The Panasonic GH4 is a game-changer. This is a camera that can shoot 4k video with a price tag under $2,000. Up until now, only those with deep pockets could afford this luxury, but Panasonic is busting down the 4k wall.
For all the still photographers who are reading this and thinking “what do I care about video?” …… Here’s the deal my friends – this is a video camera that can pull 8 megapixel stills off the video feed. What does this mean? It means the nerd with the video camera is your replacement.
What exactly is it?
Most of the Nikon and Canon fans don’t care about Panasonic, but this model is significant. It’s a 16 megapixel compact mirrorless device with beautiful Leica lenses that can shoot 4k video. Unlike previous models, this camera has a high speed 49-point autofocus system in both photo and video mode. It’s a high-end stills camera that delivers video quality better than many professional video cameras.
It may not have the full-frame sensor or the big megapixel count of the Nikon d800, but for pros who know how to post process with Genuine Fractals, the images from this little beast are more than big enough to put up on a billboard.
More Bad News
It isn’t a happy time in photography land. The wedding photographers are facing fierce competition from amateurs, the still life guys are being replaced by Keyshot, the photojournalists are on the endangered species list, and the stock photographers are crying foul over Getty’s decision to give millions of their photos away for free. It’s tough times all around and video isn’t going to help.
Fashion photographers are already merging stills and motion with the high-end Red Cameras and the affordable Panasonic GH4 will only accelerate this trend.
Some are writing off “video stills” as an exercise in futility, but if you were a wedding videographer, wouldn’t you take the opportunity to make an extra thousand bucks off a photo album?
What to do?
It’s time to fight fire with fire. The world has moved your cheese and you can adapt or perish. It’s always difficult mastering new tech, but there is a world of opportunity for the visual artist that can write, do video, take stills, and get it all up on the web. The time has never been better (or cheaper) with cameras like the Panasonic GH4 or the upcoming Sony A7s to move into video.
If you’re a photographer who knows how to light, compose, and tell a story, then video production is a small step forward. Print is dead and the web is only getting faster. So, are you going to live in the past or prepare for the future? The choice is yours.