Introducing Nauticam NA-GH4
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Camera
The biggest feature of the new GH4 is its ability to shoot 4K video at up to 30fps, recording it to fast SD cards (UHS Speed Class 3 recommended).
The GH4 is a micro four thirds (m4/3) mirrorless camera, with a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, capable of a still photography burst mode of 12 fps. The contrast detection autofocus is fast and accurate with 49 focus points, and an easy to use focus mode lever/button that makes changing from autofocus to manual quick and easy. The combination allows for "thumb focus" with the AF-ON button whether the camera is in one of the autofocus modes or in manual focus mode.
For video, there is an option for a "clean" HDMI output for recording, which supports both the HD and 4K modes via the HDMI 1.4 specification. The GH4 supports no less than 23 different resolution/frame rate combinations, spanning NTSC, PAL and Cinema frequencies, up to 60 fps, plus a special "Variable Frame Rate" (VFR) mode that enables the shooter to record at a different frame rate than is specified for playback. This makes in-camera slow motion (up to 400% speed reduction) and in-camera time lapse (up to 1500% speed increase) possible.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Key Specifications
- 16MP Micro Four Thirds CMOS Sensor
- ISO 200-25,600
- 3" Fully Articulated LCD screen
- 12fps Continuous Shooting
The Nauticam NA-GH4 Underwater Housing
Nauticam’s tagline is “Innovation Underwater”, and the company is dedicated to continuing innovation in this industry, while helping to protect customer investments in existing Nauticam gear whenever possible. Case in point, Nauticam offers a user installable upgrade kit (p/n# 17753) to enable the existing NA-GH3 housing to enable the GH4 to work in that housing with full functionality. In addition, the new NA-GH4 housing can be used with either the GH3 or GH4 camera.
ISO is key for video exposure (think “gain” if you come from the video or cinema worlds), and this new control makes changing ISO very quick and easy, essentially re-routing this control back to the right thumb. The button is just in the right place, ideal for quick access but not easily bumped accidentally.
Another key concern for video – white balance – is achieved with another control that is re-routed for maximum ease of use. A push lever, accessible by the right thumb with no reach, engages the white balance button.
The GH4 features 5 programmable custom functions, and they are all placed for easy reach. The combination lever and button of the GH4’s AFS/AFC/Manual + AF/AE Lock is separated to two separate controls, making the AF On function available for “Thumb Focus.” The GH4 allows autofocus via this button even with the lever set to Manual Focus, meaning switching between thumb focus and half press focus style can be done instantly.
One of the programmable functions (typically Fn5) is used to switch between the EVF and OLED panels. For shooters who decide they do not need to switch, Fn5 could be re-programmed for other functions, such as Photo Style, Video Recording Quality, VFR, Peaking, or any of dozens of other functions.
The NA-GH4 comes standard with the Nauticam vacuum system electronics built in. By default, this serves as a audible and visual leak detector, but add a Nauticam M14 Vacuum Valve, (p/n# 25611) and it becomes a vacuum check system – confirming watertight integrity before, during and after the dive – which means peace of mind.
MAGNIFYING OPTICAL VIEWFINDERS
Take advantage of the GH4's EVF. An optional LCD window (p/n # 17751), containing the viewfinder mounting ring, is required to attach the Nauticam 45º or 180º magnifying viewfinder to the NA-GH4. For owners of NA-GH3, this is the same window used for that housing.
MONITORING OR RECORDING
Video shooters will want to consider an external monitor or recorder. The monitor makes shooting considerably easier in some scenarios, allowing the user to position the monitor for better viewing when the housing is in a tight spot or at a difficult viewing angle.
For recording, Nauticam produces a housing for the Atomos Shogun, which allows for 4K 4:2:2 10bit capture The GH4 is capable of producing 4K 4:2:2 10bit output via HDMI 1.4.
LIGHTING AND MOUNTING OPTIONS
Reliable automatic flash exposure is available with the NA-GH4 and a variety of optically fired flashes. The Inon Z-240, D-2000, S-2000, Sea & Sea YS-01 and YS-D1 strobes provide automated lighting, precisely reproducing the camera’s onboard flash at a proportionally greater intensity using the built-in Fiber Optic bulkheads.
The optional Flash Trigger for Panasonic (p/n #26305) is compatible with the NA-GH4 housing and allows for rapid fire manual flash firing via fiber optic, with no camera battery drain.