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Panasonic developing 8K sensor for consumer and broadcast cameras


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Panasonic froze image sensor research and development in 2011 and have only now resumed.

The company has committed $80m to revitalise their image sensors business in light of growing revenue from their imaging business as a whole and hot demand for sensors.

One of the goals of the $80m investment is the creation of an 8K sensor to be released in Panasonic cameras around 2018.

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By 2018 computing power will be so fast and cheap that NLEs will cut through 8K H.265 like butter and the file sizes will be as small as 4K is now, thanks to H.265 but storage space will have probably tripped for the same price.

Indeed it is about what's creatively useful though, not just outright image quality.

I would prefer 240fps 4K and better low light performance than noisier 30fps 8K, although downscaling to 1080p or 4K would reduce noise, as we see with the current 8K camera, the A7R II's 42MP stills!!

Also I believe the gains coming from organic CMOS sensors in dynamic range will probably eclipse the excitement for resolution in the coming years.

So I hope Panasonic's R&D money can focus on more than just 8K.

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The future is black ... for me anyway. Blackmagic! 

The phrase "quality not quantity" springs to mind. I want colour depth, robust codec, fast readout speed (or global shutter), low light performance.

This news makes me pretty much certain I'll be phasing Panasonic out of my life over the next year or so. In 18 months I may be exclusively Blackmagic - editing in Resolve and shooting on a Micro CC and/or URSA 4K. 

The big question for me is will the MFT mount remain relevant to me. Will Blackmagic continue to use it in the next generation of cameras? Will Panasonic's 8K sensor be MFT?

Sorry but I see this 8K stuff as really bad news for anyone who cares about quality of information over quantity of pixels ...

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The future is black ... for me anyway. Blackmagic! 

The phrase "quality not quantity" springs to mind. I want colour depth, robust codec, fast readout speed (or global shutter), low light performance.

This news makes me pretty much certain I'll be phasing Panasonic out of my life over the next year or so. In 18 months I may be exclusively Blackmagic - editing in Resolve and shooting on a Micro CC and/or URSA 4K. 

The big question for me is will the MFT mount remain relevant to me. Will Blackmagic continue to use it in the next generation of cameras? Will Panasonic's 8K sensor be MFT?

Sorry but I see this 8K stuff as really bad news for anyone who cares about quality of information over quantity of pixels ...

It seems Blackmagic is moving away from MFT, I doubt Panasonic will.  I'm with you, I'd rather have Blackmagic RAW 1080, then 1080 Panasonic.  However, Panasonic 4K against Blackmagic 1080 RAW is a difficult decision.  I wish Andrew would cover this more than the rumor stuff :) I'm not making a dig here, I'm serious.  The consumer film-making world is going down two paths (leaving Sony out).  I have a BMPCC and a LX100 at the moment.  They are both the same size.  With the BMPCC, I get really nice color nuance, dynamic range, skin tones, etc.  With the LX100 I get moire-less, chroma sharp 1080p (downscaled from 4K).  Crudely put, the LX100 image is much sharper than the BMPCC.  And it's much easier to use and has lots of cool features, like wireless remote, 4K photo mode etc.  

So what I really want now, is 4K RAW, so I can get the same chroma sharpness as Panasonic 4K.  Yet those file sizes are no joke.  Budget wise, still outside the afforability of most young filmmakers. And again, missing all the useful features.

Okay, so why would I want 8K?  Because again, 8K will provide chroma perfect (moire-less) 4K--which means you can do NLE panning, zooming, etc., without image degradation.  And photos will be much better!  Again, Panasonic 4K Photo mode video is very useful, but still a tad too low in resolution.  8K would compete harder against large DSLRs in stills in many situations.

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It's an embarrassment of riches. And it's great. 

Even now I contend that even average consumer IQ is so advanced that it'll allow a filmmaker to create great looking cinema. 

5-10 years from now?  Whoa.  Its fun to watch it get better and cheaper  

If you can't manage to effectively create with this stuff, then you're not doing it right and/or paying attention to the wrong details. 

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The people complaining about getting higher resolution instead of more options / better quality at lower resolutions seem to forget that one typically begets the other. 

 

Also, any statement that begins with

no consumer needs 

almost always becomes laughable after a short amount of time.

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The people complaining about getting higher resolution instead of more options / better quality at lower resolutions seem to forget that one typically begets the other. 

Absolutely not the case. I have a GH4 and BMPCC - 4K 8bit H264 vs  1080p 10bit Prores. I choose the Pocket image 90% of the time.

