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Panasonic GH4 or Sony A7S


Oliver Daniel
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I'm sorry for asking the inevitable question, and it might be too early to say... but I'm trying to get my head around either owning the GH4 or A7S as my little workhorse. 

 

Bit of info... I make my trade making music videos (mostly bands), a few corporates and promotional stuff. I currently own a GH3 (that I use LOADS) and rent more expensive cameras for the bigger jobs. I'm not invested in MFT glass (besides SLR Magic 12mm) and love to grade. 

 

The obvious upgrade path for me is the GH4 (4k in post, slo-mo, etc)...but the A7S with it's supposedly awesome low light and dynamic range capabilities is making me think twice (these features are very important for my future work.) I was going to get a Shogun for the GH4 anyway so I'm not fazed by that prospect. 

 

 

Does anybody else do similar work to myself and what are your general thoughts? 

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For a camera that is releasing in a few weeks there are surprisingly few test shoots (as compared to the number the GH4 had). I guess within a months time you'll get to know the strengths and the weaknesses. Even the staunchest GH4 supporters though I think will find the low-light and dynamic range abilities of it will be better than the GH4.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Well I was about to pull the trigger on the GH4, but now I might weight to see more from the A7S. It could end up being a load of bollocks.  :o

Well again then I would advice patience. If your budget is not flexible enough to exchange your GH4 with the A7s if you find it better later, then I would advice waiting this little bit. The A7S seems to be worth the wait, and if it turns out it's not, the GH4 will always still be there. I advice waiting.

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Nice one, I will be waiting. There is no rush, I just like to plan out my decisions well in advance.

 

I might rent them both first (when the A7S) is released and see what I find most fitting.

 

I'd be GH4 all the way if it wasn't for the dynamic range/low light, 8bit or not. They are such important features.

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This is a tough decision, I've already placed my order for the GH4 end of May but still on backorder. The main selling point for me among the other great features is the internal 4K recording. Having it at my disposal anytime is a huge plus, even if I don't use it now for my current work. 

 

The A7S on the other hand is a beast, but using an external reocrder for the 4K that cost about nearly the same as the camera is a gripe for me. 

 

I'm still sticking to the GH4 purchase, but will certainly keep an eye out on the A7S.

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A7s will be an amazing camera for sure, but hard not to like the GH4 at this point, having slow mo and 4K in the camera is amazing. The shogun will be the part that makes this camera a beast, So I would say this, Get the GH4, grab a Shogun and a Speedbooster. If that doesnt work for you then rent when needed. 

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If the a7s has a couple of stops of extra dynamic range (without looking too digital) then I'll be interested too.  I just wish it was aps-C.  With a speedbooster gives so many more options.

 

a7s is APSC or Fullframe, you can choose in camera, its I think one of the most exciting features, hopefully quality will be equal in both modes at least in 1080p

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I'd be GH4 all the way if it wasn't for the dynamic range/low light, 8bit or not. They are such important features.

 

All signs point to the A7s killing the GH4 in terms of dynamic range.

 

If it can truly nail 15 stops in video mode, it'll rail the GH4 which looks closer to 11.5 stops.

 

Low light is insane on the A7s. Full-frame opens up lots of creative possibilities. Why didn't Sony include 4k on the A7s body? Who knows? But 4k is there is if you want to jack into the HDMI.

 

  • If you are shooting for style, like a music video or indy film, all signs point to the A7s as the current king bee.
  • If you are shooting for function, like corporate film, nothing is rockin' the house quite like the GH4. 

As soon as we get more footage of the A7s, we'll know exactly what we are looking at.

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Panasonic GH4 or Sony A7S

 

Sighhhh.... Here we go again. 

 

I'm sorry for asking the inevitable question

 

Ha. If you were truly sorry, you wouldn't have clicked the black button in the first place.  ;)

 

and it might be too early to say... 

 

Duh You think?  :)

 

but I'm trying to get my head around either owning the GH4 or A7S as my little workhorse. 

Does anybody else do similar work to myself and what are your general thoughts? 

 

Surely/hopefully you do realise that apart from a handful of reviewers with pre-production units, no one has one yet, let alone has extensive shooting experience with one. Therefore the opinions and speculations shared here have social interaction value only. It would be the equivalent of a bunch of monkeys gathering together to pluck fleas off each other's fur for calming down and snack acquirement purposes. Which is perfectly okay as a purely emotional and social function, but it will tell you nothing whatsoever about the camera that hasn't even been shipped to the retail stores yet. (That is, in 14 June 2014 as I'm typing this)

 

Besides, it's not like there haven't been at least a few similar topics already, so do we really need yet another one, before both cameras are available for anyone to buy or play with? [Sarcasm alert/rhetoric question]

 

So be honest to yourself, will you.

