Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Hi-Tech Studio: It’s Time For A New Hybrid Camera
4K is here, and it’s available and affordable for your backup, motion-dedicated camera
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4
Panasonic refers to the GH4 as a DSLM—Digital Single Lens Mirrorless—camera. Its 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor is a Micro Four Thirds size, giving you a 2X magnification factor. When it was introduced, one of the most exciting aspects for filmmakers was the promise of dramatically reduced rolling-shutter artifacts. Rolling shutter has plagued hybrid cameras since the Nikon D90 and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II were introduced. You see it when the camera or the subject moves fast, with a jello-like look to the footage that's called, ironically, jello. We mentioned the need for increased processing power with 4K. Internally, the GH4 has a newly developed Venus Engine with a quad-core CPU. The camera shoots at up to 12 fps (40 frames) for RAW still files, and for 4K motion capture, it can shoot at 24 fps. That's in Cinema 4K, which is 4096x2160. In QFHD 4K (3840x2160), you can shoot at up to 30 fps. Of course, dropping the resolution gets you faster frame rates, should the need arise. Compression-wise, the GH4 can record at 4:2:2 to a recorder via HDMI out.
When it was announced, just prior to the NAB show in April, the Sony a7S caused quite a stir. At the Sony booth at the show, the camera was shown under glass—if you could get close enough to see it! With its massive booth, the a7S drew a constant stream of people, which was particularly interesting because NAB, by definition, caters to high-end film and broadcast industry professionals. Cameras like the Sony a7S are drawing attention from all manner of motion-capture professionals for their combination of size and performance. The a7S is a compact mirrorless camera with the Sony E-mount. It has a full-frame image sensor (no magnification factor!). There are two other cameras in the a7 line, the a7 (24-megapixel resolution) and the a7R (36-megapixel resolution). The a7S goes the other way on the resolution front, with a 12.2-megapixel image sensor. The obvious question is, why come out with a much lower-resolution model? By dropping the resolution numbers, the a7S can achieve a maximum ISO of 409,600. That's extraordinary. It's also a 4K QFHD camera (3840x2160) when attached to an external recorder. You can switch to APS-C mode to shoot at up to 120 fps at standard HD resolution. The camera also has S-Log2 gamma capability, which is found on professional Sony video cameras. Additionally, it has Full Pixel Read-out (without pixel binning) during motion capture.
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