After several camera announcements where slow motion was a main feature instead of an afterthought, things have been calming down until the next wave which will break closer to NAB 2018 from April 7th to 12th in Las Vegas. There will probably be quite a few announcements in the professional space which is mainly where things heat up when it comes to higher quality resolution at higher frame rates.
We expect Sony to steal the show with probably the a7s Mark III which by any measure will probably retain the low light king title for the foreseeable future. If the a7 III released recently is any indication then a lower megapixel sensor anywhere between 12-16MP Full Frame with the same technology in a stacked sensor will give us a camera so capable that room for improvement will be mainly on the ergonomics, interface and higher frame rates going forward.
There is no question the Sony a7 III just announced by Sony is making a splash in the midrange to professional camera markets. We have a $1,998.00 USD Full Frame camera that can shoot 10fps at the full 24MP sensor resolution with probably the best AF tracking system ever shipped on a camera aside from the slightly better Sony a9. The low light performance of the new a7 III is quite frankly impressive with nearly as clean video to the king of low light the a7s II up until ISO 12,800.
It also has the same high-quality 120fps Full HD mode in both full frame downsampling and APS-C crop modes with continuous reliable AF tracking that performs as good as the a9 system because when it comes to spec comparisons they seem identical. You will be better off with this camera if you are looking for 120fps full HD than any we have seen before as quality, low noise, focus tracking and dynamic range all come together to create a superb package.
The latest info from 43 Rumors stemming from supposed leaks on the GH5s or “Low Light Version of the GH5” suggest a 10.28MP sensor with up to 240fps Full HD recording capability. There seems to be an out of step rush to deliver this camera compared to previous releases by Panasonic which may or may not end with a product on the specified date of Jan 8th, 2018.
There has been a clear progression of frame rates from Lumix GH cameras from 60p to 96p, 120p and most recently 180fps with the GH5 and G9. However, if the GH5s ships with 240fps we can safely assume that the spec will now be the bare minimum frame rate for a flagship camera in full HD instead of the 120fps most can shoot in high-quality mode. The GH5 suffered from quality degradation above 120fps with aliasing and moire taking a toll. If the new camera can deliver 240fps with the same quality as 120fps then it will be a milestone mirrorless camera.
Very little attention is placed on high speed thermal imaging because frankly it’s a field so new that only a handful of cameras can even approach that performance. The FLIR X6900sc is breaking records by now recording 1000fps at 640 x 512 resolution which is pretty high by thermal pixel standards and a memory buffer recorded on-camera RAM for 26 seconds.
There is a lot of expectation for the release of the Panasonic DVX200 4k camera. It has been proclaimed as a true professional tool that will last the test of time among other superlatives. What intrest us most is that the camera will offer the ability to shoot 60p at 4k and 120fps at full 1080p HD. While non of the frame rates are what we would call groundbreaking; they do serve the vast majority of the video production crowd with the most usable aspects of overcrank for sports and shooting techniques relying on fast panning motion and action shots.
While there is still a blackout of shots at 120fps there have been a few 4k released shots that show what the pre-production cameras are capable of. The performance of the Micro 4/3 sensor and the built in Leica 13x f/2.8 – f/4.5 Lens seems to be very good. The samples however show Dynamic range which is rated at 12 stops in the specs to be close to what a GH4 with VLOG can produce. Since these are pre production shots you cannot base the final image quality of the camera from these samples but the quality is there and it can only go up from here. As for low light abilities it will remain to be seen but if you expect Sony A7s quality you are barking at the wrong tree. It should perform close or better than what the Lumix GH4 is able to do. The camera should be released sometime in October this year with a MSRP of $5000 USD.
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