Panasonic GH4 Announced - 4K Video Comes to Micro Four Thirds

robbie36

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Photography is about pictures AND INCREASINGLY about video.
I just dont know about this statement. I mean I do know that everyone keeps saying that photography is increasing about video, that you must get into hybrid photography etc.. although a lot of these people obviously have a vested interest in seeing videos success - not least the camera manufacturers that are all losing money except for Canon, Nikon and Leica. I also understand that if you are a professional photographer you really have to provide a video product to earn a decent living - but I am not and nor are most people on this forum. So there is a lot of pressure to get into 'video' unless you be the equivalent of 'the last person shooting film in a digital world'.

Still I havent got into video and a lot of other people I know 'avoid' it despite all the pressure to use it. I have a personal theory that Olympus sales do quite nicely because 'its video is crap' as opposed to missing out from the lack of 'video buyers'. You sort of feel with a Panasonic camera you might be paying for something that you dont particularly want or need. And the underlying reality in pure numbers is that over the past 3 years Olympus sales of M43 cameras have increased 3 times relative to Panasonic (Panasonic has gone down in market share and Olympus has gone up.)

And to be frank the arrival of 4k video actually makes it less likely I will try video. As far as I can tell it means more processing, more effort etc.. Of course I can avoid that and try video with the old tech but then well I would fall into the 'yes it is ok but it isnt 4k bracket'. 4k isnt a technology like auto-focus that makes your life easier, it is actually likely to make your life harder. And that is why 'video' might be an increasing part of a 'pros' world but not one of a photographers' - we typically pay people to do things that we cant do ourselves or dont want to. And that for me sums up 4k video.
 

tosvus

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Unfortunately, in terms of things like Image stabilization, and dynamic range across the entire product line, the Panasonic cameras are actually not competitive. In other areas, they are. What I find frustrating is that Panasonic prioritized this camera over a G7 which would take the G6 and it's nice viewfinder and ergonomics and display, and put both competitive IBIS and a current generation sensor into it. By the time Panasonic has a camera that is the equal of the OM-D E-M5 (which has been out nearly two full years) as a still image camera, Olympus will have retired that camera and developed an entire lineup of 3 successors -high end, mid-range and low cost - to it.
I'm pretty sure the GH4 will be at least equal to the EM-1 in stills quality (though of course there are preferences in color-rendition and such). I wish they had added IBIS, but it probably does not work well with the goal of having a video camera that does not overheat even with extensive shooting times. I suppose some kind of pdaf technology like the EM-1 has would be nice for using legacy 43 lenses as well, but the pdaf strip on the em-1 actually shows up in video footage on occasion, NOT something I want.

I agree it would be cool if Panasonic paid more mind to a "mid range picture taking" segment, but they probably have limited resources (like everyone else), and have decided this (higher end video) is an area they can stand out.
 

tosvus

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I just dont know about this statement. I mean I do know that everyone keeps saying that photography is increasing about video, that you must get into hybrid photography etc.. although a lot of these people obviously have a vested interest in seeing videos success - not least the camera manufacturers that are all losing money except for Canon, Nikon and Leica. I also understand that if you are a professional photographer you really have to provide a video product to earn a decent living - but I am not and nor are most people on this forum. So there is a lot of pressure to get into 'video' unless you be the equivalent of 'the last person shooting film in a digital world'.

Still I havent got into video and a lot of other people I know 'avoid' it despite all the pressure to use it. I have a personal theory that Olympus sales do quite nicely because 'its video is crap' as opposed to missing out from the lack of 'video buyers'. You sort of feel with a Panasonic camera you might be paying for something that you dont particularly want or need. And the underlying reality in pure numbers is that over the past 3 years Olympus sales of M43 cameras have increased 3 times relative to Panasonic (Panasonic has gone down in market share and Olympus has gone up.)

