The Lumix GH4 has become a very popular camera. Most of this is because of the 4K video feature at a reasonable price point. Some other bloggers are discovering the joys of using these 21st Century cameras that I have already known. Here in Part 1 of my user review I will explain some of the reasons why I like this camera.
GH4 & GH3
Even though they are very similar in many ways, the Lumix GH4 is a major improvement over the Lumix GH3. As regular readers of this blog will know I am a great fan of the GH3. For Panasonic to improve the camera is quite an accomplishment because the GH3 was already a great camera. The new camera would have to be considerably better for me to like it a lot more. It is. They look the same except for a small detail, locking mode dial. Inside Panasonic has changed the camera considerably. Because of this, I find it hard to pick up the GH3 anymore because of the GH4. Here are some of the reasons why.
The viewfinder is miles better than its predecessor in the GH3. Not only is it sharper but it is easier to see without the edge Rainbow colors of the old viewfinder. I just don't like looking at the GH3’s viewfinder anymore. They even improved the eyecup. It is now softer and more comfortable. With the extra pixels in the viewfinder the image is a lot clearer. Sporting a new sensor with a faster read out, the image quality has improved in both stills and video. This faster sensor has improved the viewfinder as well. This is the first electronic viewfinder that I find looks almost like an optical view finder because of the faster readout and higher pixel count that adds to the clarity of the image.
One thing that I have wiped about the GH series is the swivel LCD. Swivel LCDs were put on videocameras many years ago and I have always liked them. I am glad that Panasonic put them on all of the GH series cameras. They have improved over the years. By adding more pixels Panasonic has improved the clarity of the swivel LCD on the back of the new camera is much better than its predecessor. So much so that I could now use it as an auxiliary viewfinder with my HoodLoupe. Still there on the LCD is the wonderful touch control that worked so well on the GH3. I have always liked the touch focus.
The new locking mode dial is very convenient in that when you push it down it locks the dial. Leave it up and the dial spins freely. This is a better arrangement than having to hold the button down to turn the dial like I'm some other cameras. I like being able to lock the mode to movie shooting.
It is wonderful that the improvements that came with the GH3 are still there. Having dedicated buttons for white balance, ISO asked and exposure compensation is great. I use them all the time. Having so many other function buttons is great too. I have always liked cameras with two Control wheels. One for aperture control, the other for shutter speed.
In Part 2 of my user review I will write about the improvements on the inside of the camera.
Shot with the GH4.
Framegrab from 1080p
Here is the 2014 Sequim 119th Irrigation Festival Parade in all it's glory shot in AVCHD 1080/60p. With the limitations of YouTube the video was reduced to 480p at 30 frames a second. YouTube does not do 60p. I reduced the video to 480p because the parade video is 105 minutes to keep the file size down. The lens used is the New Lumix 14-140mm f4-5.6 O.I.S.
Doing long form video on the Panasonic Lumix GH4 is wonderful.
Number one: Unlimited Recording. There is no limitation on how long you can record, unlike most other HDSLR's. The bigger the SD card the longer you can record. The camera does not stop till you stop the camera.
Number two: No Overheating. The GH4 does not overheat and shut down, period. That was a problem with other cameras that I have used.
Number three: Long Battery Runtime. The camera battery lasts a long time. I have had one battery cover an entire opera, symphony concert or musical.
Number four: Buit-In Viewfinder. The viewfinder works while shooting video. In sunlight, in shade, in the dark, does not matter.
Number five: Adjustable LCD. The rear OLED LCD is adjustable. It can be viewed from any position.
Number six: Bright LCD. The OLED LCD is bright enough to be seen in daylight without a hood. Wonderful while working on a tripod.
Number seven: Audio Level Display: The audio levels display on the screen and stay on screen as long as you are recording video. On the GH3 display the audio levels went off after a short time.
Number eight: Focus Peaking. Being able to manually focus on the fly with the LCD and viewfinder is great when the subject is constantly changing.
Number nine: Zebra Bars. Being able to see what will wash out in exposure is very helpful. They can be set to 80% or 100%.
