Mark Toal from Panasonic was at Kenmore Camera on January 23 to demo the new Lumix GH4. This is an exciting new camera from Panasonic introduced at Photokina and revealed at CES this January. This is a preproduction sample. He had 2 for being looked at. These cameras were still being finalized and had beta firmware. Some of the menu items did not work. The camera will be available at the end of March for $1999.99.
The camera is bigger and a little heavier than the GH4. The camera no longer has a built in flash. They have added a joystick for pointing to an autofocus point. One of the wonderful things that did not change was the battery which is already great. The 4K video is no longer cropped smaller than the sensor. Dual I.S 2.0 stabilization is added so any lens is stabilized. The camera now has 2 SD card slots. There is now a full size HDMI port with an adapter that can be screwed into the body to lock the cable from pulling out while recording.
The best improvement is the new audio adapter that sits in the hot shoe. The DMW-XLR1 audio adapter will be available at the same time as the camera for 399.99.. It has a direct connection to the camera and is powered (not extra batteries to charge) by the camera's internal battery. Bad news for cage owners, as it mounts only on top of the camera.
Overall this is a major upgrade over the GH4.
Here are some of the specs about the camera:
It includes cutting-edge 4K 60p (4:2:0 8-bit) and 30p (4:2:2 10-bit) in-camera cinematic video, 5Ghz Wi-Fi + Bluetooth for fast connection and image transfer, lightning fast DFD focusing, Dual I.S 2.0 stabilization and exposure technologies not possible with traditional DSLRs. With the exclusive LUMIX 4K PHOTO (~8MP, 30/60 fps) & brand new 6K PHOTO mode (~18MP, 30 fps), simply pause that perfect moment from vide to produce printable high resolution photos. 20.3MP Four Thirds sensor with no low pass filter. 4K Video: Internal recording at 4K60/50p (4:2:0 8bit) & 4K30/25p/24p (4:2:2 10bit). Variable Video Frame Rates 4K: Max. 60fps & FHD: Max. 180fps. 5-Axis Photo/Video Dual I.S. 2.0 up to 5 stops with compatible LUMIX MFT lenses, plus in-body stabilization support for classic non-O.I.S lenses. DFD focusing system for fast and accurate focusing utilizing LUMIX 480 fps and Venus Engine 10 Full size (Type A) HDMI terminal with cable lock included & twin SD Card slots (UHS-II U3 Compatible).
3.5mm mic & headphone terminals – optional DMW-XLR1 microphone adaptor.
Eye viewfinder 3680k-dot OLED, 21mm, 0.76x.
V-LogL recording with (Optional) DMW-SFU1 paid upgrade.
In this second review I show most of the settings on the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K. Also the XLR adapter cable arrived so I could test out the Mini XLR audio. I did some tests in the most space efficient mode, 720P PR Proxy. 1 hour and 18 minutes is possible on a 32 GB HC card. Also is shown how to format a SD card. A 32 GB HC or smaller cards need to be reformatted for ExFat from Fat32. They will no longer work in the GH4 formatted as ExFat. 64 GB XC cards are already formatted as ExFat. Cards formatted in the Video Assist do not work in the GH4 but a GH4 formatted 64 GB XC card does work in the Video Assist.
The mini XLR cables can be purchased at Amazon.
Always tune into www.frugalfilmmakers.com to see the latest videos and reviews. The Blackmagic Video Assist 4K can be ordered now through Adorama.
The new Blackmagic Video Assist 4K was introduced at NAB2016 this year and is now available. Quite a lot of features for the money: UHD 4K recording, SDI and HDMI inputs and outputs, Mini XLR audio, ProRes Proxy, LT, Standard and HQ recording, Canon LP-E6 batteries, a mental frame all with a 1080p touch display.
Watch this to see it on a GH4 and some early tests. This is the first video and covers some of the basic operation. There will be more that cover cards and audio.
The Blackmagic Video Assist 4K can be ordered through Adorama for $895.00
Panasonic has released their version of V-Log for the GH4 to the world. This is some short tests of comparing it to the other Photo Styles. I choose to test it against: Standard, Cinelike V and Cinelike D.
