Just a few days ago, I wrote a post about the GH5 and the features that I hope to see included when it’s released. While all of the points I made there still are valid, the timeline and overall trajectory of the GH5 release may be different than many of us had thought.
If you haven’t yet heard the rumor – Panasonic is supposedly going to announce a new iteration of the GH4 (called the GH4R) that will include V-Log as a feature. While no other details have really emerged at this time, the possibility of this new camera leaves a lot of questions up in the air.
First off, if the GH4R is released with V-Log, does that mean the current GH4 will never get V-Log via a firmware update? Who knows. Theoretically there should be no issue getting V-Log into current users GH4s, as beta versions have already been floating around for months… I even used one at NAB earlier this year and it looked great to me. But why release a new camera that is still labeled as a GH4 with the only difference being the inclusion of a Log color profile?
Some people may speculate that the GH4R will be more than just V-Log, and that other features will be included too. But if that’s really the case, why isn’t it being labeled as a GH5? The GH4R sounds a lot like an iPhone 5s. Some incremental updates, but nothing to write home about.
If that’s the case, I certainly hope that current GH4 users have the ability to upgrade their cameras, even if it means paying. In an ideal world the upgrade would be free, but I understand that a lot of R & D probably went into V-Log and that may need to be factored into the cost. So if it’s a paid firmware update for current users that’s acceptable, even if not ideal. But if there’s no ability to update your camera at all – even if you’re willing to pay for it, that will be very disappointing.
For now, let’s give Panny the benefit of the doubt and assume the GH4R will be a significant upgrade, and that V-Log will be available for current GH4 users one way or another. That still leaves the question of what will the future of the GH5 be…
I see two possibilities. One is that the GH5 will be what we all thought it would be: a V-Log enabled update to the GH4 with significant enough features to warrant the name change. But if the GH4R sort of fits that bill, then another possibility is the GH5 will be an even larger step ahead than we might think.
For instance, the GH5 could have a bigger sensor (Super 35) or a larger and more professional physical build that would allow for higher frame rates and other performance enhancements. Personally, I doubt this will be the case as I would assume changes that big would call for an entirely new product name. So that leaves me, and everyone else guessing.
I’ve been a Lumix shooter sine the GH2 days and am definitely rooting for Panasonic to do something bold with both the GH4R (if it is a real thing), and whatever the next successor to the GH4 line is. I want to see them succeed and appreciate how they have pushed technological boundaries ahead in the past.
That said though, this is a very pivotal time for the Lumix GH-line as there has never been more anticipation or a larger user base for their product. The market is very tumultuous right now and if Lumix doesn’t truly satisfy their users with their next release(s), I doubt they’ll be able to grow their user base nearly as quickly as they have been, and would bet they’ll lose customers.
Your guess is as good as mine as to what Panasonic has in store for us, but hope that they will impress us all with whatever comes next.
What do you think? Is the GH4R going to happen, and if so what will that mean for the rest of the lineup?
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Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!