Capturing 4K60 10-bit images internally is just one of the numerous features of this simple-looking but highly complex camera. The small form factor is packed with features, making it well suited for drone or gimbal work, and the 4K sensor that captures up to 4096 x 2160p at 60/50 fps makes it a true cinema camera. It can also shoot in UHD at 60/50 as well as FHD (up to 240 fps). So, it is well suited for broadcast origination. One can use the Panasonic BGH1 as the primary camera for a host of production styles, while the high frame rate capabilities along with its small size make it an excellent choice to “stash” on a moving vehicle, or to hide out of the way for that hidden view. The MFT mount and M4/3″-sized sensor allow you to use it with numerous lenses, cine and still, new and vintage, in a variety of mounts thanks to the shallow flange distance of the MFT system, allowing you to use adapters.
Panasonic Lumix BGH1 Cinema 4K Box Camera
- M4/3″-sized 10.2 MP MOS sensor with 13 stops of dynamic range
- Dual native ISO
- CFK (DCI)/UHD filming with unlimited record time
- Dual SD card slots supporting UHS II/V90 media
- 10-bit internal recording and output
- Simultaneous HDMI and SDI output
- V-Log L pre-installed for high dynamic range imagery
- USB tethering, Wi-Fi, PoE+, and Ethernet remote control
- Genlock, timecode, and LANC control
M4/3” Dual Native ISO Sensor and Venus Engine
Panasonic was one of the first, if not the first, of the camera companies to produce a professional dual native ISO sensor, and in the BGH1 puts it to good use. It sports 13 stops of dynamic range (1 more stop than the sensor in the GH5S), and a pixel size nearly double that of the GH5 for more light sensitivity and less noise at any ISO. Complementing the sensor’s 13-stop range are the dual native ISO capabilities of the sensor, which come in at 160/800 in Normal Cinelike setting, 400/2000 when using V-Log L, and 320/1600 when shooting in HLG. What this means for you is a high dynamic range image that captures the shadows, mid tones, and highlights for a natural-looking picture without crushing the detail in the dark areas of the frame or blowing out detail in the brightest parts of the image. The Venus processing engine enables the camera to record at a myriad of high-quality frame rates, resolutions, and bit depths, enabling you to create stunning images. It also allows for the camera to record internally to SD cards, while simultaneously outputting your images through both HDMI and SDI. The Panasonic Lumix BGH1 supports the VariCam LUT library, which is available for free download for use in the BGH1 camera and contains 35 conversion LUTs. The V-709 conversion 3D-LUT can be applied on set for a general preview of your cinematic images.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet Connection for Multiple Camera Control
The Lumix Sync app will allow you to easily connect to your camera via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, providing you with remote control, high-speed image transfer for monitoring, and the ability to copy camera settings between camera bodies of the same model. This is especially useful with multicam shoots and helps prevent mismatches in resolution, frame rates, and other camera settings. The camera is also Ethernet compatible—another first for Lumix-branded cameras—which allows you to tether the camera to your computer or a network via its Ethernet port, providing you with remote control of multiple cameras on the network from a single computer. This creates tremendous opportunities for productions requiring multiple cameras, such as studios, houses of worship, and distance learning. The BGH1 supports PoE+, and you can control multiple cameras remotely by Ethernet or USB. A planned firmware update will bring livestreaming via the Lumix Tether software application. Being able to power and control multiple cameras on a single network using only its Ethernet connection is really quite a boon in this day and age of disappearing budgets and reduced prep time.
Professional Output and Interfaces
Another first with a Panasonic Lumix camera is the simultaneous output via HDMI and 3G-SDI. The camera’s HDMI connector supports up to 4K60 output at 4:2:2 10-bit with the 3G-SDI output limited to FHD (1920 x 1080p) 60p at 4:2:2 at 10-bit. Simultaneous output is available while the camera is recording internally, which is no mean feat. These output options allow you to send your video downstream to on-camera monitors, production monitors, or recorders, and don’t limit you to one interface at a time. This capability provides you with a camera that is as at home in a broadcast studio as it is on a small indie film. The SDI output provides excellent defense against the cable coming loose, and supports nearly 300′ of cable run, while the HDMI 4K output is limited to just under 30′.
In addition to the HDMI and SDI outputs, the BGH1 supports timecode in and out as well as a genlock input. The timecode allows you to quickly sync multiple cameras together without slates in post, while the genlock input forces multiple cameras to remain in exact phase with each other, so when you are live switching, there are no black frames or image jumps when switching between cameras. For local camera and lens control, the BGH1 also features a LANC connector, which is compatible with third-party lens control systems.
Dual SD card slots support cards with UHS II and V90 speeds, and they allow for relay recording and hot swap while recording, as well as simultaneous recording to each card for instant backup. The camera records using a variety of codecs, including All-Intra or LongGOP, in MOV or MP4 containers using H.264 and H.265 compression.
With a shoe mount and multiple ¼”-20 threaded mounting holes, the BGH1 is easily outfitted with a variety of accessories to improve the ergonomics and monitoring capabilities. It also supports Panasonic’s DMW-XLR1 XLR adapter, which mounts to the camera’s hot shoe and allows you to feed it two XLR audio inputs for high-quality audio to go along with the stunning video images the camera records. The camera accepts AG-VBR-type batteries, for external power, and comes with a bundled AC power supply.
The Wrap Up
Though small in size, the BGH1 is a mighty camera, able to perform as the main or A camera on a production, or a B camera to Panasonic’s VariCam series. It is also extremely well suited to multicam productions, either using traditional live switchers, or through its Ethernet connection. Adaptable, capable, and with a 13-stop dynamic range, the BGH1 is sure to help you push your creative image making to the next level.
Panasonic BGH1 Cinema Camera First Look
Learn more on Panasonic Lumix BGH1 Cinema Camera
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