Well, Fujifilm isn’t the only camera maker with an announcement today. Now it’s Panasonic’s turn. The Lumix series manufacturer is introducing the G7, a Micro Four Thirds body with a 16-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor, ISO range of up to 25,600 and a Venus Engine image chip that packs a quad-core CPU for high-speed signal processing. That said, Panasonic is placing significant emphasis on the mirrorless shooter’s 4K attributes, like its ability to capture video at 24 and 30 fps at 3,840 x 2,160 resolution (QFHD) — there’s the option for 1080p too, naturally. The company is also touting the Lumix G7’s 4K Photo feature, which was revealed last year and is available on the LX100 as well. What this mode lets you do is extract high-resolution photos from 4K, 30 fps videos, with the results being saved at an 8-megapixel equivalent. You’ll be able to pick up a kit in mid-June for $800, and that includes a 14-42mm lens to help you get started.
Into it? Let us know your thoughts.
Filed under: Cameras
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com
If you’ve ever tried to record your kids soccer game or music recital, you’ll know that there are some settings where a smartphone just won’t do the job. For shooting video from a field away, catching clips longer than 30 minutes, or shooting when the lights are low, what you need is a dedicated video camera. And for that, the camcorder we recommend for most people is the $550 Panasonic HC-V770K.
After more than 30 hours of research and testing over the course of two rounds of analysis, we found that it beats out any other camera in its price range: it captures video that has more detail, better color, and better sound than all cameras in a similar priceand even better than those that cost much more. It produced the sharpest footage in bright light, plus it had the best stabilization and the least noise in low light. It also featured the best touchscreen controls of the bunch and, with a long 20x optical zoom, you can capture the action from across a huge spacetry to do that with a smartphone.
How we decided
Front to back: Panasonic HC-V750K, Canon VIXIA HF R500, Sony Handycam HDR-CX330.
Although fewer people are buying dedicated camcorders these days, the video camera market still an array of different priced and featured models. In our research, we discovered that spending above $900 got you a professional or 4K model, which most average people don’t actually need for their kids’ piano recitals or soccer matches. Dipping much below an MSRP of $300 saw a major decline in video qualityespecially in low light. From this range of prices, we were able to skip models that are identical to less expensive versions except for adding features of dubious usefulnesslike internal hard drives, when it’s cheaper just to use a large SD card, or Panasonic’s recent introduction of a second camera that points at your face while you record.
Previously, we’d recommended the Panasonic V750K, but in 2015 Panasonic replaced it with the V770K, a model that’s identical to its predecessor in almost every way. The only changes that we could ascertain are a switch from HDMI mini to HDMI micro and a new HDR video mode. Since the V770K has the same internals as the V750K, we knew that it would have the same test results. Which means the same performance in bright daylight for detail, color, and motion; while walking and zooming to account for stabilization; in dim light indoors, and in the middle of the night. The unchanged exterior meant the same high quality handling and ease of usebecause what good is a camcorder if you can’t figure out how to use the thing?
The Panasonic V770, like the V750 pictured here, has a large, easy to use touchscreen, and well laid out controls and ports.
Hands down, the $550 Panasonic HC-V770K is the best camcorder for most people if you want to spend less than $900. Under bright daylight, it will capture the sharpest detail and deepest, most saturated color, so that recording of your kid’s first football game will capture every blade of grass. The identically specked V750K had the best stabilization system of all those we looked at, so when you’re trying to track the action while zoomed in to a full 20x and shooting across the field, you won’t see too many shudders and shakes.
It also holds up when recording in the dark, like shooting at night, or indoors with lights down low (school plays, anyone?) Compared to the other video cameras we tested it had the cleanest and sharpest footage, even when shooting in the middle of the night. And with an excellent audio system, you’ll actually be able to make out what’s being said onstage, rather than the whispered conversation in the audience in front of you (a common problem with smartphone footage).
The physical control layout and range of ports available on last year’s V750 are virtually identical to this year’s V770.
Add in Wi-Fi, a slow motion recording mode, a two hour battery life (with an optional larger capacity battery for longer shooting), and the ability to squeeze 25 hours of footage on a 64GB SDXC card, and you have the best bet for most people.
