Panasonic Introduces New 4K-Shooting Lumix GH4 Mirrorless Compact System Camera

February 7, 2014

By Dan Havlik

Photographers who also aspire to be cutting edge cinematographers can get the best of both worlds with the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, which is the world’s first mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera with 4K video capture.

Panasonic just introduced the Lumix GH4 ahead of the big CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2014 in Japan next week, where it will join several intriguing new cameras. (Yesterday, Pentax announced that its newest 645D medium format camera with a CMOS sensor will also be on display at CP+)

Panasonic first teased the 16-megapixel GH4 at the CES show in Las Vegas last month, showing off a prototype of the 4K-shooting camera under glass. We were able to snap a stealthy photo of the camera during the show.

The new Panasonic Lumix GH4 looks similar to its predecessor, the GH3, which was introduced at photokina 2014 and also used a 16MP sensor.

Under the hood though, the GH4 is a whole new animal, with a newly developed 16.05MP “Digital Live MOS sensor” designed to not only capture 4K video, but reduce the wobbly “rolling shutter” effect you can get when you pan too aggressively with a CMOS-based camera. This is key because rolling shutter can be even more pronounced in ultra-crisp 4K video, which features 4,000 pixels of horizontal resolution, making it approximately four times the resolution of HD video.

We actually predicted this trend of 4K video shooting coming to more digital cameras in our piece “5 Tech Trends That Are Changing the Photo Industry Today” from last year.

Here are some of the photo and video features of the 4K-shooting Panasonic GH4. (Pricing and ship date for the GH4 have not been announced yet.)

• Upgraded Venus Engine image processor with new quad-core CPU that allows high speed signal processing for rich 4K video recording

• Unlimited 4K video recording at Cinema 4K: 4096×2160 / 24 fps; and QFHD 4K: 3840×2160 / up to 30 fps

• Full- HD video with ultra high bit rate at 200 Mbps (ALL-Intra) or 100 Mbps (IPB) without recording time limit

• High ISO shooting of up to ISO 25,600

• High speed burst shooting at 12 frames per second (AFS) up to approximately 40 shots (including RAW); approximately 100 shots (excluding RAW); and 7fps (AFC) to capture fast moving subjects

• Photographers can choose the video format from MOV, MP4, AVCHD Progressive and AVCHD at a variety of frame rates according to the usage

• For photographers working internationally, the GH4’s system frequency can be selected between 59.94Hz (23.98Hz) / 50.00Hz / 24.00Hz.

• Capable of real-time image output to an external monitor via an optional micro HDMI cable simultaneously while recording video

• VFR (Variable Frame Rate) or Time Lapse/Stop Motion Animation can be produced with the GH4 without postproduction processing

• GH4’s Contrast AF system adds DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology which shortens the time to focus to achieve ultra high speed AF of approx.0.07 second

• Face / Eye Detection AF or 49-point AF with Custom Multi AF mode

• Dual OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) displays of 2,359K-dot LVF (Live View Finder) and 1,036K-dot rear monitor

• Built with a magnesium alloy full die cast front/rear frame

• Splash/dustproof construction with sealing on every joint, dial, and button.

• Shutter unit allows a maximum 1/8000 shutter release and is redesigned to be more durable for approximately 200,000 actuations

Panasonic will also be selling an optional, new Interface Unit (DMW-YAGH) designed for the GH4 — shown below — that enables more powerful video transmission. The Interface Unit complies with Full HD (4:2:2 / 10-bit) offering four parallel output, which can be used for 4K (4:2:2 / 10-bit) output, both with time code.

The XLR input terminals (2ch) on the unit are equipped to connect line or condenser microphone. With a microphone connected, 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 compliant with large-capacity industrial batteries and continuously supplies the GH4 with power.

Pricing and shipping have not been announced for the Interface Unit for the Panasonic GH4.