A look at the new Panasonic 4K Super 35 VariCam LT Cinematic Camcorder
Stephan Jukic – February 15, 2016
A couple of days ago, Panasonic unveiled their new VariCam LT, which according to the company represents the next generation of 4K cinema cameras.
In this case, the new VariCam offers the same Super 35mm sensor and high-powered imaging capabilities of its predecessor the VariCam 35 but it trims a lot of fat in the form of significant size, weights and price reductions most of all.
The new LT variant of the VariCam uses the same “identical imaging DNA” of its predecessor in a more compact form factor and delivers 14 or more stops of dynamic range with V-Log. It also offers up VariCam cinematic image quality and color rendering along with dual native ISOs of 800/5000.
With a full weight of just under 6 lbs with all of its specs and capabilities packed into it, the VariCam LT is a powerful field shooting tool for handheld work or for recording as SteadiCam, on a crane, a jib, a gimbal or even mounted to a larger drone. It can be used for overall cinema verite work as well of course. In other words, the VariCam LT is an ideal piece of equipment for indie filmmakers, documentary shooters and corporate production studio pros who want a versatile and powerful new type of 4K cinematic camera.
As for recording formats, the VariCam LT manages multiple choices, which include cinematic 4K, 4K UHD, 2K and HD shooting. Furthermore, like the VariCam 35, the LT can shoot in Hight Dynamic Range in field settings. The 4K camcorder also offers Apple ProRes 444 at up to 30p and ProRes 422 HQ at up to 60p. Additionally, the LT includes Panasonic’s own AVC-ULTRA range of video codecs. These include AVC-Intra LT and AVC-Intra 2K-LT, both of which are designed to capture at rates of up to 240fps in an image crop mode which makes them useful for sports footage and other fast-paced recording in nature etc.
We should note that the VariCam LT differs from its VariCam 35 cousin in that it’s a one-piece short bodied camcorder instead of a two-piece camera head with attachable recorder. Furthermore, while the VariCam LT doesn’t include parallel sub-recording, it does offer and SD slot for high resolution proxy capture. These proxy files can be wirelessly uploaded through FTP to an external source. There are also Variable frame rates in the LT, with LongG6 recording.
The VariCam LT comes with an EF mount as opposed to the VariCam 35’s PL mount and this EF switchover makes it suitable for a wide range range of lenses that would normally fit smaller cameras. The EF mount can also be switched out for a PL mount as needed, expending lens range even more. On top of this, the control panel on the LT can be separated from the main body for easier real-time control and menu access.
In terms of design and connectivity, the VariCam LT comes with a field-tough magnesium body that’s durable even under more challenging conditions and its pro interfaces include 3G-HD-SDI x 3 (SDI-OUT X 2 and VF), LAN, genlock in, timecode in/out, USB 2.0 Host and USB 2.0 Device (mini B), and three XLR inputs (one 5-pin, two 3-pin) for recording four channels of 24-bit 48KHz audio. On top of this, the flexible interfaces of the VariCam LT allow for use of Panasonic’s AU-VCVF10G viewfinders along with certain viewfinder technologies from other brands.
The VariCam LT from Panasonic will be hitting the market at the end of March and will come in two different packages, one with the camera body only that should retail for $18,000 and another that includes the AU-VCVF10G viewfinder for $24,000.
Story by 4k.com