Many things to many people: Panasonic launches DC-BGH1 modular ‘box’ camera: Digital Photography Review

Panasonic has announced a new Micro Four Thirds video camera, the Lumix DC-BGH1. This box-style camera is built around a 10.2MP Live MOS sensor. Based on specs, the BGH1 might appear to be essentially a Panasonic GH5S minus the screen and controls, and to some degree, it is. Still, Panasonic […]

Panasonic has announced a new Micro Four Thirds video camera, the Lumix DC-BGH1. This box-style camera is built around a 10.2MP Live MOS sensor. Based on specs, the BGH1 might appear to be essentially a Panasonic GH5S minus the screen and controls, and to some degree, it is. Still, Panasonic has included several features that are rather interesting.

The aluminum and magnesium alloy body is relatively small, at 93mm per side and 78mm deep (3.66 x 3.07 inches). Notably, the camera lacks both a viewfinder and a screen but includes eleven 1/4″-20 sockets for mounting accessories or a tripod. An integrated fan and internal heat dispersion system allow for unlimited record times, and a hot shoe mount on top of the camera can be used to mount a microphone or Panasonic’s DMW-XLR1 XLR adapter.

Camera controls include a dial with a four-way controller on top, several dedicated function buttons and three custom function buttons.

The BGH1 also has very different ports than your typical Micro Four Thirds camera. For example, there’s an ethernet port that can utilize Power over Ethernet+ to power the camera over ethernet in addition to transmitting video signal and camera control.

The BGH1 can be controlled entirely over ethernet using Panasonic’s Lumix Tether app. Additionally, Panasonic’s Lumix Tether for Multicam app will allow a single computer to control up to 12 BGH1 cameras simultaneously, all with Power over Ethernet if the network supports it. Panasonic says a future firmware update will add support for IP streaming over ethernet.

On the back of the camera, you’ll find three BNC connectors that support 3G SDI-out, timecode in/out, and genlock, which is useful for syncing cameras on multi-cam setups. There are also full-sized HDMI-out and USB-C (USB 3.1) connections. The USB-C, SDI and HDMI ports can all provide video output simultaneously. Finally, there are 3.5mm mic and headphone jacks.

Video specs are impressive as well. The BGH1 can shoot up to DCI 4K/60p in 4:2:0 10-bit color, or up to DCI 4K/30p in 4:2:2 10-bit with All-I compression. An updated V-Log L gamma curve improves dynamic range, with a claimed 13 stops, in addition to an HLG mode. The variable frame rate (VFR) function captures up to 240 fps at FHD resolution, and the camera can output up to DCD 4K/60p in 4:2:2 10-bit color over HDMI.

Like the recent Panasonic Lumix DC-S5, the BGH1 incorporates deep learning technology to assist with Panasonic’s Depth-from-Defocus (DFD) autofocus system, adding head detection to eye, face and body detection for more reliable AF performance.

Other features include anamorphic lens support, including desqueezed output over SDI, USB-C or ethernet, facilitating remote operation of an anamorphic rig, front and rear tally lamps, and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

In-camera storage comes from dual UHS-II SD card slots, which can be used either for simultaneous or relay recording. For power, the camera utilizes batteries from Panasonic’s professional camcorder line, with capacities up to 11,800 mAh for extended recording. The camera also includes a dedicated DC-in plug for running off external power.

The BGH1 is undoubtedly an intriguing camera, and its small size and design should make it flexible enough for a lot of different uses, including as a compact cinema camera, a versatile studio camera or mounting on a gimbal.

The Panasonic BGH1 will be available in December at a price of $2000.

Press Release:

A New Box-Style Mirrorless Cinema & Live Event Camera LUMIX BGH1

Featuring C4K/4K 60p and 10-bit Video Recording

Newark, NJ (October 13, 2020) – Panasonic is proud to announce the release of the brand’s first box-style LUMIX Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera DC-BGH1. Based on the Micro Four Thirds System standard, the new LUMIX BGH1 takes advantage of high mobility, an extensive interchangeable lens lineup, and even includes technologies Panasonic has acquired though the development of professional cinema cameras, camcorders and the LUMIX GH series. Against a background of increasing streaming opportunities in addition to traditional broadcasting, Panasonic offers the LUMIX BGH1, an easy-to-install camera with high expandability allowing multi-camera control. It can be used in a variety of ways from shooting on drones to IP remote control to live streaming and more.

