Panasonic Varicam Mini? – What Should We Expect From Panasonic’s Latest Announcement

April 24th, 2017
Panasonic Varicam Mini? - What Should We Expect From Panasonic’s Latest Announcement

During Panasonic’s Press Conference at NAB 2017, there was one short moment that caught everyone’s full attention. It wasn’t quite an official product announcement or a promise of firmware down the road, but a tease: a new mistery camera coming later in the year. Could we be looking at a Panasonic Varicam Mini?

Panasonic Varicam Mini?

The image above is very clear about where Panasonic intends to position this new mystery camera along their range, comfortably sandwiched between the Varicam LT and the Panasonic GH5. But what could this mean, exactly?

How Small Can You Go?

This new cinema camera starts of with the promise of being small and light, even though it hasn’t been that long since the release of the already-compact Panasonic Varicam LT. So how much smaller can you get and still get the kind of image one expects from a “proper” cinema camera?

Of course, main-competitor Sony has already been down the shrinking route with the FS5. However, the Sony FS5 hasn’t quite reached wide-spread popularity as a “proper” cinema camera due to its somewhat weaker codec, and is often considered instead as an ideal option for documentary thanks to its easy handling. If Panasonic wanted to go for the market of DSLR/mirrorless shooters wanting to step up, then codec and data rate is a key area to focus on… Could this be what they mean when they say “cinematic imagery”?

By hinting at a low-cost media workflow, I think it’s safe to extrapolate that this “Panasonic Varicam Mini” will be recording to SD cards. This, of course, could be an indication of its potential limitations in terms of data rate. At the same time, let’s not forget the firmware update roadmap for the Panasonic GH5, and the advancement that this means to the amount of information that can be recorded to this kind of media. The GH5 will be able to record 4K at 400Mbps in an all-i codec, something I think is safe to say this new camera will be capable of, and something certainly I wish my FS5 could pull off!

Form Factor

 

 

The sheet covering the mystery camera is just translucent enough to give us a hint of its form factor. We can just about make out what seems like a microphone holder, as well as the position of the monitor… Very FS5-esque indeed. What remains to be seen is just how it will compare to the Sony FS5 biggest selling points: modularity and portability.

Conclusion

It’s still early days. We will have to wait until Cine Gear for more information on this camera, and until the autumn for its release. However, judging by what little we know so far and what’s out there in the market, I think we are very likely looking Panasonic’s answer to the FS5 and even the Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro: a compact cinema camera that’s as much at home in a documentary environment as in indie productions. In other words, a beefed-up GH5 with a Super 35mm sensor and camcorder ergonomics, with the kind of data rate capabilities to affordable media that Panasonic has already promised, and which has the entry-level market already salivating.

What do you think Panasonic have up their sleeve? What would make you decide for this over an FS5? Let us know in the comments!

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Member
April 26th, 2017

Hey Fabian, dont’t you have a infrared camcorder with you? you could easily see whats under the veil … and once posted here, become the most watched thread on the NAB !! HA!

 Ak ns reddy
Ak ns reddy
Member
April 25th, 2017

Varicam LT:

Huge battery for small body
too much noise in 240fps
10bit 422 for for lot of money
inconvenient viewfinder
menus are complicated as sony
no histogram
reboot for every small change
Small sensor in compartively red scalet and alexa mini, sony f5

 Gregger Jones
Gregger Jones
Member
April 27th, 2017
Reply to  Ak ns reddy

I don’t think you’ve ever seen a VariCam. You should stop by the booth and check one out…

 Ak ns reddy
Ak ns reddy
Member
April 27th, 2017
Reply to  Gregger Jones

Yes my friend i have working with it from last 6months

 Ak ns reddy
Ak ns reddy
Member
April 25th, 2017

Varicam LT and 35 are disasters. nothing new to offer except pink sin tones and 5000ISO. they better make a camera wich copete aginst C300ii with 60fps, with good battery solution and no switch on switch of codec and frame rates.

 Guy McLoughlin
Guy McLoughlin
Member
April 25th, 2017
Reply to  Ak ns reddy

Yes, Exactly!!!

That’s why all these crappy shows are being shot with these terrible cameras…

13 Reasons Why (2017)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1837492/

Orange is the New Black (2013)
https://secure.johnbarry.com.au/blog/orange-is-the-new-black-season-4-shot-on-varicam/

The OA (2016)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4635282/

Better Call Saul (2015)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3032476/

Master of None (2015)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4635276/

Anne (2017) : Created by the “Breaking Bad” writer, Moira Walley-Beckett
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5421602/

And some more if you are interested…
http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/varicam/index.html

Alex Hackworth
Guest
April 24th, 2017

Ty

Derek Sexton Horani
Guest
April 24th, 2017

I hope it’s 8 bit 4:2:0 maxing out at 1080p 30fps, 1″ sensor and some new codec nobody’s ever heard of. That would be amazing!

Knut Hansen
Guest
April 24th, 2017

I just got my FS5 so Panasonic better don´t be fucking around with me at this point or i will lose my shits^^

Marcel van Leeuwen
Guest
April 24th, 2017

C100 with the top cut off sized camera running on uhsII cards (v90mB/s) and an ef mount (the pic showing the camera had a sigma lens on it)

 Larry Tee
Larry Tee
Member
April 24th, 2017

What Sigma lens do you think that is? It looks like another brand to me, though I can’t quite tell.

 Guy McLoughlin
Guy McLoughlin
Member
April 25th, 2017
Reply to  Larry Tee

Sigma 24-35mm f/2.0 Full Frame ART lens.

 俊道 松盛
俊道 松盛
Member
April 24th, 2017

For me, a Japanese, Panasonic seems to be lagging behind other companies.

Jon Furtado
Guest
April 24th, 2017

Basically the Panasonic AF200?

 Logan McMillan
Logan McMillan
Member
April 24th, 2017

Looks like an updated Panasonic AF100 to me. Essentially a GH5 with built in ND filters and XLR would be great!

Bill Noel
Guest
April 24th, 2017

I think I just passed you out n the Bellagio doing an interview

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