The Panasonic G80 lands not as a replacement to, but an addition to Panasonic’s Lumix G line-up as a mid-range option between the Lumix G7 and Lumix GH4, and it brings with it several key pieces of technology that, when combined, make for a rather impressive camera.
We’ve decided to take you through a few of the key technologies with a bit more of an in-depth explanation and some guidance on how these can be used in the real world.
No Low Pass Filter
By describing the G80 as having ‘no low pass filter’ it might sound like it’s missing out on something compared to other mirrorless cameras, but what it actually means is that the G80 will capture more detail than a camera with a low pass filter.
Low pass filters were designed by camera manufacturers to reduce or completely eliminate the effects of Moiré, the strange patterning or banding that occurs when there is a very fine repeating pattern in the image. It occurs when the image going through the lens onto the sensor reaches a frequency that is very close to that of the sensor grid. This often occurs with fabrics where the sensor resolution can’t handle the fine pattern.
However, the way a low pass filter works is by ever-so-slightly blurring the frequencies the sensor can’t deal with, which means the image is marginally less sharp than it could be.
As digital cameras have become higher and higher resolutions with bigger sensors, the number of fine patterns and frequencies in the real world that the sensors can’t cope with has become less and less, and therefore their usefulness has also declined.
By doing away with them (note: they’re actually just redesigned, not removed), cameras like the Panasonic G80 can capture more detail with less blurring at the edges of fine details.
If you’ve driven a new car in the last few years you’ll know all about their Eco modes, where the engine temporarily shuts down when you’re stationary.
The Panasonic G80’s eco mode works in a very similar way. It temporarily puts the camera to sleep when you’re not shooting, without needing to turn it off, and can be woken by pressing any buttons or the shutter button.
Incorporating this technology into the G80, Panasonic have managed to squeeze out an incredible 900 shots from a single battery charge – that’s more than most people would shoot in a day, and could mean you could shoot an entire wedding on one or two batteries.
This is great news for travelling as well, not having to think about turning the camera off after every shot means you can relax and worry less about conserving battery life.
5-Axis Dual I.S. Image Stabilisation
Image Stabilisation in lenses has been around for years and has started creeping into bodies in the last couple of years. The Dual I.S. system in the Panasonic G80 works by combining 5-axis stabilisation in the camera body and 2-axis stabilisation in compatible lenses.
In-camera image stabilisation works by using a combination of sensors and gyros to work out how much the camera is moving before the image is taken and then compensate for this when the shutter fires.
However, along with the image stabilisation, the Panasonic G80 also comes with an electromagnetic shutter unit. By using electromagnets rather than cogs and wheels, the G80’s total shutter shock is reduced by around 90% compared with its predecessor the G7/G70. The electromagnetic shutter unit not only has shock implications by also makes the shutter unit much quieter than other models.
We first saw this kind of technology with the Lytro camera a few years ago, and while the post focus technology in the Panasonic G80 is definitely not the same as, and in fact bears almost no similarity to the Lytro, the resulting effect is broadly similar.
Post Focus works by multiple photos at the same time when the shutter button is pressed, all at a slightly different focal range, and then allowing you to manually select which image you want to use on the touch screen afterwards. The result is that if you’ve just missed the focus of an image you can go back and refine it immediately after the shot is taken, rather than having to bin the shot or re-shoot.
Utilising similar technology to Post Focus, Focus Stacking has the opposite end result. Focus Stacking lets you control the depth of field of the image after shooting. When you press the shutter button, multiple images are simultaneously taken both in front of and behind the focal point, the camera then digitally blends these images into one ultra-sharp focus image with an amazing depth of field that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
We all know 4K video is the shooting of video at around 4,000 pixels high (as opposed to the 1080 pixels of Full HD). What 4K Photo does is utilises this technology to capture unpredictable moments. It means that when the camera is in 4K Photo mode, there are three options – 4K Burst, 4K Burst Start/Stop, and 4K Pre-Burst. 4K Burst will shoot still images at 30 frames per second at 4K (around 8 megapixels) for an almost unlimited time (or until the card is full), 4K Burst Start/Stop is fairly similar. However, 4K Pre-Burst will record 30 frames of 4K photos before and after the shutter button is pressed, giving you 60 images of one moment to choose from. It’s these kinds of possibilities that really make 4K technology practical in the real world.
As well as its headline highlights, the Panasonic G80 incorporates other technologies that we’ve come to expect from today’s cameras, including a splash and dustproof design by weather-sealing all joins and seals in the camera, 4K video, an OLED Live View Finder, built-in Wi-Fi, and Geotagging.
All of these technologies set somewhat of a benchmark for other mirrorless cameras in the market.
Take a look at our Panasonic G80 hands-on video.
Take a look at our Panasonic G80 hands-on video.