Panasonic may not be one of the first names that come to mind when you think of camera equipment, but that's about to change. Their camcorder-style cameras have long been a part of the digital video production scene, but their Lumix line of cameras are nothing to sneeze at either. With a wide range of options from budget to baller, they've got a model for just about every level of photographer out there.
Read on to hear about five Lumix cameras that you should definitely be aware of. We'll start at the most affordable and work our way up.
This compact package contains a 16-megapixel sensor with 4k video capabilities. The sharp and slickly designed rangefinder-inspired body also features dual-stage image stabilization with certain compatible Micro Four Thirds lenses. Not to be outdone by its larger-bodied cousins, the GX85 also has WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity and a full-sized hot shoe for external flash or other accessories. With such a budget price point, this one seems like a no-brainer for someone looking to upgrade from their smartphone to an interchangeable-lens camera.
Moving to a fixed-lens system isn't always a bad idea. It means fewer pieces of gear to keep track of, and often leads to less time thinking & more time shooting. This point-and-shoot option offers quick and intuitive controls like an actual aperture ring and a slightly more abstract ring on the lens with the ability to switch aspect ratios from 4:3 to 3:2 or 16:9 on the fly. Yes, this one also offers 4k video and impressive low-light performance due to a lower-resolution 12mp sensor. Don't let that dissuade you, though. This little bundle is great for travelers who want quality features in an elegant little package. Read our hands-on review of the LX100 here.
Another entry with a built-in zoom lens, the ZS200 kicks it up a notch with a larger 20.1-megapixel 1-inch sensor. This one doesn't perform quite as cleanly as the LX100 in low light situations due to the higher density sensor and smaller-aperture. However, it does boast a crazy impressive 15x zoom lens with the equivalent of 24-360mm. Read that again. This is a wonderful compact camera ready to travel and shoot everything from hotel lobbies to wild bird close-ups. It also packs in tech-savvy features like WiFi & Bluetooth, a built-in flash and 4k video capabilities. Plus they've also got a silver version for those who want a little more style with their substance.
This hybrid camera was designed with video production in mind. With dual SDXC card slots, a dust & splash proof housing, and image stabilization, this is a 4k video making machine. Software perks include a waveform monitor, vectorscope, and 4:2:2 10-bit output. That may sound like a bunch of nonsense words to the non-video-shooting crowd, but it's music to the ears of independent budget filmmakers. Oh, and it takes pretty great still photos at 20.3 megapixels with 255 autofocus points. Panasonic didn't forget their photographer audience when they built this hybrid shooter's darling.
Earlier this year, Panasonic debuted their new full-frame flagship cameras, the S1R & S1H cameras. The S1R is the more still photography-focused of the two, cranking up the volume on still images with a knockout 47.3-megapixel full-frame sensor. Not satisfied with that number, Panasonic developed a 'High Resolution' mode that uses sensor-shifting technology to produce 187-megapixel images. The S1R also houses the new L-mount for lenses, developed in a partnership between Leica, Panasonic and Sigma. That partnership alone should be enough to shake the competition up. Once again, the Lumix line shows some love to the video shooters by offering 4k video at 60 frames per second. In fact, the S1R was the first full-frame mirrorless camera to offer video of that type. It's clear Panasonic pulled out all the stops and came to the new mirrorless generation ready for a fight. This is a premium camera at a premium price point. We do happen to offer it used at a significantly lower price than the other guys, though.
In October, streaming video giant Netflix approved the S1R's more video-centric sibling, the S1H, to be used for production on their original content. This is a bigger deal than you may think, as it also means that the S1H is the first mirrorless camera to be approved, beating out the Sony competition. With its high dynamic range, timecode capabilities and info-rich 4K 4:2:2 10-bit video codecs, this camera is the first of its kind to beat the streaming network's stringent production guidelines. Oh, and it's also the least expensive Netflix-approved production camera, at just under $4k when sold new.
These hybrid cameras are still very new on the market, which means that they're still pretty rare on the used market. That being said, if we've got one, you can bet it'll be more affordable than $4k. Click here to see if we've got any in stock.
Shop Panasonic Lumix cameras here
Shop Panasonic Pro Video here
Shop Micro Four Thirds lenses here
Shop L-mount lenses here