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Andrew Reid

Hands-on preview of the powerful 4K shooting Panasonic GH4!

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Actually, my Sony XDCAM PMW-200 does all of this, right now - for just over $8K, in Australia.

 

The Sony delivers tons of features and works, exceptionally well, in a chunky yet discreet package.

 

Yes, I wan't the bigger chip look, with lots of lens choices, and 4K. 

 

Sony are already having a budget 4K go with the AX100...

 

It isn't that hard. The manufacturers just want to protect their higher-end products, and for us to pay more. That's business, I guess.

 

If Atomos is correct, and 20 different 4K offerings are on the way by NAB this year, maybe we'll soon find something that comes closer.

 

I get your point -BUT the cameras you mentioned are not large sensor cameras. It's 2014 and we still do NOT have a DSLR form factor large sensor camera with broadcast standard (incl. 4.2.2) internally recordable codec + XLR audio for under $15K. We want large sensor. We want portability. We want a codec that's gradable. It is possible but sadly they just do NOT get it.

Ask any rental house for a C300 and there is a waiting list. There are good reasons for this. Sadly for all - Panasonic just missed the reason.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

most of the PROs of this camera dont affect me so much.

 

as of right now i dont need and i dont want 4k. this might be changing the next 12/24 month, but id much rather have a crisp 1080p image. i mean 4k on youtube? 99,5% of the people cant even view this. its good to have a 4k option but its nothing i need right now. and for editing i dont need the zoom in option.

 

this rediculous xlr/sdi mount is probably something that real professionals care about, but i dont see myself using something like this or an hdmi recorder anytime soon. i like to have everything build into the camera.

 

that thinking also kills 4:2:2 and 10bit. whats the point of 100mbit recording if its not 10bit and not 4:2:2? these high bitrates seem to be for professionals what high megapixel count is for consumers. the 24mbit of my G6 looks so good i never wanna use anything higher than 50mbit for full hd in h264.

 

2.3 crop? absolutely not. i accepted the 2x crop of m43 but im not willing to go any further. thats not a big difference you say? the 2x crop is already a big difference. we have to draw the line somewhere. why didnt they use a sensor with a native horizontal resolution of 4k? that would have also meant better low light capabilities.

 

the 96fps in 1080p is absolutely great, no argument here. but thats about it for me!

 

most of the changes they made are for complete professionals. people who work with a crew of at least 5 people and use equipment worth $20.000+. people who have this kind of production money could use a camera that features 4:2:2, 10bit, xlr, hdsdi natively and has the ergonomics of a video camera. dslrs have always been for semi professionals.

 

i just wanna grab a camera and work with it. thats why IBIS would have been so nice. i like the kind of filmmaking that andrew showed with the latest music video. just a camera and maybe one source of light and just go with it, this feels like a dslr workaround for pros, who probably have the budget of using a camera that is built for their job out of the box...

 

EDIT: andrew why "boo" for MP4 instead of MOV? there is no technological reason why h264 in a mp4 container looks any different than in a mov container.

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I get your point -BUT the cameras you mentioned are not large sensor cameras. It's 2014 and we still do NOT have a DSLR form factor large sensor camera with broadcast standard (incl. 4.2.2) internally recordable codec + XLR audio for under $15K. We want large sensor. We want portability. We want a codec that's gradable. It is possible but sadly they just do NOT get it.

Ask any rental house for a C300 and there is a waiting list. There are good reasons for this. Sadly for all - Panasonic just missed the reason.

 

We're on the same side - I want the bigger chip, in a proven form factor, with proven technology.. (I personally think the slavish adherence to the DSLR form is part of the problem, btw).. I have two Blackmagic Pockets as well, and they make a very desirable image, but their limitations are real and very well known. As more and more posters here are now saying, it's just crazy to create a solution that requires so much extra junk to realise it's potential.

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Because you have a great camera, one perfectly capable of capturing beautiful images? One that actually exists right now?

