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Having *finally* (is almost 2021!) upgraded my YouTube vlogging camera from the Panasonic G6 to the Panasonic GH4


IronFilm

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Have loved the Panasonic G6, such a big upgrade from the original Panasonic GH1 which I started this filmmaking journey with (although technically it was my girlfriend's Nikon D90 or my sister's Canon T2i that I borrowed for the first handful of shoots), but in recent years I've been considering an upgrade. First to the Panasonic G7, simply to get 4K, but as the price of the Panasonic G85 kept on coming down on eBay that tempted me instead for the better low light, the live HDMI out, and of course the IBIS! But this is a slippery slope, because as I wait... then the Panasonic G9 got that big 10bit firmware update, and their prices were coming down with time too. (& more firmware updates came out too, such as better AF for the G9, and being a USB webcam for the G9)

Never really seriously considered the Panasonic GH5 or GH4, as they always got the most attention, thus I felt they always kept up the highest prices on the secondhand market, compared to the value that the Panasonic G series offered instead. But I still kept half an eye on the GH4/GH5 sales, just in case. Even considered a few alternative options such as Fujifilm, or for instance the Panasonic S1 that I bid on last week until the price shot up far too high for my tastes. In the end I kept on coming back to Panasonic MFT as offering by far the best value for money. (& the fact I already owned MFT lenses helped too)

However, today I won an action for a Panasonic GH4 for only NZ$417! (less than US$300)
That was a price too good to ignore (but I doubt I'd have bid a penny higher), thus to my surprise I find out I've settled with the old Panasonic GH4 as the upgrade from the G6 I'm going with. Even though I'd like the IBIS / better high ISO / etc of the G85 or G9, it isn't such a bad thing to have settled for this cheap deal of a GH4 because it is just going to be for casual vlogging usage to create simple content for my YouTube channel

One very small benefit of going with the Panasonic GH4, is that when the price of the Panasonic G9 finally tumbles down to sub US$300 (right after the Panasonic G12 gets released?), then I'll be able to use the same Panasonic DMW-BLF19 batteries in both! (which wouldn't have been possible if I'd got a G7 or G85)

Now, how many more years until I upgrade my "big camera", the Sony PMW-F3? The F3 is a truly fantastic camera! I still think there isn't a better 1080 camera at this price point (but the world is moving onto 4K). Had it a fair few years, unfortunately the F3's popularity didn't last too long because the Canon C300mk1 got released shortly after and the C300mk1 just *dominated* the low / mid end professional work for that generational cycle. (interesting how the secondhand F3 has seen a bit of renaissance in 2019/2020 thanks to Caleb Pike & others)

Been wanting to do the natural upgrade to a Sony PMW-F5 for a while now, but can't justify it because as a Sound Mixer I don't do a high enough volume of camera work. The FS7/FS5 or even a secondhand FS700R might very well make more sense! (I like for instance all the work done with the FS700R by this guy: https://vimeo.com/paulbates However the FS700 isn't as nicely ergonomic as the FS5! That compact size is fantastic)

Just keeping my eyes open for the right secondhand deal, in absolutely no rush whatsoever. (as I'm still primarily by far a Production Sound Mixer, as what I do day to day)

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G6 and F3, we both share the same love for a digital image. My G6 stopped working. The HD image out of it was some of the most organic footage, when graded, only lessend by the puny codec, which broke apart in lower light. I imagine the 50mbit codec of the GH3 already works wonders compared to it. Loved the form factor with its perfect size, the light weight, even the unobstusive boring design. Function and ergo was perfect. One of my dearest cams. I dig a great HD image. I imagine the 100mbit HD of the GH4 is the best HD image 300 bucks can buy, congrats to your purchase!  @IronFilm The 200mbit ALL Intra flavour shouldnt even be necessary.

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4 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

My G6 stopped working.

Noooooo...... what happened?

4 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

Loved the form factor with its perfect size, the light weight, even the unobstusive boring design. Function and ergo was perfect.

Yeah, upgrading from the G6 to the bigger bodied GH4 isn't a good thing! But oh well, GH4 is still a small camera. 

4 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

I imagine the 100mbit HD of the GH4 is the best HD image 300 bucks can buy, congrats to your purchase!  @IronFilm The 200mbit ALL Intra flavour shouldnt even be necessary.

I couldn't imagine a better purchase for sub US$300!
But I'll be using it for the 4K, not the HD, got to get that extra 1% in the YouTube rankings 😉 

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G6 just does not start anymore. It was disappointed in delivering such a beautiful image with great gradeable colours, but to be bothered by the tiny codec. :) Codec does well in midtones, but in lowlight shadows are artefacts heaven. Wrong kinda heaven of course. I loved the colour and organic feel of the footage, but only after grading. It took me months of builing my G6 Lut. It has evolved into my general lut for lumix cameras. So I owe a lot to that camera.

I still have a G7, which has the perfect HD image to my eyes but the same tiny codec. GX85 in HD is subpar compared to these cameras, though 4K with it is beautiful. Now, where were we at? :) The HD 100mbit on the GH4 might just be the coolest thing one can get for 300bucks. Upscaling it to 4K should do. Wondering if it has the same poetic Gestalt as the image coming from the G6. By the way, the 8bit 100mbit HD from the GH5 is stellar, 10bit no contest. But everyone knows that. GH4 10bit hack or even better update would be awesome. The latter, now that would be some Panasonic love!

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  • 3 weeks later...

GH4 is simply a great camera.  It has massive usability with all the customisable buttons and menus.  The 4K image is really nice.  The battery life is simply insane.  Use genuine batteries and it is actually difficult to go through two in a single day.  Some shoot days pass without a battery change.  I've never owned a video camera of any kind that managed power like that.  Unfortunately the GH5 has not carried on that aspect.

Only downsides - 8-bit internal only, and low-light performance, which is decidedly meh.  Any other omission is just a matter of need / taste / luxury really. 

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@PannySVHS none of your guesses were right, but one was very close. I came so very very close to doing exactly that. 

But then I didn't.
 

1 hour ago, Mmmbeats said:

GH4 is simply a great camera.  It has massive usability with all the customisable buttons and menus.  The 4K image is really nice.  The battery life is simply insane.  Use genuine batteries and it is actually difficult to go through two in a single day.  Some shoot days pass without a battery change.  I've never owned a video camera of any kind that managed power like that.  Unfortunately the GH5 has not carried on that aspect.

Got the original that came with the GH4, plus a pack of 4 third party batteries. Overkill? Yes. Doubt even an weekend long hiking trip could make me run out of batteries. 
 

1 hour ago, Mmmbeats said:

Only downsides - 8-bit internal only, and low-light performance, which is decidedly meh.  Any other omission is just a matter of need / taste / luxury really. 

Yeah those first two negatives I don't mind terribly, not when it is merely for my YouTube channel. (which has an embarrassingly lot of content merely filmed with just an iPad or cellphone!)
Honestly much rather have the IBIS and AF of the G9 than the 10bit or low light performance. 
But the GH5/G9 vs GH4 savings means I could put that money into other more "sensible" (stupid?) purchases such as this "other 4K camera" I just got. 

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