GX8Panasonic Thursday continued to expand its assortment of Lumix 4K cameras featuring 4K photo mode with the introductions of the mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Lumix GX8 camera (pictured at top) and the Lumix DMC-FZ300 (FZ300) bridge-style point-and-shoot.

The two cameras join Panasonic’s growing list of Lumix models, including the GH4, LX100 and FZ1000, with 4K video shooting capability and 4K Photo Mode. The latter gives the photographer the ability to shoot video at 30 frames per second and extract 8 megapixel still images from the video file. Panasonic includes touch-screen monitors that allow swiping through video frames to select the best still shot from the batch.

The cameras further help to capture fleeting action by incorporating: 4K Burst Shooting, 4K Burst S/S (Start/Stop) and 4K Pre-burst. These functions help to grab an exact frame, including one that occurs immediately before the press of a shutter button, in the case of the 4K Pre-burst function.

More on the Lumix GX8 and FZ300 cameras after the jump:

The 4K Photo Mode works like hyper-wide system on film camera. The problem with extracting a frame from a 4K clip is that rapid motion in the image can blur still images because each frame is exposed for on 1/30th of a second. But 4K Photo Mode enables setting the aperture, shutter speed, aspect ratio, and other settings, in the same way as shooting stills. Using a faster shutter speed will virtually eliminate motion blur even as video continues to be captured at a 30fps rate.

The GX8, which will be available in stores and on Panasonic.com in Mid-August at a $1199.99 suggested retail for the body only, packs a 20-megapixel sensor, dual-image stabilization system, 2.36-million dot OLED electronic viewfinder, tilting 1.04-million-dot OLED monitor, built-in Wi-Fi with NFC and QR code connecting, and 8fps continuous shooting with AF tracking.

The camera will be offered in a choice of an all-black body, or a silver and black two-tone design. The magnesium alloy body is both dust and water proof.

Panasonic is offering the camera as a more affordable alternative to the GH4 4K camera it introduced several months earlier.

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 The Venus Engine image processor in the GX8 uses a quad-core processor to boost performance in high-speed signal processing. The camera is said to have an advanced image noise reduction system, and enables shooting low-light images at an ISO of up to 25,600. High-speed burst shooting will capture up to 8 fps (AFS) of 6 fps (AFC).

The GX8 is the first Lumix G series camera to incorporate a Dual Image Stabilizer, allowing for more powerful vibration correction by combining both in-body IS with in-lens IS for shake reduction in wide angle or telephoto shooting.

For video, the GX8 captures QFHD 4K video at 3840×2160/30p(60Hz) or 24p in MP4, in addition to Full HD 1,920×1,080/60p (60Hz) in AVCHD Progressive or MP4 (MPEG-4/.264) format with practical full-time AF. The camera captures 1/3 stop wider dynamic range than the GX7, which suppresses washout even in high contrast situations, Panasonic said.

Other features include easy wireless connectivity with smartphones via Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.


The FZ300

Meanwhile, the Lumix FZ300 (pictured above), which will hit retail shelves and Panasonic.com in mid-October at a $599.99 suggested retail, is the successor to the popular Lumix FZ200 which featured a full-range 25-600mm F2.8 (35mm equivalent) lens. Expanding on the innovation of the FZ200.

The FZ300 also features a 24x optical F2.8 zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 25-600mm) lens, 12.1-megapixel 1/2.3-inch High Sensitivity MOS sensor, new Venus Engine image processor with support for recording at up to ISO 6400 with higher resolution and improved color reproduction, 1.44-million-dot OLED live viewfinder with 100 percent field of view in 4:3 aspect ratio, 3-inch 1.04 million dot free-angle rear monitor, and 5-Axis hybrid optical image stabilization (5-axis does not work in 4K video or high-speed video recording).

The Lumix FZ300 offers high-speed burst shooting at 12 fps (AFS) / 6 fps (AFC) and is capable of releasing the mechanical shutter at max.1/4,000 sec (at 25mm wide end) and 1/3,200 sec (at 600mm tele end) or 1/16,000 with electronic shutter, which reduces washouts in strong sunlight.

The FZ300 integrates a dedicated linear motor into the focusing system to achieve ultra-high-speed AF. In addition, the Light Speed AF is further enhanced with an adoption of Depth From Defocus (DFD) technology.

The FZ300 offers easy wireless connectivity with smartphones via WiFi 802.11b/g/n, but does not support NFC.

By Greg Tarr

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