Panasonic has just announced a new box-style mirrorless camera: the Panasonic LUMIX BGH1. This camera is designed for video recording rather than still images, with streaming, broadcast, and multi-camera recording functions as the main focus. It has a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, a 10.2 MP Live MOS sensor with two native ISO values, similar to that of the LUMIX GH5S. It can record in C4K / 4K at up to 60 fps and up to 240 fps in FHD. Let's take a closer look at this new compact and lightweight camera!
The new LUMIX DC-BGH1 is Panasonic's first attempt to develop a smaller and even more compact mirrorless camera with a four-thirds sensor. However, the Panasonic LUMIX DC-BGH1 is not a hybrid camera. It is designed for recording video.
Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 Photo credit: CineD
Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 – GH5S with a new form factor
This camera has the same sensor as the GH5S, which is a 10.2 megapixel live MOS sensor with multiple aspects and two native ISO values (V-Log L: ISO 400 and 2,000, HLG: ISO 320 and 1600, Cinelike: ISO 160 and 800)). The general ISO range is between 160 and 51,200. The image processor is a Venus engine, similar to that of the GH5S.
However, the LUMIX BGH1 has a smaller form factor than the GH5S and the sensor / processor is optimized to work in video mode. Panasonic said the camera was designed for a wide variety of uses including streaming, events, documentaries, cinema, and traditional broadcasting. Due to its low weight, it can also be used with drones.
Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 – size comparison of the Panasonic Gh5. Image credit: CineD
Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 – Recording Modes
The Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 can record internally in C4K / 4K with up to 60 frames per second in 4: 2: 0 10-bit long GOP form (and 4: 2: 2 10-bit all intra up to 30 fps) . The camera has two SD card slots and offers relay / backup / association recording. If you lower the resolution to FHD, you can increase the frame rate up to 240 fps. Note, however, that when filming above 201 fps, the angle of view changes and the image is cropped.
Various image profiles are available, including HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), which is compatible with the ITU-R BT.2100 color space. You can also record internally in C4K / 4K HEVC / H.264 or H.265 (associated recording settings). A V-Log L image profile is pre-installed and Panasonic claims a maximum dynamic range of 13 f-stops (we already have the camera in-house and will be presenting our laboratory test results shortly).
You can record externally for even better usability. The camera can output a 10-bit signal C4K / 4K 4: 2: 2 via HDMI. It is also the first LUMIX camera that can output the video signal to HDMI and SDI at the same time. (HDMI, 4K 60p 4: 2: 2 10-bit, SDI, up to FHD 60p 4: 2: 2 10-bit).
Like its sibling LUMIX GH5S, the new LUMIX BGH1 also has an anamorphic mode (4K 3328 × 2496 to 50p).
The camera body is made of aluminum plus magnesium alloy to dissipate heat in conjunction with a new heat dissipation structure that allows for unlimited video recording times and no overheating problems.
Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 with lens. Image credit: CineD
It seems like Panasonic went to great lengths to improve the auto focus capabilities of the LUMIX BGH1. According to the company, the camera has "advanced deep learning technology" that can recognize people and animals.
For humans, the camera can recognize the eye, face, body and head separately. On paper, it can follow the subject as it moves, turns its back on the camera, or moves away from the camera.
Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 connectivity ports. Photo credit: Panasonic
Input / output ports and connectivity
The Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 has many input / output connections, including:
- One USB 3.1 Type C port
- One 3G-SDI output connector
- One HDMI Type A output connector
- One 3.5mm microphone input and one 3.5mm headphone jack (the LUMIX BGH1 is compatible with the DMW-XLR1 unit which gives you access to two XLR connectors).
- One 2.5mm connector for a generic remote control (LANC)
- A Gen Lock IN and Timecode IN / OUT port
- One Ethernet port with Power over Ethernet (PoE +) functions
As you can see, the LUMIX BGH1 has almost every imaginable input / output connection. However, the camera is also capable of wireless connections using 2.4 GHz Wi-FI connectivity and Bluetooth 4.2.
Some of the connection ports mentioned above are mandatory as the camera does not have an integrated monitoring function. Also keep in mind that this camera, as it mainly appeals to business to business customers, comes WITHOUT a battery or charger.
Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 next to Z-Cam E2 (left) and E2c (right). Image credit: CineD
Remote control functions
For live recordings or broadcast events, you can control a maximum of 12 LUMIX BGH1s at the same time using the Panasonic PC software LUMIX Tether. This software allows you to take pictures even if it is a video centric camera. The LUMIX Sync software can be helpful to perfectly synchronize all LUMIX BGH1 cameras.
There are two counting lamps (one on the front and one on the back of the camera) and a network link lamp. This feature comes in handy when you have multiple cameramen working with you so everyone knows when they are live or not.
For further control, Panasonic provides an SDK for camera control via USB free of charge. The SDK will be released on October 14th for owners of compatible LUMIX cameras (BGH1, S1, S1R, S1H, S5, GH5S, GH5, G9). Click here to visit the Panasonic website.
Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 dual SD card slots. Photo credit: Panasonic
Prices and availability
The Panasonic LUMIX BGH1 will be available at the end of October for 1,999 US dollars (or 2,099 euros excluding VAT). This small form factor camera is ideal for you if you frequently record live events or need a lightweight multi-camera setup. I also see the BGH1 as a "Z-Cam / RED Komodo-type" offering from Panasonic used by indie filmmakers and one-man band filmmakers.
What do you think of this new Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera? Are you considering purchasing it for multiple camera configurations? Don't hesitate to let us know in the comments below!