And to be frank the arrival of 4k video actually makes it less likely I will try video. As far as I can tell it means more processing, more effort etc.. Of course I can avoid that and try video with the old tech but then well I would fall into the 'yes it is ok but it isnt 4k bracket'. 4k isnt a technology like auto-focus that makes your life easier, it is actually likely to make your life harder. And that is why 'video' might be an increasing part of a 'pros' world but not one of a photographers' - we typically pay people to do things that we cant do ourselves or dont want to. And that for me sums up 4k video.
I think Panasonic is seeing an emerging market and they want to position themselves in it. I understand that many people don't want to shoot video, but there is a growing number of us that like to do both. To me, sticking to one medium is just holding me back. I suppose you will find forums with painters, complaining about those that take pictures instead, but so be it.

4K will show up more and more around you. You can already buy tv's and projectors with it.
4K roughly equals 8Megapixels, so if you film something, you can actually get some really decent stills out of it.
The GH4 stores 4K in a ready to use format, and if you don't want to use it, you can use 1080p. For me, shooting 4K would be like shooting RAW with a stills-camera. Sure, it is a *little* more cumbersome, but in the end, if I have a shot I really want to fix up, I have much more to work with. Downscaled 4K is much better than native 1080p as it reality increases sharpness, dynamic range & bit depth. Also, if you shoot wide, you can simply crop in post, and perhaps salvaging a shot you set up badly to begin with. For editing, it will of course be heavier right now, but that is changing rapidly. There was a time not long ago when editing RAW pictures sucked too, but now any computer off the shelf can do it pretty effortlessly. Same with 1080p video.
 

dougjgreen

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I think Panasonic is seeing an emerging market and they want to position themselves in it. I understand that many people don't want to shoot video, but there is a growing number of us that like to do both. To me, sticking to one medium is just holding me back. I suppose you will find forums with painters, complaining about those that take pictures instead, but so be it.
Actually, it's much easier to find folks that just go about the exercise of painting, and don't bother with photography or video at all. And no doubt they have no problem finding paint brushes and paints that don't come with built-in cameras and lenses.
 

robbie36

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I suppose you will find forums with painters, complaining about those that take pictures instead, but so be it.
Actually that isnt a correct analogy at all. Nobody is complaining about photographers who wish to do video as well. They are perhaps complaining that people keep saying they need a video camera and should take video when they just want to take photographs. So the correct analogy should be 'I suspect you will find forums for painters where people are always suggesting that painters should take up photography and if they dont they are missing out' because that is a more accurate reflection of Panasonic's strategy.
 

bikerhiker

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What good is 4K video if very few people in North America even own a 4K TV. Let's face it, 4K video means a lot of bandwidth. Bandwidth is expensive, especially a lot of it needed for 4K which means data compression. There are already a significant data compression being applied in broadcasting anyhow. There is a difference in quality say if you watch the feed from IOC in the Olympic village compared to the feed you see in your home television already being severely compressed. What is the point of 4K video that is going to be compressed, loosing its lustre?

Most professional photographers tend to stay away from video, because shooting video is a whole different ball game compared to shooting stills. You also need to create a story, drama and the effects, because unlike a still, you need to capture the frames, not just "A" frame. Photography is a captured illusion of 1 reference point in time, whereas a video or movie is a reference point of frames.

Sony and Panasonic are television makers and they are just begging for sales because guess what? TV sales these days are simply tanking. They tried and hoped 3D TV will bring the big sales they were looking for. Guess what? Nope, that tanked. Now they'll be bringing in 4K video in the hopes, well we'll sell the cameras to make content, so mom and dad will come running down to a Sony or Panasonic store and pay for these $2000 to $3000 TVs? Yeah right. Since when is the American economy going gang busters these days?

Given mom and dad and some wannabe video producers a GH4 won't necessarily translate to mega sales for their 4K TVs just because you think they can create Hollywood quality content? But then I won't fault Panasonic for not trying though. After all, they are the ones that are loosing the most sales in the ILC market. Olympus with its rather bleak video implementation at least is selling better than Panasonic!!
 

bikerhiker

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I think Panasonic is seeing an emerging market and they want to position themselves in it. I understand that many people don't want to shoot video, but there is a growing number of us that like to do both. To me, sticking to one medium is just holding me back. I suppose you will find forums with painters, complaining about those that take pictures instead, but so be it.

