Personal View: Destiny of [Panasonic] m43 mount cameras, how soon production will stop

http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/comment/254611#Comment_254611

PV: Many members of the ‘Personal View’ community are shooting with the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system digital cameras including many of the Panasonic MFT system products. Therefore when during the Leica and then Panasonic press conferences prior to the opening of Photokina 2018 we have learned about new L-mount alliance, many of our community members become concern that MFT system is in danger because of these new series of L-mount cameras. Can you give us some insight on the destiny of the Panasonic MFT products?…

… PV: Will the new L-mount system affect the Panasonic development of new MFT products, for example will some of the proposed MFT lenses be delayed? Another concern is that the MFT could be refocused primarily towards the basic entry-level of cameras, eliminating the semi-professional MFT category of products. Will the MFT cameras have the same attention from the best Panasonic engineers and designers, or it will suffer from lack of resources?…

PV: How do you see the future development of the MFT cameras? For example, one of my favorite MFT camera series is a rangefinder-style GX line, such as GX8. I have noticed that in latest GX-series release, the Lumix GX9 camera is more GX7-alike than GX8, similar to GX7 in size and less advanced in some of its features than GX8, such as weather-sealing, OLED viewfinder, fully articulated display, or availability of external microphone port. Can we expect another series of the compact rangefinder style MFT camera with more advanced features, or all future MFT cameras with advanced features will be solely designed in GH5-style of camera bodies?…”

Commentary

There is much more to the conversation between Personal View’s Igor Drozdovsky and Panasonic’s Adviser for Technical PR Mr Michiharu Uematsu, the Imaging Section’s Ms Emi Fujiwara and Engineer Mr Taku Kariyazaki than the questions above of whether Panasonic will be dropping development of the professional cameras in the GX series and whether the company will also cease development of its Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses in favour of the 35mm sensor cameras and lenses of the recently announced S Series.

I recommend reading the interview in full for those of us with the same questions as asked by Mr Drozdovsky, and I hope that answers about the future of pro-quality rangefinder-style GX cameras will soon be provided by Panasonic.

I seriously hope that Panasonic will not be trying to tell us that pro-quality DSLR-style cameras must now somehow replace pro-quality tilting EVF rangefinder-style cameras just as I hope the company will not try to convince us that 3-way tilting monitors must now always replace fully articulated monitors.

Since when is a reduction in capability somehow an advance in capability, other than in the imaginations of marketing department managers?

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    panasonic_lumix_gh5s_battery_grip_01_1024px_60%
    Panasonic DC-GH5S with DMW-BGGH5 battery grip and Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens.

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  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-60mm LensB&H
  • Panasonic V-Log L Function Activation Code for DMC-GH4, DC-GH5, and DMC-FZ2500B&H
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SmallRig: SmallRig L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7RIII/A9 2122

http://www.smallrig.com/smallrig-l-bracket-for-sony-a7iii-a7riii-a9-2122.html

“This product is custom designed for Sony A7RIII, A7III and A9 cameras. Both the base plate and the side plate are of Arca-Swiss standard. It mounts to the camera’s tripod socket and extends 20mm height for more comfortable gripping. The side plate is detachable and slidable as per your needs. Accessories such as hand straps, and Metabones adapter support 1764 could be attached to it, providing more stability….”

SmallRig L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7RIII/A9 2122

SmallRig L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7RIII/A9 2122, SmallRig Cold Shoe Mount 1593 and SmallRig Lens Adapter Support 1764

Commentary

I was browsing through the pages of the SmallRig video camera accessories website this morning when I handed upon what appears to be the company’s very first L-bracket, for Sony’s Alpha a7 III, Alpha a7R III and Alpha a9 mirrorless 35mm sensor format hybrid stills/video cameras.

This is an exciting development especially as SmallRig’s design provides for mounting on Arca-Swiss tripods heads or adapters, allows access to the cameras’ batteries, and looks sturdy and well-machined.

L-brackets can come in handy when using hybrid cameras for video and stills, in portrait and landscape format, swapping rapidly from one to the next.

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3 Legged Thing’s QR11 is, apparently, “the world’s most innovative universal L-bracket”.

Some manufacturers such as 3 Legged Thing make universal L-brackets that can fit a range of cameras with varying degrees of usability and ability to easily access batteries, media cards and other essential hardware features but there is no question that custom L-brackets designed to fit their intended camera perfectly are the best option by far.

Regrettably though, custom L-brackets are not always available for specific cameras nor are they always designed and manufactured in the way one might desire.

For example, I am still looking for a good enough L-bracket for my beloved Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 hybrid professional rangefinder-style camera.

The GX8 remains one of my favourite and most-used professional-quality cameras for stills photography and video even though it was supposed to be “superseded” or “updated” by Panasonic with the enthusiast-level Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9, a marketing misstep about which I have written in several articles here at ‘Untitled’.

I and a good many others are still waiting for Panasonic to come up with the actual professional-quality rangefinder-style successor to the GX8.

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L-brackets like this BGX8 for GX8 by Really Right Stuff are invaluable when quickly switching from horizontal to vertical orientation during environmental portrait photography sessions. Tragically, Really Right Stuff discontinued making the BGX8 well before the Panasonic GX8 itself was supposedly “superseded” by the Panasonic GX9.

