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Great GH4 overview


skiphunt
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Interesting to read someone's take on the camera from the broadcast perspective, but quite limited as a complete 'overview' of the camera I'd say.

 

Yeah, my use of the word "overview" wasn't the best. However, it was great to read the honest opinion of a user who obviously isn't a Panasonic shill or sycophant. His seemingly honest impressions made me more interested in the camera actually. 

There's another good commentary on the cost of 4k here: http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/the-cost-of-4k.html

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There's another good commentary on the cost of 4k here: http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/the-cost-of-4k.html

 

Terrible arguments.

 

  • Fast and expensive media. For example, the Panasonic GH4 requires a UHS-II Class 3 SDXC card. Not just a 95MBs capable card, but a state of the art one that costs US$250 for a 64GB card. That might net you 80 minutes of video (still haven’t gotten a chance to verify that). It’s possible we’ll see some cameras that use far more compression that can use slower cards, but isn’t the point of 4K to get ready for the next generation of TV, whenever it comes? You don’t want to be the “fuzzy†provider of 4K output, do you?

False. 100mbps 4K works fine with pretty much all my UHS-II cards. Also, sd cards are dirt cheap (for example, a Lexar 64GB 600x works like a charm, this is an expensive brand. Cost? a whopping $70 :)) Really, 100mbps isn't exactly lots of data/second. It's hardly more than the GH3 at max bitrate (70mbps).

 

  • Lots of storage. Thing is, you’re likely to want to preserve video quality during editing, which means transcoding into something like ProRes format. Prepare to be shocked at how big the files get. Really shocked. As in your 80 minutes of video off that expensive card is now 256GB or larger. By the time you build proxies, create a timeline, etc., your single card now may taking up more than half a terabyte. Remember, you also need backups to everything, so okay, we’ve probably crossed the terabyte line.

Why would you transcode during editing? When you open the source file in a 32 bit project (standard in premiere I think?) You'll always have the maximum 'room' available. Just choose your codec of choice for export. Keep the source files in their small 100mbps format.

  • A new MacPro. This was an eye-opener to me. My current gear is quite capable of editing and running the video projects I do (all 1080P at the moment) in real time. My first 4K test? Uh, not so much.

Not at all. I have a PC that was high end 3 years ago (Intel i5 2,4 Ghz, 16GB ram, 180GB SSD, Nvidia GTX 660) and I can edit the Panasonic GH4 files just fine. Maybe you need to upgrade a part of your system a bit, you really don't need a $3K MacPro.

 

Definitely don't let those arguments get in the way of your interest in the GH4 :)

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Thom's always been a bit slow on the uptake with video, because he's a stills guy. He's clearly never shot with the GH4. Had he done so he'd have seen straight away that the time remaining counter with a 64GB card ticks down from around the 1hr25min mark in Cinema 4K mode!

 

It's the lightest weight 4K codec on earth unless you count XAVC-S, and I don't because it sucks.

 

XAVC-S is Sony's marketing way of saying 'here's H.264 again but at 60Mbit instead of 24Mbit' which is WAY too low for the AX100's 4K.

 

On the Blackmagic Torture Camera, I was getting about 6GB per minute, on the GH4 it is 600MB per minute.

 

10MB per second vs 100MB per second, one is practical, one isn't.

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It's the lightest weight 4K codec on earth unless you count XAVC-S, and I don't because it sucks.

 

XAVC-S is Sony's marketing way of saying 'here's H.264 again but at 60Mbit instead of 24Mbit' which is WAY too low for the AX100's 4K.

 

 

So XAVC-S is just H.264?

 

I would buy the GH4 straight away if the 'promised' speed booster for attaching Canon EF lenses would be available, but there's no such thing in sight. I still might buy it, but this means starting to re-shuffle lenses. Oh, the agony.

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GH4 shoots also 'just' H.264. With a higher bitrate than Sony though.

 

I can understand you point regarding the Speed Booster. But it might be a nice excuse to try out some (cheap) vintage glass for the GH4 ;) No need to re-shuffle your whole collection yet.

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Well, I can say that after downloading Andrew's GH4 clips, my basic MacBook Pro 13in (non-retina) handled them just fine. I didn't see any artifact at all & they looked good. The files weren't ginormous & the short time I spent playing with grading, cutting, adding effects, etc. never caused my system to even stutter. I wasn't even using the fastest drive. Just a Thunder bolt connected 2.5in 7200rpm mobile drive. 16GB ram.

Granted, they were just a few very short clips, but it was as snappy (if not snappier) than my d5300 clips.

I don't personally have any need for a 4k camera quite yet, but the stock agencies aren't flooded with 4k stuff yet.

Of the current 4k options, I want the one that requires the least overall investment, yet delivers acceptable results at that resolution. So far, it appears the GH4 is the only camera that meets those requirements. From what I've read so far, it doesn't appear that the GH4 even needs the fastest media available. Is this true?

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Of the current 4k options, I want the one that requires the least overall investment, yet delivers acceptable results at that resolution. So far, it appears the GH4 is the only camera that meets those requirements. From what I've read so far, it doesn't appear that the GH4 even needs the fastest media available. Is this true?

 

Yep. Works fine with my UHS-1 cards! 64GB Lexar 600x for example. Actually the most demanding mode is 1080p 200 mbps. This als worked with the Lexar card, but havent stress tested it. Probably I won't be using that anyway. ©4K 100 mbps works fine with all my older fast cards, like Sony 95mb/s etc. It's only 100mbps after all... a whopping 12.5 MB/s :)

 

I agree that the GH4 is the only camera that meets your requirements. Also the reason I'm buying one. Just buy the body - maybe an adapter / speed booster (or cheap clone) for your current lenses - and you are done.

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XAVC-S is Sony's marketing way of saying 'here's H.264 again but at 60Mbit instead of 24Mbit' which is WAY too low for the AX100's 4K.
 


This of course implies that the Xavc-s codec brings no improvements, while many people claim that the quality is as much about the data as it is about the processing method. And this is supposedly a better processing / compression algorithm.

Without getting too technical though, to my eyes the 1080p footage from the a7s is much better than gh4's 1080p. This is something noted from gh4 users as well. So even in practice, the "just" 60Mbit codec performs better than gh4's 200Mbit codec.
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To be clear, for 1080p... my Nikon D5300 performs perfectly well for everything I want it to. It also is capable of amazing stills with an articulated screen and reasonably small footprint, great low-light performance and no moire. Good 60p performance too. (Some of the main reasons I bought it, despite Andrew's complete dismissal of it)

 

The ONLY reason I'd personally consider a GH4 is for affordable entry-level 4k that I can sell as stock. Period. 

 

If my personal needs were 1080p only, I'd still be very content with my Nikon D5300 or I'd be looking at one of those new Sony's.

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