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Musty

My first Panasonic GH4 impressions

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So I played with the GH4 this afternoon at Jessops, Oxford Street, London. Although I spent around an hour with the camera, I was not allowed to record any footage to my SD card as the Panasonic rep said that the unit was a pre-production model without the release firmware. Being a nice chap, he did allow me to test many of the video functions and looked closely at the 2 Cinelike profiles the camera has, Cinelike D and Cinelike V.

 

I've never held a GH series camera in my hand before, so I was very suprised by the light weight of it. I'm used to the weight of my 5D MKIII with lump of L glass, so it was lovely to hold a camera that felt so nice in my hand. The OLED screen was very sharp and clear and worked perfectly to pull focus. The EVF was bright and full of detail. The eye piece was ultra comfortable. Focus peaking worked an absolute treat. A quick word about the autofocusing, its very impressive and I noticed no 'hunting'. I think it will be pefect for shooting with the 96fps function when you want to track something that is moving at speed.

 

The Cinelike profiles look interesting and I believe no footage we've seen so far has used these profiles to capture footage. Cinelike D is pretty much like a Technicolour style flat profile which is probably going to be the most used one on the GH4. Cinelike V seems to crush all the shadows into black and I found it hard to see what purpose this profile would serve.

 

The DR of the GH4 looks really good. Even though we were inside near the back of the store, when shooting out towards the windows, plenty of detail was retained outside. I know on my 5D, lots of it would have been blown out, almost white!

 

Unfortunately, I was not able to look for moire or aliasing as we could not connect the GH4 to a monitor and it was too hard to notice it on the OLED or EVF as they are too small.

 

In all, its a great camera and I can't wait to see more footage from it in the coming weeks. I did get the Panasonic rep to watch my showreel and while winking at him said I've love to shoot something for them :)

 

If you have any Q's please feel free to ask. Finally, some photos of the Cinelike profiles, this is the best I could do :(

 

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Adrian

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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

thanks for posting this most informative, I can see what you mean about the cine profiles one is more flat looking the other more saturated and crushed blacks

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I hope that you are also able to edit the profiles, any idea if you can? Or any indication of how far you can push the custom profile? (As I know this camera has Master Pedestal, something I haven't used since the Canon XHA1!). 

 

As a GH3 owner, the more I see of this camera the more my GH3 is likely to be on eBay! 

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I hope that you are also able to edit the profiles, any idea if you can? Or any indication of how far you can push the custom profile? (As I know this camera has Master Pedestal, something I haven't used since the Canon XHA1!). 

 

As a GH3 owner, the more I see of this camera the more my GH3 is likely to be on eBay! 

 

Keep the gh3 and use it as a second body. That's what i'm going to do. 

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Thanks for the info Adrian, that's exactly the kind of comparison I was hoping to see.  Cine-D, while not log, looks like it will be a great option for grading.  Frankly, I've always been concerned about the potential negative impact of recording with -5 contrast on my GH3 in an effort to gain latitude.  Skin tones on some occasions appear to be adversely affected even after selective contrast is reapplied in post.  It will be nice to have a factory "flat" profile that retains proper color science.  I imagine it will pair very well with plug-ins like Filmconvert.

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I have a GH4 on order and will sell the GH3. I am planning on moving totally from Nikon for my professional work to a combination of the GH4 and the EM1. That will give me the combination I would like to work with. I am more a stills photographer with video growing into the mix and the GH4 is the first camera to step into the flagship class of Nikon and Canon's 1DX and D4. While everyone is paying attention to the. Video side of the GH4, and rightly so, the stills side has some very impressive steps forward for my wedding and portrait photography.

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I hope that you are also able to edit the profiles, any idea if you can? Or any indication of how far you can push the custom profile? (As I know this camera has Master Pedestal, something I haven't used since the Canon XHA1!). 

 

As a GH3 owner, the more I see of this camera the more my GH3 is likely to be on eBay! 

You can change the shadow and highlight curves in camera, so the scope for tweeking the custom profile is pretty massive!

 

Thanks for the info Adrian, that's exactly the kind of comparison I was hoping to see.  Cine-D, while not log, looks like it will be a great option for grading.  Frankly, I've always been concerned about the potential negative impact of recording with -5 contrast on my GH3 in an effort to gain latitude.  Skin tones on some occasions appear to be adversely affected even after selective contrast is reapplied in post.  It will be nice to have a factory "flat" profile that retains proper color science.  I imagine it will pair very well with plug-ins like Filmconvert.

Yes, Cine-D immediately looked like Technicolour to my eyes, very flat and the blacks raised a fair bit in order to preserve information in the shadows.

 

Thank you for sharing! What can you tell about low light?

I was unable to test low light as the store was fairly bright and the 35mm lens on the camera was only f3.5.

 

Slowly but surely, some new videos are starting to surface and with some reports that the BMCC 4K is usless at ISO 800, I think Panasonic is in a great position to upset all their rivals. In case you don't know it yet, Panasonic are giving everyone who buys a GH4 a free spare battery and BATTERY GRIP when the promo is claimed through their website! If I'm not mistaken, a grip costs around £200 in the UK.

 

I found this GH4 video earlier today, I don't know about you guys, but it looks like there is heaps of DR!

 

 

Finally some testers are putting out some decent clips!

 

Adrian

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You can change the shadow and highlight curves in camera, so the scope for tweeking the custom profile is pretty massive!

 

Yes, Cine-D immediately looked like Technicolour to my eyes, very flat and the blacks raised a fair bit in order to preserve information in the shadows.

 

I was unable to test low light as the store was fairly bright and the 35mm lens on the camera was only f3.5.

 

Slowly but surely, some new videos are starting to surface and with some reports that the BMCC 4K is usless at ISO 800, I think Panasonic is in a great position to upset all their rivals. In case you don't know it yet, Panasonic are giving everyone who buys a GH4 a free spare battery and BATTERY GRIP when the promo is claimed through their website! If I'm not mistaken, a grip costs around £200 in the UK.

 

I found this GH4 video earlier today, I don't know about you guys, but it looks like there is heaps of DR!

 

 

Finally some testers are putting out some decent clips!

 

Adrian

 

 

I personally thought that test footage was a little bit rubbish. Always the case with test clips. Why don't these testers use a bit of imagination and do a wider variety of shots? Why do testers hardly ever film peoples faces for skin tones? Is it a lack of time.....? Who knows. 

 

The DR does look better than a GH3, but I wouldn't know for sure unless I used the camera myself. I never base any opinion from a test clip, only when a skilled user has actually put the camera through its paces. 

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One thing you can take from the test is that there's no banding at all.  The shot above the Notre Dame (I think?  I don't know Paris) shows some absolutely clear skies.  Try that with your hacked GH2, or even the GH3.  We know there's detail, but the color and tones are more important for an 8-bit image.  I'm liking what I see and I can't wait to get a GH4!

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Doesn't a flat profile with 8bit 4.2.0 file mean banding danger when graded? I never found the lack of a flat profile in the GH3 a problem to be honest and using something like cine style in my canon DSLR's landed me with many shots ruined by banding in skies.

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I found this GH4 video earlier today, I don't know about you guys, but it looks like there is heaps of DR!

 

 

Finally some testers are putting out some decent clips!

 

Adrian

It looks pretty good, but I'm not really seeing the wide DR here, at least not by Blackmagic standards.

 

Michael

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