Today Panasonic announced the Lumix DMC-G7 mirrorless interchangeable micro 4/3 camera that shoots 16 megapixel still images and UHD (sometimes mistakenly called 4k) video at up to 30fps. Is this a big deal? Well, sort of.
I've been shooting video with a Panasonic DMC-GH4K for almost a year now and absolutely love the GH4. Why? It works really well for the type of shooting that I do. I'm not suggesting it is the perfect camera. No camera is perfect. But I have not found a better camera with the following traits:
- Reasonably large sensor (m4/3 or larger)
- UHD video in camera
- 4:2:2 10-bit output of clean video via HDMI (so that I can record to my Atomos Shogun in ProRes codec which is awesome for editing on a Mac)
- Decent battery life
- Wide lens selection (preferable native lenses, not adapted lenses
- Ability to shoot decent still photos
- Focus and exposure tools nice to have but not critical (focus peaking, histogram, zebra stripes)
- Small-ish in terms of physical size
- Electronic viewfinder
The GH4 meets each of these criteria and outside of specs, it produces what I would consider very nice footage in video mode.
There are some things it is not great at. Low light/high ISO is not a strength of the GH4 though I don't mind taking it up to 800 ISO, or even 1600 ISO if I can afford to apply some good noise reduction in post processing. The sensor is not as large as APS-C or full frame cameras so getting that shallow depth-of-field look is harder. But on the flip side, I run into far fewer "missed focus" situations with the GH4 relative to my Nikon D750 (full frame camera).
Panasonic's promo video for the G7:
We're not entirely sure yet that the G7 meets all of the above criteria, but it looks promising. And at a price of under $800 for the body, that's $900 less than the GH4. Not a bad place to start.
There are some things we still need to clarify about the G7: do we get 4:2:2 10-bit clean output from the HDMI port? Is the video footage as good as the GH4 on all the typical measures both objective and subjective?
Perhaps we'll need to get one and put it through some tests! Or maybe just wait for the GH5... What do you think?