Due to the variety of genres we shoot for our clients, we have a wish list for the gear we invest in, to make sure it meets the stringent requirements to produce world-class results. We have been fast approaching the switch from small sensor Full HD cameras to large sensor 4K cameras, and that time arrived very recently. The decision as to whether to switch brands has been made easy by Panasonic.
The Panasonic DVX200 is born
Panasonic have recently released the only large sensor, fixed lens professional video camera that shoots 4K at 50p, in the world, and the other major brands have been caught with their pants down. The major reasons we were adamant about these specs being met are:
• Fixed lens as opposed to interchangeable lenses – we often shoot in very dusty and wet conditions, and taking the risk of swapping lenses in adverse conditions is not an option for us. Panasonic have developed an amazing zoom lens in collaboration with Leica that rivals any other pro glass that we have been exposed to, resulting in truly world-class image quality and the flexibility of shooting really wide shots seamlessly to ultra long zoom shots when required. In addition to that, they have masterminded an extended optical zoom when shooting HD footage, with no loss of quality at all, due to the large sensor used in the DVX200.
• That leads us on to the micro four thirds sensor Panasonic have employed to dramatically improve image quality and low light performance, simply because there is so much information available from a big sensor compared to the tiny sensors used in current professional, fixed lens video cameras. The other major breakthrough with this sensor is that we can now shoot very shallow depth of field images to create truly cinematic footage where the subject is perfectly focussed, but the rest of the image is totally out of focus just like we see in feature films these days.
• The third major feature is that the DVX200 can shoot progressive 4K footage at 50 frames per second, traditionally a benefit only available on much more expensive cameras, creating beautiful, smooth slow motion footage. The added benefit to this is that the DVX200 can shoot up to 120 frames per second when shooting in Full HD, for super slow motion results.
• Apart from having ticked all the boxes for these non negotiable specs, the Panasonic engineers have thought through a host of other very impressive features that have been included on the DVX200 to make life easier and to provide the functionality a camera of this pedigree deserves. These include things like fool-proof focus assist, touch screen focus area control, user definable presets which are easily accessed and all the inputs and outputs one could want on a pro camera in the sub R100K price bracket.
Well done Panasonic. The DVX200 rocks!