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Andrew Reid

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

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"my early work as a cinematographer"  Really?  I had you down as a blogger who does camera tests and the odd amateur music video.  Yes, I have seen your work.  

 

Seems like everyone's labelling themselves as a cinematographer these days!  

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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!

 

First of all, don't call me 'dude'. If a punk cinematographer calls me 'dude'... they don't get a job. Simple as that. This is YOUR forum where you pretend to be a professional cinematographer, at least try to act like it. 

 

Secondly - "Better stuff out there"? Really? So when it was announced a few weeks ago there were better 4K options for $2K were there? I guess those featured prominently on your site yes? 

 

Thirdly - Your site stopped being about 'DSLRs' a long long time ago, in fact you fairly recently dismissed DSLRs as nothing interesting happening there. You reviewed the RX10, RX100 and RX100 II, you have articles on the Arri AMIRA, BMCC, Olympus OM-D, Panasonic GH4, Sony A7R, RX1, C300, C500, C100, REDs, Digital Bolex and on and on.... Not a single one of which is a DSLR.  But you choose the 'it's not a DSLR' card on this?

 

Fourthly - The only reasonable thing you have said is that the lens is slower than the RX10, yes, yes it is. Bravo. I forget that 'dudes' like you think that being a 'lite 'pro' cinematographer means having tiny DoF in every single shot otherwise it's just not 'pro' and if a camera can't do that it totally isn't worthy of their 'pro-ness'. 

 

Lastly - Are you really 'that' stupid smart that you think you can pull 8MP frame grabs out of 4K and expect them to be poster sized print quality? Good luck with that. 

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For example, he points out you can get a 4096 x 2160 still.  He's absolutely right that will come in very handy.   However, that still will be a JPEG, with 8-bits per channel.  If you use a 1920x1080 dng still from a Blackmagic you are getting 12-bits per channel.  The latitude of what you can do in post is leaps and bounds beyond 8-bit.

 

Both cameras have strengths for different types of film-makers.  In no way does the GH4 compete with Blackmagic raw video cameras, and visa-versa.

 

They are both great cameras and EOSHD has written great reviews on both.

 

Well, you have the choice. The GH4's add-on box gives you 4K in 10bit 4:2:2, same as 4K ProRes on the Blackmagic Production Camera but with a sensor that does clean ISO 3200. Dynamic range will likely be similar, if not actually a bit better on the GH4 due to cleaner shadows, but I'm speculating because neither camera is actually even finished yet.

 

8bit is fine if you're only doing light grading or leaving the footage on the picture profile it was shot with.

 

The source signal is 10bit 4:2:2 from the sensor and the encoder does a good job of compressing it into 8bit 4:2:0. The images really did look lovely. Will they fall apart with heaving grading? Yes, like a JPEG does. So choose the external recorder route, problem solved. Do I need the headache of raw file sizes and transcoding any more? After looking at my stack of hard drives after a year shooting Cinema DNG, I'm really not sure raw is viable long term.

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I braced myself for The Mark Response. Truth is I've been treading this moment. I'll try not to be too harsh on you, and try to keep it short.
 
You're wrong.

Why should you dread it? Mine is only an opinion We don't even know how much the camera will cost yet. Demeaning me on the forum as the owner and moderator is very unfair. Why not just ban the opposition? Just because you got a test camera and favoured by Panny doesn't mean you should praise whatever they sent you. Try to be a bit more unbiased after all Im only stating a fact The BM4K does outshine the GH4 and with its add ons the costs will probably soon mount up. However if it is cheap enough then perhaps there is a place for it and Im sure Pannys real intention is to sell the GH4 as a 8 bit h264 camera that will undoubtably sell more than the BM4K Hwever I don't think we should sit here and pretend its better if it clearly isn't.

