In Review: Panasonic AU-EVA1 Compact 5.7K Super 35mm Cinema Camera

Published on in Equipment / Tech Reviews

I might not send this one back. Ok, I know I say that a lot (like all the time) but in this might be the case this time, not kidding. After shooting with the Panasonic AU-EVA1 over the last several weeks I have come to the not so modest conclusion that this is one heck of a camera. I say that in the midst of a stream of new or updated cameras from a bunch of manufacturers that started in mid-2017 and haven’t stopped yet. So what makes the Panasonic EVA1 stand out? Thought you would never ask.

Checking it All Out/It’s in the Genes

There is no doubt in my mind that when Panasonic started thinking about this camera that they had a really solid foundation to start with. Beginning with the original Varicam, then the Varicam LT, The EVA1 had a running start. When I got the AU-Panasonic EVA1, the first thing that got my attention was how everything was very easy to find on the camera. Just like it’s older siblings. Having reviewed the LT a few years back I can say that with confidence.

So, if you are an experienced shooter, I’m pretty sure you could be up and running in a few minutes if you needed to be and feel pretty confident about it. To me, that is always a big plus. What is there not to love about smart details like the location of the XLR inputs, (smart) the very easy to deal with and find SD Card slots, (very smart)?

Another big plus is the location(s) of the tactile controls. These simple, yet well-located controls on the exterior of the Panasonic EVA1 really sold me. Honestly, the less I have to futz with menu items, the better. Maybe some of you are more comfortable with menu driven cameras, I get it. But the Panasonic EVA1 is just the right size, so they (Panasonic) could place a lot of these common functions on the camera body - the Varian LT. Additionally, I also really liked how the battery mount was recessed into the body of the camera, totally out of the way. I might not be so streamlined, but I do like cameras that are. The Panasonic EVA1 is very clean and neat. A simple release made it easy to switch out the batteries. The supplied Zacuto viewfinder (list $565) was one of the clearest and cleanest viewing eyepiece/monitors I have used in recent memory.

Yes, I fell in love with this particular viewfinder. A quick example - the audio metering was spot on. I liked it. I know because I was pretty close to a lot of birds on one of the shoots. It was pretty loud. When I went to play back the recording, what I recorded using the supplied shotgun microphone and my pre-calibrated levels were nearly identical. There were other settings but it's good to know things such as which SD card I was on and how much recording time I had left. So the bottom line is that I had a bunch of information available, but it was not intrusive at all. Yes, I know I keep going back to that word easy. Because good features help make for good shooting. But let's hit pause (pun intended) and get to the good stuff. Ah yes, one more thing. The supplied Sigma lenses? A great match for this camera.

Let's talk about the phenomenal 5.7k sensor and some other cool stuff that makes you want to shoot with this camera. Because a lot of cameras can have a great physical set up yet fall short when it comes to doing what they are supposed to do, mainly making pretty pictures, right?

The Belly of the Beast

Call it what you will but sooner or later it boils down to the sensor and what you can do with it. Here is where the Panasonic EVA1 shines. The Beast (my words, not Panasonics) 5.7K Sensor is great.

But before you go off the 8K and the beyond, hear me out. I do love 8K (or more) I won’t lie. Who doesn’t? But I don’t have 8K money yet. Yes, I said not yet. I have 5.7K money. Yes, I have heard every argument there is for future proofing. Bigger, better image gathering. I get all that. But if you can produce very nice looking work in 5.7K and not go broke why not? But I dare you to tell me that this beast doesn’t make great images. So, of course, it starts with the sensor. It has been said that dynamite comes in small packages. I think that statement fits pretty well with this camera. Panasonic's 5.7K sensor is very solid. Its higher resolution allows for oversampled 4K footage, resulting in imaging with reduced aliasing and increased color fidelity. Like I said, pretty pictures.

Dual Native ISO 

Utilizing a process that allows the sensor to be read in a fundamentally different way, Dual Native ISO extracts more information from the sensor without affecting the image in the same way as increasing the gain or shifting the gamma.

V-Log and V-Gamut Capture 

Panasonic did their own thing here, combining V-Log and V-Gamut. The EVA1 can capture a wide exposure latitude and represent a wide color palette. V-Log has exposure curve characteristics that are a throwback to negative film while V-Gamut delivers a color space even larger than film. Having both of these tools enables the EVA1 to be used in production workflows for both HDR and SDR production.

Native EF Lens Mount 

The EF lens mount to enable shooters to natively use the broad EF lens ecosystem, encompassing many brands of lenses. The lens mount features electronic contacts for communication with compatible lenses as well as enabling one-push autofocus.

