An in-depth look at the Panasonic GH4, plus Zacuto zoom control imminent

An in-depth look at the Panasonic GH4, plus Zacuto zoom control imminent

Zacuto recently posted the above video with Panasonic representative Matt Frazer and Zacutos own Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn to bring us an insight into the Panasonic GH4.

For those who have been avidly following news of Panasonics latest 4K offering, not a lot will surprise you. However interestingly Steve Weiss from Zacuto hints at a new product, which could be huge.
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Lets first look at what was said about the GH4.

As mentioned, a lot of this information is what we already know, however it may clear up any ambiguity some may have about how the YAGH Interface Unit interacts with the camera body.

First and foremost, it’s an interface module; it only offers up connectivity for video and audio (as well as timecode & power) through XLR, full HDMI and SDI. It does not unlock any additional video resolutions or color spaces that aren’t already within the output of the camera; 4K 10bit 4:2:2 is accessible via the micro HDMI on the camera without the interface unit.

Unfortunately, nothing currently on the market takes advantage of this output. However, if you wanted you could output 4 quadrants independently via the 4X SDI outputs capturing to 4 different 1080p recorders, and stitch it in post. Sounds like a JVC job.

Other features raised by Panasonic:

  • X is Panasonics ‘L series’ of lenses; their top of the range line for professionals.
  • They recommend cards with a minimum of 35MB/s write speed for the GH4.
  • GH4 offers true 24/25/50p via HDMI output, on top of all NTSC options.
  • GH4 features auto sync for shutter when shooting against computer monitors or using lights with contrasting frequencies
  • Shutter can be set in speed or angle (and in reference to the above, potentially in Hz?)
  • ISO and Gain/db switchable
  • db 0 relates to ISO 800, indicating the sensors native ISO.
  • New Venus Engine processor has twice the read out, to help (but not eliminate) rolling shutter

Matt from Panasonic also comments on ease of editing with 4K footage direct for the GH4.


More interestingly was Steve’s insight at the start of the video. He mentions briefly of Zacutos plans (that will premiere at NAB 2014) for a new control grip line compatible with a huge range of cameras, providing us with a servo zoom. Each unique control grip will also offer fingertip accessibility to the menu, exposure and start stop function to its specific camera platform. Here’s what Steve says about the control grip in a Vimeo comment of the above video:


“The Control Grip and Z-Motor will have a custom camera control cable to work with: Alexa, RED, Canon C series, Sony F3/5/55/65, Canon, Panasonic & Nikon DSLR’s. It will have a start/stop button and 5 dedicated programmable buttons, plus a full menu joystick to operate the entire camera. The handgrip uses a 5D battery or can be powered externally. The Grip has the capability of powering two motors: Zoom and Iris and they will be powered from the 5D battery as well. The rocker zoom on the Control Grip is much like we are used to with ENG lenses except you can place it where ever you want it. Come and check it out at NAB or we will release a video on it just before NAB”

This is really exciting, and a product I’ve always mourned the absence of. It will no doubt put more strain on the quest to find the perfect parfocal lens (a lens that does not change focus as you zoom), which sadly a lot of still lenses are renown for doing (despite being advertised as not doing so). Look out for our coverage of this new Zacuto product at NAB. More details on what’s to expect from Zacuto in this post on their site.

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