When Panasonic first announced the GH4 Micro Four Thirds camera, it created quite a bit of a stir. With it, even more so than with its Full-HD capable sibling, the GH3, Panasonic clearly aims at the professional videographer looking for an affordable 4K Ultra-HD video solution. This becomes especially clear with the full-fledged accessory interface unit that Panasonic announced alongside the camera. Now, just over a month after the original announcement, both the GH4 and the interface unit receive official pricing and availability information.
The GH4 camera body will be available at the beginning of May, at a retail price of US-$ 1,699.99, making it the most expensive Micro Four Thirds camera so far–but also the most capable. The interface unit for the GH4 can be purchased separately for US-$ 1,999.99, or in kit with the camera for a grand total of a little under US-$ 3,300.
If you’re uncertain whether the GH4 is the right 4K solution for you, take a look at our first impressions of the camera. Also, this first video footage taken with the GH4 might help you with your buying decision. Both the camera and the interface unit can be pre-ordered at B&H Photo.
In today’s fast-paced technology world, six-month spans between the announcement of a product and its successor is nothing out of the ordinary, and a life cycle of a year is common for many products. So when a device is older than a year, people start wondering when the successor will be announced. For the Olympus E-PM2, the digital life span is already way over its due date, as the camera has been on the market for almost 1 1/2 years. Its bigger sibling, the E-P5, hasn’t been around quite that long–it’s only been introduced last May. Still, a new report claims that both cameras have been discontinued by Olympus, with successors to arrive some time this summer.
Both cameras share much of the same technology, first and foremost the Sony-made 16 megapixel CMOS sensor from the OM-D E-M5. Considering that the E-M5, and with it the sensor, is now almost two years old, and that the OM-D E-M1 is right now the only camera sporting the latest 16 megapixel sensor, it seems to be about time that the PEN series receive an upgrade.
Unfortunately, there is no detailed information available at this point. 43rumors, who first reported about the discontinuing of the two PEN models, mentions that the PEN series is much less successful than the OM-D series, so maybe well see some completely updated and rethought models this summer. One possibility would be to include an EVF in the top-level PEN model, in a rangefinder-style similar to the Panasonic GX7 or Fujifilm X-E1, though that would pit the next PEN directly against the mid-level OM-D.
Another possibility would be to reduce the number of PEN cameras from three to two, and drop either the PEN Mini or the PEN Lite. But there could be even more changes to the series in order to make it more attractive to customers once again, and in a sense revive the success of the original PEN E-P1 and E-PL1 models. At this point, this is all speculation, and to be certain we’ll have to wait until more information becomes available.
Don’t we all love lens patents! The designs may never see the light of day, but they get us excited and show us what our camera brands of choice are currently working at. And maybe, just maybe, some of the ideas will actually make it to production. Which we hope will happen to at least one of these incredible lens design patents that Olympus just filed.
The patent descriptions that were posted over at Egami show four patents for two super-fast wide-angle lenses for Micro Four Thirds: a 12mm f1 and a 14mm f1. Currently, the widest super-fast lens for Micro Four Thirds is the Voigtländer Nokton 17.5mm f0.95 (which we totally dig,) but that’s an all-manual lens. According to Egami, the Olympus patents are for autofocus lenses.
Should these lenses ever be made, they’d be the fastest production wide-angle lenses with autofocus. Currently, the fastest AF lens for Micro Four Thirds is the Panasonic/Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2, and one of the fastest AF lenses ever made was Canon’s 50mm f1L, which has been discontinued in favor of the 50mm f1.2L–however, these are both normal lenses, and not wide-angles.
Egami also mentions that the lenses will have issues with distortion and chromatic aberration, which does not surprise us at all considering the focal length and speed. These will be dealt with in-camera, as already happens with most other Micro Four Thirds lenses. As always with patents, there’s no way of telling whether the products they depict will ever be made. But as we here at The Phoblographer are huge fans of fast prime lenses, we sure hope they will.
It’s no secret that Olympus has been making moves to capture a wider swath of photographers with the high-end Olympus OM-D EM1 and an entry OM-D E-M10. Now Olympus is introducing two new lenses rounding out its burgeoning lens lineup with the new M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2.8 and 300mm f4 Pro Lenses.
First up the M.Zuiko ED 7-14mm f2.8 will be a new wide-angle lens to help Olympus reach even shorter focal lengths (at a 14-28mm equivalent) than its M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ. At f2.8 it touches a nice wide-open aperture especially for such a wide-angle lens. From the first picture of the lens it does not look like the 7-14mm f2.8 will have an auto-manual focus switch. So this piece of glass will likely continue Olympus trend to use the clutch ring.
When Voigtlander/Cosina released the first 25mm f0.95, the Micro Four Thirds world began to drool. And today, the company has updated the lens according to 43Rumors. The new version does what the 17.5mm f0.95 did–added the option of making the lens de-clicked for video shooting. On the lens, there is another ring right above the aperture ring. This ring can be pulled back and twisted. When it is in one position, the aperture clicks for photographers. In the other position, it becomes clickless.
So for the same price, Voigtlander is trying to make this lens more viable to videographers. Though at the moment, the older version seems to be quite discounted to under $1,000.
When we reviewed the 17.5mm f0.95, we fell in love with it. Indeed, it is still my favorite lens for the Micro Four Thirds system.
Ultra High Definition video has finally become affordable for the masses with Panasonic’s new GH4, which is the first consumer-friendly 4K-capable mirrorless camera. But the camera is not only for amateurs, as the massive add-on interface unit goes to show. One of the first videographers that was able to realize a project with the new GH4 is Bryan Harvey, who used two GH4 bodies and a slew of Micro Four Thirds lenses for a shoot in Yucatán, Mexico.
While some might claim that 4K doesn’t make a huge difference over Full HD on screens smaller than 50 inch at regular viewing distances, it does make a difference as soon as your display resolution is higher than Full HD. On the MacBook Pro Retina, there is a visible difference between the 4K and the Full HD footage in terms of raw sharpness, and when watching the video it made our jaws drop. In fact, the footage is so sharp that we felt an urge to dive right into the scene in front of us–that’s how life-like and realistic it looks.
Whether or not the GH4 will fully satisfy even the most demanding of videographers will remain to be seen, as this is mainly a question of the quality and flexibility of its output. But so far, what we see is pretty breathtaking, and the fact that 4K is now available at a consumer-friendly price tag is simply exciting. You can find Bryan Harvey’s video after the jump, as well as a short behind-the-scenes clip where he talks about the experience. Be sure to also take a look at our first impressions with the camera.