. The low light capability of a 5D currently still blows the GH3 out of the water. It’ll be tough for Pansonic to compete with this given the smaller sensor size, but let’s see what they have up their sleeves.
So for now we’ll all have to play the waiting game, but the next few months are going to be very interesting!
What do you guys think, is this camera for you? Will it revive the DSLR revolution, or is it one final attempt to steal the spotlight back from cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket Cam?