The Runner Up
If spending north of $500 seems a bit too rich for a camcorder, the Canon VIXIA HF R600 is often available for around the $250 mark. Compared to the Panasonic, its colors won’t be as bright, the stabilization quite as smooth, and it’ll struggles slightly in low light. But given that you can buy it for a remarkably low price most of the time, it’s an excellent alternative. It’ll still be notably better than your smartphone, and packs a 32x zoom, small size, and easy to use touchscreen.
Use what you’ve got
The V770’s stereo microphone provides excellent separation, and narrows down as you zoom to keep the audio matching the framing of the video.
Do you have an iPhone? A DSLR? A point-and-shoot? All of these have video modes, and might be enough for what you need. The advantage to a camcorder comes with having a long zoom (which smartphones don’t), and the ability to record longer than 30 minutes at a time (which most cameras can’t do). If you don’t need those, try using the camera you already have.
As with TVs and monitors, the next big thing in camcorders is 4K video. But as of right now, they generally cost $900+, require some serious hardware to edit, need a high quality screen to watch, and all told, it isn’t what most people need. Yet. But that might change over the next few years, so keep your eyes peeled.
If you want a camcorder that will record deep, bright colors; capture incredible detail; keep your shaky hands stable; and capture great looking footage even in low light, then the $550 Panasonic HC-V770K is the way to go.
This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation please go to TheWirecutter.com
Filed under: Cameras
Panasonic lost some mystique when it stopped making those amazing plasma sets, but its new Firefox OS-powered 4K Smart TVs are showing a return to form. First revealed at CES this year, those sets are now available in Europe and will be rolling out to the US and elsewhere in the coming months. The Smart TV space has become crowded with players including Google’s Android TV platform, Samsung’s Tizen and Roku, to name just a few. However, Mozilla touts several unique advantages to its own platform, like plenty of HTML5 web apps including Netflix and Hulu, along with the ability to share content from any device with a Firefox browser.
New models include the curved 4K Viera 65-inch CR850 and 55-inch CR730, along with various flat 4K models in the CX series (pricing and models will vary by region, but we haven’t seen any in shops yet). Along with the smart features, Panasonic has a new wide color phosphor “4K Studio Master” picture engine it says will deliver professional color accuracy thanks to 3D look-up tables (LUTs) used by film industry color pros. The CR models also sports HDR and 10-bit color capability for more subtle gradations between colors — features that will be de rigeur for the fanciest new sets this year. Early previews are promising so far, but expect pricing to be pretty high — though not 4K OLED high.
For a large group of people, Netflix has become the primary platform for watching TV shows and movies on a big screen TV. Digging into a menu and launching the app every day can be a pain though. The solution? TV remotes that offer a dedicated Netflix button, of course. They’ve been available in the US for years, but finally they’re coming to Europe too. For starters, Netflix is partnering with Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Philips and Vestel to offer the new remotes with several of their smart TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. The company says the move is part of its larger mission to work more closely with hardware manufacturers and optimize its service for subscribers. If that leads to a reduction in the time spent between switching on the TV and watching Bloodline, count us in.
[Image Credit: AP Photo/Neflix Inc.]
Filed under: Home Entertainment
Panasonic is the latest company to throw its real hat into the virtual reality fray, after showing off a prototype headset that will compete with rival products from Samsung and LG. The goggles were shown at a press event in Japan this week, and house an OLED display with a 90-degree viewing angle, capable of video unto 75 frames per second. The glasses use ear-hooks to support themselves, and were demonstrated alongside an omnidirectional camera, similar to Samsung’s Project Beyond. Of course, this doesn’t rule out gaming use (which is mostly where Oculus and Sony are duking it out), but given Panasonic’s heritage in displays and image capture, it’s not hard to imagine that immersive content will be the primary use case (no word on what inputs there are etc.). The company reportedly said that the camera-part is being built with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in mind. While that’s still a few years away, we’re hoping all the signs are suggesting we won’t have to wait quite so long for more details on the when this headset might become reality.
