Panasonic LUMIX GH6 firmware upgrade adds BRAW recording

Panasonic has announced the imminent release of a firmware upgrade for its Panasonic LUMIX GH6 mirrorless camera. The firmware version 2.3 upgrade gives you RAW video recording to a Blackmagic Design external recorder. It also adds support for 4K 120p/100p output to an external device over HDMI.

The LUMIX GH6 now supports external BRAW recording

The headline upgrade with firmware 2.3 is the addition of external 12-bit RAW recording. For external RAW recording, you also need to connect a Blackmagic Design Video Assist 12G HDR monitor/recorder to your camera via HDMI. You can then record RAW video in Blackmagic Design’s BRAW file format. The resolutions available are 5.7K, Cinema 4K, anamorphic (4:3) 5.8K and anamorphic (4:3) 4.4K.

Advantages of BRAW video

BRAW is a type of RAW video recording developed by Blackmagic Design. While there is a technical debate about whether or not BRAW is a true RAW format, you do have much more flexibility in post-production with the files. For example, you can change the ISO and white balance of your footage as if you were changing them in camera. In addition, you can potentially capture more of the dynamic range from the camera’s sensor. As you are recording RAW sensor information, your video can also capture more detail.

Compression settings for the LUMIX GH6 with BRAW

A further advantage of BRAW recording is that you can select different compression settings. This means you can choose between higher image quality or reduced storage space depending upon the nature of the project you are filming. For example, Panasonic recommends that when recording in 5.7K at 60p/50p or Cinema 4K at 120p/100p you choose constant bitrate at 5:1 or less compression when recording to an SSD. Alternatively, when recording to an SD card, Panasonic recommends a constant bitrate of 8:1 or less.

Disadvantages of BRAW video

There are some limitations when recording BRAW video, however. If you are an editor who uses Final Cut, you will have to transcode the footage before using it. This is because Final Cut currently won’t decode BRAW video. However, you can edit BRAW with DaVinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, Media Composer and some of the free-to-use video editors. You will also have to contend with larger file sizes if you are only used to working with compressed file formats recorded in camera.

What we think

The Panasonic LUMIX GH6 had already won an Editor’s Choice badge from us here at Videomaker. With the addition of external BRAW recording, the camera’s functionality just got even better. Yes, you will need to purchase a Blackmagic Video Assist 12G which isn’t cheap. However, as well as external recording, you also get a high-quality five-inch or seven-inch monitor with a full suite of video tools such as peaking, false color, zebras, histogram and video scopes. When combined with the Blackmagic Video Assist, the LUMIX GH6 becomes an even more powerful cinema camera.

Pricing and availability

The firmware upgrade version 2.3 for the Panasonic LUMIX GH6 will be available from July 11, 2023. You can download it for free from the LUMIX Global Customer Support website.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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