Panasonic VariCam LT is a Lightweight High-End 4K Cinema Camera

February 11th, 2016 Jump to Comment Section 7
Panasonic VariCam LT is a Lightweight High-End 4K Cinema Camera

Panasonic Varicam LT

Panasonic have just released the new Panasonic VariCam LT. A lightweight 4K cinema camera that inherits its sensor and processing technology from the high end Varicam 35 and comes with numerous qualities and features for professional shooters.

[UPDATE: See our hands-on video with exclusive 4K footage from the new VariCam LT]

What is the Panasonic Varicam LT?

panasonic-varicam-lt-2These last years new cinema cameras hit the market regularly. So the first question you might ask is: Should we care about this camera?

The answer is: Oh yes. Not only is this camera packed with really interesting and seemingly well thought through features, but it is actually also Panasonic’s first attempt in this market segment bringing a new camera vision to the field.

So far we’ve seen Panasonic offer low end mirrorless cameras (GH3, GH4), as well as the prosumer AF101 that preceded cameras like the C300 or FS7. After a long wait Panasonic introduced the Varicam 35 last year, packed with high end studio features, superb image quality and a unique native ISO 800 + ISO 5000 feature. The camera was priced quite high with an MSRP of $55,000.

In a nutshell, the Panasonic VariCam LT takes the Varicam 35 sensor, processing and codec and puts it in a smaller, lighter, more ergonomic and more affordable package.panasonic-varicam-lt-3

panasonic-varicam-lt-4

Features of the Panasonic VariCam LT

Instead of describing all features in detail, here’s a list of the most important specs the camera has to offer. We will later go over the details.

  • Same sensor as the Varicam 35
  • Active EF (+ optional PL mount, interchangeable)
  • Single Operator Ergonomics with a handle that looks like FS7
  • 4K 10bit (AVC Intra) up to 30fps (422) / up to 60fps (LT)
  • 2K 12bit up to 30fps (444) / up to 60fps (LT)
  • 2K crop up to 240fps
  • Switchable ISO 800 / ISO 5000 native
  • Integrated removable IR cut filter (user removable)
  • P2 card media (currently 256gb max., soon 512GB)
  • weighs 2.7 kg
  • Timecode Genlock
  • Integrated ND filters
  • New optional Panasonic OLED. Alternatively: SDI out
  • Detachable menu lcd
  • Custom LUT files can be uploaded via WIFI
  • In-camera grading like on Varicam 35
  • 3 simultaneous SDI outputs (including EVF)
  • Can record 6mbit long-gop HD proxy files to SD card (lets you quickly edit / test rushes on set)
  • Will compatible with Atomos & Convergent Design RAW recorders (likely also PIX-E). (Still unclear if both 3G-SDI outputs will be used for high data-rate RAW.)

panasonic-varicam-lt-handheld

This is a nice set of features, tailored to numerous kinds of production needs and clearly the professional workflow approach of the Varicam 35 is inherited. At this point you might ask yourself which advantages are left for the bigger brother, the  Varicam 35. This graph shows how the two cameras compare:

VariCam LT vs. VariCam 35

First units of the Panasonic VariCam LT will start shipping in late March of 2016 and the camera has a suggested retail price of $18,000 for the camera body only.

If you are interested in the rest of the package, you will have to spend the following: 

Panasonic viewfinder –  $6,000 US
Shoulder pad –  $1,500 US
Grip & arm –  $1,250 US
PL mount option – $1,300 US
256 GByte ExpressP2 Card – $2,000 US

We have to admit that this isn’t cheap at all. The quality of the VariCam LT comes at a price. The body with a single 256GB card should get you started.

[UPDATE: See our hands-on video with exclusive 4K footage from the new VariCam LT]

more information at the Panasonic website

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