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Andrew Reid

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

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Great insight, Andrew! I'm very excited about this camera. I just hope internal 4:2:2 will be available as an option and the low light performance is improved over the GH3.

And about the 4K crop factor, is it only present in 4K or is 2.3x also present in 1080p? And would a BlackMagic Cinema Camera Speed Booster work on the camera? I remember you mentioning there's a protuberance that interferes with the shutter (in the GH3 at least) so it can't be used on a Panasonic camera. But what if I don't care about stills? It's just physically impossible?

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Great insight, Andrew! I'm very excited about this camera. I just hope internal 4:2:2 will be available as an option and the low light performance is improved over the GH3. And possibly at $1,499 in the US??? I'm definitely getting it still.

And about the 4K crop factor, is it only present in 4K or is 2.3x also present in 1080p? And would a BlackMagic Cinema Camera Speed Booster work on the camera? I remember you mentioning there's a protuberance that interferes with the shutter (in the GH3 at least) so it can't be used on a Panasonic camera. But what if I don't care about stills? It's just physically impossible?

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I've famously gripped (pre speed booster days ) that there isn't enough bokeh in m43 sensors making foreground / background separation challenging. The sweet spot is DX/APSC NOT ff, but the engineers at Panasonic have an obsession it seems. Now. Reading the spec more closely, looks like there's even more crop factor with this 4k sensor, which is a real deal killer for me. Then again, I have zero invested in M43 lenses.

 

4:3 is awesome for me because I don't want bokeh -- I'm shooting landscapes and want everything in focus.

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Thinking of pairing the GH4 with something like the Aja Ki Pro Mini recorder ($900 used) or a Sound Devices Pix 220i thank to the 10Bit HDMI recording and XLR inputs of this devices.

The Lumix DMC-YAGH Interface, make no much sense to me without internal recording, as you notice Andrew, if you get the interface then need another external recorder, so? the rig will be even bigger.

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For me it isn't a huge issue as we now have it via HDMI, with the advantage of SSD media capacities, prices, much better focussing and monitoring if you choose a recorder like the Atomos Ninja!

 

ProRes 10bit 4:2:2 is very processor intensive, maybe Panasonic didn't want to give us 40 minute battery run times like Blackmagic ;)

Good point, but I can take my BMPCC, with my Honu cage, and my Alphatron evf, and get great focussing and monitoring, as well as recording a very high quality 1080 10-bit image in the camera. You'll be able to put a cage around the GH4, and attach an Atomos Ninja, and get a very crisp 1080 10-bit image recorded to that.

 

They'll both take up about the same amount of space, neither will pass as stealth or even low-key particularly. The difference is, I don't need to spend a dollar more - I can do it today.

 

I applaud Blackmagic for providing us the opportunity to take great images cheaply, and for kicking the bigger guys up the arse.

 

I applaud Panasonic for putting this option out there - but seriously, internal recording 10-bit, 422...

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Great article, Andrew, as usual. Thanks very much.

 

I know it's an exciting new prospect, with lots of features to look forward to, but I'm really surprised it's not possible to record 4:2:2 internally. Especially since the new cards are so damn expensive.

 

I mean, the BMPCC can record 10bit 4:2:2 internally on sub $100 64GB SD cards, why not this camera?

 

And a remote 12V brick to power the brick?

 

You've said it in the past, and it's equally true here - no one has combined the features most of us crave (Olympus-style internal stabilisation, pro-audio in, focus peaking, zebras, broadcast-quality internal recording capability, nd filters, ergonomic design, high frame rates) at the moderate end of the market.

 

We know they can do it.

 

To take advantage of all the features this camera has to offer it's gonna mean a shoulder rig, an external 12v power supply, external evf, external recorder, and all the cables and clutter that we already deal with.

 

It just ain't elegant.

 

This is where I'm at too. Amazing specs and probably a camera I will buy.  But seems like big steps forward while forgetting some fundamentals. Though it's true that it depends so much on what you are doing, and what's most important to you.

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If you are doing 1080 stuff only, which camera would be a better option, the new GH4 or the ML RAW 5Diii? What do you guys think?

 

It's going to be hard to beat raw quality, even if with good 10 bit output. But there are tons of other useability/price questions you need to factor in -- only you can decide what makes sense for you.

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Clarification. Is the 2.3x crop present in ALL 4k recording (both 3840x2160 and 4096 x 2160) or just in Cinema 4k (4096x2160)?

 

To be exact I think it's 2.17x in 4096 and 2.33x in 3840.

