The End of the Decisive Moment?

The Father of Photojournalism

Henri Cartier-Bresson, a French photographer who is widely considered to be the “father of photojournalism”, coined the phrase “The Decisive Moment”. It’s that magic moment when the action is at it’s peak, and best describes or captures the feeling of the motion or emotion that preceded it.

To date, capturing the decisive moment meant being at the “right place”, at the “right time” and pressing the shutter button just as the action unfolded in front of you. Not an easy task as any sports photographer will attest.

GH4_Featured ImageEnter Non-Linear Photography

Panasonic has announced a new firmware update for the LUMIX GH4. The firmware adds a new 4K Photo Mode – it’s a “new way of photography” according to Panasonic. This “new way” promises to help take some of the luck (and maybe even skill) out of capturing that decisive moment.

Check out our full review on the Panasonic Lumix GH4 over on All About the Gear!

Photo Mode is designed to encourage photographers to capture spur-of-the-moment images in high resolution 4K photo by cropping out a designated frame out of the 4K video.

Once selecting the 4K Photo Mode, recording format / picture quality setting / brightness level are automatically set to the optimum parameters for photo shooting. Photographers can record high quality video either in 4:3, 3:2 or even 1:1 aspect ratios in addition to 16:9 – all can provide a still image with 8-megapixel equivalent resolution.

Each JPEG image cropped out of the video footage complies with EXIF just as a normal still picture. While recording the 4K video in 4K Photo Mode, it is possible to mark the designated portion by just pressing the [Fn1] button. This can reduce postproduction work for searching the spur-of-the-moment worth cropping out.

But what about video?

4K video can be recorded continuously with Loop Rec function which keeps saving the 5 newest 2-minute video files. Now photographers can just wait for the perfect photo opportunity (the decisive moment) to come, for as long as they want. And they can allow the camera to continue recording without worrying about the capacity of the memory card.

There are more functional upgrades such as the addition of 4K video recording in 23.98p (MP4, AAC) and the enhancement of control over ISO settings and the amount of flash emission.

Tethering too?

The GH4 firmware update expands connectivity options with external equipment. For example, the PC software “USB Tether 2” enables remote camera control (shooting, setting or image data transfer) by PC via USB. Unfortunately, there’s no word on a Mac version of this software.

The PHOTOfunSTUDIO 9.5PE and Panasonic Image App for iOS/Android will also be updated to support these functional upgrades.


The new firmware is scheduled to be released with more information at the Panasonic LUMIX Support Site at the beginning of October, 2014.


  1. I’d like to know if the resulting 8MP Jpeg that you choose from the 4K video is being pulled from a heavily compressed codec like H.264. Although it’s a great thing to have the kind of spacial resolution 4K offers, and essentially an unlimited burst mode I just don’t think it’s a replacement (yet) for knowing when to click the shutter.

    1. Agreed. And I’d go further to say that I don’t “want” to replace knowing when to click the shutter. For me that’s part of the fun… even though harvesting frames from 4K footage will be extremely useful at times too. It’s kind of like fishing with a line and pole, versus fishing with a stick of dynamite. Each yields it’s own unique flavor of satisfaction. And in the end, you’re still eating fish.