There are no 4K 8-bit cameras that rival the HD Blackmagic image for me. Possibly the XC10 but that's 422 with a huge bit rate. I'm done with 8 bit and I'm done with high compression. It's junk. The A7SII, GH4  - colours look like junk. NX1 is slightly better but not if you actually want to do anything at all creative with the image. 

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Absolutely not the case. I have a GH4 and BMPCC - 4K 8bit H264 vs  1080p 10bit Prores. I choose the Pocket image 90% of the time.

There are no 4K 8-bit cameras that rival the HD Blackmagic image for me. Possibly the XC10 but that's 422 with a huge bit rate. I'm done with 8 bit and I'm done with high compression. It's junk. The A7SII, GH4  - colours look like junk. NX1 is slightly better but not if you actually want to do anything at all creative with the image. 

I wasn't saying that any 4k cam can beat out any HD cam. I was saying that as a company expands into higher-resolution territory, the lower resolutions get upgrades. That's true for Blackmagic as well.

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I wasn't saying that any 4k cam can beat out any HD cam. I was saying that as a company expands into higher-resolution territory, the lower resolutions get upgrades. That's true for Blackmagic as well.

Ah. I see. Not true of Panasonic, or Sony, or Canon though. None of these manufacturers have offered 1080p "pixel quality" anywhere close to Blackmagic. Blackmagic are the exception. Panasonic have gone 4K across the board, even in the lowly G7 and no doubt will continue down - because they want to proliforate 4K to sell 4K TV's. Which is undoubtedly a major reason they are going 8K too. Japan has an 8K roadmap for broadcast TV. 

If these companies want video shooters to buy 8K cameras, they are not going to offer them a 4K camera with otherwise superior specs for less money. 

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I'm sorry, but Panasonic lost me a while back. The GH2 was an incredible camera with the hacks, for the price, as an entry for me into interchangeable lens cameras. But Panny and the MFT crowd IMO have ultimately shot themselves in the foot. The physics of light dictate that their smaller sensors simply cannot yield the same results as their larger bretheren. I know that "technically" the GH4 is a great cam, but the times I have used it, it hasn't yielded great results easily. I had to bend over backwards to wrangle the colors into something remotely appealing. The shallow DOF is not there when you want it, and the crop makes everything feel constrained. Sure the cameras and lenses are marginally smaller and lighter weight, but they're not drastically smaller so as to make a huge difference. 

8K on a MFT sensor is downright ludicrous, IMHO. On a full frame sensor, or even S35, the photosite size would be sensible. Not on MFT. I love over-sampling as much as the next guy (because I'm always stretching footage in strange ways for anamorphic), but 8K is useful for only specific applications. 

I'd much rather see some companies push into larger sensors for uber-high-definition imaging. The films I have seen shot on large format (IMAX 70mm) have a way of rendering that isn't attainable any other way (much like full frame vs MFT). It'd be rad to shoot some medium/larger format digital video some day.

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The human eye has:

 

About 120 million photo receptors that can detect light and dark and around 6-7 million that provide color and all in about the space of a micro 4/3 lens circle.

The human eye can adapt to detect a luma range of around 46 f-stops

 

So between pixel and sensor sizes, image processing chips, and sensor read-out speeds, cameras have plenty of room to get better even at micro 4/3 sizes (in my opinion).

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And to think of all the Sci fi films of the past portraying a future where monitor screens with scan lines and distortion covered the walls of space ships and futuristic cities. They made the future look so much more interesting. Although now it seems, the future won't be like that at all. With 8k becoming a reality, I'm sad ? that those visual displays of the future will most likely not be covered in scan lines and distortion as they were in all those classic films.

Instead, we'll be looking at screens so detailed, every strand of hair growing from someone's nose will be clearly visible with smooth edges and no aliasing.

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What about ergonomics, not just the feel of a camera in the hands, but logical places for buttons?

Since so much is software in the camera, why can't I just pull up a  video screen and have all the information and access to setting in one place?

I want really good slow motion in 1080p

Why don't the big mfg do research into these things and if they do, it seems like a no brainer to have this available years ago.

4k has lots of downsides and 8k  is just double trouble, how about making better sensors than just bigger sensors?

I have to believe that to talk to filmmakers, Mfg  can make cameras that make me want to buy? As it stands more features not supported by software editors and features like 4k which no one will watch in 4k, 8k is just double.

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There's nothing in this that specifically refers to an 8K sensor for a future GH camera. They refer to developing both 4K and 8K sensors, which could mean a better 4K sensor in a new GH, which sounds like what everyone wants. They've already got the ergonomics down--all we want is better noise, DR, color (V-LOG was a big step forward, but they can do more), and compression. 

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