Panasonic G7 Official Announcement and GH4 Comparison

Panasonic G7
Panasonic G7, Announced 5/18/2015

The first Micro Four Thirds camera kit with 4k under $1000 is here.

4k along with Panasonic’s new DFD Focusing System featured on the Panasonic GH4. The very focusing system that has trounced the Sony A7s in many non-biased comparison videos online. And I say that as a HUGE fan of the Sony A7s, it’s High ISO performance is out of this world.

But the G7 isn’t without drawbacks, it still uses the GX7 sensor from two years ago, though it is paired with the latest Venus Engine IX Processor used in the GH4. Checkout the Official Panasonic G7 Product Page for a full list of specs, here’s a summary:

  • 16MP
  • WIFI
  • DFD Focusing Technology
  • Video Recording Modes: [4K] 3840×2160:4K/30p 100Mbps, 4K/24p 100Mbps/[Full HD] 1920×1080:FHD/60p 28Mbps, FHD/30p: 20Mbps/[HD] 1280×720:HD/30p 10Mbps/[VGA] 640×480:VGA/30p 4Mbps
  • Shutter Speed: Still image: Bulb (Max. 2 minutes), 1/4,000 – 60/Motion picture: 1/16,000 – 1/25/Electronic shutter: 1/16,000 – 1

The G7 also features three 4k photo mode options. With the GH4, you could record an entire video and basically choose a frame you’d like as a photo and you’ll end up with an 8MP picture, but it’s not always fun sifting through a video more than a minute long. Well the G7 has a 4k Pre-Burst mode that seems very promising:

4K Pre-Burst mode initiates a 4K video sequence one second before and after the shutter button is pressed. This gives you an extra 60 images from which to select and is perfect for those unpredictable, spur-of-the-moment photo ops.

A feature like that allows you to capture moments like this a lot easier:

4k Photo Mode, Image via Panasonic G7 Press Release
4k Photo Mode, Image via Panasonic G7 Press Release

Before the official announcement, we also tweeted out the leaked photos that featured a much slicker design that it’s predecessor, the Panasonic G6:

Checkout the promo video for the G7 from Panasonic:

G7 vs GH4 – How does the $700 G7* compare to the $1700 GH4 (Body Only)?

*Expected price for body only, the Panasonic G7 w/ 14-42mm kit lens is available for pre-order for $797.99 at Amazon with an expected release date of June 15th, 2015.

User ijm5012 on DPReview sums it up nicely:

The GH4 has a metal alloy body, the G7’s is plastic

The GH4 has weather sealing, the G7 doesn’t

The GH4 can do 1/8000 mechanical shutter, the G7 can only do 1/4000

The GH4 can do 60 minute exposures in bulb mode, the G7 can only do 2 minutes

The GH4 can do 7.5 FPS with C-AF, the G7 can only do 6

The GH4 can do 1080p 60fps in 200 Mbps, the G7 can only do it in 28 Mbps

The GH4 can do 1080p 96 fps (25% slow-mo), the G7 can only do 1080p 60 fps (40% slow-mo)

The GH4 can do 1/250 flash sync, the G7 is only 1/160

The GH4 has a much larger battery, giving you better battery life

There is quite a lot that the GH4 does that the G7 can’t, which is why the GH4 camera is better suited for professionals.

The GH4 also has the separate DMW-YAGH Interface Unit that allows for a much more professional workflow, with 4:2:2 10 bit output, XLR inputs and more.

Should you wait for the Panasonic GX8?

One drawback with the Panasonic GX7 is that it didn’t have an audio jack… a must for many filmmakers. It also did not have a battery grip (along with poor battery life). A feature lacking on the G7 that the GX7 did have was 2-axis IBIS, though it was disabled for video. If the GX8 could pull off IBIS with 4k video, that could be a game-changer. But I’d venture to guess that’s a more likely addition to a Panasonic GH5 as the GH series with a larger body can dissipate heat a little better. Based on Panasonic’s historical 18-month release schedule with the GH series, we might see the GH5 at the end of the year. Based on the current rumors, we could hear an announcement for the Panasonic GX8 within the coming months.

My thoughts on the Panasonic G7

Personally, I started with the Panasonic GF1, then moved to it’s true successor the Panasonic GX1, but then opted for the Olympus OM-D EM-5 over the GX7. I’ve been looking for new camera to upgrade to and while the EM-5 II was attractive the lack of 4k was a little disappointing. I LOVE the 5-axis IBIS, but I would love it much more with 4k video. Sadly, the Panasonic G7 does not have IBIS. Instead you’ll have to resort to buying their Panasonic OIS lenses which are nothing compared to IBIS. I also love this trick with the Panasonic GX1 and GX7 where you could bounce flash with the built-in flash.

I’m fickle, so I can’t say for sure if I’ll buy it or not. But I’m certainly interested. A Panasonic GX8 with 4k and IBIS could change my mind, or at least an audio jack. A could hundred bucks off the the EM-5 II or GH4 could sway me that way as well. I do miss Panasonic though. I love my EM5, but there were little things on the Panasonic that I loved. Such as it has the classic “Rule of Thirds” crop guideline, whereas Olympus uses the older “Golden Ratio” crop guideline. Menus were a lot easier on Panasonic. Bracketing shots for HDR. A custom white balance setting that doesn’t give me a lot of trouble. A lot of this is why I still own my GX1.

See the full press release from Panasonic here.

What do you guys think about the Panasonic G7? Let me know in the comments!

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