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Andrew Reid

Panasonic GH4 Review

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Not signed an NDA but the company are friends and I'm going to shut up until they're ready.

 

I have been testing the X today and all I can say is.... WOW!!

X?

I realize you don't want to divulge too much info. but can you elaborate any further on what the purpose is of the "X" you are testing?

Is it an adapter of some sort?

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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 Andrew, Great Review as always.

 

I am curious:

 

1. I am curious as to comparisons of screen grabs between the C100, GH4 and C500.

 

2. I would like to know the Exact Flatness of C100 vs C300 vs GH4, from in-cameras, and otherwise.

 

3. Most importantly, how much Flatter does the Cinema D profile, with everything dialled down (-5 Highlights, +5 Shadows + 15 Master Pedestal) make the profile?

 

 

With the optimum settings, I suspect the GH4 pushes a tad bit under 12 stops of DR, in video (according to DXO labs it does 12.8 stops for stills). What do you feel?

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Not signed an NDA but the company are friends and I'm going to shut up until they're ready.
 
I have been testing the X today and all I can say is.... WOW!!

So it sure is not Canikon or another big company. Probably Metabones or maybe SLR Magic has something up their sleeves. Ok... I'll stop prying, just one question... How much is it?? :p

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"Something is going to change big-time soon but I can’t spill the beans until June 3rd, however you have to know now for the sake of the review being comprehensive that sensor size and inability to get the most out of your EF lenses will not always be an issue…"

 

"Not signed an NDA but the company are friends and I'm going to shut up until they're ready.

 
I have been testing the X today and all I can say is.... WOW!!"

 

I too am assuming this is a speedbooster... maybe a Sigma one. I just hope they have all varieties, including one that takes Leica R.

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Guest d5f8611fa423d0e628c016f9d5c93b47

Btw... That June 3rd thing you put in there... Exciting! Kinda sounds like a speed booster that makes EF glass work fullframe on the GH4... Fingers crossed! What time does your NDA end? I'm gonna set my alarm :P

 

Yeah, must be - electronic EF focal reducer that makes GH4 FF or very close (presumably also significantly improving low light performance). I assume it has to be Metabones.

I've heard rumours of Metabones making a GH4-specific SB, but Andrew hinted at something similar for the BMPCC. I wonder if they've created a "one-size-fits-all" EF-MFT Mega-Speedbooster (in which case crop factors would not be precise  - e.g. BMPCC 1.4x, GH4 1.1x, etc).

 

Based on the tests I've seen so far (4K>1080), just a modest improvement in low light performance could allow the GH4 to give the 5D a run for its money. Very exciting stuff.

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Nice review Andrew! The GH4 deserves the positive feedback after Panasonic listened to filmmakers and delivered what was asked for at a reasonable price!

 

I've been looking for a camera to supplement or replace the 5D3 for video for a long time. The first attempt was the FS700 + SpeedBooster. The idea was find a camera which has true 1920x1080 resolution and full frame compatibility with my Canon lenses. At the time I had not studied the math and physics and wanted to maintain the mystical and oft-hyped FF "look". You mentioned "

  • 5D Mark II and III raw from full frame sensor a formidable cinematic look vs the smaller sensor in the GH4". 

The "formidable cinematic look" is a myth. Perhaps a better way to say is that the full frame format has more affordable and flexible options for shallow depth of field- as that is all it really offers in absolute terms of sensor size. Canon's color science is still a formidable challenge. In low light, the GH4 has a nicer noise pattern. 5D3 RAW has some fixed pattern noise and the general noise itself gets downright ugly in low light. The newer GH4 does a better job with noise once it shows up. If I find the time I'll post tests comparing the 5D3 RAW with the Canon 50mm 1.4 at F2 to the GH4 with a Voigtlander 25mm F.95 at .95 (same as the 5D3 at 50mm F1.9 per the math here (which isn't anything new; I finally took a look at it after the Northrup video was posted on EOSHD: '?do=embed' frameborder='0' data-embedContent>> ).

 

The GH4 looks fantastic straight out of the camera when set up and lit correctly. This is something I find valuable and useful. 14-bit 5D3 RAW offers far more options in post, especially when using ACR vs. the comparatively fragile GH4. The RAW workflow might be called "Really Awful Workflow" due to the extra time and storage requirements. That said, for some shots and projects, the extra work is worth it.

 

Regarding GH4 10-bit luma and 444 for 4K scaled to 1080p: the 444 is real, the 10-bit luma is not in practice. 10-bit color processing doesn't take place in the GH4 unless 10-bit 422 is enabled for HDMI output, otherwise processing for video is 8-bit.  In order for the 10-bit luma to be real, we'd have to do special encoding in the camera which we could then recover in post (while reducing luma resolution 4x). Otherwise we're just getting a nice, useful, low-pass filtered, noise reduced luma in the same way as the C100/C300.

