The tech world is gearing up for IFA 2015, but Panasonic is getting the party started early with an update to its flagship digital camera. The new DMC-GH4R is an extremely slight update on the award-winning DMC-GH4—really, it's identical in almost every way.
So why the "R"? Well, there are a couple new features that will benefit the GH4's target demographic: video shooters. The new goodies include the long-rumored addition of a V-Log L recording profile, as well as an option to continuously record video for longer than 30 minutes at a time to internal memory.
V-Log L is a key addition to the GH4/GH4R's toolkit, as it's designed to capture as much dynamic range as possible in every frame. Footage shot in this mode is extremely flat, so you'll need to post-process everything pretty aggressively to get a colorful, contrasty end result.
That's ideal for high-end productions, where post-processing is already a fact of life. Flat profiles are available on most pro-level video cameras, giving editors as much latitude as possible to get the look they want.
As nice as V-Log L will be, all GH4 owners will benefit from the end of the 30-minute recording limit. If you've bought a DSLR or mirrorless camera in the last decade, you've probably found that you can't record more than 29 minutes and 59 seconds in a single take.
These limits are sometimes attributed to heat buildup, but in most cases it's not due to a technical reason at all. Instead, it's to avoid being classified as a video recorder and thus subjected to higher import duties in some countries.
Existing GH4s can already get around this limit by using an external HDMI recording device. It makes for a bulky setup, but does afford you the option of recording uncompressed 10-bit 4K video with the GH4—no update required.
Panasonic will also let existing GH4 users get these features via a firmware update, but it won't be free; since the tax is still in effect, it seems likely Panasonic can't just legally issue a free update that would circumvent the classification.