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Panasonic GH4 vs Sony A7S compared - who wins the 4K battle on paper?


Andrew Reid

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It looks like the story of 2014 is taking shape in the form of 4K on high end mirrorless cameras. Last year for me it was raw on the 5D Mark III which excited me the most and before that it was the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. This year is more exciting on the tech and creative front than any I can remember.

Let's look at exactly how the 4K shooting GH4 and A7S compare.

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I am not a pro, not in the cinema field. I write free-lance articles and illustrate them with my pictures. Nowadays, more and more magazines ask for motion pictures for their online presence, so I am

I have seen some externally recorded A7S footage which is secret for now. The friend can't publish yet.   I have to say I am absolutely blown away by it.   The low light performance and dynamic ra

Believe me, A7s isn't "everything we ever asked for". If it was, it'd have 10-bit at the least. Have you ever worked with a true 10-bit video image as opposed to 8-bit? It's a world of difference. Any

If we could get these two cameras to procreate we would have the camera baby of our dreams! I like your solution get both! Seriously great thoughtful, rational comparison. Thank you. If you could only budget for one of these little beasts which would it be? This becomes so subjective and personal to ones needs as there is no obvious, no holds-bar winner! I think I will consult my astrologer. Ha! cheers. 

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Do recall that Sony been dancing around that A mount 4K body idea and I think its very likely the A mount body would come out to be the real 4K hardgun Sony going to offer. More like the GH4, an A mount body would be more an all inclusive solution where the A7s can be seen as a compact modular type of platform ( I do actually think the external 4K recording not really a bad idea for the A7s )

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I don't like that A mount on the Sony. Why no E mount? What's the "adaptabilty" on the Alphas? I remember I bought an MD lens that came with an MD to A adapter and it had a lens for infinity focus... :S

 

Lol.. why buy an MD when you have a full range of cheap old minolta lenses with autofocus that work perfectly on the A mount.

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What you mean it records 1280X720 at 120 fps with or without recorder.

The a7s can do 720p120 and 1080p60, but the recorder can even do 1080p120 which is great. I was just asking if you can actually capture 1080p120 via HDMI like the 4k recording works over external recorder only. But if not, I can't understand why they made this 1080p120 possible as it's specially designed / developed for the Sony a7s. I wish there would be a way for 1080p at 120fps out of the a7s

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I think an important factor to add in is, how good will the A7s be for stills. If you have a smaller Canon Mark 3 equivalent - you're enjoying the best quality stills camera with the best quality video camera. I think the GH4 could be lacking in that department a bit.

 

Not many seem to appreciate M43 photos.   Steve Huff is about the only one making a mark evangelizing for M43 as a photo format.  Personally, I like it.  It doesn't feel limiting to me.

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Not many seem to appreciate M43 photos.   Steve Huff is about the only one making a mark evangelizing for M43 as a photo format.  Personally, I like it.  It doesn't feel limiting to me.

Im a gh1 and nex 7 owner and certainly enjoyed both for photos, but my decision as to whether to go for the GH4 or A7s would definitely take stills into consideration. Full frame and not dealing with crop factor opens up more options. at the same time, I do like the pana 20mm 1.7 and the look of the new 15mm 1.7. It's a tough decision. I'll enjoy the next few months of pixel peaking and watching tests and comparisons thoroughly.

 

I'm just saying that if the sony is a far better stills camera, that carries some weight in my decision. 

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Andrew have you realized that the Sony A7S sensor reads out image data from every pixel with both resolutions available(4K and 1080p) at both APS-C and full-frame size?
Obviously you can use your Cooke lenses...
No need to buy a speed booster(an extra cost for GH4 users) and you get the best of both worlds APS-C and full-frame natively. You can adapt a massive number of lenses and you can use the growing variety of Sony APS-C e-mount lenses. Then again every full-frame lens now can be used in 2 different focal lengths within the same camera. An excellent feature for those looking for lightweight packages with small footprint, documentary work etc.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

The a7s can do 720p120 and 1080p60, but the recorder can even do 1080p120 which is great. I was just asking if you can actually capture 1080p120 via HDMI like the 4k recording works over external recorder only. But if not, I can't understand why they made this 1080p120 possible as it's specially designed / developed for the Sony a7s. I wish there would be a way for 1080p at 120fps out of the a7s

 
You're having a misunderstanding of the Atomos recorder, 
Atomos Shogun is not designed only for the A7s. Not at all. It's a product from Atomos sitting above the Ninja and Samurai with better features. So works with any camera. C500, F5, F55, FS700, Dslrs, anything . That's why it has 1080p at 60fps. 

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I am not a pro, not in the cinema field. I write free-lance articles and illustrate them with my pictures. Nowadays, more and more magazines ask for motion pictures for their online presence, so I am learning film. I can probably sell smaller reports, short films, documentaries…

 

I trust Panasonic. They have been focused on my segment. They have listened to our ideas and criticism and developed the GH2-GH3-GH4 family accordingly. The GH4 looks like a finished product, not like a must-have idea. The M43 system has a good range of lenses, and the size/weight is certainly a benefit when travelling.

 

I don’t trust Blackmagic Design. They are very sympathetic but I don’t know, how interested they are in my segment. They look to be more interested in developing new ideas, instead of completing existing ones.

 

I don’t know about Sony. They look interested but they are so focused on the pro segment, they will probably forget me concerning some features.

 

I am sure about Canon. I will sell my stuff, I am just fed-up. What can I expect from a company, whose most interesting video features are handled by an enthusiastic hacker/reverseengineering community?

 

At last, I shouldn’t forget my first love, Nikon. There have been an April’s news about, Ricoh is buying them… I certainly hope so, because I don’t think Nikon is around here as an independent company in 3 years from now.

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I'd like to start off by saying the Sony looks like it's going to be a fantastic camera.  The 12 megapixel sensor idea is something I know Andrew has mentioned at least once years ago as a great solution for video when everyone was upping megapixel counts, mostly for marketing reasons.  Well, Sony has done it here.   Pretty amazing. 

 

That said,  I want 4k now, and I don't want to have to buy some add-on to get it, as it seems to throw out the whole small form factor dslr concept.  Panasonic just seems to "Get me" more than pretty much everyone else right now.  Sure, they have "The Brick" add on, but it's not necessary for what I do, and if it becomes necessary I know it's there.  I'm still not 100% sold on my next camera purchase, but it's looking like it's going to be the GH4 for me.  I don't purchase cameras often so when I do it's something I have to use for at least the next 3-4 years.  

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