We are now able to see every ounce of technical detail in the much anticipated Panasonic AU-EVA1 Compact Cinema Camera. This is the camera falling smack dab in between Panasonic’s GH5 and VariCam LT. Does it have features more like the GH5 or the VariCam LT? Well, it appears these features also fall in between. We will get to the technical specs in a few moments.
First off, the AU-EVA1 will ship this Fall at the suggested list price of $7,495. That’s less than 8K for 5720 H x 3016 V (17.25 million pixels) and the compact cinema camera comes with Dual Native ISO of 800 and 2500.
The newly-designed EVA1 sensor is Super-35 sized. Specifically, the sensor measures out to be 24.60mm x 12.97mm. This is more in line with Panasonic’s VariCam LT. So why did Panasonic go with the 5.7K resolution? It’s simple really, when those 17.25 million photosites from the 5.7K sensor, which is nearly double the 8.8 million from 4K DCI, are downsampled to 4K, UHD, or 2K you get a higher resolving image with increased color information and a finer more accurate image.
AU-EVA1’s Dual Native ISO
The good news is the AU-EVA1 will feature Dual Native ISOs. Those ISOs will be 800 and 2500. While the VariCam LT and VariCam 35 have Dual Native ISOs of 800 and 5000 respectively the AU-EVA1 shares the feature but the camera is not as sensitive as its bigger brothers. What’s great about the AU-EVA1’s Dual Native ISO of 800 and 2500 is the camera can switch from a standard sensitivity to a high sensitivity with almost no increase in noise or other artifacts. Dual Native ISO has allowed cinematographers a greater variety of artistic choices as well as the ability to use less light on set, saving time and money.
Not only does the AU-EVA1 share in the VariCam family’s Dual Native ISO it also shares the 14-stops of Dynamic Range, enabling fine gradation in exposure from bright to dark. Great color and dynamic range are key features that make a camera good; the EVA1 features full V-Log/V-Gamut capture to best utilize high dynamic range and broad colors. V-Log has log curve characteristics that are HDR ready and V-Gamut delivers a color space that will cover BT.2020.
Small Size & Weight
I love smaller light weight cameras. The AU-EVA1 barely tips the scales at 2.65-lbs (1.2Kg, body-only) has a smaller form factor (6.69” H x 5.31” W x 5.23” D) and a removable handgrip. Clearly, the AU-EVA1 can be used for handheld shooting, but because of its small size, I think the camera may be more likely to be mounted on a gimbal, or a drone. There will also be multiple mounting points and Panasonic says they are working with top accessory makers to allow further customization with the EVA1; think Zacuto, Shape, and other camera accessory manufacturers
The included adjustable handgrip offers several controls, including Menu, REC start/stop, Iris and Two User Buttons. The EVA1’s LCD screen is a 3.5” touch panel for menu selections, expand (image zoom) positioning and playback controls. The LCD has an adjustable backlight control, including a Power LCD mode for bright viewing conditions.
The AU-EVA1 only comes with a native EF-mount. No PL lens options. Yet, this is not a deal breaker the Canon EF-Mount has dozens of cinema-style prime and zoom lenses from many different manufacturers available to shooters. The Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) within the camera will counterbalance camera shake and blurring, enabling smooth movement for handheld shooting. There will also be full Iris Control, One-Push Auto Focus, and Lens Data.
ND Filter Wheel & IR Cut Filter
Behind the lens mount, an integrated ND filter wheel in 2, 4, and 6 stops allows for precise exposure control. The EVA1 also allows the IR Cut to be swung out of the path of the sensor at the push of a button; allowing for interesting photographic effects and night vision imagery.
A really cool feature is the ND filter and IR Cut filter operate electronically, allowing shooters to wirelessly control from ND and IR Cut filters via smartphones and tablets. EVA1 will have a remote-control app for a tablet (iOS, Android) that enables users to control an EVA1 when the camera is on a camera crane or in a remote location.
Thankfully the AU-EVA1 records to readily-available, lower-cost SD cards instead of MicroP2 cards which can be expensive. With two SD card slots, shooters can capture footage either with Simul Rec (simultaneous dual record) or Relay Rec (continuous record). There’s also One Shot Record, which enables single frame video for stop motion capture.
So here is the thing, Panasonic’s 5.7K camera only records 4K internally. The AU-EVA1 can record in several formats and compression rates, and offers up to 10-bit 4:2:2 even in 4K. For in camera recording, you can capture in 4K (4096 x 2160), UHD (3840 x 2160), 2K (2048 x 1080), Full HD (1920 x 1080), and HD (1280 x 720). In a future firmware upgrade, the AU-EVA1 will offer ALL Intra compression for in camera recording and 5.7K RAW output to 3rd party recorders.
For high-speed capture, the AU-EVA1 offers up to 59.94fps/50fps for 4K/UHD, up to 120fps/100fps for 2K/Full HD, or 240fps/200fps (cropped area). The cropped area looks to be M4/3 Sized.
SDI and HDMI Output
For someone who uses a Monitor/Recorder, like Blackmagic’s Video Assist 4K, I am very interested in seeing what resolution and color bit depth comes from a camera’s SDI and HDMI. The AU-EVA1 appears to have more frame rate options from its HDMI output than its SDI output. While both will send a 10-bit file only the HDMI sends out 4K at 59.94p. The SDI 4K output only has 29.97, 25p 24p, 23.98p. This is not a big deal but something to note if you are expecting to use an external recorder. Both outputs can be adjusted separately allowing HD to be fed to a viewfinder or monitor while 4K is sent out to a recorder/monitor.
On the first release, available bit rates will range from as low as 8Mbps up to 150Mbps, depending on frame rate, resolution, and codec. In a future firmware update, 400Mbps recording will be added.
Exposure and Focus Assist
These are a must for me and Panasonic has one of, if not the, best focus assist I have seen to date. The AU-EVA1 has Focus Squares, an array of green squares that grow in size when their local area appears to be sharp, to enable shooters to achieve critical focus. Once a shooter learns what to expect the Focus Squares make life really easy for run and gun shooters. The AU-EVA1 also contains several professional imaging tools, including Peaking, Expand (Image Zoom), Waveform, Zebras, and Spotmeter (Y-Get).
- The newly developed 5.7 K Super 35mm image sensor achieves high-quality 4K/10-bit 4:2:2 images.
- The wide 14-stop dynamic range, V-Log gamma, and wide-color gamut V-Gamut colorimetry, which are inherited from the VariCam Series*1 , ensure cinema-like pictures.
- Dual native ISO of 800/2500 offers very high sensitivity with low noise.
- Supports High-frame-rate recording of 4K 60 fps/2K 240 fps maximum.
- The IR (infrared ray) cut filter ON/OFF mechanism provides the ability to shoot fantasy-like IR images with Cinematography mode.
- The main unit is lightweight and compact, weighing only 1.2 kg.
- Equipped with an EF lens mount.
- The LCD monitor features a touch-panel function and allows flexible mounting.
- The detachable handle and rotary grip add a new dimension of mobility by enabling the installation of the camera to a drone or gimbal.