Shoot in 4K with Panasonic's Lumix GH4

The company's first DSLM camera with 4K video launches in the spring

Panasonic's 4K-capable Lumix GH4 DSLM camera launches globally in spring.

Panasonic's 4K-capable Lumix GH4 DSLM camera launches globally in spring.

Panasonic is bringing 4K video content creation to video buffs with its Lumix GH4 camera, which launches globally this spring.

The GH4 is being billed as the world's first digital single-lens mirrorless (DSLM) camera to record high-resolution 4K video. It's aimed at addressing the lack of mass-market tools that can produce content for 4K TVs.

DSLM cameras feature interchangeable lenses and lack mirrors, minimizing noise when the shutter is triggered. Some feature smaller bodies than traditional DSLR, or digital single-lens reflex, cameras.

Housed in a dustproof magnesium alloy frame, the GH4's 16.05-megapixel sensor has a faster signal readout rate than the previous model and an enhanced dynamic range.

The GH4 also features an improved digital signal processor, called the Venus Engine, that has features such as noise reduction and edge processing.

It's got a quad-core CPU that can shoot bursts of still images at 12 frames per second, with low light level performance up to 25,600 ISO.

The sensor and new processor improve sensitivity, resolution, tone and color reproduction, according to the company.

The improvements allow photographers to shoot in eye-popping 4K video, which has four times the resolution of high-definition imagery. The camera can shoot cinema 4K with a resolution of 4096 by 2160 pixels at 24 frames per second, or Ultra HD at 3840 by 2160 pixels and 30 fps. Meanwhile, 22 Lumix G digital interchangeable lenses can be used with the GH4 for a variety of image perspectives.

But recording best-quality, 4:2:2/10-bit 4K video with the GH4 requires the use of Panasonic's powered DMW-YAGH Interface Unit and an external recorder.

Recording video at 100 Mbps or higher in the camera itself requires a UHS Class 3 (U3)-rated SD card.

The GH4 follows the announcement a month ago at CES of Sony's palm-sized 4K Handycam, the FDR-AX100, which will retail in March for about US$2,000.

While Panasonic hasn't announced a price for the GH4, it could go for under $2,000. Its predecessor, the 16-megapixel Lumix GH3 announced in 2012, carried a MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) of $1,300 for the body only. It featured built-in Wi-Fi, a new sensor, and a quicker autofocus speed of 0.07 second.

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Tim Hornyak

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