 

When comparing to the Sony A7S- the example A7S videos appear to produce excellent, detailed, color accurate, high-dynamic range footage straight from the camera. The bitrate is only 50Mbit/s, however as we've seen with 100Mbit/s GH4 4K, which is 4x the pixel data(!), these bitrates are OK as long as motion is smooth. Even the 24Mbit/s FS700 footage compares very well when the motion is smooth. As many of us have noted, even with large, cheap storage, efficiency is important in the long haul.

 

As I'm sure future tests will show, 50Mbit/s A7S in-camera 1080p will compare very well to the GH4 4K scaled to 1080p in post. The A7S appears to have a dynamic range advantage, and the color science so far is very competitive, even against 5D3 RAW. The GH4 with fast micro 4/3 lenses has a size/portability/stealth advantage. In the event 4K material is needed (vs. 1080p scaled in post), the GH4 has the advantage (including reframing in post). Neither camera 'wins'- they have complementary features. The A7S compared to the 5D3 RAW- that's another matter: the A7S will best 5D3 RAW in resolution, detail, dynamic range, and workflow. What remains to be seen is final color science (rolling shutter will likely be a wash between the two).

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@JCS - yes I think Panasonic's colour science is the big thing that isn't quite letting me fall in love with the GH4. I totally agree with you that the GH4 has much nicer noise than the 5D at high ISO, but colour seems to become really thin in low light. I'll be amazed if the A7S 1080 can come anywhere near 5D RAW with colour though. Surely that is largely about the 444 space rather than just Canon's colour science?

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Matt- I've watched quite a few GH4 videos, including comparisons to the C100 and 5D3. When properly lit, the GH4 does pretty well. I think the reason there's been so many less impressive videos with the GH4 is improper lighting and/or incorrect camera settings for the conditions. In the case of more advanced users posting videos that don't look great (yet): there's a learning curve with a new camera. There are a few excellent GH4 videos out there:

 

It's also a great stills camera:

 

During our initial GH4 video test shoot, Elena wanted to try some stills:

10355476_634945593262557_446704696206819

This shot is in full auto, with Elena holding a reflector with the Panasonic 35-100 F2.8 lens, JPG, straight from camera (5D3 70-200 F5.6 equivalent).

 

The GH4 has some interesting features, such as iDynamic and iResolution, which can do helpful things in the right conditions and can look strange in others. Thus, as we learn to use this new camera, the results will get better over time. When set up right for the conditions, the GH4 color science is pretty good, better than the Sony FS700 (the A7S demos look better than the FS700 as well (internal AVCHD). The FS700 with the 7Q is a totally different camera). Canon's color science appears to do better when things aren't perfectly set up, and allows for more post latitude (RAW). This is one of the reasons the ARRI Alexa (and now Amira) are so popular: they create great images with less effort, even when not set up perfectly for the conditions. 5D3 RAW is my preferred still camera and the 70-200 F2.8 II for modeling shots, however it's a massive, attention drawing set up. The tiny GH4 (with built-in flash) with the tiny 35-100 F2.8 can be taken more places, draws less attention, and takes great photos.

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Cheers Andrew!

Great work. 

 

I would love to have your thoughts.

Curves, Masters, and Cine D & V oh my!
I have in my very limited use of this camera seen some unforeseen yet logical end results using Cine D and adjusting the curves and master ped. And this has me thinking...which is always dangerous. Everyone is shooting Cine D/ -5 sharpness/ lowering highlights/ etc. so of coarse I did the this as well....and then for fun I pushed the master pedestal to it's max for "DR" range....ah but of coarse this had the absolute opposite effects in terms of actual image quality for post grading...umm? It makes sense pushing the blacks up "artificially " created horrid blocking effect...as did pulling back the highlights...any how you get the image here. No pun intended. Well this got me thinking...what if Panasonic in all it's desire to please actually created a CineD curve that is actually degrading what the censor is receiving. Yes it looks flatter and we all immediately applaud that. Put are we getting less clean blacks? I found I could easily get back 1 or 2 stops of highlight detail in post but if the Cine D curves are degrading this it's not so clean? I am not trying to be pedantic here. I am just stumbling about in the vicissitudes of this new GH4 censor paradigm. Trying to get the absolute cleanest and highest DR that we can squeeze out of this little Cmos. (I posted this ? to Mr Bloom...) no word yet.

 

Anyhow the sun is shining in Nova Scotia so I must go and worship this rare event. 

 

Thank you, for all your passion, care, and play! It is always a delight to read your posts. 

 

Ok now off shooting with the Tiffin VND/ pans 2.8/12-35 ( I know shooting wide with a VND ack!) Should be fine at that greater mm end....the small light form factor is wonderful for jumping on your bike and going out explore with 4K. 

 

 

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