Meanwhile, getting back to L-brackets, the best GX8 L-bracket so far had vanished from sale just before I discovered it, though its design was far from perfect and was neither as advanced as SmallRig’s solution for the Sony A-series cameras nor as affordable.

Nor did that disappeared GX8 L-bracket offer the option of attaching a special cold shoe for mounting microphones or other accessories off to the camera’s side, or a lens adapter support below the lens while securely screwed onto the L-bracket itself.

I ended up buying a GX8 camera cage from SmallRig as a form of consolation gift to myself, but a cage and an L-bracket are two different things made to solve two different sets of problems even though, as SmallRig has illustrated in its Sony L-bracket product page, an L-bracket can be useful to moviemakers too.

I encourage SmallRig to consider making L-brackets for other cameras.

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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 is a true professional-quality rangefinder-style camera with weather resistance, a well-sized built-in hand grip and is popular with professional documentary photographers and moviemakers. I am still waiting for Panasonic to reveal the real pro-quality update to this camera as it clearly was not the GX9. I am still looking for an L-bracket for my GX8.

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  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
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PanasonicLumixVideo: Panasonic LUMIX GX9 Shooting Impression by Viviana Galletta

“The new LUMIX GX9 is the one letting fashion portrait photographer Viviana Galletta explore LA’s stylish sidewalks on her terms. Combining incredible image quality with an impressively compact design, its tiltable viewfinder frees her up to capture her unique perspective on the city. A 20.3-megapixel sensor + no low pass filter with Dual Image Stabilisation guarantee head-turning image quality, while creative in-camera effects let her add an artistic flourish to her photography.”

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Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 in silver and black, from and back, with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS kit zoom lens, excellent for stills and good for video so long as you do not hang step-up rings and variable neutral density filters off its front. This lens does not have a manual focus ring so must be focussed via autofocus or back-button focus.

Commentary

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-85, also named DMC-GX80 in certain territories and Lumix GX7 Mark II in Japan, with the excellent and tiny but grossly underestimated Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 collapsible kit zoom lens. The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS collapsible zoom lens makes a fine telephoto companion lens.

Panasonic has released its very first photographer video for the Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 featuring German fashion photographer and model Viviana Galletta, perhaps signalling the camera’s intended user base or at least two of them, fashion photographers working on location and women.

Ms Galletta is a former user of the Lumix GX80, known in the USA as the DMC-GX85 and in Japan as the Lumix GX7 Mark II, as she attests in an interview by the German Lumix G Experience website.

Will there be further such videos in the series and what genres of photography will they feature?

Will they, too, be created by West London creative agency Brave, notable for its female creative director, Caroline Paris, in an industry still employing far too few female creatives altogether and even fewer in senior agency roles?

This is the first time that, to my knowledge, Panasonic’s Lumix brand has commissioned an advertising agency to produce its YouTube videos and the move has its merits.

I have worked at and for top British creative hotshop advertising agencies, incidentally while living just down the road from Brave, and have some insights into how the agency/client relationship can work at its very best.

Great agencies can help a brand understand itself and its products by acting as, as the great Australian copywriter John Bevins puts it, brand custodians that know the brand better than its owners.

That is crucial for giant global corporations like Panasonic with their many product divisions, product types, constantly churning management infrastructures and management staff, and a tendency to forget those divisions’ achievements, history and missions.

Panasonic’s product pages appear to be orienting the enthusiast-level GX9 towards street photographers as opposed to the documentary and photojournalists and other professionals at whom was aimed the flagship-level GX8, and this fissure between the GX8 and its supposed successor in the GX9 has created confusion, dismay and disappointment in the ranks of the GX-series’ professional user base.

Brave may be able to help Panasonic better understand the GX-series and the havoc it has wreaked by replacing an advanced flagship camera with a lower-order camera, and how to better target another user base given the GX9’s more limited feature and applications set.

Brave could also have a hand in better evening up the extreme lack of gender balance in the marketing of photography and video production hardware.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, ancestor of the GX9 aka the Lumix DMC-GX7 Mark III

The Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 aka Lumix GX7 Mark III hearkens back to the first Lumix GX7 camera, though minus its rather decent built-in grip.

What does the GX8 flagship camera have that the GX9 enthusiast camera does not?

Enough said. The Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 is anything but a replacement for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8.

A great 4-lens kit of little, lightweight Lumix lenses

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 with, left to right, Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS, Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS, Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric and Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 Aspheric Power OIS. Image produced at CameraSize.com.

Recently I have been digging into online information about Panasonic’s Lumix G lenses in an effort to understand their benefits and differences from the Panasonic Leica DG and Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lenses that are often perceived as being sexier and more professional.

While I default to the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses for professional stills and video due to their weather sealing, high-quality optics and constriction and especially their repeatable manual clutch focus, Panasonic’s Lumix G lenses are worth a serious look given their adherence to the Micro Four Thirds format’s founding philosophy of high quality combined with affordability, small size and light weight.

