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Panasonic GH4 Production Diary - Day 4 - Low light


Andrew Reid

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Well the 5D Mark III here is raw. No compression.

 

There's zero macro blocking in raw due to no compression.

 

The GH4 gives you 8x smaller 4K files than the Blackmagic Production Camera, something has to give. It does have macro blocking in areas of the image where space is being saved such on plain skies, very dark shadows, etc.

 

It does have banding too but this is reduced when you go 4K > 1080p.

 

Banding isn't a problem with the GH4 like the GH3. It only really appears when you push the ISO to silly levels like here, or do a really extreme grade and you have a blue sky taking up almost all the frame.

With a variable bitrate, the GH4 will allocate less bitrate to the sky frames, so the less detail in the shot, the more compressed it ends up being.

 

When the scene is well lit and detailed the codec does a great job, almost as good as a JPEG.

 

If the GH4 lacks a fine grain and that's what you want, you can do noise reduction but then add back the film texture afterwards with Film Convert.

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From my week long experience with shooting GH4, dynamic range is at least a match for the 5D Mark III raw.

Andrew, I really have no words to thank you about all the test and the energy you invested on this reviews, with all the info you give us have made my choice easier, but now the ambient became dark ag

Andrew, I've just come back here to give my apologises - just downloaded it. It IS a big difference... WOW. Its much finer, less blotchy than the GH3 - and much sharper too!

When the scene is well lit and detailed the codec does a great job, almost as good as a JPEG.

 

If the GH4 lacks a fine grain and that's what you want, you can do noise reduction but then add back the film texture afterwards with Film Convert.

 

Agreed mate. That all important thing called light eh! :). Samples I've seen thus far seem to be OK in the blues of the sky though, so there's hope for the compressed in camera image. I have seen some macro'ing on the skintone test on vimeo, but it takes a keen eye.

 

I know where you're coming from with film convert, love it on a clean frame, but it doesn't rescue the macros and posterisation.

 

When will you be publishing some YAGH footage? Or is that further down the pipeline?

 

And pretty please can we have some 1.5x Isco on 4K as I reckon the 2.40 horizontal crop from 2.66 will survive marvellously.

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Thanks for the test Andrew. Did you shoot the 5D in h.264 or Raw? It seems h.264'ísh but I could be wrong...

 

The GH4 seems to have less dynamic range overall, having a darker sky and more blown out lights and reflections on the windscreens. 

 

The DOF difference is also pretty huge, but that was to be expected.  

 

To me, the 5D still remains the ruler of the dark....

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Thanks for the test Andrew. Did you shoot the 5D in h.264 or Raw? It seems h.264'ísh but I could be wrong...

 

The GH4 seems to have less dynamic range overall, having a darker sky and more blown out lights and reflections on the windscreens. 

 

The DOF difference is also pretty huge, but that was to be expected.  

 

To me, the 5D still remains the ruler of the dark....

 File name says RAW. Don't agree with the DR. Look at the clipping in the door ways, much better on the GH4, plus Andrew said there's slightly darker grade on the GH4. DOF does look very different, 'too' different if you ask me. I don't know what's going on there, as it shouldn't be that different, but on inspection the GH4 certainly looks wider FoV and focused mid scene and the 5DIII at infinity.

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Having downloaded and watched file. . .

 

To me the noise grain looks a little better on 5D III past 3200... but it's not significant and I like the GH4 image better overall.

 

If this is 5D raw, then I'm quite impressed. We're comparing raw to compressed.

Remember that we (should) see an appreciable improvement yet on the GH4 image once we're looking at 4k 10bit output. Dynamic range and noise should surely improve. We lose something in compression. (though I'm still loving the image)

 

Also. . . 

 

While the base DR on the sensor for the GH4 is better than the 5D III (per dxomark if you look at gh3 vs 5D III) it should definitely start losing that battle once you get above iso 400. That's when canon -- even pitted against Nikon, low ISO DR kings among still cameras -- really shines. In general that's where full frame cameras leave behind lesser sensors. (crops and 4:3 etc)

 

So that it does this well at all is impressive. 

