Panasonic promises better image quality in both still images and video with its upcoming Lumix DMC-GH4, the announcement of which emerged in the early hours of this morning.

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Trumpeted as compact, rugged, lightweight and ‘weather-sealed’, the GH4 features a revamped 16-million-pixel imaging sensor claimed to deliver a 50% faster signal readout speed compared to the GH3.

However, neither a launch date nor a price for the camera have yet been made public.
The firm has also overhauled its Venus Engine imaging processor to ‘dramatically boost sensitivity, gradation performance, resolution and colour reproduction’.

And a new ‘random filter’ has been installed to improve noise reduction and produce ‘fantastic results even in low light’ using the camera’s top ISO of 25,600.

Panasonic hopes to win over professional videographers by adding 4K video recording, a move designed to ensure higher definition movies ‘full of detail and true colour’.

The company claims to have ‘removed the gap between consumer and professional video cameras’.
Live video can also be viewed on an external monitor via an optional micro HDMI cable.

Panasonic claims: ‘A new quad core CPU ensures the camera can achieve the high-speed signal processing required for rich video recording in 4K, while resolution has been improved by applying a newly designed processing routine – which allows natural edge processing to subtly render details, such as hair extremely accurately.’

The company says it has tweaked contrast AF by adding DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology, which aims to cut the focusing time to 0.07secs. Photographers can use GH4’s the custom mode to select ‘focus blocks’ from 49 AF areas, manually or automatically.

Panasonic has added ‘eye-detection AF’ to help accurate focusing when shooting portraits.
Housed in a magnesium-alloy body, the GH4 is claimed to be dust and splash-proof and ‘tough enough to withstand even heavy field use’.

The on-board OLED electronic viewfinder carries a resolution of 2,359K dots, while the 3in, 1,040k-dot monitor – also an OLED – is built to rotate 180° to the side and tilt 270° up and down.
Features also include 12-frames-per-second shooting, a 1/8000sec shutter speed and Wi-Fi and NFC technology for wireless image transfer to smartphones and tablets – plus the ability to shoot remotely and control zooming, focusing and aperture, for example, from mobile devices.

The GH4 includes 3.5mm microphone and headphones jacks for sound recording and monitoring while shooing video.

To coincide with the launch will be a new external flash (DMW-FL580L) that will enable high-speed charging in around 1.7secs, according to Panasonic.

Optional accessories will also include a battery grip and range of microphones.