4K will show up more and more around you. You can already buy tv's and projectors with it.
4K roughly equals 8Megapixels, so if you film something, you can actually get some really decent stills out of it.
The GH4 stores 4K in a ready to use format, and if you don't want to use it, you can use 1080p. For me, shooting 4K would be like shooting RAW with a stills-camera. Sure, it is a *little* more cumbersome, but in the end, if I have a shot I really want to fix up, I have much more to work with. Downscaled 4K is much better than native 1080p as it reality increases sharpness, dynamic range & bit depth. Also, if you shoot wide, you can simply crop in post, and perhaps salvaging a shot you set up badly to begin with. For editing, it will of course be heavier right now, but that is changing rapidly. There was a time not long ago when editing RAW pictures sucked too, but now any computer off the shelf can do it pretty effortlessly. Same with 1080p video.
Most broadcasting content in North America is still not 4K. Netflix and Amazon Prime have started implementing 4K content, but and is a big but. It is very bandwidth intensive and the implementation is very slow because not every house hold has a fast internet connection plus lots of gigabyte allotment. The problem is that our North American economy is at lethargic depression state and all these attempts are simply coming from Sony and Panasonic and anyone who NEEDS to sell a 4K television because everyone else have a 1080p or 720p TV to make a profit. Consumers don't care if it's sharp, better editing or what not when their wallets are empty. The last TV revolution was on the backs of the dot.com bubble as well as the housing bubble; both of them were busted. Most of them are still paying off their debts; probably still for many years to come. You think they are too worried to upgrade their current 1080p TV to a $2000 to $3000 latest?

Maybe some of you are living with parents or alone with little bills or mortgage or debts to service, but seriously that's not what most North Americans are facing these days.
 

tosvus

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Ok, I will keep my mouth shut on the topic of video. I thought m43 was a format for both video shooters and still shooters, but when even a topic on a camera that is intended mainly for video is such a hot-button for some, I'd rather go shoot some pictures and videos than explain any further..
 

orfeo

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I'm disappointed that Panasonic,...not competitive in terms of either IBIS or it's sensor technology, when those two things would seem to be pretty straightforward.
Just to let you know, EM1 is using Panasonic sensor...
And IBIS is not reliable in long term/field use IMHO.

GH4 is pretty much the biggest news for me. I hope it's viewfinder is of premium quality. It looks like a killer new TOTL m4/3 camera.
 

dolbydunn

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I just dont know about this statement. I mean I do know that everyone keeps saying that photography is increasing about video, that you must get into hybrid photography etc.. although a lot of these people obviously have a vested interest in seeing videos success - not least the camera manufacturers that are all losing money except for Canon, Nikon and Leica. I also understand that if you are a professional photographer you really have to provide a video product to earn a decent living - but I am not and nor are most people on this forum. So there is a lot of pressure to get into 'video' unless you be the equivalent of 'the last person shooting film in a digital world'.

Still I havent got into video and a lot of other people I know 'avoid' it despite all the pressure to use it. I have a personal theory that Olympus sales do quite nicely because 'its video is crap' as opposed to missing out from the lack of 'video buyers'. You sort of feel with a Panasonic camera you might be paying for something that you dont particularly want or need. And the underlying reality in pure numbers is that over the past 3 years Olympus sales of M43 cameras have increased 3 times relative to Panasonic (Panasonic has gone down in market share and Olympus has gone up.)

And to be frank the arrival of 4k video actually makes it less likely I will try video. As far as I can tell it means more processing, more effort etc.. Of course I can avoid that and try video with the old tech but then well I would fall into the 'yes it is ok but it isnt 4k bracket'. 4k isnt a technology like auto-focus that makes your life easier, it is actually likely to make your life harder. And that is why 'video' might be an increasing part of a 'pros' world but not one of a photographers' - we typically pay people to do things that we cant do ourselves or dont want to. And that for me sums up 4k video.
I'm not sure anyone is being "pressured" into taking video . . . it's just another advantage for Panasonic camera users, that's all. Why is it so important to Olympus camera owners to eschew video? If video is not for you then "Just don't do it" to quote Nancy Reagan.