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Panasonic Lumix GX8 with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric II Mega OIS kit zoom lens, also worth considering for lightweight, small camera stills and video projects.

I am considering adding three of the four lenses illustrated above to my first purchase, the excellent collapsible Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS lens, and I will probably purchase them secondhand as I did the 12-32mm given much of my lens budget needs to go into M.Zuiko Pro lenses for professional documentary projects.

  • Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS – only available on the secondhand market or when bundled with a Lumix camera.
  • Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4-5.6 Aspheric Mega OISB&H – a fraction of the price of Panasonic’s Lumix G X 35-100mm fixed maximum aperture alternative.
  • Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II AsphericB&H – the “perfect normal” focal length I much prefer to the more usual 25mm “standard” lens that I find a little too narrow.
  • Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 Aspheric Power OISB&H – reportedly excellent fast portrait-length short telephoto lens for portraiture, documentary photography and photojournalism.
cosyspeed_camslinger_streetomatic_black_hero_1501px.jpg
Cosyspeed Camslinger Streetomatic Plus camera bag is an excellent waist-pack for carrying a minimal kit such as a GX8 plus two or three small lenses or one large one.

The only downside to all these five small, affordable, lightweight lenses is that you will need to attach one or two step-up rings if you wish to use your 77mm or 82mm diameter fixed or variable neutral density (ND) filters for video production.

Their filter diameters range from 37mm through to 46mm, and top-quality step-up rings, protection filters, UV filters and ND filters can be limited in those sizes.

The 12-32mm zoom does not have a focussing ring for focus-by-wire; the 20mm pancake prime may be too short to fit your fingers behind step-up rings and ND filters for manual focussing and the 12-32mm and 35-100mm are collapsible lenses whose mechanism may not safely support step-up rings and NDs.

Otherwise, these look like a terrific matched set of lenses for stills photography and video when you need to carry your gear in small bags like those made by Cosyspeed.

All these lens purchases are predicated on Panasonic continuing to make professional-quality rangefinder-style cameras like the GX8 and that, sadly, currently remains under question.

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  • Panasonic DMW-EC3 Eyecup for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-EC5 EyecupB&H – for the Lumix DC-GX9
  • Panasonic Hand Grip for Lumix DC-GX9 Mirrorless CameraB&H
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  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-32mm LensB&H
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4/3 Rumors: The history tree of Panasonic G cameras – COMMENTARY

https://www.43rumors.com/history-tree-panasonic-g-cameras/

“… At the Cp+ show Panasonic is displaying that history tree table….”

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 professional rangefinder-style camera with Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Aspheric Power OIS lens, now replaced by Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS lens, with its unique tilting electronic viewfinder for waist-level or eye-level use. With the GX9 enthusiast camera most certainly not being an upgrade to the professional GX8, what fate does Panasonic have planned for its professional rangefinder-style camera line?
Panasonic camera family tree displayed at CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2018 inducing more questions than answers. Is the GX8 professional rangefinder-style camera to be upgraded sometime in the future? What is to happen to the unique, tiny and very desirable GM camera line?

Commentary

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Panasonic Lumix G Tenth Anniversary Family Tree, different again.

Panasonic’s latest action in apparently replacing the professional-quality Lumix DMC-GX8 with the enthusiast-level Lumix DC-GX9, more accurately named the Lumix DC-GX7 Mark III in Japan, has the many professional users of the GX8 asking questions that are simply not being answered.

Two recently published graphics, the Panasonic camera family tree displayed on a wall at the CP+ trade show in Japan and a different Lumix G camera family tree distributed as part of the company’s celebrations of the launch of the first Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) camera, the Lumix DMC-G1, back in 2008, are inducing even more questions that remain unanswered.

Is Panasonic’s professional rangefinder-style camera line really now dead, with the GX8 the very last of its kind?

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5, the perfect tiny top-quality interchangeable lens camera for discrete, near-invisible documentary and street photography. Has Panasonic killed the GM line dead for all time?

Where is the update for the GM5, the best small, discrete, near-invisible camera for street photography and unobtrusive documentary photography I have ever seen?

I missed out on buying my own GM5 and have been searching fruitlessly ever since for a tiny but top-quality camera equipped with interchangeable pancake prime or zoom lenses to be carried at all times wherever I go.

Until Panasonic shocked and disappointed its professional stills and video user base with the GX9 aka GX7 Mark III, I had been planning on adding a GX9, what should have been the real GX9, to my kit for use in documentary moviemaking and photography.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 with optional hand grip with screw that must be removed to access SD cards and batteries. The DC-GX9 reportedly has short battery life so you may unscrewing and screwing back this hand grip throughout the day. The attached Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Power OIS is reportedly a good lens but perhaps not the best fit for this camera.

Now that may never happen.

Now I am wondering if I should be spending my money on Fujifilm cameras instead even though there are no direct substitutes for the GX8 and GM5 in Fujifilm’s otherwise promising camera collection.

Fujifilm’s rangefinder-style X-E3 does not have the GX8’s unique tilting EVF nor its more pro-quality stills and video features although it is reportedly a great little interchangeable lens camera for stills and video though crippled by Fujifilm’s bizarre aversion to exposure zebras.

