Since we last had an enthusiastic conversation about the upcoming hybrid camera in mid-2020, the Panasonic GH6 reports have gone very silent, but now some recent speculation has shown that the camera is likely to be capable of shooting 8K footage.
A source has stated, according to 43Rumors, that Sony will launch a new Micro Four Thirds sensor in 2021 and that this sensor “will be able to record 8K video and have a 30+MP resolution”
The blog, which has a reasonably clear track record of rumors from Panasonic and Olympus, adds that it has “little doubt this is the sensor that Panasonic will use on the GH6”
Given that its Panasonic GH5 predecessor was introduced over four years ago and is now dated in certain respects, such as autofocus output, a new sensor will be an important addition to the Panasonic GH6.
But though rumours of a new sensor are not shocking, a switch to 8K resolution for a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera like the rumored GH6 is definitely not straightforward.
This is because MFT sensors are smaller than counterparts such as APS-C and full-frame chips, which means that cramming can cause knock-on effects such as higher noise in the smaller pixels required for 8K video resolution.
When it appeared in January 2017, the Panasonic GH5, which would replace the GH6, was a pioneering video camera.
It introduced features such as the ability to capture 4K video internally with 10-bit 4:2:2 subsampling, which has only recently become more common on cameras with larger sensors, so it is no surprise to hear reports that with 8K shooting, the Panasonic GH6 might lift the video bar again.
It will not be the first mirrorless camera capable of shooting 8K, but with different limitations, such as recording constraints, both the Canon EOS R5 and Sony A1 will do that, but the GH6 could well become the first truly realistic 8K camera at its size and price point.
For the series, this will be a logical progression, so the reports obviously make sense. Right now, although the cheaper GH5 already has a 6K/30p mode, the Panasonic GH5S will fire 4K/60p footage, but this is effectively a modification of its 6K burst stills mode.
Although very few filmmakers need to produce 8K videos or films right now, this feature will both make the camera future-proof and provide photographers with useful bonus choices when filming in 4K, such as cropping a scene to provide an additional, closer shot from one shot.
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That being said, it seems unlikely that both cameras would deliver 8K resolution in the rumored Panasonic GH6 series, but it remains to be seen which of the three rumored models (GH6, GH6V, and GH6X) would get the trick.
Although we are no closer to figuring out a potential release date for Panasonic GH6, hopefully, this rumor will be the beginning of a fresh hype run that will ultimately lead to the long-awaited unveiling of the mirrorless camera in 2021.