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Andrew Reid

5D Mark III raw versus Panasonic GH4

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The GH4's resolution is mind blowing there. Really impressive. I think it will be amazing for green screen work specifically. Cinematically, sharpness is not exactly a look I would always want to go for, but you can always use lenses or post to unsharpen or add more character. Vica versa is not possible (i.e.: adding detail where the resolution isn't there) so definitely not putting down the sharpness. Amazing detail out of the box, no hack.

 

As for the "video" look people talk about... what video cameras are people comparing the GH look to? I think often its either 30p, bad lighting, stock lenses, using all auto settings and ultimately a basic point and shoot handheld style that give these cameras a "video" feel. The whole "video look" comments are quite ridiculous really.

 

The article wraps up my sentiments perfectly. The single hesitation I have is that its not full frame. FF is not a gimmick - it allows for wider shots to be used with lenses performing at their intended focal view. Better low - light. Shallower depth of field. I like all of these features quite considerably... making my expectations very high at the upcoming Sony A7s.

 

I think whoever is not really needing a new camera would be sensible to wait 6 months. Now that the GH4 seems to set the standard for sharpness and detail... who knows, maybe the next 4K beast will feature a global shutter. That would be a real winner.

 

Whatever the case, at $1700 this is very very tempting. Lets just cross fingers for the A7s as being a good FF alternative. 

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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

I want a GH4 but unfortunately I don't really need one now so it's not really a priority.

 

I saw a post saying that Panasonic is rethinking the GX line. The GH4 is safe with all the unique feats such as 4K, 200k shots shutter cyble, 12fps, etc.

 

A GX8 would kill if it had GH3's 50mbps IPB and the IBIS working in video mode. It would be great for both stills and FHD video, it would have the IBIS for lenses with adapter, it would be smaller than the GH line up, it would not have the articulated screen but it would have a great balance between size, stills and video feats.

 

This way Panasonic could even dump the G line up and/or refocus the GF line up. Anyway, Panasonic will not be able to keep GH, G, GX, GF and GM, way too many camera line ups, the GF loses value every day after it's launched, packing some video feats into a GX would be a nice - and awesome - solution for many people.

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Already tested for those paying attention, it isn't a big win for the 5D actually!

 

Obviously I meant you made no mention in the article this thread is attached to - the one that compares the image of the 2 cameras overall. The 5D is superior in low light. I saw your low light comparison - the 5D has very noticeably superior colour, and it has the edge in DR.

I have a feeling the 5D will lend itself to bringing up the shadows a lot more too. There are very large areas of crushed blacks in your shots - especially the GH4. What about when you want to see into the shadows?

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A GX8 would kill if it had GH3's 50mbps IPB and the IBIS working invideo mode. It would be great for both stills and FHD video, it would have the IBIS for lenses with adapter, it would be smaller than the GH line up, it would not have the articulated screen but it would have a great balance between size, stills and video feats.

 

Oh yes, for sure. Using manual lenses with in body stabilization is a luxury I've never experienced. Would be awesome. I think with the low light of the A7s its probably never going to come in handy though... but a cool feature nevertheless.

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Great comparison review Andrew. You really hit some points on my mind as I've been going back and forth which camera to get if I were to choose one. I think the GH4 would be a great start for me in my particular situation and could see going to a full frame/raw workflow possibly down the road. Thanks for the info!

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I stay off that forum, it's a total abject waste of my time to be involved in defending cameras. Defend a country! Defend a person. But not a bloody camera :)

 

This. I do find consumer loyalty quite funny. Not everyone is in a position to lash out on a new body every year - so its not surprising that there is a bit of that defensive (brand loyal) attitude to justify expensive purchases. I suppose thats where the resentment comes from - having spent hard earned cash on a particular camera, only to discover that there are better buys to be had. It's an inevitable reality. Thats why I always like to hear from those less biased reviewers who own multiple systems and seem less emotionally charged about their splurges.

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The GH4's resolution is mind blowing there. Really impressive. I think it will be amazing for green screen work specifically. Cinematically, sharpness is not exactly a look I would always want to go for, but you can always use lenses or post to unsharpen or add more character. Vica versa is not possible (i.e.: adding detail where the resolution isn't there) so definitely not putting down the sharpness. Amazing detail out of the box, no hack.

 

As for the "video" look people talk about... what video cameras are people comparing the GH look to? I think often its either 30p, bad lighting, stock lenses, using all auto settings and ultimately a basic point and shoot handheld style that give these cameras a "video" feel. The whole "video look" comments are quite ridiculous really.

 

The article wraps up my sentiments perfectly. The single hesitation I have is that its not full frame. FF is not a gimmick - it allows for wider shots to be used with lenses performing at their intended focal view. Better low - light. Shallower depth of field. I like all of these features quite considerably... making my expectations very high at the upcoming Sony A7s.

