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Panasonic GH4 Review


Andrew Reid
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Has anyone got good results with either the Rode video mic pro or Panasonic dmw-ms2?

I've read there were some noise issues with both. And I'm in the market for a decent stereo mic.

Since at the moment I use a Beachtek dxa-5da preamp with an Audio Technica at897 XLR mic on my GH2, for my run-gun/eng shoots/interviews.

I'm going for a simplified setup when my GH4 arrives.

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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.

My two guesses about June 3rd are:

 

1) Speedbooster allowing EF lenses. This seems realistic, but I do have one other thing I want to hear about...

 

2) The mysterious 5D Mark III Hardware Hack that was rumored a while back. This is almost certainly not the case, but a fella can dream!

http://www.slrlounge.com/latest-canon-rumors-tease-5d-mark-iii-hardware-hacks-dual-iso-af-7d-mark-ii

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The mysterious 5D Mark III hardware hack is a load of bullshit.

 

In the the last decade just about the only hardware hack which was viable was to tap uncompressed video off the DVX100.

 

Completely replacing the main board in a DSLR with a non-Canon part isn't feasible. Just to get everything working as a stills camera would require so much inside knowledge of Canon's proprietary systems and Canon would definitely sue them out of existence if they tried.

 

Chalk that one up to bored Canon users dreaming of meaningful upgrades!

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The mysterious 5D Mark III hardware hack is a load of bullshit.

 

In the the last decade just about the only hardware hack which was viable was to tap uncompressed video off the DVX100.

 

Completely replacing the main board in a DSLR with a non-Canon part isn't feasible. Just to get everything working as a stills camera would require so much inside knowledge of Canon's proprietary systems and Canon would definitely sue them out of existence if they tried.

 

Chalk that one up to bored Canon users dreaming of meaningful upgrades!

Alright- That's helpful to hear. I've been debating hard about selling my 5D3 and getting the GH4 once the EF Speedbooster arrives. This hardware hack rumor has been getting in my head, though. 

 

Of course, keeping both is an attractive option, too. I'm looking forward to shooting with the GH4 in a couple weeks and trying out some filtration to see what effect I can get with close ups on actors. I love the sharpness, but am worried about too much detail on close ups. 

 

GH4 seems like one of the best nature-shooting cams I've seen. I'm about to start a project that's all nature footage and I can't imagine a better cam. 5D3 for timelapse of stars, GH4 for giant redwood and ocean vistas... Mmmmm....

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The Rode VMP has the buzz; not clear if the DMW-MS2 truly has no buzz as reviews state it's very noisy (and not very directional). A solution is to use an iRig Pre as a preamp. More info here: ?do=embed' frameborder='0' data-embedContent>


I see, and if I use the VMP I assume you adjust the gain to 0db, camera to -12db?

And since the iRig Pre has an xlr input, I just need a 3.5mm to xlr adapter? And I'm good to go?
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If using the VMP you could skip a preamp and try +20dB on the VMP and -12dB camera mic gain. If you don't have a VMP I'd go with a shotgun with XLR input and phantom power and use a preamp: higher quality and more flexibility.

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If using the VMP you could skip a preamp and try +20dB on the VMP and -12dB camera mic gain. If you don't have a VMP I'd go with a shotgun with XLR input and phantom power and use a preamp: higher quality and more flexibility.

In that case I should just continue using my current setup with the GH4. Since I'm already running a Beachtek preamp with my AT897(battery operated) xlr mic, right?

Does it matter if my xlr mic is battery op and not phantom powered? Since it doesn't connect directly to the camera anyway.
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I find Sony boost the red channel in all their cameras at the expense of blue, possibly accuracy in greens can be lacking too.

 

My Sony RX1 stills camera for instance is extremely harsh for portrait shots, it really does make people look ill, with red bags under their eyes, magnifies any imperfection, gives blotchy redness and spottiness to faces... You have to desaturate the red channel massively afterwards. Not good.

 

This is where Canon are much stronger. Panasonic takes a bit more work but it gets there.

That's exactly what we found with the F55 tests. You get the red channel to behave, it screws up the balance of everything else. Real disappointment. 

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This skin tone conversation is complete nonsense. There has been lots of footage of people shot with the GH4, and skin tones are beautiful. But it's great to hear the GH4 being mentioned in the same breath as cameras costing $30,000 and up!

@Tim Naylor Did it come as a huge surprise that the Arri had better colors than the Red and the F55?

