PANA­SONIC HEADS TO 6K... AND ON TO 8K

Camera - - WHAT’S NEW -

LEICA’S RE­LA­TION­SHIP WITH Pana­sonic was cel­e­brated at the lat­ter’s Pho­tok­ina press con­fer­ence as it’s now 15 years old and still go­ing strong. Leica Cam­era boss, Dr. An­dreas Kaufmann, de­scribed it as a “friend­ship” while Pana­sonic ac­knowl­edged that many of the de­vel­op­ments in its Lu­mix G lens range would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the as­sis­tance of the Ger­man mar­que. A good news cor­po­rate story in­deed.

Pana­sonic con­tin­ued to heav­ily pro­mote the ad­van­tages of its ‘4K Photo’ modes with NZ pro pho­tog­ra­pher, Ross Grieve, talk­ing about how the high-speed shoot­ing modes have helped his busi­ness by en­abling him to more eas­ily cre­ate fast-ac­tion im­ages which would have re­quired more com­pli­cated (and ex­pen­sive) set-ups in the past. And we’re talk­ing 8.3 megapix­els stills here… Ross ob­served that it’s suf­fi­cient qual­ity to gen­er­ate 38-inch prints.

Pana­sonic showed off a pro­to­type of the Lu­mix GH5 which will re­place its GH4 Mi­cro Four Thirds mir­ror­less flag­ship some­time dur­ing mid-2017. The sneak-peak fea­tures in­clude 4K Photo now shoot­ing at 60 fps (so twice the cur­rent 30 fps speed) and, ‘6K Photo’… shoot­ing at 30 fps and de­liv­er­ing 18 MP stills. Here then is the much-talked­about video/still con­ver­gence made re­al­ity – an 18 MP still is go­ing to cover… ooh… 95 per­cent of ev­ery pho­tog­ra­phy re­quire­ment, maybe more. And, by the way, Pana­sonic is promis­ing 8K video by the time the 2020 Olympic Games open in Tokyo… this means an ‘8K Photo’ mode giv­ing 33 MP stills!

While the GH5 is still a lit­tle way off… the Lu­mix G85 is launch­ing now. It’s called the G80 or G81 in other mar­kets, and it’s de­signed to sit be­tween the G7 and the GH4/GH5 as an en­thu­si­ast+ level cam­era (or even a semi-pro model). Pana­sonic says the mir­ror­lesss mes­sage is start­ing to make greater in­roads into these higher-end sec­tors, es­pe­cially for ap­pli­ca­tions where a lighter weight cam­era kit is more de­sir­able… as backed-up by all the pro pho­tog­ra­phers speak­ing at the launch.

The G85 is an SLR-style cam­era (as op­posed to the RF-style GX8) with a fully weather-sealed mag­ne­sium al­loy bodyshell, built-in EVF and the avail­abil­ity of an ac­ces­sory bat­tery grip. A key fea­ture is an up­grade of Pana­sonic’s body-based ‘Dual I.S.’ im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion which pro­vides up to five stops of cor­rec­tion with lens fo­cal lengths up to 280mm (35mm equiv­a­lent). In con­junc­tion with the lens-based op­ti­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion, ‘Dual I.S. II’ pro­vides cor­rec­tion over five axes. The G85 also a new fo­cal plane shut­ter which is elec­tro­mag­net­i­cally con­trolled to al­low for a more com­pact as­sem­bly and qui­eter op­er­a­tion. A sen­sor-based ‘elec­tronic first cur­tain’ shut­ter op­tion is also avail­able, in­creas­ing the top shut­ter speed to 1/16,000 sec­ond.

The G85 uses the same 16.84 megapix­els (to­tal) ‘Live MOS’ sen­sor as the GX7 (and a num­ber of other Lu­mix G mod­els), but with­out an op­ti­cal low-pass fil­ter (LPF) to op­ti­mise res­o­lu­tion. The sen­si­tiv­ity range is equiv­a­lent to 200 to 25,600 with an ex­ten­sion to ISO 100. The max­i­mum con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed is 9.0 fps when us­ing the cam­era’s fo­cal plane shut­ter, and 10 fps with its sen­sor-based shut­ter which also al­lows for a faster top shut­ter speed of 1/16,000 sec­ond.

The G85 records 4K video at the Ultra HD res­o­lu­tion of 3840x2160 pix­els and with the choice of 30, 25 or 24 fps speeds. Of course it also has a full suite of 4K Photo modes, in­clud­ing ‘Post Fo­cus’ – now with a fo­cus stack­ing op­tion – and ‘Light Com­po­si­tion’ mode which merges the mul­ti­ple im­ages for ap­pli­ca­tions such as shoot­ing fire­works. There’s the fa­cil­ity to batch process the 4K Photo frame se­quences.

The Lu­mix brand is now 15 years old which is a short time com­pared to that the ‘photo’ cam­era brands, but Pana­sonic has achieved a huge amount in that time – in­clud­ing the very smart tie-up with Leica for its var­i­ous lens pro­grams – and the next five years looks to be even more ac­tion-packed… lit­er­ally. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.pana­sonic.com.au

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