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