If you just can’t get enough of you, Panasonic has joined the recent parade mirrorless cameras marketed at selfie photographers. The Lumix GF7′s micro four-thirds, 16-megapixel sensor will give you much nicer shots than your smartphone ever could without being a burden to haul around. Panasonic transformed the GF7 into a more classic-looking camera than the GF6 and managed to shave a few millimeters from the already-small form factor, too. The 3-inch, 1.04 million-dot screen switches to selfie mode as soon as it’s flipped around, and built-in WiFi lets you activate the shutter via a smartphone. It’s also nicely spec’d with 1920/60p video, 25,600 ISO and a 5.8 fps shooting speed. You’ll be able to get one February 20th for $600, with a 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens that’s wide enough to capture you and at least several pals.
Filed under: Cameras
Sure, there are plenty of Ultra HD televisions floating around the Las Vegas Convention Center, but how will you find anything suitably super high-res to play on them? Netflix, Amazon and a few others have started 4K internet delivery while DirecTV and Comcast also have limited approaches, but sometimes you prefer media you can hold onto. Physical media fans have help on the way in two forms, but the bad news is neither one is ready to launch right now. The Blu-ray Disc Association has confirmed the name of its 4K format (Ultra HD Blu-ray) and many of its capabilities, while the Secure Content Storage Association has its own demo for Ultra HD movies you can download and transfer (almost) at will, with backing from Fox, Warner Bros., Samsung and others.
Panasonic is showing off a prototype Ultra HD Blu-ray player in its booth here, and shockingly — it’s a Blu-ray player. The demo unit has a hole cut in the top, but we didn’t spot any extra pixels leaking out anywhere. According to statements from various board members, licensing is on track to happen this summer and we could see discs by the end of this year. It’s expected that Ultra HD Blu-ray will upgrade the format to handle 33GB layers (up from the 25GB per layer of current discs) and discs that hold as much 100GB of data. You’ll need a new player to read the new discs, but the new players will be backwards compatible with existing Blu-ray movies. In our discussions with studio execs, we’ve heard that most movies encoded with HEVC (h.265, the new compression format for 4K video) should fit on dual-layer discs comfortably.
There’s room for 60fps video, HDR / Dolby Vision support, at least 10-bit color gradation and wide color gamut (read: better and more colors). Panasonic’s prototype player spec says it can push video at up to 100Mbps — far higher than the 15Mbps profiles we saw demonstrated by Netflix last year. Of course, there’s a lot of work to be done before the spec is final, and we still haven’t heard much about improvements to audio.
But what about those who have moved on to a discless lifestyle, or are just interested in a version of digital copies that can be carried around? The Secure Content Storage Association has stepped up and, like the BDA, says finalization of its spec is “coming soon.” We got a preview of what it’s working on this week, when Samsung announced that its new TVs would support 4K downloads from M-Go, by using the SCSA’s standards. We got a quick demo of what the consortium has planned and it most reminds us of what we’ve seen from internet stores for videogames like Steam, Xbox and PlayStation.
We’ll still need to wait and see exactly how Hollywood studios implement the DRM, but it’s set up so users can download copies of movies, store and watch them without hassle. There’s an ability to copy, move or share the stored files, and access various profiles for different devices like TVs, phones or tablets. In mocked-up player, users had the option make a licensed copy, registered to them and playable on any device, or an unlicensed copy. That copy of the movie can be shared, but if someone else wanted to play it they’d need to buy it from a store in order to unlock it for viewing.
Also built-in is support for finding any compatible files across a network, so if the movie is stored on your NAS, a PC, a phone or tethered hard drive it will pop up in the menu for playback. For better and/or worse, it all struck as as a sort of movie studio-designed variant of
XBMC (oops, Kodi) or Plex.
The SCSA is also talking about quality, with support for Ultra HD, HDR and potentially things like high frame rate video. It’s also considering that customers might be able to upgrade their copies to a new version, so if for example a remastered HDR version of a movie comes out, it will be in your library. Our remaining questions cover things like studio / store support — you can count in the usual names from Ultraviolet plus some newcomers, but we’ll have to wait and see if Disney jumps in or goes its own way again. It appears that finding compatible devices won’t be difficult, and Qualcomm is on board to make sure its chips (probably inside your phones / tablets already) are compatible.
