Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Shooting Video With LUMIX GX85

FIRST OF ALL, I am NOT a VIDEO / MOVIE sort of guy...

In the last two years, the only time I shoot videos were of my wife's line dancing sessions, I shot them with different "point n shoot" cameras, I then turn those movies into a DVD so she can practice her dances by watching them on TV.

Then three weeks ago, my wife asked me to film a Tai Chi Master from China. Master Victor Zhang is giving some free Tai Chi lessons, I went and record his demonstration with my little GM1.

My GM1 is set to HD, MP4 (720, 25P) mode.

This is a movie taken with the GM1 with the 12-32 kit lens.

The kit lens has build-in I.S., I am not sure if it work for movie mode. I doubt it because my hand holding clip look a bit shaky.

I enjoy using the GM1 for video because during the filming, I can press the shutter button and the camera will "grab" a JPEG frame for me!  Not all camera can do that!

The two pictures above were "grabs" by the GM1 during video filming, you will be surprise how sharp they are!

I had these images blow-up to 16x20" prints and presents to Master Zhang and he love them!

Then a week ago I was send the latest LUMIX GX85 by Panasonic New Zealand to try out..

Like all the latest compact cameras, these small wonders packed the power to shoot 4K video!

In short, the GX85 can film a movie having a resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels! That, in layman term is HUGE!

A year ago, I try shooting a 4K video with a 4K capable camera and I was "informed" by the camera that the card inside was NOT FAST ENOUGH!  But this time round, I came prepared, I got myself a very fast SD-XC UHS-64GB flyer! 4K video here I come!

As luck had it, I was able to film Master Zhang one day before I have to return the GX85.

Unlike when I shot with the GM1, when the stage was lit with bright spot lights, this time round, the stage was quite dim!

I was forced to shoot the 4K video clip of Master Zhang with the expensive LUMIX G X VARIO12-35mm F2.8 ASPH at full F2.8, handheld. I read that the GX85 is able to use it's DUAL IS feature even with video, this is a good time to test it out!

The 4K clip was about 12 minutes and the GX85 created a whopping huge FIVE GIG, MP4 file!

What you see below is a down sized (1 GB+) version for Youtube, even that, it took an hour to upload!

Compare to the one shot with my GM1, I think you will notice how much sharper the down sized 4K video is, but the thing that really impress me was how STEADY the whole clip is!  Obviously the Dual IS feature works wonder for handholding video shooting!

This is no small feat because the GX85 with the F2.8 zoom is quite heavy, holding it for 12 minutes in a vertical framing position is no joke!

Only thing I don't understand was the sudden lost of focus (for a second) during certain instance of the shoot, granted, this only happened twice.

I set the focusing mode to "49 Area" for this video capture, this 49-area contrast-based system is using Panasonic's Depth-From-Defocus (DFD) technology to calculate subject distance. This allows the camera to lock onto a subject quicker than some other contrast-based systems. Why then caused the focus "hunting" during the filming?

May be some of the video expert can enlighten us, thanks!

Could it due to the very dimly lit stage?

To my delight, the GX85 is able to snap JPEG during filming!

The two "grab snaps" taken by the GX85 during the 4K filming, notice the different colour of Master Zhang attire when he move around the stage, the funny coloured stage lights must have totally confuse the AWB settings ;)

Famous Last Words...

So what do I think of the GX85 video performance?

The detail and dynamic range of the 4K video was exemplary, especially if you use a pro standard large aperture zoom.

The sound quality of the video was nothing to shout about, there is no external microphone jack or headphone jack on the GX85, audio is capture only by the small stereo microphone ports on top of the camera, in front of the hot-shoe. If you need more control over your audio quality, look at the GH4 or wait for the GH5 instead.

What really impress me is the way GX85 utilised the 7 axes (Dual IS) image stabilisation on video filming, I believe this is the FIRST Lumix camera able to pull that off. It is so good and efficient that you will think your GX85 is on Steadicam!

But for what I need and purposes, the video ability of the GX85 is more than enough, I do not even need 4K really; what do I do with a GIANT multi GIG movie file?

I wish I had more time to give the video features a good run! There are other features that will take time to explore.

Latest update from Panasonic New Zealand...


Thank you for the review.

Just a few points. 4k video is actually the equivalent to 8mp not 4mp (3,840*2,160=8,294,400) .

Also for our dual IS it is probably more accurate to say it is 5axies of stabilisation. The difference between body is and dual IS is that the 2 most important axis (vertical and horizontal) have doubled up stabilisation allowing for one unit to focus on the high frequency stabilisation and one on the low frequency which over all makes it significantly (especially at telephoto) more stable than any competing system.
The below video may help make sense of this.

also if you were wanting to extract high quality stills the GX85 and all our other 4k models has a specific 4k photo mode that is optimised for still extraction and can do this in body.



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