According to a new thread posted by a fellow Mu-43 member the Olympus OMD E-M1 uses a Panasonic sensor anyway. So why can't Oly get the same video capabilities from that chip as Panasonic does? Some Oly users on this forum have gone to the wall over how "Superior" Olympus image quality is (compared to the GH3 & GX7) when Olympus evidently needs Panasonic to make their sensor.

http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=OLY-E-M1_Pri-Camera

The REAL question is . . . If Olympus uses the same sensor in the E-M1 as the GX7 why can't they be more "competitive" in the video arena?
 

dolbydunn

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This is probably a moot point. I am pretty certain that Panasonic would not actually be making M43 cameras now if it wasnt for the importance of video for the company. M43 has lost them money from the start and ILC 'photo' cameras are not a core part of their business. 4k video is a core part of their strategy across product lines, video cameras, video players, TVs if they still make any etc. In fact as 4k is a central 'new tech' for the company's future they can continue to afford to lose money and invest in the technology for all those future sales and profits which will eventually emerge from it one day (or most likely not).
To answer one moot point with another, I am reasonably sure that Olympus would not actually be making M43 cameras now if not for the sensors they are buying from Panasonic for the E-M1 and Sony for the E-M5

http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=OLY-E-M1_Pri-Camera

http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=SON-IMX109&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=&parentCategory=&navigationStr=CatalogSearchInc&searchText=E-m5
 

Ulfric M Douglas

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Any opinions on the EVF?
I did read it was an OLED unit, which makes me worry that they should have simply slotted the VF-4/E-M1 unit inside and avoided any potential problems such as those in the GH3's EVF for some folks' eyes.
 

Artorius

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I just dont know about this statement. I mean I do know that everyone keeps saying that photography is increasing about video, that you must get into hybrid photography etc.. although a lot of these people obviously have a vested interest in seeing videos success - not least the camera manufacturers that are all losing money except for Canon, Nikon and Leica. I also understand that if you are a professional photographer you really have to provide a video product to earn a decent living - but I am not and nor are most people on this forum. So there is a lot of pressure to get into 'video' unless you be the equivalent of 'the last person shooting film in a digital world'.

Still I havent got into video and a lot of other people I know 'avoid' it despite all the pressure to use it. I have a personal theory that Olympus sales do quite nicely because 'its video is crap' as opposed to missing out from the lack of 'video buyers'. You sort of feel with a Panasonic camera you might be paying for something that you dont particularly want or need. And the underlying reality in pure numbers is that over the past 3 years Olympus sales of M43 cameras have increased 3 times relative to Panasonic (Panasonic has gone down in market share and Olympus has gone up.)

And to be frank the arrival of 4k video actually makes it less likely I will try video. As far as I can tell it means more processing, more effort etc.. Of course I can avoid that and try video with the old tech but then well I would fall into the 'yes it is ok but it isnt 4k bracket'. 4k isnt a technology like auto-focus that makes your life easier, it is actually likely to make your life harder. And that is why 'video' might be an increasing part of a 'pros' world but not one of a photographers' - we typically pay people to do things that we cant do ourselves or dont want to. And that for me sums up 4k video.
Most mid-tier PC's and most MacBooks and iMacs nowadays can handle editing in 4k (even 5k like from the RED cameras). The biggest problem I see is storage. What excites me about 4k is not necessarily 4k playback, but the ability to crop, and the ability to have beautifully downscaled 4k as 1080P.
 

dolbydunn

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Most mid-tier PC's and most MacBooks and iMacs nowadays can handle editing in 4k (even 5k like from the RED cameras). The biggest problem I see is storage. What excites me about 4k is not necessarily 4k playback, but the ability to crop, and the ability to have beautifully downscaled 4k as 1080P.
The GH4 is a good match for the new Mac Pro. What a team.
 
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You are RIGHT and the Olympus pinheads are wrong. EVERYONE in the WORLD watches video. Only SOME people look at pictures. This ridiculous argument is something I have come to expect from Olympus fan-tards.

Olympus has pioneered small camera technology since the late 1970's which has been GOOD for the entire industry . . . I'll go so far as to say that Olympus, with their emphasis on small size, may have been the prime mover of m4/3 format to begin with.

However, Olympus FANATICS seem to develop a "small man" complex where they are constantly on the defensive about their cameras. Oly-tards live in a world where their tiny little god is always threatened. Threatened by Full Frame, threatened by video, threatened by Panasonic, threatened by Fuji and APS-C, threatened by Sony, etc.

