Panasonic Varicam LT First Look with Alister Chapman

Our good friend, esteemed cinematographer, storm chaser, and camera expert Alister Chapman stopped by our Visual Impact Teddington headquarters to take a quick look at the new Panasonic Varicam LT, which we are proud to have in stock for both sales and hire as well.

The Varicam LT is a more compact (and this time a one-piece) design compared to the Varicam 35, however the camera does still retain the solid build quality and hefty feeling of a high-end professional camera. The body itself is light, around 2.5 kgs, but once you put on a V-mount/AB battery, a lens, viewfinder and a shoulder mount - it can get a bit heavier to around 4 and a half kilograms.

Even then it is still nicely balanced on your shoulder and doesn't feel like weighting a ton. Panasonic have really outdone themselves with the LT, which still feels solid, but more manageable on the shoulder.


The sensor is the same amazing 4K Super 35 CMOS chip from the Varicam 35, capable of the impressive 14+ stops dynamic range, and also the unique to the Varicam line - dual native ISO functionality. The Varicam LT has two native ISO settings - one at ISO 800 and another at ISO 5000, which yields a very similar picture quality (if not visibly the same) to one at ISO 800, with just a slightly more noise, but nothing compared to any other camera, which will have a considerably more noise in the blacks and shadows at ISO 5000.

The Dual ISO feature was developed to enable cinematographers to use the camera in very low-light situations such as night exteriors, where on most low-budget productions using big expensive lighting setups is cost prohibitive, thus productions can take advantage of the available light in the scene.

The LT also has a native EF mount for Canon or third party lenses - a rather interesting and a bit of a surprising choice by Panasonic, but one that nonetheless allows users to use readily available and affordable Canon EF mount lenses to keep their setup more nimble and cost effective. For those cinematographers who are invested in PL lenses or plan on using such, Panasonic have made available an optional PL mount, which is easily interchangeable with the EF mount.

The Varicam LT offers 4K/60p recording in the 10bit 422 AVC-Intra codec as well as ProRes recording in Full HD onto a single ExpressP2 card. An SD card slot is also present for lower resolution proxy recordings in a Long GOP format. 2K and Full HD slow-motion recording in a variable frame rate up to 240fps is also available, although at frame rates higher than 60p the camera uses a cropped portion of the sensor.

The Control Interface monitor is a really nice touch and a nice carry-over from the Varicam 35. The control interface can be removed and used remotely via a cable or placed in a cradle behind the top handle and swivelled around so an AC can change settings and adjust parameters such as ISO, Shutter Speed, codecs, resolutions and much more.

For more information see our Varicam LT page or give us a call on 0208 977 1222 to order yours.