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Fujifilm X-E3 with Fujinon XF 23mm R WR, the company’s APS-C/Super 35 rangefinder-style camera, also able to use the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens as well as all other Fujinon X-Mount prime and zoom lenses.

The X-E3 might otherwise make for a good, discrete, near-invisible documentary and street camera when equipped with Fujifilm’s only pancake lens, the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8, though I have yet to obtain an X-E3 review loaner to put this hope to the test.

There is also the fact that Fujifilm does not make other equally good pancake prime lenses and nothing like Panasonic’s amazing though awfully under-rated Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Mega OIS zoom lens.

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Fujifilm X100F with fixed 23mm f/2.0 prime lens, that can be supplemented with the Fujifilm WCL-X100 II wide conversion lens and TCL-X100 II tele conversion lens, giving the camera 23mm, 18mm and 35mm focal lengths, equivalent in 35mm sensor terms to 28mm, 35mm and 50mm, at the price of extra cost, size and weight.

Fujifilm’s real-rangefinder fixed-lens APS-C-sensored X-100F makes for a great little documentary and street photography camera though it badly needs its own version of the Fujifilm MHG-X100 hand grip, a crucial accessory given the X100F’s small, slippery body.

Panasonic’s recent design, manufacturing, marketing and naming decisions and lack of communication about them have thrown me and not a few other professional users into a quandary to the point where we are wondering if we should be looking at other makers’ products even though the Micro Four Thirds Super 16 format has its many advantages and those other makers also have their own bizarre blindspots and weird omissions.

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Rolleiflex 4.0 FT twin lens reflex telephoto portrait camera, special edition. The GX8 allows me to emulate its magnified waist-level viewfinder for portraits and fly-on-the-wall documentary photographs.

Then there is the question of the GX8’s unique and irreplaceable tilting EVF, the one thing that allows me to shoot in the magnified waist-level viewfinder manner of great classic analog cameras like the Rolleiflex TLRs and that no other camera maker emulates in the digital era, not even with tilting monitors you have to squint at and shade with your hand in order to have a hope of seeing well enough under bright outdoor light.

If Panasonic no longer makes the stills cameras I need and my GX8 finally wears out after too many shutter actuations, I face kissing goodbye to a way of seeing and photographing upon which I built my style, my career and my life.

There is so much more to the GX8 and the technology it gave me and that is mostly absent from the GX9 than an homage to some of the best of the past, as I was reminded on absentmindedly picking up and handling my GX8 just now.

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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8’s fully articulated monitor beats any tilting or fixed monitor screen especially in combination with its tilting EVF.

Its combination of fully-articulated touchscreen, touch focussing, tilting viewfinder mechanism and beautiful, brilliant EVF screen is an incredibly potent one for unobtrusive, immersive documentary and portrait photography often at times mere centimetres away from your subjects.

If you are lucky enough to have a GX8, pick it up, turn it on, flip up its EVF, open its monitor to the left and tilted slightly flat, place your left thumb on the touchscreen to perfectly nail focus, operate the camera’s buttons and dials with the fingers of your right hand, all simultaneously, and feel the power and control in your hands, the GX8’s uncanny ability to help you capture the perfect moment.

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The fully-articulated monitor that the GX8 has and that the GX9 does not have is far superior to monitors that tilt up or down. I often use my GX8 like this for portraiture in vertical aka portrait orientation with camera handheld or tripod-mounted.

Now consider what has been lost to us with the GX9.

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panasonic_lumix_dc-gx9_grip_slant_black_1024px_60%
Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom lens, for “street photography”. This is an excellent lens for “street photography” being tiny, discrete and collapsible though you will need to supplement it with a fast pancake lens like the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric or Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspheric prime lenses for indoors and available darkness use. Bizarrely, the 12-32mm is not being bundled with the GX9 in the USA so far as I can tell.

Clicking on and purchasing through these affiliate links helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Panasonic DMW-EC5 EyecupB&H
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  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH. LensB&H
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Panasonic Cheaps Out, Dumbs Down and Winds Back Professional Rangefinder-Style GX Camera Series with Lumix DC-GX9

Panasonic has been scoring some especially impressive runs with its Micro Four Thirds stills photography and video cameras lately, the Lumix DC-GH5, the Lumix DC-G9 and most recently the Lumix DC-GH5S, so it is deeply disappointing watching them drop the ball, even hurl it over into an adjacent field, with yesterday’s announcement of the Lumix DC-GX9, supposedly the replacement for the Lumix DMC-GX8

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Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom lens, for “street photography”.

Perhaps “drop the ball” is too delicate an expression to describe the magnitude of what has occurred with the GX9 so I will borrow a phrase from Amazon’s DPReview and instead name it a fail.

More accurately, a major fail.

panasonic_lumix_dc_gx9_majorfail
Screenshot from a google search for the GX9.

The GX9 with either of its apparently bundled kit lenses may be a good entry-level camera and lens combination for those new to the Micro Four Thirds sensor format or to the GX9’s rangefinder-style form factor though it is a rather costly entry-level combo compared to, say, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85, also named the Lumix DMC-GX80 in some territories outside the USA.

