I don't get into the habit of posting rumors on this website, but it comes from a very reliable source (43rumors) and is very, very probably just right.
If you are a reader of my blog, you know that I am a fan of the Lumix GH camera series. I started with the GH2 and still use the GH3 for many of my projects, although I have many other cameras. It's just one of the best tools for many of the productions I'm working on. I mention this to relate my enthusiasm for the upcoming Lumix GH4 camera, which is said to be packed with features that I will outline below. However, the most important thing is that it will record 4K!
Before you worry about the camera, take a quick look at the rumored technical data:
- 4K / 24/25 / 30fps
- 16 megapixel sensor with full pixel display
- 10-bit 4: 2: 2 codec (probably AVC Ultra)
- 200 Mbit MP4 ALL-I and 100 Mbit IPB options
- The adapter on the camera has 4x 3G-HD-SDI and 2x XLR
- Up to 30 fps in 4K mode
- OLED monitor, 1 million points
- 21 mm OLED viewfinder, 3 million points
- Form factor similar to the GH3, but slightly larger, all output sockets point to the left
- Time code
The biggest deal on this list for most of us, of course, is 4K capability. The only other DSLR that can accommodate 4K is the ridiculously expensive and overpriced 1DC, and that with a bad codec. Assuming that these specifications are correct, the 200-Mbit ALL-I and 100-Mbit IPB options will inevitably produce video quality that goes far beyond everything from the very outdated 1DC's Motion JPEG format comes from. We also know that the camera can take 30 frames per second in 4K mode, which means that it is very likely that we will see high frame rates in other resolutions. 120fps in 1080p could be in the cards. I haven't heard anything specific about it yet, but I feel Panasonic is really trying to make a mark with this camera, and by incorporating a 120 fps mode, they'll be way ahead of the game.
The price of the camera is likely to be in the $ 3000 range, which raises the question of whether this will be a replacement for the GH3 or rather a new flagship camera in the GH range. It is very 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 actually called that) will be the top model.
I can now say that Panasonic will no doubt have sold me if this camera is released with these specifications in the next few months. I really like the Micro Four Thirds format because it is very adaptable and allows you to use almost any lens in your camera body. It's absolutely incredible to have a Micro Four Thirds camera that can take 4K in a body that's probably quite small. If Panasonic goes the extra mile and adds built-in ND filters, they will make a big splash with this camera and likely steal many new camera sales from Canon and Nikon. The big advantage that Canon and Nikon will have, of course, is the fact that some of their cameras have full-frame sensors, which is essential for some shooters. As I said, for me personally – I love the Micro Four Thirds format. In many cases I prefer the full screen because I don't like an excessively shallow depth of field. The only problem I have with the smaller sensor size is the fact that it is traditionally not so good in low light conditions. Even recordings with ISO 1600 on my GH3 are usually quite noisy. I therefore very much hope that Panasonic fixed this and found a way to get a clean picture from the GH4 at higher ISO values. The ability of a 5D in low light conditions is currently blowing the GH3 out of the water. Given the smaller sensor size, it will be difficult for Pansonic to compete with, but let's see what they have in their sleeves.
At the moment we all have to play the waiting game, but the next few months will be very interesting!
What do you think is this camera for you? Will it revive the DSLR revolution or will it be a last attempt to steal the spotlight from cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket Cam?
If you missed my article last week How to make videos look like films be sure too Check it out here since the tips apply to every DSLR, including the GH4!
Noam Kroll is an award-winning filmmaker from Los Angeles and founder of the boutique production house Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television and in various publications around the world. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!