Panasonic has a announced a new version of its GH4 flagship camera aimed squarely at professional videographers. The GH4R is only available in Europe, however, though users in other territories will be able to upgrade existing GH4s with one of its key features via a paid-for software upgrade.
The original GH4 has already carved out a serious professional following thanks its combination of 16-megapixel stills and 4K video capabilities – but it's the video market where the GH4 has had the biggest impact.
The GH4R takes this a step further with the ability to record video at an impressive bitrate of 200Mbps (ALL-intra) or 100Mbps (IPB) with no recording duration limit, subject to the capacity of your storage media. Even more significantly, it adds a V-Log L recording mode for capturing greater dynamic range and allowing greater editing flexibility later on.
Limited dynamic range often means that deep shadows lack detail or, worse, highlights are blown out. V-Log L recording, however, records light values on a logarithmic scale in proportion to their intensity, allowing the GH4R to capture 12 stops of dynamic range.
Log recording is common practice in the professional video industry and it's the equivalent of shooting raw files on a stills camera. The footage will need editing, or 'grading' later, but yields much better results.
Panasonic says the GH4R's V-Log L recording brings it into line with the company's professional Varicam models, making it the ideal support camera on TV or movie sets – as well as a powerful video camera in its own right.
The V-Log L mode has similar characteristics to the standard 'Cineon' curve used in the movie industry and can use the same LUTs (look up tables). This is roughly equivalent to choosing different pre-made picture styles on a stills camera.
Prices and availability
If you have a GH4 already, you don't have to upgrade the GH4R to get the V-Log L recording option. Panasonic is offering the DMW-SFU1 Upgrade Software Key at £79 – The GH4 will also need to be upgraded to the latest v2.3 firmware too.
The GH4R goes on sale in Europe on September 7th 2015 and will cost £1199.