The Lumix DC-GX9 comes with a kit lens, which one depending on where you live

In Japan, the Lumix DMC-GX80/85 is referred to as the Lumix DMC-GX7 Mark II with the Lumix DC-GX9 actually designated the Lumix DC-GX7 Mark III.

The camera known as the Lumix DMC-GX7 in Japan appears to be the same as the camera called the Lumix DMC-GX7 elsewhere.

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Image from Panasonic Japan’s Lumix GX7 Mark III aka Lumix DC-GX9 product page.

Panasonic Japan’s naming is at odds with the company’s convention everywhere else where, for example, GX8 denotes the professional, top-end version of a line of cameras, GX80 and GX85 denote the second-level version of the same line and GX800 and GX850 denote the third-level version of the GX rangefinder-style line.

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Top view of Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Mark II on the Panasonic Japan website’s product page. The GX7 Mark II appears to be the same camera as the one designated GX80 or GX85 in other territories.

As my partner reminds me, former employer Canon follows a roughly similar naming convention for its cameras whereby its DSLR product range falls into three levels, DSLR for Beginners, DSLR for Enthusiasts and DSLR for Professionals though with the further complication of Mark I to IV and probably beyond thrown in for good measure.

Panasonic’s coming and current GX-Series rangefinder-style cameras

If we borrow Canon’s camera naming convention, then Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GX850/800 is their rangefinder-style camera for beginners, the DMC-GX85/80 their rangefinder-style camera for enthusiasts and the DMC-GX8 is the camera for professionals, which indeed it is in my experience and that of a number of other professional moviemakers and stills photographers of my acquaintance.

Three highly-esteemed photojournalists and one documentary moviemaker who use Panasonic Lumix GX-Series cameras

And then there is the Lumix DC-GX9.

panasonic_lumix_dc_gx9_lifestyle_shot_1024px_60%
Lifestyle photograph from Panasonic media/press release image collection depicting Lumix GX9 with the pricey Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 Aspheric prime lens.

Judging by the product itself, its specifications and its marketing material including product and lifestyle photographs, the GX9 is not aimed at professional cinematographers and photographers including those working in the fields of documentary and photojournalism, but rather at “street photographers”, beginners and enthusiasts, to borrow Canon’s terminology.

Professional users are conspicuously absent from the Lumix DC-GX9’s marketing material in contrast to that of its predecessors, the Lumix DMC-GX7 and Lumix DMC-GX8.

panasonic_lumix_gx8_square_waterspray_1024px_60%
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 with Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 Aspheric prime lens

Magnum photojournalists Ian Berry and Thomas Dworzak were depicted working with the GX7 while Australian expatriate photojournalist Daniel Berehulak produced photographs and video footage in Cuba with the GX8.

In the GX9 press kit, the sole user image is that of an unnamed young woman holding a GX9 with optional though reportedly essential accessory eyecup and optional though reportedly necessary plastic hand-grip, sporting a Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 Aspheric prime lens.

At time of writing, the GX9 apparently cannot be bought body-only but with the kit lens designated for the particular territory in which it is bought, and research to date indicates that may be one of three lenses, the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS collapsible zoom lens, the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm f3.5-5. Aspheric Power OIS and the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspheric.

B&H Photo Video currently has the GX9 with 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom listed at $US997.99 and the Leica Summilux 12mm f/1.4 priced at $US1,297.99.

panasonic_leica_dg_summilux_15mm_f1.7_aspheric_H-X015K_01_1024px
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspheric prime lens

I suggest that this pairing of the GX9 with the Leica 12mm f/1.4, the lens costing far more than the camera plus kit lens much less camera body only, is a highly unlikely choice for the camera’s apparent user base, whether beginner, enthusiast or street photographer.

The two kit zoom lenses are more appropriate choices priced well in line with that user base, with the Leica Summilux 15mm f/1.7 prime lens a more appropriate choice for a street photographer, however that is defined, with something of a purist’s attitude to lenses.

I own a Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS zoom lens bought as-new secondhand from an eBay seller whose camera came with it as kit lens.

The collapsible 12-32mm is a perfectly fine, sharp and well optically-corrected lens despite its tiny size and pancake prime lens dimensions that I bought for use when photographing in the middle of daylight outdoor events where I need to be as discrete, as near-invisible as possible.

In other words, classic photojournalism, documentary and breaking news situations.

smallrig_cage_for_panasonic_gx8_1844_01_1000px
SmallRig Cage for Panasonic GX8 1844, the camera cage I use when shooting documentary video with my Lumix DMC-GX8. Even with accessories attached, the GX8’s form factor and tilting EVF allows me to work right in the middle of crowds of strangers at public and private events.

The Leica Summilux 15mm f/1.7 might be a useful choice for those purposes, too, but I find it an odd focal length almost halfway in-between my two preferred prime lens choices, 14mm and 17mm or 17.5mm, though I may change my mind if I manage to borrow one for some extended real-life testing.

I would choose none of these kit lenses, 12-32mm, 12-60mm or 15mm for shooting video though the latter may be appropriate if attached to a drone camera.