Don't be too torn up about this - you're looking at probably a $4000 package with the base brick, plus more on top for all your cords and cabling. And if, down the road, you want to make the switch, you're in luck - these MFT bodies actually hold their value reasonably well (especially the Olympus ones).

In the meantime, don't stress! You still have a highly capable shooter. There will always be new gear!

Thanks, I needed that.

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Great review Andrew but the BM4K still beats it with global shutter no need for add ons cost and a larger sensor without the need for a speedbooster that adds more to the final cost.

Although it should please many who want all the gadgets the BM4K is still going to be king as a one stop solution.

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It looks great, and what a full write-up too, kudos!

 

4K at a good bit-rate is a plus.

 

The video unit is massive but it's great that they've made it, it beats third-party botching.

 

On the format front though the 10-bit 4:2:2 being external only is disappointing though, it has so much processing power.... but stumbles at this hurdle

 

Correct me if i'm wrong there

 

It's a shame that there's still no camera without compromise at this price range.

 

Here we a more rounded product than the Blackmagic Pocket, but it demands that you use an external recorder to do what the pocket will internally, and that's a bit sad :/

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Great looking camera.

Firstly, I assume that because the screen is as OLED (like the GH3) the info will disappear after 10 seconds to protect it from burn in (Panasonics reason) ? If it doesn't then Panasonic are lying about the reason it does on the GH3 so shame on them. If it does, then shame on them for releasing a camera like this with disappearing info. NO shooter like to be in the dark about what their camera is doing.

Is this 2.3 crop only in 4K mode.? If so, no problem as 4K doesn't interest me.

Do we have an actual figure for DR?

The attachment is disgraceful. Should be a separate box with a breakout cable so I can mount it where I want on my rig. Sony would never design such a terrible looking and functioning accessory. Lazy panasonic. I wonder how long it would take for a third party manufacturer to make something similar?

1080p 8bit 4:2:0 internal codec. BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Other than that. Looks great so far.

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Andrew, are you sure internal recording is 4:2:0? Panasonic Europe told me 4:2:2 8 bit and 4:2:2 10-bit over hdmi (no need for the YHAGEHAYGEH). But the tech product manager wasn't very knowledgeable about video, so could be wrong...

 

It's hard to find any exact specs on this.

 

Btw, the sensor is based on the GH3 sensor... so probably a Sony.

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Yes, Panasonic missed an opportunity to make  a trully Video camera.  A GH4 with a "Video" sensor like the one from the FS100 would be amazing. 
And those 2 enormous useless knobs? shutter speed and ISO like the Fuji XT1 would be so much more useful.

 

T

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Great preview Andrew! Nice to have you at the forefront of camera-releases.

 

I was anticipating great things coming in the GH4 with all the rumors. But to be honest I am a bit disappointed. I don't get it. Why this form-factor? Panasonic gives us a 4K videocamera in a photocamera body?! AND they keep the GH3 in the line-up? This doesn't make sense.

 

And "the brick" (i opt to keep that name). Who the hell designed it? That is the most unhandy brick i have ever seen.

 

Sure the image quality is great. But a bigger cropfactor as "normal" m43 is really a no go imo. It sets the m43 filmer back. All lenses feel different and look off, if the cropfactor is different. That's at least how I felt shooting with a BMPCC. If I want that I would buy that. 

 

I love the systemcameras and m43 format of Panasonic. But they need to move on to a filmcamera on this system. Get out of the photocamera formfactor because it is just in the way and holds the development of a new standard back!

 

THR

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Very interesting development and good to see how far Panasonic have come from GH2 through GH3 to this model.

 

I think the GH4 proves just how important the work of Black Magic and other smaller camera manufacturers have been in terms of introducing disruptive technology and forcing the hands of the establishment companies.

 

This has become a very attractive system for me - a GH2 shooter with a good range of m43 glass and peripherals/ modular components. 

 

I looked seriously last year at going for a C100 with an Ninja and a good sturdy miller compass tripod and then a few lenses (probably Samyang to start with) and a rig - probably somewhere in the region of a £10k investment. The GH4 would give me what I wanted from that set-up at a greatly reduced price and so much more on top.