Electronic Image Stabilization 

The EVA1 can electronically compensate for vibrations induced by shooting handheld or shoulder-mounted. This feature is especially useful for documentarians and other shooters.

Integrated Motorized Filters 

Honestly, another no fuss, no muss feature that I fell hard for. Available in 2, 4 and 6 stops, the built-in ND filter wheel enables the camera operator to have precise control over their image. The IR-cut filter can also be actuated electronically, allowing for night-vision.

Panasonic AU-EVA1 by the Numbers (pretty impressive)

Size: Super 35

Resolution: 5.7K

Exposure Latitude: 14 stops

Lens Mount: EF

Sensitivity                

ISO: 200-2000 (base 800), 1000-25,600 (base 2500)
dB: -12 to 8 (normal sensitivity), -8 to 20 (high sensitivity)

Recording Resolution(s)

4096 x 2160
3840 x 2160
2048 x 1080
1080p
1080i
720p

HDMI Output

1 x HDMI Type A (record start/stop supported)
Format:: 10-bit, 4:2:2
4096 x 2160 23.98/24/25/29.97/50/59.94
3840 x 2160 23.98/24/25/29.97/50/59.94
1080p 23.98/24/25/29.97/50/59.94
1080i 50/59.94
720p 23.98/24/25/29.97/50/59.94
576p 50
480p 59.94

Other Not So Random Observations

That handle. Loved it, didn’t love it. On one hand (no pun intended) I really could dig the locking mechanism that made it impossible to move the handle, period. The locking mechanism also means that you don’t have to worry about a pressure fitting wearing out or loosening up in the middle of the shot. Nice touch. Now let me drop the other shoe. With that said I had a really hard time getting used to how the tight the fit was for my hand.

In a perfect world, I would have used(which I liked)the supplied handle with an outrigger arm. Not a gimble, an extended arm.Maybe there is an outrigger or I need my arms shortened already and I missed it? But I got over it pretty fast. I also didn't get to try the Panasonic AJ-WM50P Wireless System ($159.99). It uses Wi-Fi to allow wireless metadata input/display and proxy playback on iPads, iPhones, and PCs. Using the AJ-SFU3100 software, the wireless system can be paired with a camera to allow smooth transfer of important camera information between the camera and your Wi-Fi device. Next time!

Closing Arguments

If you are in the market for a mid-range cinematic camera that won’t kill your budget you need to look at this camera and put it in the consideration mix. The beautiful pictures along with the versatility of the EVA1 makes for a strong case. As I have said before, everyone has his or her own preferences about how a camera shoots or looks. Normally I don’t tell people what to do but you owe it to yourself to take a long look at this camera.

 

ProductionHUB ProductionHUB Logo

About the Author

Mark Foley
Mark Foley
Mark J. Foley, MBA BA is an award-winning producer and director and the Technology Editor for ProductionHUB.com. He is on a mission to provide the best in new equipment reviews, along with exclusive analysis and interviews with the best, the brightest and most creative minds in the entertainment and production business. Have a suggestion for a review? Email Mark at mfoley@productionhub.com.

Related Blog Posts
In Review: Samsung 360 Round
In Review: Samsung 360 Round
When Samsung approached me to take a technical long look at the Samsung 360 Round, my first reaction was ok sure, why not? It's just another camera, right? I will just say it here right now — I was so wrong! The Samsung 360 Round isn’t just an amazing camera, it's 17 amazing cameras in a very futuristic housing along with some advanced technologies that have redefined the 360 world. The level of attention to details by Samsung for the 360 Round is off the charts and something I can really appreciate.
Published on Friday, August 3, 2018
Cinemartin Fran 8K Camera: One Step Closer to Reality
Cinemartin Fran 8K Camera: One Step Closer to Reality
After a few months of behind the scenes activity, Cinemartin released new images and specs about their upcoming Fran 8K camera. Rumored to be formally announced sometime later this year, the Cinemartin Fran 8K has the potential to give cinematographers another real choice in digital cinematic cameras.
Published on Tuesday, July 24, 2018
In Review: The Production Bot Switch 8
In Review: The Production Bot Switch 8
I was a bit skeptical when I saw Production Bot, the portable live broadcast studio, earlier this year at the NAB Show. I'll admit that I'm an old school Technical Director and set in my thoughts as to what a switcher was and what a switcher should be. But, I'm always looking for new and exciting gear to make live production easier. Assistant Technical Director and Production Bot guru Nick Walsh showed me the ins-and-outs of the Production Bot Switch 8 — and I must say I'm pleasantly surprised by what this little switcher can do.
Published on Monday, July 2, 2018

Comments

There are no comments on this blog post.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.