CES 2017: Panasonic’s new 4K champ

  • TECH
  • Thursday, 05 Jan 2017

4K flagship: The GH5 is physically larger than the GH4 to accomodate a host of new features including a full-sized HDMI port on the side.

Panasonic’s GH series of mirrorless cameras have always been at the cutting edge in terms of video capabilities in consumer cameras – for example, the GH4 featured 4K video recording when most rival cameras only offered 1080p video.

Now that 4K recording has become more commonplace in most cameras, Panasonic has upped the ante again with the upcoming GH5.

First off, the camera features an all-new 20-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor and 5-axis in-body image stabilisation.

However, what’s interesting is that not only does the GH5 shoot in 4K at up to 60-frames-per-second, but it uses the entire width of the 20-megapixel sensor when recording video – the previous model, the GH4, could only manage 4K, 30-frames-per-second video in a cropped mode which only used the middle portion of the sensor.

The main advantage of using the entire width of the sensor is that wideangle lenses will still function like wideangle lenses instead behaving like a short telephoto after the edges of the image are cropped off.

Even better, with a firmware coming sometime after June 2017, the GH5 will be updated to record 6K anamorphic video at up to 24-frames-per-second.

In addition to the touchscreen, the GH5 gains a little joystick for easy focus point selection.

In case you don’t know, the anamorphic widescreen format uses special anamorphic lenses which squeeze and distort a long, letterboxed image to fit into a squarer format – this trick was used in the old days of film to maximise the entire 35mm film frame when shooting a widescreen, letterboxed movie.

Similarly in the GH5 when used with anamorphic lenses, the camera is able to utilise this trick to maximise the capture area and then stretch out the distorted image into the proper widescreen format.

When shooting at 1080p, the GH5 can even shoot slow-motion video at up to 180-frames-per-second.

Other notable features are a 9-frames-per-second continuous burst speed with autofocus when shooting stills, 802.11ac WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth, microphone input, headphone output and dual SD card slots.

The GH5 also comes with a 3.2in touchscreen on the back for easy focus point selection and menu navigation and notably, an electronic viewfinder with a whopping 3.68-million dot resolution.

The Panasonic GH5 is slated to appear sometime in March and while no local prices have yet been announced, the body-only price in the United States is US$1,999 (about RM8,970) – not cheap, but semi-pro and enthusiast cinematographers might find this camera a dream come true.

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