Documentary video requires the use of lenses with good manual clutch focus, or linear focus-by-wire or fully manual lenses for fine control of focussing as a graphically creative and emotive storytelling element, and my preference is Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses while cinematographer Rick Young carries a large set of upper-end Panasonic Lumix and Leica lenses.

The Panasonic marketing staff’s apparent confusion over the Lumix DC-GX9’s naming, user base, best choice of lenses and indeed overall message is reflected in their marketing materials and website content.

If going by the press kit user photograph then I would give them benefit of the doubt and assume their main GX9 user base is street photographers.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 would have been best choice if going small for street photography

I make no claim to the title street photographer though I do keep my eye and hand constantly exercised by carrying a camera every day and making storytelling urban documentary photographs so I have some well-qualified thoughts on best cameras for street photography.

Were Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GM5 still in production, I would choose it due to its tiny size, good-enough 16 megapixel sensor and for looking as little like a serious camera as possible while delivering excellent quality results.

Even better, the cigarette pack-sized GM5 was made in three colourways, all black, red and black, and silver and green, the green and red being, one hopes, fake leather.

Street-bound members of the public glancing at a street photographer equipped with one of these would be even more oblivious to the presence of a serious photographer than if spotting somebody with a GX9.

Panasonic’s DSLR-style stills camera solutions, the Lumix GH5 and Lumix G9

If that photographer were toting a DSLR-style camera of any size and brand with prime or zoom lenses of any size and shape, I can guarantee the street photographer in question would be noticed and their presence would adversely affect the images they produce, no matter how terrific the camera.

There is one feature that the GX7, GX8 and GX9 can boast and that remains unique amongst contemporary digital cameras and that is their tilting electronic viewfinders.

It also tilts, as it were: the Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex

I value my Lumix DMC-GX8 for many things but foremost is for its tilting EVF, the closest thing I have nowadays to the tilting or upright magnified viewfinders of one of the finest analog cameras for unobtrusive, fly-on-the wall documentary photography and photojournalism.

As with the Rolleiflex and its telephoto and wide-angle variants, the Lumix DMC-GX8 with its tilting EVF and fully-articulated monitor is a brilliant solution for those two forms of photography as well as portraiture where you need your sitters to rapidly relax on being confronted by the top of your head rather than staring down the barrel of a sniper rifle-like DSLR.

The Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 is to be released on April 1st, 2018, which would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Panasonic, please give us the fully up-to-date GX8 successor we need right now and well deserve, and stop trying to fob us off with this aptly also-named Lumix GX7 Mark III waving the false flag of “GX9”.

There is no substitute.

Links

Image Credit

Header image concept and quick hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-60mm LensB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H

Guerrilla G-Cup for Panasonic Lumix GH5 Released, Arrives for Tryout and Review

Miller & Schneider, makers of rubber eyecups for the Panasonic GH3, GH4, Sony α7 series, Sony α9, Canon C100 and the Canon Cinema EOS series cameras, has rebranded itself as Guerrilla and is about to release its Guerrilla G-Cup for the Panasonic Lumix GH5

Guerrilla has kindly sent over a sample of the GH5 G-Cup and we will be giving it a good workout when a GH5 review loaner arrives soon. 

Meanwhile here is a gallery of photographs comparing the GH5 G-Cup with the G-Cup for the GH4 and GH3, with the popular Bluestar Viewfinder Eyecushion attached to each.

G-Cup for the GH5 and G-Cup for the GH4, with Bluestar Viewfinder Eyecushion

I reviewed the GH4’s G-Cup several years ago when looking for third party solutions to block our Australian laser beam sunlight out of the side of my eyes while shooting video in the great outdoors.

I found it to be a much better option than relying on the GH4’s default rubber eyecup and it worked especially well when wearing contact lenses with and without a Bluestar Viewfinder Eyecushion attached to the G-Cup.

The GH4 G-Cup produced variable results when swapping contact lenses for my usual spectacles corrected for near-sight and astigmatism, depending on the shape and size of the spectacles’ frames.

Rounder and smaller worked better, allowing better access to the view through the G-Cup than my more rectangular spectacle frames.

I would have loved to use the GH5 G-Cup when producing my initial review of the GH5 which arrived minus its own default eyecup, and am glad that Guerrilla is about to put its GH5 G-Cup on sale shortly.

Links

  • Color by LookLabsDigital Film Stock – excellent set of 19 3D LUTs for log and Rec. 709 linear profile video, created from scans of actual Fuji and Kodak movie film stocks.
  • Guerrilla – G-Cup (Panasonic GH5) – not yet released but coming soon.
  • SkylumAurora 2018 – award Best App of 2017 by Apple.
  • SkylumLuminar 2018

Image Credits

Product photographs made with Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 camera with Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Aspheric lens and DMW-EC3 Eyecup as 3-bracket HDR images processed in Aurora HDR 2018 then Luminar 2018 using the Color by LookLabs Digital Film Stock Fuji Reala 500D 3D looks LUT.

Images lit with one Rotolight Neo LED Light with Neo barndoors and Chimera soft box for Neo, from a Rotolight Neo 3 Light Kit with barndoors and foam handle.