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Hey guys, Loving what your are doing here.  I tried to download the GH4 files this time but the link isn't sending me to a folder to DL the files.  I think you copied the page URL instead of the Copy share link.  I'd love to get my hands on that.

 

Also, You posted that you are shooting in CineLike-D but what are the other settings ? (Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, Noise Reduction). I'm wondering what the difference is at 6400 iso per notch of Noise reduction at 4k then down-sampled to 1080p.

 

Glad to have finally registered for the forums, Looking forward to your NAB coverage.

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It's really important you download the original clip on this one :) Vimeo's compression hides all the noise.

But this is where we run into the impasse. If our web services throttle any gains, what's the point? Just playing devil's advocate here, as obviously the streaming quality will improve shortly when next gen codecs h.265 and vp9 arrive on the scene, making this an exercise in future proofing. And I can see the difference, even in the web clips. I tried watching a mushy music video obviously shot with a 5D or something, and I couldn't even look at it :)

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Thank you as always for your work Andrew!

One question: in my experiments with Pana G and Canon EOS the ISO settings over different cameras don't match perfectly. It's the same with the gh4 and 5d3? I mean at the same iso is one brighter than the other or are they roughly the same?

Would be nice to see the same test ungraded too!  :D

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This camera is SICK!! WOW.  For a HD production, the downscale looks amazing. I wonder who it goes in 2k! 

I am shooting with a 50D and I have managed to have some great results by nailing the clients expectations. It is time for me to upgrade, so I think my investment will defenetly be in the Panasonic gh4 and for the movies and series production I will wait for some reviews of the KineMAX camera (looks to be a monster!). But have to wait on the last one, to have the best buy possible! Every penny counts...

But the gh4 footage looks amazing. And the workflow will be faster and "unmessy" like the Canon RAW (it is easy, but time consuming and sometimes, there is something going wrong at some point in the workflow, and it delays the process at the worst times!)

Defenetly a wise buy. And with that "super batery+audiomixer" battery grip, you can do a one man show with a lot of quality!!

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 File name says RAW. Don't agree with the DR. Look at the clipping in the door ways, much better on the GH4, plus Andrew said there's slightly darker grade on the GH4. DOF does look very different, 'too' different if you ask me. I don't know what's going on there, as it shouldn't be that different, but on inspection the GH4 certainly looks wider FoV and focused mid scene and the 5DIII at infinity.

 

Although pretty faint, the doorways actually show more definition and color-retainment in the 5D. Take a look at the round building in the background and the lamppost on the right. The 5D maintains a lot of detail in the building and at the same time still shows the bulb of the lamppost at high ISO's. The bulb in the GH4 lamppost is indistinguishable and the building is just a black smudge. 

 

Also, when it comes to color retainment: take a look at the little plants on the right. They are green in the 5D, but grey in the GH4. This is also noticeable in the last shot (check the green leafs).

 

This is of course the benefit of Raw (imagine a GH4 with Raw hack... :rolleyes:)  

 

Maybe the vof is influenced by the speedbooster? I don't know. The Sigma/Metabones combo also suffers a lot less from CA (+1 for Metabones). 

 

Still, for the price the GH4 is an awesome piece of gear and it is still on my comparison list!

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Although pretty faint, the doorways actually show more definition and color-retainment in the 5D. Take a look at the round building in the background and the lamppost on the right. The 5D maintains a lot of detail in the building and at the same time still shows the bulb of the lamppost at high ISO's. The bulb in the GH4 lamppost is indistinguishable and the building is just a black smudge. 

 

Also, when it comes to color retainment: take a look at the little plants on the right. They are green in the 5D, but grey in the GH4. This is also noticeable in the last shot (check the green leafs).

 

This is of course the benefit of Raw (imagine a GH4 with Raw hack... :rolleyes:)  

 

Maybe the vof is influenced by the speedbooster? I don't know. The Sigma/Metabones combo also suffers a lot less from CA (+1 for Metabones). 

 

Still, for the price the GH4 is an awesome piece of gear and it is still on my comparison list!

I noticed this aswell.  I still think the 5D raw is better all around in low light BUT the price point for the GH4 + Speedbooster is a tremendous combination that is impossible to ignore.  

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