Shooting still pictures and videos were always considered separate tasks. You hire a guy to shoot photos for your wedding album and then appoint a videographer who shoots and edits the movie, record the entire wedding from baraat to reception. In old Hindi movies, you can see separate credits for the cinematographer and the ‘Flash Photo’ artiste who took the on-set stills that became lobby cards in theatres. Those days are disappearing.
We have seamlessly slipped into a new digital imaging era. Most smart phones offer cameras that shoot both still photos and video. That’s fine for amateurs you may say, for the true pro, the twain stills and movies shall not meet. It’s no longer true.
I have been using a device from Panasonic that looks like a mirror less digital SLR (DSLR) camera and feels like a DSLR. The still photo performance of the Lumix GH5 with its 20.3 MP is perfectly named as a ‘hybrid camera’ by Panasonic. It also shoots video to the highest resolution obtainable Ultra HD or 4K, at 60 frames per second (fps) that can be switched to 180 fps to shoot slow motion. It has another mode called ‘6K photos’, claimed to be a world-first. You can shoot bursts of video at 30 fps and then extract still photos at 18 MP resolution. I know from a personal experience, that trying to get still frames from an MP4 or similar video shoot is a bad idea you can rarely get a sharp image. But Panasonic has broken this ceiling with the 6K photo mode.
When it comes to its primary still photo role, the Lumix GH5 will shock old-school camera persons with its new mantra “shoot first, focus later”. Immediately after clicking a shot, you can selectively sharpen or defocus any part of the image. A ‘Focus Stacking’ function enables one to adjust the focus area after shooting, by blending multiple images taken at different focus distances to create interesting image with depth of field.
There is another way, the GH5 has neatly merged what were hitherto separate tasks you can save your images on the twin SD cards and simultaneously stream them live via the HDMI port or wirelessly to another device like a phone with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The basic Lumix GH5 body is priced at Rs 1,43,990 while it is available in a combo with a 12-60 mm Leica lens for Rs 1,88,990. Other standard lenses can be bought by paying extra, if needed.
Panasonic may be in the vanguard of a new digital lurch in the imaging business, that may soon become the norm the seamless switchability from still to moving pictures, that are both the best in their class.