 

I think whoever is not really needing a new camera would be sensible to wait 6 months. Now that the GH4 seems to set the standard for sharpness and detail... who knows, maybe the next 4K beast will feature a global shutter. That would be a real winner.

 

Whatever the case, at $1700 this is very very tempting. Lets just cross fingers for the A7s as being a good FF alternative. 

 

Yes that's pretty much my single reservation as well, that it isn't full frame! A7S is definitely high up my list to try out.

 

As for sharpness, the GH4 at -5 sharpness is actually quite soft in 4K at 1:1... when the image is down sampled to 2K certain downsampling methods can make it look a bit too sharp. Simply add a slight Gaussian blur in post. It will be interesting to use my LOMO anamorphic on it wide open too.

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Hi Andrew,

 

What are your color profile settings? Cinelike D? (0,0,0,0,0)? Doing anything with the Highlight/Shadow Curves?

 

All CineLike D -5,-5,-5,-5,0 and no change to the highlight / shadow curves.

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Yes that's pretty much my single reservation as well, that it isn't full frame! A7S is definitely high up my list to try out.

 

As for sharpness, the GH4 at -5 sharpness is actually quite soft in 4K at 1:1... when the image is down sampled to 2K certain downsampling methods can make it look a bit too sharp. Simply add a slight Gaussian blur in post. It will be interesting to use my LOMO anamorphic on it wide open too.

 

Anamorphics will surely shine on the GH4. Maybe more so than any other camera I'd assume. The crop factor probably works in its favor.

 

On a side note, showed a photographer / filmmaker friend of mine your site to hold off on buying the BMCC, as your reviews added some new insight he wasn't aware of. As a Nikon owner he hadn't heard of the ML hack (or the Nikon hack for that matter) but was convinced that the name EOSHD made you particularly biased to Canon. I had to run him through quite a few of your various older posts until he was convinced that the site name was entirely incidental and that this is all 100% unbiased pixel peeping and lens porn.

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A low contrast look is not superior. You can make the GH4 and 5D raw look as flat as a pancake if you want to. Question is what is the benefit? If your monitor had a low contrast look you'd return it to the shop! I don't know why people think a flat look is superior. For grading raw has no look. It isn't flat. It is raw data straight off the sensor that describes colours, whites and blacks. Why compress all that into the mids and get grey? I blame stuff like CineStyle for the confusion.

 

I think what Max was saying is that the 5D3R would give you much better contrast and detail in low contrast lighting environment, especially if you tried to give it more contrast in post.

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After almost one year seeing reviews, I see a great quality camera for the price, to start making some corporate and wedding films :)
Andrew thanks for all your patience and work in your reviews!! 
Probably a newbie question but very important for me. I will buy the GH4 and I want create more dynamic shots with some flycam or gimbal. I'm thinking to buy the 12-35 2.8 Panasonic lens, because have stabilization. I don't want spend time to stablize the shots in post. For low light shots, the panasonic 1.4 or olympus 1.8 is the best choice? Anyone know if the sigma or nikon lens with speedbooster works great on most shots with a flycam or gimbal without stabilize in post? Some feedback please, thanks!

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Thanks, yes, I wasn't saying that low contrast was superior.  I happen to like that look, but there's no accounting for taste, as it's said.  When I tested the BMPCC against the GM1 I found that outside the GM1 was good enough for me, compared the BMPCC.  Indoors is where I saw a big difference between cameras.  I wouldn't say one was superior to the other, only that I liked the BMPCC (ProRes) look better and that I could not get the same look from the GM1, no matter how hard I tried.  

 

Today I shot some with the GM1, focal reducer, and Nikon 24d.  Seemed to have a nice flat look.  If Andrew wanted to help me he would tell me what lenses or setups I should use to get an ugly low contrast look closest to RAW :)

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Funny how certain people elicit oohs and aahs about sharpness and then put 40 or 50 year old (sometimes uncoated) lenses on these cameras. 

 

Nobody wants to see ultra sharp footage of people's faces, especially when the skin tones are produced by a GH series camera. 

 

You're making the mistake of thinking that older lenses are not sharp, when infact they are usually more than capable of outresolving 4k.  lenses made 50years may not be as contrasty (giving a perceived lower resolution, but they were designed for 35mm film - which surpasses 4k in resolution terms when we start talking about low ASA films.

 

the difference between using a high resolution camera and an old lens (which appears less sharp due to being less contrasty) vs a low resolution camera + modern 'sharp' contrasty lens  is that the lack of resolution from the low res camera is happening in the digital domain due to a technological hurdle.  In comparison the lower perceived resolution/ sharpness of the older lens on the high res camera is attributed within the physical domain, created in the glass and as a result is tangible and more appealing - particularly when the camera is capable of resolving these subtleties the glass creates.

 

a helios 44 from 1965 stopped down to f2.8 is more than adequate right to the edges for 36mpx shots on the nikon d800 and sony a7r - these have imaging areas 3 times that of the gh4 and still photo resolutions almost double what 4k is.  