 

In order words the 4096 x 2160 DCI 4K mode is 17% smaller than the sensor area used in 16:9 1080p mode.

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It's going to be hard to beat raw quality, even if with good 10 bit output. But there are tons of other useability/price questions you need to factor in -- only you can decide what makes sense for you.

 

The main reason I shot raw was to learn DaVinci Resolve and make full use of the Blackmagic cameras and make use of a 5D Mark III liberated from the hum-ho stock video mode. Raw gave me lovely ProRes and much better resolution and colour on the 5D Mark III so I am very grateful for it and the efforts of Magic Lantern.

 

But given the choice I will always choose a compressed codec over raw, as long as the image quality is in the ballpark, I don't have an overwhelming desire to spend hours in Resolve doing heavy grading work on everything I shoot. There's also space considerations and it does creep up on you after a while with the Cinema DNG files.

 

Raw is still a GREAT solution for the 5D Mark III and unshackling that beautiful full frame sensor.

 

In future though, I'd rather just have a good compressed codec.

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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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To be exact I think it's 2.17x in 4096 and 2.33x in 3840.

 

In order words the 4096 x 2160 DCI 4K mode is 17% smaller than the sensor area used in 16:9 1080p mode.

 

Although the actual horizontal crop is less, around 11% for DCI, 17% for 3850. (I guess I worry more about horizontal space loss and feel a bit better know there isn't as much lost there)

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There are only 7 shots that seem out of focus and out of place in comparison to the rest of the shots and in comparison to the sharpness from the AX100 sample video. Most of them are the copter shots where checking focus would be even harder and might include some cropping for digital zoom and maybe some post stabilisation?

0:09 Temple fly over

0:29 Birds fly over and crop?

0:44 Temple fly over

1:00 Temple fly over

1:19 Birds crop?

1:23 Birds (focus on background, telephoto)

1:44 Beach stabilized

 

The shots right next to all of them look great. Unfortunately those are some of the nicest shots due to the movement in them.

This opinion is from viewing on various 1080 monitors.

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In future though, I'd rather just have a good compressed codec.

 

Amen to that.  For a short film narrative, :60 spot, or maybe a music video I'd consider a shoot in RAW because the workflow for those projects are suited for a pedantic approach.  

 

I'm certainly not tenacious enough to use RAW for my long-form documentaries though, and that's where I do most of my stuff.

 

Folks need to realize that for every job there are different solutions.  Gets kind of nuts when people argue about the "best" camera.  

 

"Best" camera?  In what context, you know?

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To be exact I think it's 2.17x in 4096 and 2.33x in 3840.

 

In order words the 4096 x 2160 DCI 4K mode is 17% smaller than the sensor area used in 16:9 1080p mode.

 

I worked the crop factors out at 2.5 for quad hd and 2.3 for cinema 4k.

 

The maths:

 

width of (the imaging area of) the sensor (17.3) divided by the horizontal sensor resolution (4608) times the crop horizontal resolution (3840,4096) gives the horizontal width of the crop which is 14.41mm and 15.57mm respectively.

 

Divide 36 by these widths to get crop factors of 2.498 and 2.312.

 

(for lens image circle coverage purposes they have diagonals of 16.53mm and 17.55mm [you can google pythagoras if you want the maths on that ])

 

 

One question I have is does it have an anti aliasing filter.  stills cams usually do (besides from the resent trend).  If it does, this will be a big advantage over the bmpc which wont have one.  of course the filter makes things softer but when you downscale to 1080 its crisp but also clean.

 

Regardless of the codec specs i think it will come down to the overall image character in terms of things like smooth highlights and colour etc that will prove whether this camera wins compared to its rivals.

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try to act like it. 

 

Third post's a charm, right?  Curious: are you the guy that makes those vampire movies?

 

As for the 4K.  I got no issues with a blogger that enjoys tech getting excited about new tech.  The fact that he fosters that excitement is okay by me.

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But given the choice I will always choose a compressed codec over raw, as long as the image quality is in the ballpark, I don't have an overwhelming desire to spend hours in Resolve doing heavy grading work on everything I shoot. There's also space considerations and it does creep up on you after a while with the Cinema DNG files.

 

Granted, I've only graded really tiny projects, but coming as a stills shooter who only shoots in raw, going back to a compressed codec is kinda like going back to 2001 with JPEG photos. I feel a little restricted by the lack of options in post-processing. While it's currently the least of my worries (there's a ton of other things to learn in the transition to video), I still feel having the option there will be good, especially so if there is some groundbreaking software in the future, like the Aperture/Lightroom did for raw on stills.

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