USER REVIEW PANASONIC EVA1
The right side of the camera features a comfortable, rotating hand-grip, with a run/stop button, a menu button and rotary for controlling the user interface, and a couple of customisable buttons (though one is the Exit button for the menu structure, which you’ll probably want to leave as-is). The hand-grip is attached to the camera body with a proprietary bayonet fitting. The review model had probably been through the journalist grinder, but there was a lot of slack in this fitting – enough to make it hard to control the camera well. Despite that, I really liked the ability to instantly rotate the hand-grip to the position you want – there’s a little release lever you can reach easily with your thumb. Panasonic has told us that this slack in the hand grip is only present on the initial batch of cameras. The ‘business’ side of the camera has a good collection of knobs and switches. There is a knurled thumb wheel for iris-pushing on it toggles between manual and auto-iris. There is a smaller thumb wheel for the menu selection, but during normal operation it can also be used to adjust white balance, ISO or a user selectable function (e.g. shutter angle) – all selected with a three-position toggle switch. There are gain controls for the audio in here too, though switching phantom power or mic/line still requires a delve into the menus. More infuriatingly, there are no dedicated controls for zebra or peaking in the viewfinder. You can select a couple of the user definable controls to these functions, of course, but then you can’t use them for anything else. Once you’ve found the peaking controls in the menu structure, you find an innovative alternative. The camera can display boxes on the LCD – a flock of tiny boxes around an image feature means that area is slightly in focus, and the boxes grow in size as the feature becomes more in
from the Record menu, not the File menu. In this price group, Blackmagic win the user interface award for me. Nevertheless, the images the camera captures are lovely. I filmed using Panasonic’s excellent V-Log, and set DaVinci Resolve to use the Varicam 35 ACES input module. Colours rendering was spot on, straight out of the can – which bodes well for mixing the EVA1 with its big brother – and skin tones were excellent. If I were to stick my neck out, I would put the EVA1 above the FS7 Mk II in its colour science, and a tiny smidge behind Canon’s offerings. Resolution was excellent, as you would expect from the high pixel count sensor. I didn’t have sufficient time to do the usual battery of technical tests – but subjectively the dynamic range seemed very similar to the competition, as was rolling shutter. As expected, native ISO 2500 was slightly noisier than ISO 800. The camera has setting for ISO up to 25600, but I really wouldn’t use anything over 6400. At around £6500 plus VAT, the Panasonic AU-EVA1 sits squarely between the URSA Mini Pro (£4130 plus VAT) or Sony FS5 (£3800 plus VAT), and the FS7 Mk II (£7800 plus VAT). The C200 is almost exactly the same price (£6250 plus VAT). Camera choice is, of course, horses for courses, and all of these competing cameras do some things better than the EVA1. However, as an overall package, Panasonic have a strong contender with the EVA1, especially when the price starts to come down in a year or so.
focus. Just maximise the box size to get peak sharpness. It sounds odd, but works, if you don’t mind little boxes over the image. While we are talking about focus, the camera does not feature continuous autofocus, though there is a single shot autofocus button (if your lens supports autofocus, of course). Autofocus wasn’t great, unfortunately, hunting back and forth and often giving up, particularly in low light or low contrast situations. Canon lead the way here – it’s hard to beat the autofocus speed and accuracy of the C series cameras. Another advantage of the 5.7k sensor is Electronic Image Stabilisation. This uses a little less than the full sensor data to generate the 4k output image, but allows this window to move around to stabilise the shot. It works pretty well, and is a great addition if you want to use a lens without built-in stabilisation, like Sigma’s excellent FF range. In use, the EVA1 handles very much like a DVX style camcorder, and very much like its competition. You’ll need a rig to put it on your shoulder, and ‘shooting from the hip’ means you’re looking up the nose of anyone you film. The LCD is fine, for what it is, but you’ll need a proper EVF to go with that shoulder rig. A 128GB SD card gives 113 minutes of 4k, 25fps filming, so you don’t have to change cards often, and those little batteries never seem to run down. The user interface will be familiar to most Panasonic users, though several menu items were hidden in bizarre places, for instance you format a card
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT There are lots of mounting points for accessories; the handgrip is classy and comfy; buttons are well marked;
XLR inputs for quality audio.
BELOW The LCD screen can give an instant overview of all the important current settings.
DEFINITION JANUARY 2018
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