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You're making the mistake of thinking that older lenses are not sharp, when infact they are usually more than capable of outresolving 4k.  lenses made 50years may not be as contrasty (giving a perceived lower resolution, but they were designed for 35mm film - which surpasses 4k in resolution terms when we start talking about low ASA films.

 

the difference between using a high resolution camera and an old lens (which appears less sharp due to being less contrasty) vs a low resolution camera + modern 'sharp' contrasty lens  is that the lack of resolution from the low res camera is happening in the digital domain due to a technological hurdle.  In comparison the lower perceived resolution/ sharpness of the older lens on the high res camera is attributed within the physical domain, created in the glass and as a result is tangible and more appealing - particularly when the camera is capable of resolving these subtleties the glass creates.

 

a helios 44 from 1965 stopped down to f2.8 is more than adequate right to the edges for 36mpx shots on the nikon d800 and sony a7r - these have imaging areas 3 times that of the gh4 and still photo resolutions almost double what 4k is.  

 

Are you referring specifically to cinema lenses, generally old lenses or just stating that there are some very sharp old lenses?

 

I agree with the logic that less contrasty is not less sharp but everyone seems to agree that for example many canon FD's are a little soft and Leica M's often have that glow... with every lens having a "personality". It seems to me that most of the "personality" in older lenses on digital bodies is ultimately some sort of reduction of that digital sharpness in some way or another.

 

What do you think?

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Are you referring specifically to cinema lenses, generally old lenses or just stating that there are some very sharp old lenses?

 

I agree with the logic that less contrasty is not less sharp but everyone seems to agree that for example many canon FD's are a little soft and Leica M's often have that glow... with every lens having a "personality". It seems to me that most of the "personality" in older lenses on digital bodies is ultimately some sort of reduction of that digital sharpness in some way or another.

 

What do you think?

 

I'm referring to good quality lenses of all purposes.  My point was to put in an argument against the previous point which seemed to touch upon the theory that extra camera resolution is not required when older lenses are used.  When in reality these older lenses are yet to be stretched in their capabilities even at 4k.

 

degradation of sharpness by means of using less contrasty lenses once helped in lowering moire and other digital artefacts but nowadays with these types of cameras with such clean capabilities the use of older lenses which were designed and tested by eye tends to impart a analogue signature onto the digitally acquired image.

Granted, my set of 1960's Zeiss glass doesnt have much of an analogue character of its own due to being not that far away from modern zeiss in terms of optical design and coating technology, but the difference is there.  

 

I also think the fact that the gh4 still doesnt offer that film dynamic range / Log picture profile a lot of people hanker for, the ability of a lens like the helios 44 to take the edge off those slammed blacks is one that it very pleasing.

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I see what you're saying richg101. It definitely makes sense - though I think Chris was just making fun of the fact that sharpness is obsessed upon through meticulous pixel peeping, only to be blurred down in order to ultimately get more character. I don't think he was being too serious, its obvious that the extra camera resolution is an incredible plus.

 

I think the camera resolution is at the optimum level for me... I wouldn't require more for now. Next I'd rather see a global shutter remove jello so that that resolution can be equally applied to nice moving shots.

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I'm confused at the desire for the sharpest image...i think a balance needs to be struck...when watch cinema films if I was watching the level of sharpness most of the gh4 videos that have been posted exhibit I would feel like i was watching a home movie...however the reason ML Raw has been a smash is it takes an almost unusable level of sharpness in the h.264 codec of the 5d3 and adds enough sharpness to match the red that neumann posted...we should look at it as what is optimal vs. "the sharpest" I think a comparison showing human subjects is much more useful than static shots, I never understood that.  We shoot people much more than buildings and trees.  I think the 5d3 raw would be much more appealing to the masses (shooters and viewers) than gh4 image (camcorder sharp).  

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I've always been of the opinion that hd, then 4k, then 8k etc have been quantifiable numbers which happen to be marketing friendly and that it didn't really matter.  I'm not getting a gh4 since I want full frame, but this test really does show how really great that extra resolution is.  If you want it lower res, mis focus slightly or whack a gaussian blur of 2pixels over the image and you have good old 1080p.  the issue is that a lot of users won't consider or implement all of the factors that make up a true cinema experience and the added resolution will only serve to multiply the obviousness of the failings and the pointlessness of the users decision to shoot 4k (who will likely be a consumer under the impression they are a professional, rather than a professional moving with the current trend).  It'll be when Andrew does a creative piece with the camera and his cookes or someone like Hugo Goudsward takes the camera and makes it work for him that we'll see the jump where the resolution really takes it up a notch.  

 

just to clarify I completely disregarded the term 4k within a consumer camera, and the term gh4 (due to my dislike of anything smaller than full frame:)- until this test.  8 months ago the 5d3 raw hack turned everything on its head and now there is the little gh4 which doesnt need 10gb/min worth of cards to shoot with it.  superb IMO

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