If you really can't wait because you really need a new camera NOW for a work assignment that cannot be done with your existing gear, go and grab the GH4 or whatever is available today.

If you really can't wait because of a near fatal case of GAS, well, it's your money and your decision. No one else's.

If you are able to convince yourself that you don't have GAS, and you don't have a technical urgency to buy a new camera, well, then it should be relatively easy to wait and see the A7s in real life, right? I for one will do just that.

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FWIW, as I am playing the role of the grumpy superhero, the Obviousman again, I do put my money where my mouth is.

 

The most recent case being yesterday, when I took my time to examine the Sony a6000 IRL, and the real-life encounter was worth much more than either of the a6000-related topics here. I came to the conclusion that whilst it does offer some value, it looks nice, it's reasonably priced and a clear improvement over the NEX-6 in every way, it still isn't quite my cup of tea, after all. It didn't feel quite 'right' in the hand. No doubt it's just perfect for someone else, though.

 

So I'm not likely to buy one as a stills and b-roll camera, after all, even though I thought I will. At least not before it drops down to about half the original retail price. It was even more clear with the GX7 and GM1 a while ago. So I'll just stick with my dodgy old cameras for now, and try saving/summoning some more dough for the A7/r/s, or whatever new and cool is coming this fall.

 

At least in theory, even the GH4 might be one option, thanks to its reasonable pricing, but I haven't had a chance to try one out IRL yet, either. The online topics about these cameras are good for just yakking about the gear with my peers, and the trusted reviews might even steer my attention to a certain direction, but they are no substitute for the real thing. 

 

 Duh :)

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@Quirky, I much prefer your 2nd post - your first is a bit naughty :-p

Even though it's a question asked over and over, it will be an absolute bitch for some people to decide between the two, so it's worth an extra chinwag.

I'm still happily shoot on the GH3 and no one complains. I still rent the FS700 for slow mo, even though I think the image is a bag of crap. Does the job for clients. I rented the RED Epic and everyone prefers my GH3 work.

I started my business essentially with a canon 60d. When I changed to GH3, all my repeated clients were asking why there was a sudden jump in quality. Well, I was improving, but the camera definitely made a massive influence.

So replacing my GH3 is a big deal. I do loads of music videos and edit in multi-cam, and my grading pushes the GH3 to breaking point. There is more power under the hood that I'd find useful with these particular cameras - my style of shooting would benefit hugely from the GH4/A7S.

To be honest, I think the GH4 would suit me best. I've got loads of lights. Not planning to film buildings and trees. Probably more backsides of women with flamethrowers. And a time lapse of rotting cheese for a laugh!

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@Quirky, I much prefer your 2nd post - your first is a bit naughty :-p

 

That's what The Obviousman does, he sometimes delivers the ugly truth, and therefore his flashy entrances with his cape flying are sometimes seen as naughty. As for myself, I've got almost two decades of experience in camera (and other gear) sales, so I no longer bother to sugar coat the obvious, either.  ;)

 

Even though it's a question asked over and over, it will be an absolute bitch for some people to decide between the two, so it's worth an extra chinwag.

 

Is it? As we've established above, that sentence might make sense if there was already a real knowledge base to refer to for each camera, but in the case of A7s a one doesn't exist yet. We've all seen the spec sheets, but beyond that all we have so far are the flea snacks off our furry backs. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it's only marginally more helpful than speculating over GH5 vs. A9s. I often call it nerdy-nam-nam (derived from an old Peter Sellers(?) movie).

 

Of course one could, and some people do indeed externalise their purchasing decisions to the mob (aka ask their peers online to decide for them), but the results are often worse than by making the decision oneself. Externalising the decision may lead to a vicious circle of buying and trading gear again and again at a loss.

 

Which is of course nice for others who can then buy almost unused gear for reduced prices from them.  ;)

 

To be honest

, I think the GH4 would suit me best.

 

 

Well, what's the problem then? Listen to The Obviousman, be honest to yourself. Just go and buy the GH4 already.  ;)

 

Keep in mind that the "best" camera will always be the one that will be released soon after you've just bought a new camera. If you wait for the A7s, there will always be a "better" one in fall, during or after Photokina, perhaps, and eventually there will be GH5, A9s, BMCC Mk2 and so on. Better to buy a camera when you need one.

 

Besides, 80+ per cent of our purchasing decisions are based on emotions, anyway, so not much point in trying to over-rationalise it.  :)

 

 

And a time lapse of rotting cheese for a laugh!

 

Ew. Now you are being naughty.   :P

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I'd rent the GH4 for a week and see if you like the footage. If you do, buy one. Then rent the A7s when it comes out, and see if you like that, making a final decision then.

 

I've said this before, but Sony on paper is always amazing. The reality is often not as sweet.

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