Panasonic launches VariCam LT 4K Compact Camcorder
Panasonic has unveiled the VariCam LT, representing the next generation of 4K cinema cameras. The VariCam LT camcorder inherits the same super 35mm sensor and superb imaging capabilities that distinguish the award-winning VariCam 35, but with significant reductions in size, weight and price.
Dynamic Range: The VariCam LT inherits the DNA of the VariCam albeit in a more compact form and has 14+ stops of dynamic range with V-Log.
Dual Native ISOs: Varicam LT also has the dual native ISOs of 800/5000.
Formats: The VariCam LT delivers superb image handling in multiple formats ranging from 4K, UHD, 2K and HD, and like the VariCam 35, is fully capable of High Dynamic Range (HDR) field capture. The new 4K camcorder offers Apple ProRes 4444 (up to 30p) and ProRes 422 HQ (up to 60p) support for HD recording, as well as Panasonic's AVC-ULTRA family of advanced video codecs.
New codecs introduced in the VariCam LT include AVC-Intra LT and AVC-Intra 2K-LT, both designed to offer capture rates up to 240fps in imager crop mode, ideal for sports and other fast motion footage.
Colour Management: The Varicam LT inherits the same cinematic VariCam image quality and color science.Powerful color management capabilities combined with VariCam's extended color gamut and support for the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) workflow allow for full fidelity mastering of original source material. The VariCam LT offers in-camera color grading, with the ability to record an ungraded 4K master along with all on-set grading metadata. A new color processing feature is 'V-LOOK,' which acts as a blend of V-Log and video, and allows filmic documentary acquisition without the same need for intense color grading.
The VariCam LT differs from the VariCam 35 in being a one-piece, short-bodied camcorder vs. a two-piece camera head plus recorder. While the VariCam LT does not feature parallel sub-recording, it does have an SD slot for high-resolution proxy recording. Proxy files can be wirelessly uploaded via FTP, which facilitates wireless color grading. Variable frame rates are available with LongG6 recording.
Media: There is one expressP2 card for all formats including high frame rate and HD/2K/UHD and 4K recording (the 256Gbyte expressP2 card can record up to 90 minutes of 4K/4:2:2/23.98p content). However, the cost of Express P2 cards are far higher than CFast 2.0 cards.
RAW: RAW output from SDI is planned to be supported by a firmware upgrade in early summer 2016. Convergent Design has announced that its Odyssey 7Q+ recorders will be able to record the RAW output from the Panasonic VariCam LT.
EF Mount: The VariCam LT features an EF mount (vs. the VariCam 35's PL mount), suitable for the wide array of lenses available for smaller cameras.* The EF mount can be switched out to a robust standard PL mount, expanding the range of compatible lenses that can be used. The control panel can be separated from the camera body to facilitate real-time control and easy menu access. The camcorder has a production-tough magnesium body to assure durability and reliability in challenging shooting locations.
Other features new to the VariCam LT are power hot swap, IR shooting (further enhancing the camcorder's extreme low-light capture at ISO 5000), 23.98 PsF output, and image presets as scene files.
Built-in ND Filter: Among the camcorder's top-level production assets are ND filters (CLEAR, 0.6, 1.2, 1.8), an optional OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with optical zoom functionality, 24-bit LPCM audio for in-camera audio master recording, Focus Assist, anamorphic lens de-squeeze, special REC functions (PreRec, interval, one-shot), IP control via Panasonic's AK-HRP200 camera remote controller, and built-in GPS.
Professional interfaces include: 3G-HD-SDI x 3 (SDI-OUT X 2 and VF), LAN, genlock in, timecode in/out, USB2.0 Host and USB2.0 Device (mini B), and three XLR inputs (one 5-pin, two 3-pin) to record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio.
Weight: Weighing just under six pounds and having superior capability to similar sized cameras, the VariCam LT will be the ideal camera for handheld, SteadiCam, jib, crane, drone, gimbal and overall cinema verité work. The VariCam LT is likewise tailor-made for owner/operators, independent filmmakers, documentary makers and corporate production creators.
Availability: The VariCam LT will be available at the end of March 2016.
Cost: The suggested list price is $18,000 (body only) and suggested list price $24,000 for body and AU-VCVF10G viewfinder. The street price would be a bit lower.
Competition: At this price the Varicam LT is in the range of F5, C300 Mark II cameras and would give a tough competition to these cameras.