Panasonic's new Lumix G Series camera is the DMC-GH4, and it packs features that make it more than just a camera for still photographs. It's presented as a 'hybrid' model, meaning it can be used just as effectively for video (in particular, 4K video) in addition to regular photography. Not only that, its video features are touted as being broadcast quality, so you can get yourself a camera with professional features, without having to shell out a typical professional price.
The new 16-megapixel camera has magnesium alloy on the front and at the back of the body, and it 's weather sealed so that it can be used in environments where splashes of water or particles of dust are common. The durability extends to the shutter, which is now rated for 200,000 releases. It's a lightweight camera that feels easy to hold for long periods of time, especially if a small lens is attached to the Micro Four Thirds mount on the front. In other words, it's gear that's well suited to adventure, and to those of you who want to create documentaries in the outback or anywhere else heavier gear can be a burden to cart around.
Some new features in the DMC-GH4 include a shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second (up from 1/4000 in the Lumix DMC-GH3), improved focusing modes (including selective focus and eye detection), and greater speed.
The Lumix DMC-GH4 can fire off over 100 JPEG shots in about 15sec before the buffer fills to capacity. It can do 40 RAW shots in a row before it starts buffering. Its rating is for about 12 frames per second (fps) when using single-point auto-focus. This drops down to about 7fps when using continuous focus. To paraphrase what professional photographer Ken Duncan said at the camera's Sydney launch: if you can't get a good shot in the 100 or so frames that the DMC-GH4 can capture in quick succession, then you should probably take up bowling instead. (This writer probably will.
Using burst mode.
As far as Lumix G Series cameras go, the GH4 has a similar body shape and control layout. You still get the hinged screen on the back, an electronic viewfinder, a built-in flash, a stereo microphone, and lots of manual controls. The mode dial now has a lock on it.
Getting the most out of this camera can take a while until you familiarise yourself with all the features and settings of the camera, but the menu system is clear in its layout and the learning curve isn't that high. Many of the features might be bamboozling to some uninitiated users, though, especially in the video menus, but as we mentioned earlier, it's a camera that has broadcast quality features that allow it to be used professionally. The menu can even be customised to reflect the terminology you're used to in your work background, whether it's video or still photography.
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