Help support ‘Untitled’

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  • Bluestar Round Extra Small Microfiber EyecushionB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-EC3 Eyecup for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH. LensB&H
  • Rotolight NEO 2 LED LightB&H
  • Rotolight NEO 2 LED 3-Light KitB&H
  • Rotolight Aluminum Barndoors for NEOB&H
  • Chimera TECH Lightbank Softbox for Rotolight NEO LEDB&H

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Firmware Update Version 2.2, Yet Another Great Reason to Choose Olympus M.Zuiko Pro Lenses?

Panasonic has released version 2.2 of its firmware for the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 hybrid Micro Four Thirds/Super 16 stills and video camera, and it contains one item that appears especially useful for users of the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional-quality prime and zoom lenses. 

The GH5 may well now recognize the Lens Fn button on M.Zuiko Pro lenses as well as Panasonic’s own Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power OIS telephoto thus enabling your choice from a set of nine lens-related functions that can be allocated to it.  

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Super 16 Micro Four Thirds camera with Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS standard zoom lens.

As I do not currently have a GH5 I cannot put version 2.2 of the firmware to the test, but am expecting a review loaner to arrive in the very near future and will try it out with M.Zuiko Pro lenses then report back here.

The Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power OIS lens, showing the Fn button on the lens barrel.

Update contents for DC-GH5

  1. Function can be assigned to the Fn button of the interchangeable lens including H-ES200.
  2. Video recording stability in VFR (Variable Frame Rate) mode is improved

Those optional Fn button settings include:

  • Focus Stop
  • AF/AE Lock
  • AF-On
  • Stabilizer
  • Focus Area Set
  • AF-Mode/MF – I have this set as my L-Fn function for magnifying the view through the lens while manually focussing.
  • Preview
  • Off
  • Restore to Default

I have often looked at the L-Fn buttons on M.Zuiko Pro lenses and wondered whether Panasonic would ever add the ability to choose useful lens-related settings to it when using these lenses on Panasonic Lumix cameras.

I hope that the addition of this functionality to the GH5 heralds more such firmware updates for current and recently-released Lumix cameras such as the GX8, GH4 and others.

One can never have access to too many customizable function buttons, I have found.

The Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional-quality prime and zoom lens family as of November 2017. Note the L-Fn function buttons on the lens barrels.

The addition of lens function button settings on the GH5 and hopefully other Lumix cameras such as the coming G9 makes the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lens family even more attractive.

Three current top-end Panasonic Lumix cameras with Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lenses attached, each lens having a function button on the barrel. Panasonic, thank you for enabling the L-Fn button in version 2.2 of the GH5’s firmware but please add the same functionality in all future, current and recent Lumix cameras. Image created at Compact Camera Meter at CameraSize.com..

The most attractive feature of the M.Zuiko Pro lenses, besides their remarkable optical and mechanical qualities, is their manual clutch focus mechanism that allows for repeatable focussing in a way that is not permitted by the nonlinear focus-by-wire of other lenses.

Links

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  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital MC-14 1.4x TeleconverterB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. Lens (H-ES200)B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only)B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H

Exhibition Opening, Shan Turner-Carroll’s ‘Relics’ at Grace Cossington-Smith Gallery, 11th November 2017

An exhibition by photographer and multi-disciplinary artist Shan Turner-Carroll was launched at the Grace Cossington-Smith Gallery located in the Abbotsleigh private girls school grounds on Saturday, 11th November 2017. 

We attended the launch event and made the photographs in this gallery. 

The cluster of Sydney North Shore suburbs where we live in Ku-ring-gai and nearby was once known for the visual artists who lived and worked here – Grace Cossington-Smith, Jimmy Bancks, Lionel Lindsay, Russell Drysdale, Sidney Nolan – and the architects, actors, filmmakers, musicians and writers who lived, grew up, went to school, built, worked or rehearsed here – Adam Garcia, Carmel D. MorrisCate Shortland, Dorothea MackellarEleanor Cullis-Hill, Errol Flynn, Glenn MurcuttHarry SeidlerHoward Joseland, Hugh Jackman, KamahlMel Gibson, Midnight Oil, Mi-Sex, Penelope SeidlerPeter Garrett, Richard Clapton, William Hardy Wilson – but one would be hard-pressed to name creative people of that stature who live here now, other than an ever-enduring Kamahl.

We enjoyed meeting and conversing with other creative people at the launch and look forward to attending and documenting many more.

Tech Notes

Franke & Heidecke’s Rolleiflex twin lens reflex cameras permitted viewing one’s subjects in a number of different ways and angles.
Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GX8 Micro Four Thirds/Super 16 hybrid stills/video camera is unique in its tilting viewfinder that mimics the effect of twin lens reflex analog cameras’ waist level viewfinders.

These photographs were made with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Micro Four Thirds camera with a Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f1.7 Aspheric lens.

I chose the GX8 specially for its unique tilting electronic viewfinder (EVF) that allows me to shoot looking downwards like waist level viewfinders on some of my favourite analog cameras, or at a range of other angles.

Using a GX8 in this way permits placing the camera lower than eye level and makes it easier for subjects to ignore me.

