Panasonic Lumix GH7, Panasonic's hybrid video box is also a sound champion

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Panasonic Lumix GH7

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Still sold, the Lumix GH5 has spent no less than 5 years in the Panasonic catalog without being replaced. We had to wait until the beginning of 2022 to see the arrival of GH6…Whose successor comes to us today, barely two and a half years later. Panasonic's new hybrid video box is logically called Lumix GH7. And is based, just as logically, on the Lumix G9 Mark IIboth from a physical point of view and from an electronic point of view.

Designed around the same housing body as the G9 Mark II, the GH7 is armored and lined with gaskets.

Designed around the same housing body as the G9 Mark II, the GH7 is armored and lined with gaskets.

© Panasonic

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We therefore find the same Venus Engine image processor (without name or specification), the same equipment (3.7 Mpix viewfinder, adjustable screen, etc.) and a 25.2 Mpix sensor with phase detection identical in definition. But optimized for video, including an expansion of the dynamic range.

Unlike the G9 II, it incorporates a cooling system: to guarantee uninterrupted C4K60 recording, the animal has a ventilation system. Recordings above 4K are not as guaranteed in terms of duration. It must be said that he is not laughing on video. In terms of photography, we also note 7.5 speed stabilization, a 60fps burst mode, a 100 Mpix handheld high definition mode, etc.

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ProRes, Open Gate and internal RAW

When it comes to video, the GH7 technical sheet looks like an encyclopedia as there are so many video modes and options. Note that it records in opengate, that is to say over the entire surface of the sensor in 5.8K at 24p and 30p, 5.7K in 17/9, in C4K60p 4:2:2 10 bit, in 4K classic, in Full HD (up to 300 fps and 800 mbit/s!), etc. If it therefore goes up to (almost) 6K, it is not yet an 8K box. If some may regret it, the fact is that the world of Micro 4/3 does not have a mass sensor (there are many industrial sensors) of this definition (33 Mpix at least) and that the energy consumption, the dissipation thermal and recording still impose many constraints for this definition.

It should also be noted that the Lumix GH7 is capable of recording in ProRes RAW 5.7K30p internally (i.e. on the memory card) and unlimited – but it will absolutely be necessary to record on the CF Express B card (first location), the speeds of SD cards (second slot) being too limited. And then you also have to count on external RAW recording via HDMI with Atomos or Blackmagic recorders, a 5.8K anamorphic mode with internal desqueeze, management of LUTs (and compatibility with the new application Lumix Lab introduced with the Lumix S9), internal creation of proxy files, Adobe Frame.io compatibility, etc. In short, a real video war machine… Which now also has strong arguments in sound capture…

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DMW-XLR2, the essential XLR accessory

The GH line has largely proven Panasonic's know-how in this field for fifteen years. If the brand is expected in this respect, we can however be confident not only in the quality, but also in the functionalities, ergonomics, etc.

Where the GH7 surprises is in terms of sound. The box is in fact capable of recording sound streams in 32 floating bits, a world first for this type of box. More than an evolution, it is a small revolution in the field of sound. Not in terms of quality – there are always debates about whether the average person can really tell the difference between a quality MP3 and a lossless piece! – but in sound capture.

The two converters and the enormous amounts of information represented by 32-bit floating point sampling are a real step forward in sound capture.

The two converters and the enormous amounts of information represented by 32-bit floating point sampling are a real step forward in sound capture.

© Tascam

Where even 24-bit recordings are limited by their dynamic range of theoretical 144dB (the ability to capture the quietest and loudest sounds), 32-bit recording solves the problem with its dynamic range: 1680 dB! While any classic video capture (8, 16 and 24 bits) involves adjusting the analog/digital converter (ADC), here two converters work together. Schematically, one which captures the weakest sounds, the other the loudest. This helps avoid final saturation.

Thanks to the new XLR adapter poetically (not) called DMW-XLR2, the GH7 should make a mark in terms of audio production, by simplifying shooting, especially in difficult-to-control environments. That said, this adapter costs: €549, to which must be added the microphone.
The Lumix GH7 will be available during the month of July in three configurations:

The Lumix GH7 bare case at €2,199
The Lumix GH7 with the 12-60 mm f/3.5-5.6 at €2,399
The Lumix GH7 with the 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 Leica at €2799

Quite surprisingly, Panasonic has not announced a kit with the XLR adapter.
The DMW-XLR2 module will therefore have to be purchased in addition for €549.

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