Panasonic releases new GH4 firmware, JVC adds 50mbps recording

Firmware updates

The GH4 with the pro-spec YAGH adapter
The GH4 with the pro-spec YAGH adapter. Picture: Panasonic.
Panasonic has released a firmware update for its GH4, 4K capable camera.

The update, to firmware 1.1, is now available via the Panasonic global support site.

This contains information on how to perform the update on a GH4, and the procedure will vary depending on whether the camera being updated has a Pansonic, an Olympus, or Sigma lens.

Panasonic is not, at this stage, saying much about the capabilities or improvements offered by the new firmware, other than it will improve “the reliability of video recording performance”.

The update could be aimed at improving reliability for users who have experienced crashes whilst using their GH4s for filming.

As yet, it is also unclear whether this will directly address issues, such as the audio buzz that appears to be affecting some GH4 models, when recording sound via external mics; the problem seems especially pronounced on popular mics with their own in-built pre-amps, such as the Røde Video Mic Pro.

The upgrade procedure is not especially complex but does need camera owners to follow some specific steps to make sure that the upgrade is effective and does not damage the camera.

Dave Dugdale, of learningdslrvideo.com, has produced a step-by-step guide and video that shows how to apply the update.

Dave Dugdale has also obtained some information about the audio “buzz” issue when using external mics: US camera owners can return their cameras to Panasonic for modification. At the moment it is not clear whether such as service will be available for European owners of the GH4.

GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 update

Separately, JVC has released an update for its GY-HM600 and GY-HM650, 1/3-inch professional camcorders.

The firmware update, which is free of charge, brings the cameras’ firmware in line with that on the higher-end, GY-HM850 and GY-HM890 shouldermount models.

The new feature that will be of most interest to broadcasters is a new recording format, XHQ. This is a 1080p, h.264 recording format with a bitrate of 50mbps. This opens up the potential to use the camcorders for long-form, network broadcast filming, which usually requires footage shot at at least 50mbps, and with a camcorder with at least three, 1/3 chips.

Other upgrades include a modification to the camera’s autofocus, which allows the film maker to pick different autofocus points – on the lines of those found on stills cameras.

The firmware update for the GY-HM650 also adds support for the ZIXI streaming technology which JVC also first introduced on the GY-HM850 and GY-HM890.