I just wanted to write a quick post with some information that isn’t really shocking, but is pretty official and can probably be considered almost official:
I was at an industry event today, and Panasonic had two reps there, who I wound up chatting to for a bit. They had a bunch of gear there, including a couple of GH4s, and most of the current Lumix lens line-up, and as they kindly let me try out a few lenses, I mentioned that my only issue with my GH4 (or more accurately, the Micro Four Thirds format) was that I wish there were more wide lenses.
Now I should digress for a second by the way: To be honest, between Olympus and Panasonic, there actually is a pretty comprehensive selection of wide M4/3 lenses available, and really my particular beef is only that I like buying old manual lenses and adapting them to fit on my GH4, and it’s relatively tough to find an old lens wider than 24mm, and if you do, anything reasonably fast is pretty expensive, and you may be better off just getting a nice, fast Rokinon/Samyang lens.
Anyway, one of the reps mentioned that they had just been in Japan and discussing the Panasonic product roadmap, and that they were pushing hard for more, more, more lenses. I decided to ask if there was any word on the GH5, and they didn’t hesitate to tell me that it would be timed to go along with Photokina 2016 (which as of this writing is a bit over a year away). They were very definitive on the GH line being on a 2 year cycle and this being when we’d see the GH5.
If you look at the release timing of the GH3 and GH4, this is not really a surprise, but I thought I’d post about it, because I’ve seen a few discussions about the GH5 recently. I know that the GH4 supersite Suggestion of Motion did some kind of April Fool’s prank that fooled some people into thinking a GH5 release was imminent, and a recent article on House of Japan speculates that Panasonic will be building 8K into the GH5, and posits a 2016 release date as well.
The 8K prediction actually makes a huge amount of sense. Panasonic is clearly pushing the envelope when it comes to features – for example, being the first serious mirrorless or DSLR to record 4K internally. The only company coming close to matching them on this dedication to rapid improvement is Samsung with their new NX1.
While a company like Canon is busy greedily protecting its profits by only putting 4K into the most expensive cameras it sells (and opinion is still split on whether they’ll put it in the 5D Mark IV when that finally comes out!), Panasonic is happily piling every possible great thing into their cameras, and lowering the price as much as they can.
Sticking 8K into their cameras as soon as it’s feasible is clearly in line with their whole ethos, and although the big manufacturers have tried to teach us all to wait and wait for tiny improvements, I think Panasonic may well come through on this by 2016. If they were able to put 4K video into a premium point-and-shoot in 2014, I can’t see what would stop them from putting 8k into a Micro Four Thirds in 2016.
Oh god I just thought: Imagine how embarrassing it’ll be if Canon does release the 5D Mark IV with just 1080p video and other manufacturers start putting out cheaper cameras with 8K before they get around to even adding 4K. The way Canon thinks and works, this is a non-zero possibility!