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Fourthly - The only reasonable thing you have said is that the lens is slower than the RX10, yes, yes it is. Bravo. I forget that 'dudes' like you think that being a 'lite 'pro' cinematographer means having tiny DoF in every single shot otherwise it's just not 'pro' and if a camera can't do that it totally isn't worthy of their 'pro-ness'. 

 

Ladies and gentleman and not so gentleman we have a Mr Angry on the forum. Calm down Mr Angry. It's only a camera!

 

Contribute without the nastiness from now on, or lose your login privileges. Your choice.

 

I choose not to shoot with the AX100 because I prefer interchangeable lenses on the GH4. My choice.

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First of all, don't call me 'dude'. If a punk cinematographer calls me 'dude'... they don't get a job. Simple as that. This is YOUR forum where you pretend to be a professional cinematographer, at least try to act like it. 

Chill out, dude. You're spittin' venom over opinions on a camera. 80% of the world lives in poverty. Perspective.  B)

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I'm sure Pannys real intention is to sell the GH4 as a 8 bit h264 camera that will undoubtably sell more than the BM4K Hwever I don't think we should sit here and pretend its better if it clearly isn't.

 

If it's their intention to sell it as purely an 8bit camera, then the engineers clearly didn't get the memo when they enabled a 10bit debayer, 4:2:2 colour sampling on the sensor, 10bit HDMI output and even a 10bit external box with 4 HD-SDI ports on it :)

 

The sensor in the BM Production Camera doesn't have the pixel design and light sensitivity of the GH4's sensor. The global shutter has a large trade off in image quality. Needless to say, neither camera is done. Neither camera is out there yet. You have looked at 10bit ProRes 4K on the Production Camera and automatically assumed it will be nicer than uncompressed 10bit 4K from the GH4's external box haven't you? Why exactly?

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@Mark I really don't think Panasonic has rushed through anything to compete with BM. BM is no threat to Panny. And there are so many new features added to the GH4 - stuff everyone has been clamoring for - and still all this hostility toward the company. I simply don't get it. Some people are even calling this a BETA camera. WTF? Crippled? This is pure insanity. Get a grip. I'm happy it can record to regular SD cards or proprietary cards, whatever, it has tons of different file options, peaking, zebras, much higher resolution monitor and EVF (remains to be seen whether they are actually better though), and a bunch of other stuff like pedestal that I know nothing about but which I know for a fact aren't offered on the BMPCC or any other camera for under $2,000. Where is all this pent-up hostility toward Panasonic coming from? Are Nikon, Canon or Olympus making this kind of effort to put a video-worthy interchangeable lens camera into the hands of non-professionals like myself? 

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Alright, this a bit of a tangent. But...

 

"For me the ideal stills camera would be full frame and 24MP+ and the ideal video camera would have a 16:9 Super 35mm sized sensor at a resolution of 8MP."

 

This is what kills me regarding the Sony A7. A 16:9 crop of the Super 35mm-sized center is almost *exactly* the right resolution for 4K (8.7MP). Plus the Bionz X is clearly fast enough to process 4K! I feel that such a feature should be possible even on the current hardware but Sony is very careful about protecting their high-end video cam business. I think this is ultimately to their detriment. 

 

While a FF camera capable of shooting video with a per-pixel read out would be great, I acknowledged that that's a step beyond what we can do right now (although I think Canon and Sony may release something this year) plus full-frame is almost too shallow IMHO for the run-and-gun video I tend to shoot. However, a FF still camera that will shoot 4K video with a Super 35mm crop would be my ideal!

 

Make it a paid firmware upgrade. Yes, a lot of people would complain but I'd happily buy it. The camera was (relatively) cheap.

 

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If it's their intention to sell it as purely an 8bit camera, then the engineers clearly didn't get the memo when they enabled a 10bit debayer, 4:2:2 colour sampling on the sensor, 10bit HDMI output and even a 10bit external box with 4 HD-SDI ports on it :)
 
The sensor in the BM Production Camera doesn't have the pixel design and light sensitivity of the GH4's sensor. The global shutter has a large trade off in image quality. Needless to say, neither camera is done. Neither camera is out there yet. You have looked at 10bit ProRes 4K on the Production Camera and automatically assumed it will be nicer than uncompressed 10bit 4K from the GH4's external box haven't you? Why exactly?

