Panasonic 4K Photo reaches to grab stills-from-video dream
The arrival of 4K video means that an increasing number of devices are effectively capturing prolonged bursts of 8MP images at fast frame rates, increasing the likelihood of capturing 'the moment.'
Using a video feed to capture stills isn't a new idea - Nikon's first electronic camera, the QV-1000C, did it in the late 1980s - but the resolution of 4K makes it more useful. Panasonic has recognized this way of working and has introduced 4K Photo mode to its 4K cameras, to make things easier for the user.
Panasonics such as the GH4, LX100 and G7 - along with some of their rivals - already make it possible to grab stills from their existing video, but the 4K Photo mode offers some additional tools to make the experience easier.
To understand why it needs its own mode, it's worth considering two potential drawbacks of just trying to take stills from existing video footage. Firstly, the shutter speeds that give the best looking video are the ones that include some subject blur to give a smoother look to movement: the opposite of what you usually want in a still image. Secondly, the wide aspect ratios used for video (16:9 and 1.85:1) aren't always the ones most people would choose for stills capture.
|4K Photo mode lets your camera shoot 8MP files at 30 frames per second, and provides some tools to help you find your way back to the best frame. Photo by Sam Spencer|
4K Photo mode addresses both of these problems by allowing you to shoot in roughly 4K in whichever aspect ratio you prefer while maintaining the exposure line used in stills mode. It also changes other aspects of camera behavior, such as using full-speed autofocus, rather than slowing it down to give smooth mid-movie transitions, and allowing you to add markers throughout the video to make it easier to find the key moments that you wanted to capture in all the footage you grabbed.
Of course these changes come at the cost of good video. The 4K Photo mode is designed to make it easier to use the 4K capability for stills - it doesn't do anything to relieve the tensions between shooting for video and shooting for stills.
The behavior of the mode changes a little between cameras: on the LX100 and FZ1000, 4K Photo mode simply allows you to shoot non-16:9 4K footage and use the Fn2 button to leave markers throughout the video. The version of 4K Photo on the GH4 also adds the option of loop recording - constantly recording 2 minute chunks of video and deleting anything older than ~10 minutes, to stop you running out of card space, just before the key moment occurs.
|The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 gets the most sophisticated implementation of 4K Photo yet - to the point that it now gets its own position on the drive mode dial.|
The more recent G7 has the most sophisticated implementation, offering three operating modes. Burst mode grabs a section of footage while the shutter is held down, Burst (S/S) starts and stops when you press the shutter button and Pre-Burst constantly records, then saves the 30 frames before and after the shutter is pressed. The final option drains the battery faster than usual, since it's always recording, but offers the experience most like shooting conventional stills - since you continue to try to anticipate the key moment.
The final bonus of 4K Photo mode is that the camera is able to generate full EXIF information for the resulting image. Selecting an image is simply a case of pausing the video and pressing the 'OK' button in playback mode. You can advance frame-by-frame while the camera's paused, which starts to reveal the value of being able to put markers into the video as you capture it - at 30 frames per second, you'll have 15 shots to scroll back through if it took you half a second to hit pause after playback passes the key moment.
What's it good for?
The obvious use of 4K Photo mode is the ability to capture fast-moving subjects. The camera is happy to use fast shutter speeds and will do its best to stay in focus - meaning you effectively have a 25 or 30 frame-per-second continuous shooting mode (Users with PAL-region cameras will have good reason to feel aggrieved at being restricted to 25fps when NTSC users are getting 30fps from the same hardware).
It can also act as something of a safety net if you're trying a type of shooting, such as panning, that you're not too experienced with.
|Capturing the right moment in an eighteen person group shot isn't easy. 4K Photo mode makes it a lot easier, though, with nine children involved, it can't perform miracles. Photo by Wenmei Hill|
However, fast-moving action isn't the only reason to want to have captured more than one moment in time. Leaving the camera running for a couple of seconds when taking pictures of people gives you more moments to choose from. It means you don't have to perfectly time the shutter as your subject relaxes their facial expression or breaks into a smile, and allows you to choose the moment where nobody in a group shot has their eyes closed.
|The use of electronic shutter means that the results of 4K photo can inherit some odd glitches from the nature of a rolling shutter.|
The 4K Photo mode isn't a panacea for capturing the moment, though. Because it stems from video, the cameras use electronic shutters. This can result in still images that show the effect of rolling shutter, with vertical elements rendered as diagonal lines if there's rapid movement. This isn't always a problem, since that electronic shutter can work so quickly that very little movement has occurred during the exposure, but ironically is most likely to appear with the kinds fast-moving action that make 30fps shooting seem so attractive. As can be seen in the lightning shot above: 4K Photo doesn't work for every shooting situation.
However, extreme cases aside, 4K Photo mode does a good job of turning high resolution video capability into a useful continuous shooting mode. We wouldn't consider it to be essential for stills-from-video work, but it's a useful set of features that makes the process easier and it's nice to see the subtle improvements Panasonic is making, generation-to-generation.
|Fascia walkie talkie building London by ian herridge|
from Abstract Architecture
|Global Reach by cjf2|
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.
Samsung just revealed a blazing-fast new Solid State Drive capable of data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
DJI has developed a 'Local Data Mode' that lets pilots fly without being connected to the Internet. The mode should calm recent fears over data privacy and security when flying DJI drones.
After 1.7 million downloads on Apple computers since the launch in November 2015, Aurora HDR will be available for Windows PCs for the first time with the 2018 release.
The company behind the new Meyer Optik Goerlitz lens manufacturing business has formed a new brand to bring back the Biotar 75mm F1.5 that was made by Carl Zeiss Jena in the 1940s and 50s.