Nonsense how? Sure I can get great skin tones on most any camera with enough grading but it often comes at a cost. In the case of the F55 it would distort the color chart to the point the art department would have to attempt some unworkable interpolation or we're stuck with having to key and power window every shot with faces.

 

I've seen some well shot flesh tones on the GH4 but I don't know what they started with. A large part of my job is to match footage from shot to shot, scene to scene, so color accuracy is paramount. Should you care, try this test: Light a face at 2:1 contrast next to a Macbeth Color chart (in the fill light). Then do it 4:1, 8:1, 16:1, 32:1 64:1 (basically taking the fill from -1 stop to -6 stops)  at a variety of ASA's. It takes two lights and half an hour. You'll quickly know how chip behaves.

 

Regarding the "huge surprise" that Alexa performed better, I'd say yes. Mainly because, it's 2-3 year older technology. all cameras are 16 bit and much of the hype I'd been reading on Dragon, I was expecting better. I did not expect Sony to be so bad compared to Epic and Arri. But I truly believe that the Arri being 2k (down sampled from 3k chip) plays a large part in the better color space. 

 

In the coming weeks (after my film) I plan to shoot a contrast test with the GH4. From some of the setting advice I'm seeing here and elsewhere, I have high hopes. I'll also take it to the same post house as the other tests. I'll be sure to post it.

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In that case I should just continue using my current setup with the GH4. Since I'm already running a Beachtek preamp with my AT897(battery operated) xlr mic, right?

Does it matter if my xlr mic is battery op and not phantom powered? Since it doesn't connect directly to the camera anyway.

Does your preamp supply phantom power? If so, you might try it instead of the mic battery (might sound better). If it doesn't sound better, you'll get more runtime from the preamp using the battery on the mic.

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That's exactly what we found with the F55 tests. You get the red channel to behave, it screws up the balance of everything else. Real disappointment. 

 

Programming colour matrcies on Canon C100/300/500 you can actually dial back the red without killing the rest of it. 

 

As stock they are a bit silly in the red channel. Programme them a bit and you get closer to Alexa tones.

 

From a grading perspective, GH4 skin seems good, as does all the stuff in the middle. I struggle with lifting the black details out, and how hard the white and black clipping are. That kind of washy look with no black, bent curves, that I can achieve. Where it's failing at the moment is lifting shadowed areas and actually finding something there.

 

I remember being able to get this detail out with hacked GH2, so I hope it's a matter of people nailing the perfect settings.

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You were given an answer in a nearby thread which you've probably missed. Yet again, that "transfer rate" is just how much data you get for every pixel when you record internally. Compressor efficiency and workflow not taken into account, so that's just useless conceptual pixel peeping with theoretic pixels.

 

There is no equivalence, unless you're trying to say "if i put off 2 wheels from my car, its equivalent speed would double".

Or, as they say, if grandma had balls, she would be grandpa.

 

Yes, i probably missed that. Still I am not sure how grandparents contribute to the conversation.

 

It is only logical when you have 4 times the data you need 4 times the space. If there is an argument that 50mbit/s is "too few" for HD then something less than 200mbit/s is "too few" for 4K, by following the same argument. I am just pointing that out because only few people have written about this. 

 

Nobody seems to be talking about "compression efficiency" in regards to the A7S. But most bash the 50mbit/s, furthermore without having used it. How is that for conceptual pixel peeping?

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Nonsense how? Sure I can get great skin tones on most any camera with enough grading but it often comes at a cost. In the case of the F55 it would distort the color chart to the point the art department would have to attempt some unworkable interpolation or we're stuck with having to key and power window every shot with faces.

 

I've seen some well shot flesh tones on the GH4 but I don't know what they started with. A large part of my job is to match footage from shot to shot, scene to scene, so color accuracy is paramount. Should you care, try this test: Light a face at 2:1 contrast next to a Macbeth Color chart (in the fill light). Then do it 4:1, 8:1, 16:1, 32:1 64:1 (basically taking the fill from -1 stop to -6 stops)  at a variety of ASA's. It takes two lights and half an hour. You'll quickly know how chip behaves.

 

Regarding the "huge surprise" that Alexa performed better, I'd say yes. Mainly because, it's 2-3 year older technology. all cameras are 16 bit and much of the hype I'd been reading on Dragon, I was expecting better. I did not expect Sony to be so bad compared to Epic and Arri. But I truly believe that the Arri being 2k (down sampled from 3k chip) plays a large part in the better color space. 

