Panasonic confirms 4K, Lumix GH4

4K cameras

Panasonic GH4
The new 4K, Panasonic Lumix GH4. Picture: Panasonic
Panasonic has confirmed the launch of its new, 4K, compact system camera.

The GH4 will sit above the existing, HD GH3 in the company’s line-up, and as the company suggested at CES this year, supports 4K.

Unlike a range of recent 4K camera launches, though, the GH4 supports full “cinema 4K” recording, at 4096×2160 pixels and 24fps, as well as Ultra HD (QFHD) resolutions at 29.97 and 25fps. The camera also has a high bitrate recording mode, allowing footage to be captured at 100Mbps in IPB or 200Mbps in All-Intra mode, with a UHS Class 3 memory card.

Early reports suggest that the camera’s Cinema 4K mode will have a slightly different image crop to Ultra HD or HD, giving a 2.3x crop over a 35mm sensor for Cinema HD, against 2x for other modes.

Although the GH4 is very much focused on film making, retaining and adding to the video functionality of the GH2 and GH3, the camera continues with Panasonic’s SLR-style design and ergonomics.

The Lumix GH4 retains the Micro Four Thirds sensor and lens mount, with a 16.05 megapixel Live MOS imager, but with a new, quad-core processor to handle the higher-speed video streams. The basic camera design is also similar to that of the GH3, with a swing-out rear screen, and an OLED-based electronic viewfinder. The GH4 weighs 560g, body only.

Panasonic has, though, added other upgrades, including a new autofocus system, based on contrast AF with “depth from defocus” technology. This, the company says, cuts AF times, with the performance benefits increasing further in line with focus distance.

The company also says the new camera has greater sensitivity, better control of rolling shutter, and exposures of up to 60 minutes. For stills, the camera ISO mode ranges from 100 to 25600, and up to ISO6400 for video recording.

The camera is based on a magnesium alloy frame, with weather sealing, and retains the WiFi connectivity of the GH3.

For professional video use, Panasonic has also developed an accessory grip – the DMW-YAGH — with XLR inputs, 4K HDMI, 3G SDI, a 12V power input and a timecode input.

Panasonic has now confirmed pricing for the GH4, but it is expected to go on sale in March, at around US$2,000 or £1299.