Behold the box: Panasonic unveils the BGH1, a GH5S tucked inside a versatile, modular cube


posted Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 9:59 AM EDT


Meet the BGH1, Panasonic's latest addition to its storied and ever-growing line of products for the video community. Released during a year when demand for video-centric streaming products has grown to a larger proportion than ever, the BGH1 looks to fulfill many different shooting needs across multiple market segments.

Panasonic's consistent innovation in the video arena has spanned the cinema community, the Micro Four Thirds world, and lately the full-frame world as well, culminating in their flagship S1H model. The new BGH1 takes the low-light gobbling 10.2mp sensor housed in the GH5S and combines it with the amped horsepower of the same Venus Engine processor found in the S1H. The result is a camera with the most dynamic range (13 stops) offered in a 4/3rds camera model to date.

Meet the fully modular, box-style Panasonic BGH1 video camera

BGH1: What is it?

The Panasonic BGH1 is an MFT/ILC video camera with a 10.2mp 4/3rds sensor housed in a cube-like form factor. It sports similar menu aesthetics as Panasonic's popular stills-shooting video cameras such as the GH5, GH5S and S-series models, and yet it doesn't shoot stills. The camera is instead aimed at videographers interested in modularity, and it offers an amazing array of ports and options given its relatively small form factor.

Let's take a look at some of the particulars:

  • 10.2mp Live MOS sensor with Dual-Native ISO technology for lower noise as ISO rises
  • 4:2:0 10-bit C4K/4K at 60p or 4:2:2 10-bit C4K/4K 30p internal recording
  • 240fps in 1080p FHD
  • Unlimited recording times in ALL framerate options
  • V-log L with 13 stops dynamic range and HLG recording capability
  • Dual SD UHS-II card slots
  • 11 1/4" tripod/mounting sockets (!)
  • Advanced autofocus functionality such as people, bird and animal AF detection 
  • New advanced heat dispersion structure, vents and a fan to ensure consistent recording
  • Ethernet (PoE+); HDMI Type A; USB 3.1 Type C; 3G-SDI; Genlock In; Timecode In/Out
  • 3.5" Headphone/Mic port; Tally lights front and rear; Remote control 2.5" port
  • Bluetooth/WiFi compatible; Supports anamorphic lenses (4:3)
  • Remote camera control via Lumix Tether for Multicam app
  • SDK (software development kit) capability coming soon
Heat vents, dual UHS-II SD card slots and multiple ports make the BGH1 ultra-professional

BGH1: What's the catch?

The BGH1 offers the modular ability to add virtually anything to your own self-designed video rig, growing it to your taste and shooting needs, but it's not a standalone product in any way. It doesn't have an LCD screen nor viewfinder, so you're blind without adding something yourself. It doesn't ship with a battery, although one can be added as a purchased option (instead, it ships with an AC adapter). And it doesn't have the terrific IBIS found on their popular GH5 camera. And, as mentioned, it can't shoot stills.

The optional battery is not overly appealing, yet it does deliver more than 8 hours run time!

But that's not the point of the BGH1. It's designed for modularity, to be grown not only into a one-camera setup but also a fully controllable multi-cam arrangement when combined with multiple cameras, complete with the software to drive the whole show. It's built specifically for uses such as live-streaming, drone shooting and capturing live concerts from various angles. These may not be the standard wheelhouse of our average reader, but these days more and more of us are branching into the video arena, and we therefore felt that at least some of our readers would surely be intrigued by this unique offering.

If the BGH1 had more ports, it'd need to be registered with the Port Authority...

As I was pouring through the press release and images for the BGH1, a growing feeling kept telling me I'd seen something like this before, and then I remembered the Olympus Air 01. It's basically a 4/3rds sensor amd processor inside a housing with a lens mount, to be used for things like concert footage from inaccessible locales, and that also comes equipped with SDK potential. It won our Most Unique award in our Camera of the Year awards for 2015 for good reason, and now the BGH1 takes a similar idea much further down the road.

The BGH1 is basically a GH5S in a box with no EVF/LCD and that doesn't shoot stills

Indeed, as more and more budget-driven productions spring into existence around the world, more products like the BGH1 will spring forth to help us capture the moment, the magic, the show. We look very forward to trying out our new sample, and will bring you the full details once we do! (Music video, anyone?)

The Panasonic BGH1 will be available in December 2020 for $1999. We believe these units will sell quickly, so you may want to get your name in for pre-orders now!

The optional battery is not overly appealing, yet it does deliver more than 8 hours run time!