Panasonic's Newest Video Camera Brings a Cinematic Touch

January 6, 2016

By RF Staff

Panasonic has been a major proponent of 4K video, and in their newest video camera, they're using it in some interesting new ways.

PANASONIC WXF991_K_slant_hood_tilt

The WXF991 records 4K video at 24 or 30 fps via an 8-megapixel backside-illuminated image sensor. Like most of Panasonic's new cameras, the WXF991 can isolate 8-megapixel still images from 4K footage (so-called 4K Photo Mode).

But it can do more.

Panasonic incorporate several scene modes that use the extra pixels in the 4K video to create cinematic camera movements without  having to physically move the camera. The camera can stabilize a 4K video by cropping out the edges to deliver smooth video that resembles a shot taken with a Steadicam. It can create a dolly zoom effect, pan across a scene, or speed up/slow down footage–all in camera, after the video has been recorded.

The catch is that to take advantage of these features, you'll basically be cropping away pixels, so the final video will be HD quality, not 4K. Still, if you don't need to deliver a 4K file, this camera can give you a range of cinematic options without the expense (or logistics) of extra equipment, simply by playing with pixels. We've only seen the effects in demos and haven't had a chance to test it out in person, but from what we saw, it looks compelling.

The video camera has a few other tricks up its sleeve, including an HDR movie feature captures 30 frames of over exposed video, 30 frames of under exposed video in succession then combines the resulting frames into a single, properly exposed HD video.

The camera also incorporates a 20x optical zoom lens with 5-axis image stabilization, a high-resolution, tilting EVF and Wi-Fi.

The WXF 991 ships in march for $1,000 and is available for pre-order now.