Never miss a moment with 4K photography... even if it's already happened!

Did you know that it’s possible to take a photograph of something that’s already happened? I know that sounds really strange and it’s a little difficult to get your head around at first, but it’s exactly what the Panasonic LUMIX GX8, which I’ve been trialling for a few months now on behalf of Lumix UK, is capable of.

Allow me to explain. As you may know by now, the Panasonic LUMIX GX8 is capable of 4K photography. (If that concept is alien to you, see my posts here, here and here.) In short, it means you can extract 8 million pixel, photographic-quality images from a 4K video which is created at 30 frames per second. And with the GX8, there are three ways – or modes – in which you can do this.

You can choose from 4K Burst, 4K Burst (Start / Stop) and 4K Pre-Burst. In 4K Burst, your camera is recording so long as you have the shutter pressee down. With 4K Burst (Start / Stop), your camera starts recording when you press the shutter and stops when you press it a second time. Finally, with the 4K Pre-Burst, you camera is continually scanning and, when you come to press the shutter, it records the footage from one second before as well as what happens one second after.

Pre-Burst on the Panasonic LUMIX GX8

So, when you know a short event is going to happen, but don’t necessarily know precisely when – such as a bird taking off, a horse jumping over a fence, or whatever it might be – the 4K Pre-Burst is ideal. Because you’re not continually shooting video, it doesn’t take up too much space on your card, but it is a mode that’s a little thirsty on the battery, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have a spare to hand.

So, when our younger son had his 10th birthday party recently, it was a good opportunity to put this mode to the test. I obviously knew he would be blowing out the candles on his birthday cake but couldn’t be sure of capturing the precise moment. So long as I was ready, all I needed to do was press the shutter when he blew out the candles and the camera would record the moment just before and just after, and I could then just select the shots I liked best from the 60 resulting images (30 shots from the one second before the camera shutter was pressed, and 30 from the one second after). Here is a selection of the resulting shots:

Admiring his cake…

Cake smile

Taking a deep breath…

Cake blowing

Blowing out the candles…

Cake blowing 2

…and catching the last one that nearly got away!

Cake blowing 3

If you’re curious to see the very short 4K video that these shots were extracted from, you can see it here:

And if you’re simply intrigued by the cake, then here’s a close-up!


Our sons are keen sailors and this is the kind of boat – the RS Tera Sport with its distinctive orange and white sail – that they currently sail.

Of course, the opportunities that the 4K Pre-Burst mode presents you with when you travel are endless, whether it be capturing a lazy lion yawning in the Serengeti sunshine, or filming friends or family jumping into a swimming pool.

What do you think of the technology, and what would you use it for? I would love to hear your ideas and maybe I could even try to implement some of them!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Panasonic Lumix UK.

Comments (32)

  1. Anna Parker says:

    This stuff is unfathomable, my iPhone is doing this. Very clever if not too clever. Love the cake Paul – glad you are part of the RS family… Will we see you in a 400 anytime soon?

  2. I can see plenty of applications for this with wildlife or sport – hopefully it’s simple enough for someone like me who can’t get out of auto mode to master!

  3. Erin says:

    Such a cute cake! I have to get Josh into this 4k photography I bet he could do wonders with it! I’d love to see your kids on a swing or running through the beach on it.

  4. What an amazing concept. I love the way you trialled it for this post :) It has almost endless applications.

  5. Paul Johnson says:

    It’s very simple, Heather, AND you can still do it all in auto mode, too, if you like! ;-)

  6. Paul Johnson says:

    As for seeing me in a 400, Anna, I’m not sure about that! Whilst our children can sail, we’ve found ourselves becoming more adept at securing boats to the tops of cars, driving trailers and helping rig/de-rig/launch. My own very limited sailing experience goes back to a Topper about 30 years ago! I would like to learn again, though…

  7. Tracy Hanley says:

    Lovely clear pictures ,im looking for a new camera when i have saved enough penny’s, this could be the one

  8. jules eley says:

    Fantastic, perfect for me with 4 kids and two dogs I miss lots this would be fantastic, The options are endless and what fantastic features.