 

In the coming weeks (after my film) I plan to shoot a contrast test with the GH4. From some of the setting advice I'm seeing here and elsewhere, I have high hopes. I'll also take it to the same post house as the other tests. I'll be sure to post it.

While I agree that there have probably been a few too many tests with rocks and ducks (particularly since landscape and nature aren't my thing), there have been enough videos to convince me that getting good skin tones with the GH4 will only be limited by my ability, not the camera's. I can't recall each and every one of them, but this recently posted

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no offense ylomo, but Andrew does a thorough review and I have confidence in his views. You on the other hand say other cameras are far better in different aspects, but you don't really back that up, and I don't know you so I can't really take that at face value.

 

Hi tosvus, no offense taken. It is weird how words can be misinterpreted so easily! I never supported or fanboy-ed any other camera vs the one Andrew did a review on. I have no reasons for that. On the contrary, what I stated was very clear. I support that GH4 seems like a fantastic all around camera based upon the numerous reviews I have read/watched. Similarly, I support that the full sensor of the A7s has a much better DR and less noise levels on high ISO based upon the technological and scientific knowledge we have about sensor sizes and because the few samples that circulate online support this. To be honest, I don't think there is anyone who disagrees with that.

 

My only objection regarding Andrew's review is that he did not put forward the cons of the small sensor. That's all. I believe these arguments don't need much more support. Other than that, I am also glad that he does what he does and has provided this forum for us to procrastinate with and get informed from.

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Do you work for Sony. If you are getting paid for these posts, congratulations. However if you're just another fanboy, don't give up your day job!

 

100Mbit/s is 100mbit. When you oversample 1080p from 100Mbit/s 4K you end up with 100mbit, 10bit luma, 444 sampling. The A7S is half the bitrate, 8bit everything (the in-between shades have larger banding) and 4:2:0 sampling, causing pixilation.

 

Those are the facts my friend!

 

As for BMPCC, I own both cameras, like them both, first comparison between the two I shot a few days ago... and to my eye, the usable dynamic range is similar between the two, but the GH4 has less moire and aliasing and a much larger sensor.

 

Ok. this is my last post for this thread cause I am tired of this dispute. I see many people here who are being so defensive like everyone is attacking their families or their belief system. To those I say that they should "pixel peep" more their philosophy in life and communication abilities and leave the technology for a later time.

 

Andrew, I find your post at least arrogant and at worst disrespectful. I could have easily asked if you are getting payed by Panasonic in order not to emphasise the negative sides of the camera. Is this the level of debate you want to maintain in the forum that you have created? I don't believe so but I could be wrong.

 

And last thing regarding objectivity, there are many people who support you cannot end up with 10bit data out of 8bit. I am not expert in that, but I do know there is another opinion on that matter. So I wouldn't call that very objective. 

 

Looking forward to the moment when human beings will be more interested about the way they communicate than the technological advancements of plastic or metallic boxes. :)

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Nobody seems to be talking about "compression efficiency" in regards to the A7S. But most bash the 50mbit/s, furthermore without having used it. How is that for conceptual pixel peeping?

 

 

I don't see people here bashing A7s for the bitrate... let's be solid on our opinions and wait for some A7s footage to discuss )

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Ok. this is my last post for this thread cause I am tired of this dispute. I see many people here who are being so defensive like everyone is attacking their families or their belief system. To those I say that they should "pixel peep" more their philosophy in life and communication abilities and leave the technology for a later time.

 

Andrew, I find your post at least arrogant and at worst disrespectful. I could have easily asked if you are getting payed by Panasonic in order not to emphasise the negative sides of the camera. Is this the level of debate you want to maintain in the forum that you have created? I don't believe so but I could be wrong.

 

And last thing regarding objectivity, there are many people who support you cannot end up with 10bit data out of 8bit. I am not expert in that, but I do know there is another opinion on that matter. So I wouldn't call that very objective. 

 

Looking forward to the moment when human beings will be more interested about the way they communicate than the technological advancements of plastic or metallic boxes. :)

 

Exactly, you're no expert and that's OK... But polluting my forum with misinformation is not.

 

10bit data from 8bit 4K... just ask Rarevision and CineForm. http://www.eoshd.com/content/12140/discovery-4k-8bit-420-panasonic-gh4-converts-1080p-10bit-444

 

This is something which applies equally to both the A7S and GH4 but the GH4 does it internally, and steps up to 10bit externally... that's 10bit colour and not just 10bit luma.

 

It isn't about pixel peeping it's about getting the facts straight!

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