1. Professional-level video quality achieved by high sensitivity and wide dynamic range

The new LUMIX BGH1 integrates a 10.2-megapixel Live MOS Sensor with Dual Native ISO technology and the Venus Engine. Dual Native ISO is a technology that seamlessly bridges two circuits of separate native ISO, which is used in Panasonic Varicam models for professionals. Normally, noise increases as sensitivity rises with a single native ISO image sensor. However, the image sensor with Dual Native ISO minimizes noise generation by choosing an optimal circuit to use according to the sensitivity before gain processing. As a result, it allows a maximum ISO 51,200 high sensitivity recording.

The LUMIX BGH1 enables 4:2:0 10-bit C4K/4K 60p or 4:2:2 10-bit All-I C4k/4K 30p internal video recording. The camera can record video with a designated gamma curve compatible with ITU-R BT.2100, and users can now choose Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) in Photo Style. A low-bit-rate recording mode C4K/4K HEVC/H.265 for HLG is also available. V-Log L now features log characteristics with 13 stops of wide dynamic range and is pre-installed. It is also capable of 4K 4:2:2 10-bit C4K/4K 60p output over HDMI.

The VFR (Variable Frame Rate) lets users record overcranked / undercranked video in C4K/4K (60 fps, maximum 2.5x slower in 24p) and FHD (240 fps, maximum 10x slower in 24p).* The minimum frame rate for quick motion video is 2 fps.

The LUMIX BGH1 also incorporates advanced deep learning technology that detects specific subjects like humans and fast-moving animals, including dogs, cats and birds. Notably for humans, in addition to the eye, face, and body, the head is separately recognized by real-time detection technology to provide even more precise focusing. The camera keeps tracking the subject even if they move quickly, turn their back to the camera, tilt their head or move far away from the camera.

* The angle of view is reduced when the frame rate is set to 201 fps.

2. High user convenience in film production scene and scalability with external devices

The LUMIX BGH1 is a compact, light-weight box-style camera. Its body is composed of aluminum and magnesium alloy to ensure durability and light weight. The LUMIX BGH1 has a new heat dispersion structure to achieve unlimited video recording. It offers Power over Ethernet+ (PoE+), simplifying installations by providing power, signal and control over ethernet. Control over a maximum of 12 LUMIX BGH1 cameras*1 is available from the Panasonic LUMIX Tether for Multicam*2 application. A future firmware update will support IP streaming over wired ethernet (RTP/RTSP).

The included ethernet port or the USB 3.1 Type-C, 3G-SDI and HDMI Type-A terminals can all be used for simultaneous output. Genlock IN and Timecode IN/OUT functions simplify multi-angle synchronized video recording and integrate into a scalable system with external monitors, rigs and gimbals supplied from other manufacturers.

The LUMIX BGH1 is equipped with Dual UHS-II SD Card slots for backup recording or relay recording.

3. Other practical features

  • Supporting anamorphic lenses (4:3)
  • Desqueezed Anamorphic output over SDI/USB-C/Ethernet
  • Tally lamps (front 1 and rear 1), a network connection lamp
  • Φ3.5 Audio (in/out) jack compatible with XLR microphone DMW-XLR1 (sold separately)
  • Generic remote control unit φ2.5mm
  • 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth 4.2 (BLE)
  • Bundled accessories include a Cable lock band, AC adapter and AC cable
  • Remote camera control using application software (LUMIX Tether for Multicam*2 and LUMIX Sync)
  • Tethered photo shooting with LUMIX Tether for Multicam*2 software
  • A SDK*3 (Software Development Kit) for camera control via USB will be provided for free.

The LUMIX BGH1 will be available at valued channel partners in December for $1999.99.

A launch live event will be broadcast at 12:00pm EDT on 10/13 at:

*1 Operation may be unstable depending on the connection environment and performance of the connected PC.
*2 LUMIX Tether for Multicam will be released for windows and OSX when the BGH1 goes on sale.
*3 The SDK will be released for the owners of compatible LUMIX cameras (BGH1, S1, S1R, S1H, S5, GH5S, GH5, G9) at following site on 14 October 2020.

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