It is an 8 bit camera with a M4/3 sensor But it does have 96 fps which would interest me. I don't want the GH4 to be a bad camera My only interest is what I can do with it. Certainly 4K is only of use to me as a capture format. So far I haven't liked the images I have seen Maybe that will change but on paper the BM4K still looks the better buy with Global shutter Larger sensor and no need for a speedbooster which even though might add another stop it adds something else to the equation so focus marks are wrong and you get swirly bokeh I would rather have the BM4K than worry about that after all your already going to need to add NDs a mattebox as well as follow focus So the nearer you can get to a one stop solution the better.

However, Lets hope the GH4 pricing and image quality will give some relief but for me plugging canon lenses straight into the BM4K and recording pro res or raw and a full version of resolve will oudo dodgy HDMI connectionsextra expenses and add on adapters.
I have no ulterior motive here I clearly don't represent any manufacturers and I haven't bought the BM4K so no vested interest just a bit of common sense argument and conclusions reached ---SO FAR!!!!

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@Mark I really don't think Panasonic has rushed through anything to compete with BM. BM is no threat to Panny. And there are so many new features added to the GH4 - stuff everyone has been clamoring for - and still all this hostility toward the company. I simply don't get it. Some people are even calling this a BETA camera. WTF? Crippled? This is pure insanity. Get a grip. I'm happy it can record to regular SD cards or proprietary cards, whatever, it has tons of different file options, peaking, zebras, much higher resolution monitor and EVF (remains to be seen whether they are actually better though), and a bunch of other stuff like pedestal that I know nothing about but which I know for a fact aren't offered on the BMPCC or any other camera for under $2,000. Where is all this pent-up hostility toward Panasonic coming from? Are Nikon, Canon or Olympus making this kind of effort to put a video-worthy interchangeable lens camera into the hands of non-professionals like myself?

Hostility towards the company? Come on I just want the best tool I don't play favourites I cant afford to. Look Im happy for you if you want one but I am entitled to an opinion too. Everything I have said is relevant to the cameras and not out of bias or uninformed.

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I'm confused why you keep insisting it's an 8bit camera when it does 10bit over the HDMI port.

Yes its 10 bit out which is great but it doesn't do 10 bit in camera. A while back if panny had made the af101 a 10 bit camera they would have cleaned up However they added a pseudo 10 bit out when it was to late things have moved on and now BM do this in camera so Panny need to compete with that The day of the offboard recorder is coming to an end.

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@Mark If what you say is true, and I give you the benefit of the doubt, then you shouldn't jump to conclusions and accuse Panasonic of rushing this camera to market (that is, unless you have solid proof) in order to beat BM to the punch. That statement alone paints an ugly picture of Panasonic that I simply don't think is warranted. But let's call a truce, because I am really only a novice, you are much more demanding than I am, I'm sure.

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Just watched the "Light Of Yucatan" video in 4K on YouTube. That detail is insane! Looks like a moving poster.

Really? Were we watching the same video? Because I've downloaded 720p stuff off Pirate Bay that looked way better than that... And even the berated Sony AX100 video looked stronger to me, not that I'd buy it or anything... The only things I thought while watching that video were a) amazing that he could fit the tripod and 'copter in his backpack with half a dozen lenses and b) that I'll probably have to be super careful with focusing and my shaky hands in order to get anything half as decent as he got, because I think 4K will be much more unforgiving with focusing errors and camera movement...

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The day of the offboard recorder is coming to an end.

thats just not true Mark

 

All serious productions use off board recorders , they are here to stay and even more so now are are looking at bigger 4k files on these smaller consumer cameras

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