The 25mm f/1.7 came with the GX8 as part of a promotion and it is a very sharp and well optically-corrected lens that focusses by wire as opposed to the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro 25mm f/1.2 lens that offers repeatable manual focus via its manual clutch focussing mechanism.

Another Panasonic lens to consider for this approach is the Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 prime that also focusses by wire.

I processed the raw files in Alien Skin Exposure X3 using the Kodak Panasonic-X and Platinum split-toning presets, with minimal further image adjustments.

I chose to emulate the look of platinum printing as I was reminded, on entering the gallery, of the many exhibitions I have seen overseas where the photographs were printed in the platinum printing process.

Links

Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro LensB&H
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 Aspheric LensB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric LensB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Aspheric LensB&H
  • Photographers’ Formulary Sensitizer A and B for Platinum and Palladium PrintingB&H

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic GH5 and Other Panasonic Cameras Now at Version 501, Supports HLG, V-Log L and Cinelike D

NOTE: Since this article was written some time ago, Leeming LUT One has been updated and improved again with version 502 and is to be followed soon with version 601.

You may wish to read this more recent article here:

Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming has released version 501 of his groundbreaking Leeming LUT One camera profile 3D LUT for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 4K Super 16/Micro Four Thirds camera in three flavours based on which picture profile your footage is shot with – Cinelike D, HLG or V-Log L. 

Still frame of Paul Leeming, shot on Panasonic Lumix GH5 in HLG HDR mode then processed in Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio 14.

Mr Leeming chose the GH5 as his benchmark camera and will be updating other Leeming LUT One camera profile 3D LUTs soon, enabling cinematographers using a range of cameras to start “with a common, colour-matched baseline, meaning much less time trying to match cameras in post before starting your creative grading”.

Users of previous versions of Leeming LUT One may notice a change in the behaviour of version 501 when applying it to old footage, resulting in a darker rendition:

The new philosophy is zero brightness shift in the LUT itself, so the only shift is to the colour values. At first this may seem like the LUT is not doing anything, but watch skin tones in particular when you apply it and you’ll see the difference. Of course the other colours are fixed too, but skin is where you’ll see it most easily as it’s a pretty obvious shift from yellow to skin tone.

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic Lumix GH5 and X-Rite Color Checkers

Leeming LUT Quickies, a set of free looks LUTs, will also be updated to work better with Leeming LUT One version 501 but in the meantime Mr Leeming advises using the current version at “40% intensity (or gain)”.

Given the colour science characteristics shared by current top end Panasonic Lumix cameras such as the GH5, GH4 and GX8, it appears possible to apply Leeming LUT One to all three cameras to obtain similar colour grading starting points.

I will be putting Leeming LUT One 501 for the GH5 to the test on GH4 and GX8 Cinelike D (aka Cine-D) footage over the coming days, but my early tests using a late beta of 501 showed marked improvements over previous full versions of Leeming LUT One.

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic Lumix GH5, HLG, Before and After

The GH5’s HLG (hybrid log-gamma) picture profile is intriguing given it is an HDR (high dynamic range) standard developed by the BBC and NHK for future program creation and broadcast in 4K and higher resolutions.

While HLG HDR 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 production and post-production are not fully supported by current hardware and software, the wisdom of future-proofing your work has been borne out many times in recent years starting with the move to 1080p and then 4K.

Mr Leeming and Leeming LUT One version 501 for GH5 users have reported anomalies in various non-linear editors and colour grading plug-ins when applying the LUT to HLG footage, and testing is currently under way to work out optimal software and workflows.

As with any radical advance in video production and postproduction, software needs to catch up with the capabilities of new hardware and this is no exception.

The advantages of HLG HDR may persuade movie and TV show makers to adopt it as their new default standard when it is fully supported.

Mr Leeming reports that:

My new favourite profile is Hybrid Log Gamma. It uses more of the 10 bit space than V-LogL, and has just as much dynamic range as far as I can see.

It also has slightly more accurate tonal density response (the relationship between colour and saturation/luma levels).

Best of all, it’s a free profile in camera, instead of a $100 activation code sent half way across the world….

Only down side is it’s not available in 8 bit, but for that, we can continue to use old faithful, Cine-D.

Roger Bolton of Final Cut Pro X plug-in maker CoreMelt has been sent Leeming LUT One to test it in his recent-released high-end colour grading and LUT application plug-in for FCPX, Chromatic, and I look forward to his report with interest.

Other such colour grading and LUT application software seems to be having problems with HLG footage.

Meanwhile Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio colour grading and non-linear editing software is reported to be handling the GH5’s 10-bit HLG HDR footage well and readers are encouraged to download the free version or invest in the paid version if they have not already done so.

Links

Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera – B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera  – B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera  – B&H
  • Panasonic DMW-XLR1 XLR Microphone AdapterB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery Grip – B&H
  • Panasonic V-Log L Function Activation Code for DMC-GH4, DC-GH5, and DMC-FZ2500B&H
  • Atomos Ninja Inferno 7″ 4K HDMI Recording MonitorB&H
  • X-Rite ColorChecker Passport PhotoB&H
  • X-Rite ColorChecker Passport VideoB&H