Formerly known as Project Phenix the SCSA is several years in the making, we’ll see if that long gestation was enough to strike a balance between the desires of studios and the customers it hopes will want to pay for downloadable movies.
Panasonic announced the Lumix DMC-CM1 last year, but the Japanese company hit CES this week to announce that the attractive hybrid camera-phone would be coming stateside by way of AT&T and T-Mobile.
As a huge Panasonic fan, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take the Lumix CM1 for a quick spin. The device isn’t the first attempt to marry an Android smartphone to a point-and-shoot, but is the CM1 any better? We find out in this quick look!
The simplest way to describe the Lumix CM1 is it’s an Android smartphone on the front and a point-and-shoot on the back. Panasonic refers to it as a camera primarily, but you’d be forgiven to think it’s just another Android smartphone by looking at its front, which is all-screen.
Integrating a camera into a smartphone means size and weight are way above average. The CM1 is 21.1 millimeters thick (about three times the size of an Xperia Z3, for instance) and weighs 204 grams, but that’s actually not bad for what the device offers.
The square corners, metallic sides, and textured plastic cover are all fairly typical for point-and-shoot cameras. The large lens module is surrounded by a ridged ring, and protrudes out, but not enough to make the device hard to hold or difficult to slip into a jeans pocket.
Specifications of the phone include an excellent 4.7-inch Full HD panel (465-ppi), a Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, microSD slot, and a 2,600-mAh battery. The device runs a stock version of Android 4.4.4, that will give you the typical KitKat smartphone user experience.
The camera on the front is an average 1.1MP, but, of course, the rear shooter is anything but average. The Lumix CM1 features a large 1-inch sensor with 20 MP resolution, Leica optics with a f/2.8 lens, and an LED flash. This isn’t a DSLR-replacement by any means, but the specs should be enough in many situations – after all, the best camera is the one you have with you, and with its phone alter-ego, the CM1 will be carried around extensively.
The camera app on the Lumix CM1 emulates the controls of a Panasonic point-and-shoot, and anyone who is familiar with Lumix products will feel right at home. There’s the usual bevy of controls, for things like exposure and aperture, plus many automatic modes for those times you just want to snap a quick shot.
The CES floor is no place to test a camera, but with the Lumix CM1 heading to the states, we hope we’ll get the chance to take Panasonic’s camera-phone for a shootout soon.
Stay tuned to Android Authority for more coverage of the CM1 and the other weird and wonderful things coming out of CES 2015.
Earlier today, Panasonic has announced the Lumix CM1 at CES 2015. AndroidandMe notes the device originally was slated just for the European market. However, with today’s unveiling, the company has revealed the device is indeed coming to the United States.
The Panasonic Lumix CM1’s main selling point appears to be a 20-megapixel camera with a f/2.8 Leica lens, a manual control ring, and a mechanical shutter. Nonetheless, it is equipped with some rather high-end specs, including Android 4.4 KitKat, a 4.7-inch 1080p display, a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a micro SD card slot, and a 2,600mAH battery.
The Lumix CM1 will be released this summer for $1,000 as an unlocked GSM device that will function on AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks.
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Astronauts aboard the ISS have been sending back space videos for years, but now they’ve stepped up their game: they just beamed back a couple of 3D footage taken by a Panasonic camera. These video clips take us on a 3D tour of the space station and show the astronauts submerging a sealed GoPro into a water bubble floating around in zero-g. By the sound of NASA’s press release, though, we’ll see more 3D videos in the future, as the camera used to take them fares batter in space. See, the radiation out there affects ordinary cams, burning out hundreds to thousands of pixels — enough for them to need replacing every 8 to 12 months. The astronauts noticed, however, that the first $21,000 3D camera brought aboard the station in 2011 remained largely the same through the years.
According to NASA Imagery Experts program manager Rodney Grubbs, when the original 3D camera returned on a SpaceX rocket, they “found the overlay of the two stereo images forming the 3-D picture may have helped lessen the appearance of damaged pixels.” The downside is that you’ll need special glasses to view the videos properly, but you can always tap into your arts and crafts experience from grade school and make your own.
Filed under: Misc