The Log color space is designed to increase dynamic range and roll off highlights better. Also it is great for matching with other cameras. If all the cameras are shooting Log, they can be matched better in Post. Keep in mind Log is designed to be used in Post so your workflow will increase. While you can get the camera in the ballpark with preset LUT's (look up tables), but for best results it is advised to do the job of a Colorist and create the look you want and this is on a scene by scene basis.
We did not use LUT's for these tests. Instead Color Finale for FCPX was used for these tests. Exposure and Chroma was the only things corrected to get the image to normal levels as Log is very flat and dull to compare to the other Photo Styles.
In these tests I did not see a lot of difference between Cinelike D and V-Log. Cinelike D is a lot easier to shoot and edit. I would recommend V-Log for shoots that need camera matching and those that require a cinematic color grade.
Half of what we do as media producers is record audio. The other half of course is video. Quite a few of us forget about that and sometimes something comes along that helps us record better audio. One of the most popular things to do when recording with a small mirrorless or HDSLR's is to mount a short shotgun microphone on top of the camera. Most shotgun microphones are to be used vertically not horizontally like when they're mounted on a camera. The microphone does not do the best rejection and does not give you the best audio in front of the camera.
The makers of the Sound Shark have made a product that tries to solve this problem. The Sound Shark is a parabolic microphone using a small lavaliere in the dish. They Call it the “Zoom Lens” of Audio. It extends the range of audio that can be recorded, up to 30 feet. They are using proven technology that is used every day to record sound at a distance, such as football games and the professional sports. The basic unit with out microphone is $400.
Watch the review to see the Sound Shark in action.
I have taken the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark 5 to do news reports for the local radio station's YouTube channel.
Most of the time the camera has behaved well. One occasion there was some moire, but minor. My bigger complaint with this camera is that the camera locks all the controls once you push the record button. The control wheels do nothing. The viewfinder does not change to the LCD when I take my eye away from it. If you are using the rear swivel LCD, one item (aperture, shutter, exposure compensation, ISO, audio volume) at a time can be changed on the touch screen. You can refocus auto focus lenses by pushing the viewfinder button. This is not very intuitive and rather awkward. (I prefer my GH4 as all I have the do to refocus is half way push the big record button.) Since I have the battery grip I can monitor audio but that must be removed to replace a battery in the camera.
On the plus side, the camera is small and light weight. The viewfinder and LCD are very sharp with a hight number of pixels with a very good refresh rate. The image stabilizer is amazing. The auto white balance is great outside and good inside. It is nice knowing that the camera is weather sealed here in the Pacific Northwest.
Overall a great stills camera and a good video camera.
Here two reports shot with the camera and edited in FCPX.
Last Saturday while I was at the Kenmore Camera Anniversary Sale I had a chance to talk to Ray Acevedo from Olympus Imaging about the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II micro-fourthirds camera. I like so much that I bought one.
Saturday was the Kenmore Camera Anniversary Sale. Olympus was on hand with the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. As turns out, they supplied Kenmore with some of the first cameras in the country. The official release date I was told was Feb. 27th. I bought one after putting it through it's paces in the store. I took it home with me and opened the box and this is what I found.
Sorry for being away for so long. I had a very busy fall.
GH2 with X 35-100mm
A new important firmware update is available today from Panasonic. It address a problem that has had many owners unhappy. Some have returned the lens. I like my lens, but have noticed the micro-jitters people are complaining about. I even tested another lens at Kenmore Camera.
The new firmware update for the Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm F2.8 O.I.S lens improves the stability of O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilizer) in Motion Picture recording. An important update when using Panasonic DMC-GH3 and the 4K video recording DMC-GH4 mirrorless models.
The Panasonic H-HS35100 35-100mm f/2.8 lens has construction including 18 elements / 13 groups of optical elements crafted from Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion (UED) and Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass, and uses Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating to minimize internal reflections and flare.
My verdict: A definite improvement. I have not used this lens as much as would have liked but now I will use it more.