It's not often we write about broadcast equipment, but there was something about the Panasonic DMW-YAGH that made us stand up and pay attention. For this accessory, when paired with the forthcoming Lumix GH4 compact system camera, enables uncompressed 4K video output. That's full 10-bit colour with no cap on output data rate.
As part of a rig we can see it being of use for not only indie film makers, but also for professional outfits. Think about it this way: it makes for a smaller set-up than something like the SI-2K, costs less, and outputs double the resolution - 4096 x 2160 at 24p, or 3840 x 2160 at 30/25/24fps as desired. No high frame rate capabilities here, though, which might have implications for some shoots, such as those destined for TV.
The DMW-YAGH is about the same size as the GH4 body, which it slots into the base of, but adds a multitude of ports. Four SDI outs are used simultaneously to deliver uncompressed 4K, while a fifth is there to sync the time code that the GH4 also features.
There's a 12V power input and two XLR ports to cater for balanced stereo audio output, but you'll need external power if you intend using those. To the side there are independent audio adjustment controls for channel 1 and 2.
The Panasonic Lumix GH4 is part of the Micro Four Thirds system, with a sensor size smaller than traditional 35mm. That's a 2x crop for stills shooting, or an approximate 2.35x for when shooting 4K - because the camera uses a pixel for pixel portion of the sensor to match the 4K ratio - so the 45mm Leica f/1.2 lens will provide a 105mm equivalent for 4K video capture.
No final word on pricing of either the GH4 nor the DMW-YAGH accessory (which will have a different name outside of Europe), but we suspect it will undercut the majority of 4K capture options from a financial point of view. On a budget? Then this could be the exact bit of pro kit you've been looking for. It's exciting to see the consumer and professional world collide.