  9. elizabeth Slamin says:

    This is a fantastic feature especially if there is lots going on and if you have children or animals We have a springer who never sits still either Hyper but the most loveable dogs

  10. Paul Johnson says:

    We have a Springer also, Elizabeth! See the video here (plus an opportunity to win one of these cameras for yourself!)

  11. Sarah Louise says:

    Brilliantly demonstrated! I’m an amateur photographer and love to take pictures of wildlife which can be tricky to get the perfect shot so this looks great!

  12. Jane says:

    The pre-burst mode sounds amazing, especially for wildlife photography–I can’t wait until I have a chance to try it!

  13. Ali Cook says:

    Wow! i am only just beginning to get my head around this – but it’s amazing! I’d love to be able to do this, particularly when photographing my dogs as I always feel I’ve just missed the action!

  14. Anne says:

    Awesome shots and the 4k photography is so interesting!! Can’t wait to try it out the pre-burst mode myself, sounds so cool!

  15. Denielle Nicol says:

    I take a lot of pictures of animals and kids as they move about a lot I’m sure this would be very handy for me indeed. Love the concept for sure!. Dxx

  16. Ada says:

    I just can’t wait to dive in to mirrorless camera. I have been an SLR user when I started traveling and photography but now that I am reaching my quarter life crisis, I felt that SLR is now too heavy to carry during my travels. I wish I could try the 4K photography and video of GX8!

  17. Liz says:

    This would be awesome for getting pics of the grandbabies at just the right moment. No more endless video trying to catch the baby’s “firsts” and the older kids activities. No more endless clicking to hopefully come out with the one shot I’m hoping to get.

  18. Stephen Barnes says:

    4K Pre-Burst is just what I need, because I ALWAYS miss the action by a second or two at events, particularly sports and travel!

  19. sallyann Johnston says:

    The action shot is what my camera is just not good at and I would love to be able to take great shots of my kidsdoing sports etc x

  20. Cindy says:

    Great captures! I’m just learning about 4K photography now and it sounds amazing! My toddler moves around so quickly that I always feel like I’ve just missed a good shot.

  21. debbie smith says:

    amazing i love how youve really captured the moment, fabulous camerera and wonderful review thankyou x

  22. Samantha says:

    I spoke to Panasonic about this camera at the Adventure Travel show in London back in January. It was this feature that really persuaded me on the camera. I’m not very fast on the manual modes and I always miss key moments when I travel so the ability to take a frame out of the short burst video mode is great!


    Brilliant & clever feature. My camera is terrible. This sounds amazing. Might need to start saving.

  24. Wendy Marfleet says:

    4K would be perfect to capture sporting moments. I’ve sooo many shots of my children blurred or missing the vital bit.

  25. Paul Wilson says:

    Excellent stuff, 4K photography is the future. Looks like I have a lot to learn. I think that photography kit has a bit of catching up to do yet.

  26. Jessica steele says:

    I would love this technology, I am always missing important photos of my children that I want to capture, because I mostly use the camera on my phone and it doesn’t like to play ball! Would love a 4k camera.

  27. Megan Dunne says:

    This camera looks amazing, I love taking pictures of my dog but currently her movements are never precisely captured as my camera doesn’t take the picture quick enough for the moment, after reading this it sounds like the perfect technology! Also I’ve been trying to capture a picture of my rabbits yawning for ages but haven’t managed it yet!
    The cake looks really good!

  28. Paul Johnson says:

    Thank you, Megan! With respect to capturing your dog, please see this post and video of our dog :)

  29. Martina Evans says:

    Such great photos they captured a lovely moment. I would love to use 4K for when I’m out and about enjoying nature and wildlife. Some of those creatures can be very beautiful but also very quick so this would be great!

  30. Nicola Battensby says:

    Oh Wow what an amazing camera; this would certainly give me some amazing flexibility in my shooting of moving items.

  31. Leila Benhamida says:

    Really amazing. Love the fact that you are able to catch every moment. Will take me a while to get use to it. After some times I am sure sure I will be mastering it.

  32. Kimberley Ryan says:

    With 5 children I do miss lots of the action this 4K technology looks amazing.
    4K photography is the future.

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