So for the past couple of months now I have had the opportunity to work with Panasonics new 4k camera, the DVX-200. Now normally I don’t work with integrated lenses on cameras because I find some of them to be constraining and most of the time when I am shooting at night I run into an issue of the lenses not being fast enough. However after working with this camera for about 3 months and using it mostly at night, I thought it would be good to give me two senses on how this camera preformed.
Now the reviews that this camera has had in the past have ranged from people loving it to people unsure if they hate or that it’s growing on them. I for one was skeptical about it when I found that this was the camera I was going to have to use during a shoot for a local musician Ricky Duvall. Shameless plug Ricky!! So without further name dropping here it is:
So to start off I wanted to discuss the interrogated lenses, as I said I’m not usually a fan of these eng style cameras because of the lack of limited zoom or etc. However the Leica lens has made me change my mind, the lenses has a image stabilization, as it should, that helps lesson the usual problems of rolling shutter. However rolling shutter
is somewhat of an issue when panning this camera in
4K/UHD at 50fps and gets much worse at 24fps, so slow panning is advised.
The camera is also a built bulky, in both weight and design. Getting this camera to keep balance on steady vest was a complete pain, but eventually you learn to live it with it. There are two viewfinders one utilizing an OLED screen and the other with the dioptic on the back. The OLED screen is very clear as well, some screens can give you issues with focusing and false colors; however I did not find that to be an issue here. The only issue I ran into, which is no fault of Panasonics, is the sensor on the dioptic. If the sensor on the dioptic senses a change in the light, caused by your hand swiping over it or the camera being placed in-between your chest, it will then cause the OLED screen to shut off. I found this to be highly annoying but only after we were done shooting did I find out that you can change that in the settings. Speaking of settings, the Waveform grrr... using this to check peaking is great and all but when its in use it erases all other information that I may need on the screen such as my f-stop or shutter speed information. But then again buried deep down in the settings the camera also gives you the chance to use a histogram will give you as mentioned, the f-stop and shutter information to boot on the screen. SensorNow I must admit it seems that I have griped more about the camera build than anything else, reason being is that-in the grand scheme of things-those are my only gripes. On the other side of the coin this camera is a beast! The images quality is very impressive with a internal recording at 8-bit 4:2:0:0 at a progressive scan. The codec generally used here is a H.264 built into a MOV or MP4 but there is also an option for AVCHD. The sensor is a 4:3 sensor so within each recording format the sensor performs in different ways. At 4k 24fps the approximate pixels read 5032x2654 from the sensor and down samples to 4096x2160. At 4k 30fps the UHD reads 4787x2692 which then down samples to 3840x2160 and so on and so forth.
Now even though the camera is the red headed child of the DVX100 Panasonic definitely pimped out this beauty. With all its limitations the camera still worked very well in low light conditions while we shot in V-log. The extra leg room we got in V-log gave us the chance lessens the problem of noise in the image. So even though there are some design flaws this cameras quality gives its bang for its buck. I will say that I would not mind using this camera as a run and gun camera for my next project.