Panasonic brings vlogging into sharp focus with G100 mirrorless camera
Hot on the heels of Sony's ZV-1, Panasonic is shouting out to content creators with an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera called the Lumix G100 that's designed to make video blogging easier, but without skimping on photo capabilities.
Video blogs have become hugely popular in recent years, with some vlogging stars attracting tens of millions of subscribers. Though the ubiquitous smartphone is responsible for some of the content shared online, sensor size and limited optics can cause quality issues. Panasonic's Lumix G100 has been specifically designed with vloggers in mind, with a four thirds sensor, 4K video and brand new image stabilization just a few of the key features aimed at tempting content creators to invest in a dedicated video recording device.
It's compact and lightweight, at 115.6 x 82.5 x 54.2 mm (4.55 x 3.24 x 2.13 in) and tipping the scales at a body-only 345 g (12 oz), is built around a 20.3-MP Live MOS sensor with no optical low pass filter, and nips shake in the bud using a new 5-axis hybrid image stabilization system. This sees the camera's electronic stabilization working with lens-based stabilization to help smooth out the bumps while walking or as a passenger in a moving vehicle.
The G100 can record 4K (3,840 x 2,160) video at up to 30p in MP4 format, or Full HD at 60p, and will ship with V-Log L to flatten out the tones in an image for enhancing in post editing. When the 3-inch, 1,840k-dot free-angle LCD touch monitor is turned to adopt selfie mode, the video recording mode will auto start using default settings (which can be manually adjusted if necessary), and vertical orientation detection keeps recordings in portrait mode for smartphone-friendly viewing.
Slow/quick motion video can now be set up using an option on the control dial to the top of the camera, timelapse and stop motion video are supported, and assist functions include a Frame Maker to check composition while recording and a handy frame indicator to highlight when the camera is recording.
Great audio is just as important as quality video, and Panasonic has integrated OZO Audio by Nokia. Three internal microphones can be linked with the camera's face detection autofocus technology to lock on and track a subject's location in the frame. That means folks wearing headphones while watching your videos will be able to hear exactly where the sound is coming from in the three-dimensional space.
There's a mode that cuts out noise from behind the camera too, and another that switches that around to allow for narration of the scenes in front of the lens without accompanying ambient noise. And if that sounds like too much to think about, you can stick it in Auto mode and let the camera make the call.
Active noise cancellation is also available for certain applications, and the demo in the online briefing was pretty impressive – almost completely cutting out background chatter during an office walk-through. For those who prefer a lavalier microphone, a 3.5-mm jack has been included for external mics. There's a built-in speaker too, but no headphone jack for monitoring.
The G100 is also very much a stills camera too. Where the Sony ZV-1 offers a "bokeh button," Panasonic simply relies on the camera's large sensor and attached lens for "beautiful defocusing in the background." Low light photography is supported by a maximum ISO sensitivity of 25,600, there's contrast autofocus with face/eye detection, and up to 10 frames per second continuous shooting, though 4K Photo mode does bump that to 30 fps. Elsewhere, there's a 3,680k-dot Live View Finder, Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11n Wi-Fi for synching with Panasonic's iOS/Android app, and there's a dedicated button for quick and easy image and video transfer.
The camera's Li-ion battery is reported good for up to 80 minutes of 4K/30p video recording or 900 stills (in Power Save LVF mode). There's no need to remove the camera's battery to recharge it, plugging a USB cable into the camera will suffice. Unlike the ZV-1, the G100 is compatible with 32 proprietary micro four third lenses, as well as numerous third party glass, and a tripod grip is available that can start and stop video recording and release the shutter via USB.
The Lumix G100 is available for pre-order from today for a suggested retail price of US$749.99 for the camera and G Vario 12-32mm/f3.5-5.6 kit lens, or can be had with a camera, kit lens and tripod grip for $799.99. Shipping is due to start at the end of July, but Panasonic is offering a pre-order discount of $50 until August 1, and will throw in a second battery and charger to sweeten the deal. The SHGR1 tripod grip is also available on its own for $99.99.