Aiming to bring 4K quality video capture to the lower end of the enthusiast market, the new Panasonic LUMIX G7 comes with a number of features that are also found in higher level GH4, including 4K video capture. Read our first impressions and check out some of the sample 4K video footage from the Panasonic Lumix G7.
The new Panasonic Lumix G7 camera retains the 16-million-pixel CMOS sensor of the previous G6, though it was hinted that some adjustments have been made to this, obviously to cope with the greater demands of 4K video capture. It is this ability that Panasonic were really pushing to both videographers and photographers at the camera’s launch in Palma, Majorca, Spain.
The small micro four thirds camera is capable of capturing 4K footage in MP4 format 24 or 25fps with a bitrate of 100Mbps. More conventionally full 1080p HD quality footage can be captured at 50p and saved in either AVCHD or MP4(H.264) formats.
Obviously 4K capture required a vast amount of processing power, and for this the G7 has quad core processing and is compatible with the latest UHS II SDXC memory cards.
There is a wealth of video settings tucked away inside the cameras menu system, but crucially for videographers there is a 3.5mm audio input and headphone output for monitoring, whilst full manual control can be used to make sure exposures are correct.
Any of the cameras built-in image styles can be used whilst recording footage, and there are two styles specifically for video. Cinelike D captures as much of the dynamic range as posible, producing quiet low contrast footage with lots of detail in the shadows. It is great for post-capture colour grading. If you just want to show footage straight out the camera, the Cinelike V (for Vivid) setting adds a bit of punch to proceedings.
The camera has an audio level monitor, as well as focus peaking – all features that should make life easier for those starting out in video capture. Also useful, particularly for those coming from a photographic background is the ability to be able to use the touch screen to autofocus.
I was fortunate enough to spend a bit of time shooting some 4K video with a pre-production G7, and my initial impressions are positive. Yes, it may not have some of the more sophisticated features of the GH4, but it is aimed at a very different audience, one who wants to future proof their video footage foray very least the next few years. That isn’t to say that the G7 couldn’t also be used as a secondary camera for someone that already has a GH4. The 16-million-pixel Four Thirds CMOS sensor seems very capable, although I only had the opportunity to use it in very bright sunlight. If it works anywhere near as well as the GH4 in low-light then it will be an impressive video camera available at a competitive price. And for those who just want to take advantage of 4K for pan and scans, crops, or just for better definition and colour when down sampled to 1080p, it is about the best option currently available.
We will be featuring more on the G7 when we have the chance to do some more thorough testing, but until then, be sure to check out our Panasonic Lumix G7 4K sample video.