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GH 4 versus G85 for 4K video


Neil Anderson

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Has anyone here been able to test the G85? If you had to choose which one would you purchase? (GH 5 will not be in my price range). I am really interested in the stabilization system but disappointed by the lack of Vlog capability in the G85, and its lack of true cine 4k. But if my plan is to bounce the 4k down into 1080 for greater detail I've been told that UHD does this just as well as cine 4K, is this the case? Are there other reasons for choosing one over the other? Thanks for any and all advice.

Also, is the lack of stabilization on the GH4 really that crippling if I'm using a non-stabilized lens? I plan on getting the glide gear 6000/5050 combo with my camera purchase, but would handheld shots be out of the picture with the GH4?

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I haven't tested the G85 but have tested the GX85. IBIS is the killer feature the two cameras share, but the GH4 still has a couple features that make it a good choice, depending on what you're planning to shoot.

Advantages of the GH4:

- 10-bit signal via HDMI at 4k, if you plan to use an external recorder this is still a killer feature. The GH4 is the only camera < $7k that offers this.

- VLog - if you plan to shoot cine-style or for color correction, this gives you more dynamic range and grading options

- slow motion - GH4 offers up to 96fps in 1080 setting

Really it comes down to how much or whether you plan on shooting handheld. If you're downconverting everything to 1080, then technically you can get a 10-bit image out of the G85, too. With a shoulder rig or something similar you should be able to get great handheld shots without stabilized lenses, you're just committing to carrying around more gear.

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I own the GH4 and just rented the GX85 to have a B cam for a wedding. I used to love the image the GH4 produced, until I used the GX85!!! It is sooooooo much cleaner, and the IBIS is a lifesaver.

Let's put it this way: When I went through the 180GB worth of video for the deliverable, 95% of the content I shipped was recorded with the GX85, as at the high ISO (1600-3200) the GH4 was undeliverable. :grimace: If the G85 is anything like the GX85, 4K delivery will be awesome.

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The only "issue" is the levels used by the GX85. The highlights must be brought into legal, it's not a big deal to do but some people may not realize the GX85 does that and they will get clipped highlights.

 

However high(er) ISO is really bad on the GX85.  It seems the noise reduction is dynamic and really kicks in at high ISO, which basically will give you mud.

 

 

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Newbie question, but does this fact about the G85 make any difference to 4K content that is bounced down into 1080 in post?  "While the G85 shares a lot of features with its bigger GH4 brother, the G85 only includes a choice of MP4 or AVCHD video formats, no MOV. 4K video, which is offered only in MP4 format, is recorded at a 100Mbps bit rate, while AVCHD tops out at 28Mbps for 1080p."

I know the GH4 can record at 200 mbps, what does this difference actually mean?

 

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@Cary Knoop What 'high ISO's are you referring to? 3200? 6,400? 'High ISO' is a vague statement, and mud is not an accurate description of the noise artifacts that pop up from 800 and beyond either. In fact, I don't know of any micro 4/3 camera that excels in low light, which is why it's recommended to shoot with fast glass rather than high ISO settings, and I seldom if ever shoot higher than ISO 800 with my GH4 precisely because of noise issues. The G7 supposedly had a one stop increase in clean low light ability over the GH4 according to Max Yuryev (here is a comparison he did between the $600 G7 and Sony's $3,000 low light monster A7s2). And the G85 will in all probability have better low light performance than the GH4, too. So, no reason to prefer the GH4 over the G85 if low light performance is the sole criterion.

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@Neil Anderson From what I've read, there is basically no difference in quality between MP4 and MOV files (but apparently MOV files are much larger). But I believe (someone here correct me if I'm wrong), that MP4 files must be converted to ProRes before editing on a Mac, whereas MOV files can be dropped directly onto the timeline in FCP X. I almost always just import the MOV files directly from my hard drive into FCPX and begin editing right away, but it's probably good practice to convert them to ProRes first. Concerning the 200Mbps on the GH4, it only applies to 1080p, not 4K, and according to some shooters, the lower 100Mbps is preferable. I would never intentionally shoot 1080p on the GH4 anyhow, I always capture in 4K and downsample to 1080p in the timeline.

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Are you using an external recorder?
Are you using weather sealed lens (and need them)?
Would you use the YAGH?


If you answer no to these three questions (which all require significant extra costs), then almost 95% likely the Panasonic G85 will be a better choice for you than a GH4.

There is still a few small percent left over for a few other small niche cases  (such as if you think the 96fps slow motion quality is mighty fine and want to use it all the time?!). 

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1 hour ago, jonpais said:

@Cary Knoop What 'high ISO's are you referring to? 3200? 6,400? 'High ISO' is a vague statement, and mud is not an accurate description of the noise artifacts that pop up from 800 and beyond either. In fact, I don't know of any micro 4/3 camera that excels in low light, which is why it's recommended to shoot with fast glass rather than high ISO settings, and I seldom if ever shoot higher than ISO 800 with my GH4 precisely because of noise issues. The G7 supposedly had a one stop increase in clean low light ability over the GH4 according to Max Yuryev (here is a comparison he did between the $600 G7 and Sony's $3,000 low light monster A7s2). And the G85 will in all probability have better low light performance than the GH4, too. So, no reason to prefer the GH4 over the G85 if low light performance is the sole criterion.

I'd say 800 ISO is already high for the GX85.  A noise pattern does obviously not look like mud but that is not what I am describing. The problem is the aggressive noise reduction at high ISO.  It kills resolution and color accuracy, and, in my opinion, and you may not like this term, but that's what I see, the result is mud.

 

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2 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Are you using an external recorder?
Are you using weather sealed lens (and need them)?
Would you use the YAGH?


If you answer no to these three questions (which all require significant extra costs), then almost 95% likely the Panasonic G85 will be a better choice for you than a GH4.

There is still a few small percent left over for a few other small niche cases  (such as if you think the 96fps slow motion quality is mighty fine and want to use it all the time?!). 

The G85 is weather sealed, so that's a non-factor.

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I have the GX85 and with the NR turned down it does produce quite a bit of noise at 1600 and over. That can be tackled somewhat with Neat Video. I have never used the GH4 so I can only take people's word that it is worse.

Other than have a stop or so of better ISO the biggest plus for the GX85/G85 is the IBIS. If you want that flexibility to go handheld it really is worth it. On the downside with the GX85 you will need dual sound recording as the sound is awul!

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@Neil Anderson True, to take advantage of Vlog Lite, you need an external recorder. Otherwise it can exhibit banding and weird splotches, which may or may not  be visible, depending on the subject matter. You'll probably also want to invest in an external monitor that accepts LUTs because the GH4's LCD and viewfinder will look like greyish mush. I almost always shoot outdoors in the shade, so I don't really need the extra dynamic range. If I'm remembering correctly, you have to shoot Vlog at ISO 800, which would be another pain in the neck for me. On the other hand, one review I watched on TCSTV was shot entirely in Vlog and it was one of the best looking clips they've ever shot. Of the other profiles, some shooters prefer Cinelike D. I shoot everything using the Natural profile. If I purchased the G80/85, I'd probably do the same.

Edit: I just checked my camera, lowest ISO with Vlog is 400, which isn't a problem at all.

 

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