It's taken me a while to get round to installing the latest firmware update for my Panasonic FZ1000 with the new 4K Photo Mode. This is a video mode where you shoot some 4K footage and take a frame grab from that footage. With the size of the 4K frame this means that you get an 8MP / 22MB file. meaning that it can be useful for all kinds of action shooting, with the ability to select just the right shot.
The interesting thing is that now you can select the ratio that you want - 3:2, 4:3, 1:1 etc. as well as the video default of 16:9 and still get that 8MP file. If you have no intention of using the footage for video, you can of course shoot vertically as well.
You can select these frames in camera and save them as jpg's to the SD card as before. However, unlike before the camera saves the EXIF data for the file as well.
Above I shot a few minutes of me playing my guitar and then selected the frames I wanted. Obviously not something I could have done on my own without this function. Below is a short video showing how you select the frames,
This firmware update has been out for a while but as I indicated I've just got round to trying it. It is very useful and you get a decent quality file at the end of it. The option to choose different ratios is also a great idea and It's a creative use for the 4K function that stills photographers can use.
After selecting the frames I wanted, I edited them and they are now for sale on a picture library. LINK HERE.
The whole process is simple, straightforward and obviously has lots of uses. The 4K size now makes this 'frame grabbing' viable and provides a file of very decent quality which will easily print up to A4 and even larger.
Personally I find this a much more useful function than many of the features that get added to cameras. It really does help to get better shots. It's particularly useful for getting people shots. For example working mainly in the countryside as I do I take a lot of shots of people walking on footpaths. If you'll tried that you'll know that getting an image where people look good walking can be a problem, but using this 4K video technique that now becomes a lot easier to get a successful shot. It's even useful for portraits and takes away the somewhat hit and miss results that can occur even with a fast motordrive.
And that again shows an advantage. Motordrives are noisy but shooting video is silent and you can get a situation where a photographer can work with a model without having to worry about working the camera. It's silently recording all those frames and capturing everything. Other examples of uses are weddings, social photography, sports (though a fast shutter speed is essential for that) and all kinds of documentary photography.
This has obviously been possible for some time but at a much lower resolution. Though in the past i have been able to put some HD stills into wedding albums with generally acceptable results. And of course we have 8K to come at some point which could have dramatic implications for how photographers capture images. We will see more of this and the merging of stills and video is a very useful development as far as I am concerned. And of course I'm not alone in that.
So it's kudos to Panasonic for putting this into the FZ1000 and GH4 and for improving it with the option to choose the image ratio. Now I have it at my disposal, I think it's something I may use more and more, particularly as it can all be done in camera without the need for my computer having to struggle with the 4K files. Definitely the red-hot favourite for my Soundimageplus technical / software feature of the year. (Well actually it's the only contender, so the result will be somewhat predictable!!)
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