 

Is it perfect? No. Will it do 100% of what I need at full HD with XLR audio input and good price point? Yes.

 

The fact that I can have the full system for audio or break out just the camera for shooting GVs is very appealing and is what I have wanted to see from a modular hybrid system.

 

Now beyond what I need for earning a living, if nothing else, where we go from here will be of great interest. What will Panasonic's video section do? How will Canon and Sony answer this? What will we see from BM as they launch their next gen of their camera range?

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Panasonic didn't miss on anything. They heavily improved the GH3, it's a no brainer for journalist, high quality video and stills. What this release tells me is that a AF101 successor is right around the corner. Panasonic is smart IMHO, I bet we'll see a GH4, AF200 and the anticipated Vari Cam in 2014. I suspect what you're looking for you'll be happy once NAB rolls around. Coming out with a new AF series, 4K, 10 bit, higher frame rates along with the new Vari Cam could make Panasonic the new Blackmagic. Sonys not gonna beat down the F5, Canon has the c500, nothing from Nikon, Blackmagic needs to deliver before anything else, and sadly I haven't seen any normal decent footage from the DB yet, so the markets ripe. It's a great transition into 4k, terrific offering but the Gap is too wide between the GH4 and Vari cam, I think we'll all be happy this spring. I'll end with saying this review was one the best I've read in a while. Thanks

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The best discussion on this camera, which I am extremely interested in, seems to be happening here so I guess it is time to stop lurking and join in.

 

I think the article has an error re burst modes - according to the Panasonic website, 40 is the number of raw frames it can capture in burst, not the frame rate.

 

8 bit 4:2:0 seems a bit of a bummer on paper, but realistically as a complete noob it probably isn't such a big deal for me. It is the what-seems-to-be-intentional crippling, just like Canon et al, that really turns me off. Downsampled 4k should be able to give 4:4:4 right? Still 8 bit, but if they are giving at least a 50% work around built into the camera, why make the work around necessary at all?? Likewise, isn't 10 bit 4:2:2 about 1.7 times the data rate of 8 bit 4:2:0 for a given compression level? So seems like the data rates, for 1080p at least, are well within the given specs?

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I'm curious Andrew, you liked the RX10 seemingly a lot for it's great feature set (for a run and gun shooter), but hated the AVCHD codec. You are also (obviously) very keen on 4K at the minute. So my question is this - It's been weeks since CES and not one peep from you about the AX100? Obviously it is not in direct competition with the GH4, but it does seem to fix the issues with the RX10 and add a similar 4K capability into the bargain... And at $1999 no less! 

 

Seriously don't get why this wasn't plastered all over EOSHD? This is the first 4K for $2K camera ever, has a 2.7x crop sensor (vs 2.3 in the Panasonic) with a decent ranging lens, 100Mbps 4K, scraps the crap AVCHD in 1080p, even supposedly does 120fps. So what gives?

 

It was like a week after you proclaimed going to 4K and everyone else should follow... So, could your trip to Panasonic have had something to do with both of those things (your post about everyone should go 4K and your complete silence on the AX100)?

 

Hmm why no AX100 coverage. Well the AX100 is a camcorder and this is a DSLR blog. I've had my hands on a GH4 and I've not had my hands on an AX100. It isn't available to buy yet and it doesn't excite me as much as the GH4. It has a fixed zoom lens, with a spec that's a step backwards from the constant F2.8 aperture lens on the RX10. There's better stuff out there dude!

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most of the PROs of this camera dont affect me so much.

 

as of right now i dont need and i dont want 4k. this might be changing the next 12/24 month, but id much rather have a crisp 1080p image. i mean 4k on youtube? 99,5% of the people cant even view this. its good to have a 4k option but its nothing i need right now. and for editing i dont need the zoom in option.

 

Ha. Someone who didn't read past the first line of the blog post. What did I say about crisp 1080p image? 4K gives you the crispest 1080p image out there and then you even have 10bit 4:2:2 from the HDMI port. Infuriating!

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