When every appeal to logic is exhausted, besieged Olympus "fans" inevitably start showing their ENVY at things they can't afford. Olympus "fans" are the FIRST to fill the forums with cries of "WAY TOO EXPENSIVE", (even though they wouldn't buy Panasonic junk anyway - it just bothers the HELL out them that they can't afford to).

Nevertheless, if Oly users will learn to TALK REAL NICE to Panasonic, maybe Pany will continue to sell them sensors for their E-M1. :)
http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=OLY-E-M1_Pri-Camera

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Read them and understand them before making any further posts on this forum.
 

Gerald

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I believe Panasonic hits an absolute homerun with this camera. It's video capabilities are unrivaled in such a small and affordable package. This is broadcast quality in the palm of your hand, a professional tool. And I am not just talking about 4k here. Quality codecs and bitrates, professional connections... 4k may not be for everyone yet, but for many professionals in the video world, a leap to 4k will be made in the upcoming years anyway. So it only makes the camera a wiser investment.

As far as I can tell from a stills point of view, it looks very very promising to me too. To me this is a ground breaking camera, in the same league as the DVX100 once.
 

robbie36

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To answer one moot point with another, I am reasonably sure that Olympus would not actually be making M43 cameras now if not for the sensors they are buying from Panasonic for the E-M1 and Sony for the E-M5

http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=OLY-E-M1_Pri-Camera

http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=SON-IMX109&viewState=DetailView&cartID=&g=&parentCategory=&navigationStr=CatalogSearchInc&searchText=E-m5
Fair point, I guess.

My point about Panasonic is that I suspect it justifies the losses it generates in M43 cameras by the Group's commitment to 4k video and what they believe is its potential to future sales and profits.

To be honest I am not sure how Olympus justifies its losses in M43 cameras which amounted to an average of US$400 for every mirrorless camera it sold last year. As you say it doesnt design its sensor - Panny or Sony does. It doesnt design or manufacture its shutter - Nidal Copec does. It doesnt design or manufacture its EVFs - Epson does. It doesnt design or manufacture its LCD - somebody else. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with sourcing all your parts from different manufacturers and putting them together in a product. It just isnt inherently a high value added business and it is pretty difficult to justify losing money doing it. (Apple for instance sources all its parts from other manufacturers but makes a lot of money by essentially selling its operating system through the hardware.)
 

robbie36

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I'm not sure anyone is being "pressured" into taking video . . . it's just another advantage for Panasonic camera users, that's all. Why is it so important to Olympus camera owners to eschew video? If video is not for you then "Just don't do it" to quote Nancy Reagan.

According to a new thread posted by a fellow Mu-43 member the Olympus OMD E-M1 uses a Panasonic sensor anyway. So why can't Oly get the same video capabilities from that chip as Panasonic does? Some Oly users on this forum have gone to the wall over how "Superior" Olympus image quality is (compared to the GH3 & GX7) when Olympus evidently needs Panasonic to make their sensor.

http://chipworks.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=OLY-E-M1_Pri-Camera

The REAL question is . . . If Olympus uses the same sensor in the E-M1 as the GX7 why can't they be more "competitive" in the video arena?
This is a fair point in some respects. If you look up the Panny sensor that is used by Olympus in the E-M1 you will see it is capable of 1080p 60fps - while Oly's E-M1 only offers 1080p 30fps. So why doesnt Oly offer 1080p 60fps? Maybe they dont have the processor to handle it? Possible. Maybe it is too expensive too implement? Possible - or perhaps more importantly the demand for this sort of video doesnt justify the expense of implementing it. I dont know of course.

What is abundantly clear is that Panasonic M43 cameras video capability is 'far superior' to Oly's - arguably with the GH4, the cameras video capabilities are far superior to any other mirrorless camera on the market. We can obviously debate whether Oly or Panny offer better stills capability but whomever you choose you wouldnt put ahead by the same sort of margin that Panny holds over Olympus in video. However it is equally obvious that Panny's superiority on video isnt actually doing it much good. 3 years ago Panny was the market leader in both the US and Japan in mirrorless. It is now number 3 in Japan with half the market share of Olympus and number 4 in the US where it has been overtaken by Nikon who has only 2 years in the game and 1 to 2 product offerings.