Number ten: Low Rolling Shutter. 1080 60p has the lowest rolling shutter on the GH4. A noticeable difference. 4k has the most rolling shutter.
The Panasonic Lumix GH4 replaces a video camera.
Took the new GH4 to the 119th Sequim Irrigation Festival Fireworks. I thought it would be good to use the Cinema 24p at 4K on the camera. That's right, the camera records at 24 frames per second just like a film motion picture camera. None of this 24.976 stuff to NTSC. Just set the camera to 24.00Hz (CINEMA) in the Setup menu under System Frequency and the camera will only record 24p. Now we really have a motion picture camera.
This is the first 4K test with the new camera that I am publishing. I recorded the footage at 100mbps IPB on to a HoodMan RawSteel 32gig Class 10 U1 SDHC card with no problems. On a 32 gig card the camera estimates that you have about 40minutes of record time.
There will a an article soon explaining the differences in the 4K modes in the GH4. We are in a new exciting world with the GH4.
For my first test of the new Panasonic DMC-GH4 I decide to see how the variable frame rate works. Answer: It works real well. I am very pleased with the slow and fast motion. The way they have set it up is very straight forward as you will see.
To have these capabilities in a camera so small and reasonable in cost is amazing. Just a few years ago it cost thousands more. Panasonic has really given us a lot to work with.
Looking forward to actually use this feature on a paying shoot. I feel my clients will be very satisfied. Take a watch at this first video.
These Samsung cards should be great for the GH4 as they have high data rates.
Samsung ” 3 PACK ” 32GB SDHC Pro UHS-1 Class 10 Memory Card, Upto 80MB/s Read, Upto 40MB/s Write
Regular Price: $89.85 Sale: $49.95 + free shipping and Free Card Reader
Samsung ” 3 PACK ” 64GB SDHC Pro UHS-1 Class 10 Memory Card, Upto 80MB/s Read, Upto 40MB/s Write Speed
Regular Price $174.00 Sale: $99.99 + free shipping and Free Card Reader
So far I am very happy with the Panasonic Lumix GH4. The features are wonderful and I like that Panasonic has listened to it's customers. This is a very impressive camera indeed.
This unboxing video does not have footage from the camera or goes into depth of features. Those videos will come very soon as well as the full review. This is just a look at the camera.
I am the proud owner of a spanking new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4. Kenmore Camera got their first batch in and there it is. They put one aside for me. Unboxing and review coming soon.
The recent rumors reporting that micro 4/3 format is going to be dropped by Panasonic and Olympus is totally untrue and a very bad April fools joke. The joke was reported when it was April 1st in Japan. This type of false reporting does our industry no good and a lot of harm. In this Internet age any kind of speculation can be drawn to the maximum exposure. Why people are doing this escapes me. There is no reason for this kind of stupidity.
Pundits have been writing about the death of micro 4/3 format for many years now and the cameras have gotten much better, more interesting and with the GH4 an incredible bargain. There is no reason for Panasonic or Olympus to abandon the micro 4/3 format. The financial reports that I saw from both of these companies were not that far off of their expectations. One Panasonic rep told me that the GH3 has been a good seller and they're very happy. With all of the preorders for the GH4 I expect it to be even a better seller. We, the consumer are getting incredible value for our money. Also these cameras are the best DSLR like cameras to shoot video and Panasonic knows that.
Even with out the GH4, I have one of the Best cameras I have ever owned with the GH3. Would I be sorry if this ugly rumor proves to be true and there are going to be no more micro 4/3 cameras? Yes, but I already have what I need to get the job done and I am very satisfied with what I have. I could live with what I have for quite sometime and I don't think that Olympus or Panasonic are stupid companies. Killing micro for thirds would be just plain stupid.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Digital Camera is now available for pre-order at Adorama!
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body Only, Black – with 4K Video Recording
Panasonic LUMIX DMW-YAGH Interface Unit, Pro Audio Video Interface for LUMIX GH4
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Camera Body, Black with DMW-YAGH Pro Audio Video Interface Unit
Price: $3,298 (save $398 when pre-ordering the GH4 and the Interface Unit together, rather than separate)