The fear is that we have been down this path before with Panasonic - making great technology that most people never buy. Think of plasma TVs, it lost money with them from the day they were introduced to the day the business was shut down. And given that Panasonic's losses over the last 2 years combined have been the equivalent of Iceland's GDP, one wonders if they know what consumers actually want to buy.
 

Biro

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What good is 4K video if very few people in North America even own a 4K TV. Let's face it, 4K video means a lot of bandwidth. Bandwidth is expensive, especially a lot of it needed for 4K which means data compression. There are already a significant data compression being applied in broadcasting anyhow. There is a difference in quality say if you watch the feed from IOC in the Olympic village compared to the feed you see in your home television already being severely compressed. What is the point of 4K video that is going to be compressed, loosing its lustre?

Most professional photographers tend to stay away from video, because shooting video is a whole different ball game compared to shooting stills. You also need to create a story, drama and the effects, because unlike a still, you need to capture the frames, not just "A" frame. Photography is a captured illusion of 1 reference point in time, whereas a video or movie is a reference point of frames.

Sony and Panasonic are television makers and they are just begging for sales because guess what? TV sales these days are simply tanking. They tried and hoped 3D TV will bring the big sales they were looking for. Guess what? Nope, that tanked. Now they'll be bringing in 4K video in the hopes, well we'll sell the cameras to make content, so mom and dad will come running down to a Sony or Panasonic store and pay for these $2000 to $3000 TVs? Yeah right. Since when is the American economy going gang busters these days?

Given mom and dad and some wannabe video producers a GH4 won't necessarily translate to mega sales for their 4K TVs just because you think they can create Hollywood quality content? But then I won't fault Panasonic for not trying though. After all, they are the ones that are loosing the most sales in the ILC market. Olympus with its rather bleak video implementation at least is selling better than Panasonic!!
Great post. I've been in the media for a very long time. If most consumers/viewers realized how much - even today - high definition material they watch on broadcast and cable television is upconverted, they'd be shocked. Upconverted to what? 720p and 1080i. Not even 1080p. As you said, bandwidth remains a big problem. And as I said, the GH4 looks like it's a great tool that'll be fantastic for filmmakers and professional videographers. But I suspect 4K isn't relevent to most people and is likely to get much the same response that 3D TV did. Besides, I suspect that at least half the population has eyesight bad enough that they can't even fully appreciate 1080p.
 

bikerhiker

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This is a fair point in some respects. If you look up the Panny sensor that is used by Olympus in the E-M1 you will see it is capable of 1080p 60fps - while Oly's E-M1 only offers 1080p 30fps. So why doesnt Oly offer 1080p 60fps? Maybe they dont have the processor to handle it? Possible. Maybe it is too expensive too implement? Possible - or perhaps more importantly the demand for this sort of video doesnt justify the expense of implementing it. I dont know of course.

What is abundantly clear is that Panasonic M43 cameras video capability is 'far superior' to Oly's - arguably with the GH4, the cameras video capabilities are far superior to any other mirrorless camera on the market. We can obviously debate whether Oly or Panny offer better stills capability but whomever you choose you wouldnt put ahead by the same sort of margin that Panny holds over Olympus in video. However it is equally obvious that Panny's superiority on video isnt actually doing it much good. 3 years ago Panny was the market leader in both the US and Japan in mirrorless. It is now number 3 in Japan with half the market share of Olympus and number 4 in the US where it has been overtaken by Nikon who has only 2 years in the game and 1 to 2 product offerings.

The fear is that we have been down this path before with Panasonic - making great technology that most people never buy. Think of plasma TVs, it lost money with them from the day they were introduced to the day the business was shut down. And given that Panasonic's losses over the last 2 years combined have been the equivalent of Iceland's GDP, one wonders if they know what consumers actually want to buy.
In their current financial report, Panasonic stated clearly that their own vision through 2018 that they do not even see the consumer electronics side growing in sales at all. In fact, they have more faith in the auto and housing groups doubling in sales. So perhaps they are repeating the same Plasma TV days again. Sometimes I wonder. When will these Japanese ever learn from their mistakes?
 
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