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Unboxing the GH4

Unboxing The GH4 ProjSo 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.

The Rumor of Death is Totally Untrue.

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.

GH4 Available for Pre-Order at Amazon

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Digital Camera is now available for pre-order at Amazon! This will be a popular camera so order early to get this game changing camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body Only, Black – with 4K Video Recording

Price: $1,698.00

Panasonic LUMIX DMW-YAGH Interface Unit, Pro Audio Video Interface for LUMIX GH4

Price: $1,999.99


Pre-Order The GH4 at Adorama.

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

Price: $1,698


Panasonic LUMIX DMW-YAGH Interface Unit, Pro Audio Video Interface for LUMIX GH4

Price: $1,998


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)



A Bright Lens: Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2

Leica 42.5mm F1.2
Leica 42.5mm F1.2

Leica 42.5mm F1.2

The Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 A.S.P.H. Power O.I.S. Lumix G is a bright lens. It is a very fast short telephoto portrait lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. This is the most robust, built like a tank lens that Panasonic has ever created. It looks and feels – Leica. This lens is for those who want great out of focus backgrounds. With this lens Micro Four Thirds finally has a lens that competes directly with larger sensor cameras and has that low focus plane with that pleasing out of focus background. On a 35mm sized sensor camera the focal length is equivalent to a 85mm with a aperture of about F2.5.

The lens features optical image stabilization, a special Nano Surface Coating to minimize ghosting and flare, and an iris diaphragm with nine rounded aperture blades for better out of focus circles. The lens is fairly compact fitting in the palm of your hand. For a lens that offers a portrait focal length although it's quite weighty for a Micro Four Thirds lens. It makes the GH3 feel a little heavy but balanced.

The traditional manual aperture ring on the lens barrel is new for Micro Four Thirds. With aperture markings from f/1.2 to f/16 it allows you to set the aperture in 1/3 step. As you change the aperture, it is also shown in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen. Put the lens in A and the camera controls the aperture.

The Nocticron is a high-quality lens with an impressive all-metal construction. Panasonic does not claim any sort of weather resistance for this lens, and there is no rubber seal around the mount.

The metal manual focusing ring is well dampened with a nice feel to it. Like most Micro Four Thirds lenses the ring turns freely. There are two small switches on the side toggle between auto/manual focus and turn Power O.I.S.

The Nocticron comes with a large metal lens hood and a cloth storage bag, and it uses 67mm filters, same as the 100-300mm lens.

I have found this lens to be a stellar performer with wonderful characteristics. On the GH3 it is a match made for each other. This is the best portrait and interview lens around. If you can afford it, this lens will not disappoint.

I have posted at Flickr some photo samples from this lens.

The video I have created is a review at this amazing new lens for Micro Four Thirds.



Something New to Unbox

Leica 42.5 Lens
Leica 42.5 Lens

Leica 42.5 Lens

What is big, heavy, bright, all mental and is the most expensive Lens that I have ever bought? Enter the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2 A.S.P.H. Power O.I.S. Lumix G. I recently paid a visit to Kenmore Camera and made a big dent in my wallet. That is a lot of words describing an amazing lens. This is the most robust, built like a tank lens that Panasonic has ever created. It looks and feels – Leica, and is priced so accordingly. This lens is not for everybody but will be used by those who appreciate its unique characteristics. Micro Four Thirds finally has a lens that competes directly with larger sensor cameras and has that low focus plane with that pleasing out of focus background.

Here are some photo samples of this lens.

The video I have created is just to give you a first look at this new lens for Micro Four Thirds. A review will follow later.

4K Video of Kenmore Camera on YouTube



4K – it is insane. I cannot even play it back on the screen of late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina. 4K video has more pixels than my screen so I cannot view it in all it's grandeur. I have posted on YouTube at 4K the footage I shot at Kenmore Camera’s Grand Opening on a preproduction GH4. For those of you can view 4K it is there for you to see. The rest of us Will have to view it at lower resolutions.

The GH4 is the first camera that I will own that has more resolution than my computer screen. I have experienced 4K video before using a RED camera. The RED camera files were difficult to use because that camera only shoots RAW so the file sizes are huge.

Screen Grab from 4K video

Screen Grab from 4K video

At 100 Mb per second the GH4 files are much more easy to use. I like that the h264 files are in a QuickTime wrapper in the camera. I had no real trouble editing this footage. Final Cut Pro X is already set for 4K. Your performance on another editor may very. I imported the footage from the SD card and it did not take that long because the file sizes are reasonable. FCPX has smooth playback while editing this footage. I did not add a lot of effects or layers so rendering times were quick. Later I will do some heavier editing to push my editor to see if I have any problems.

Shooting with the GH4 requires a very fast SD card to have the camera continue recording without stopping. It appears that 95 Mb per second cards seem to keep up with the 4K video. These faster cards also make importing the footage faster.

Also I will post some 4K screen grabs from the 4K video in my Flickr Set.

Hands On With The GH4


Preproduction GH4 taken at Kenmore Camera

It is here! On Friday Feb. 20th, I posted on this site that I was going to the Kenmore Camera Grand Opening. I tweeted it and Kenmore camera reposted that tweet. They also sent me a note that a certain 4K camera would be at the show. It was.

When I arrived at Kenmore camera, there was Mark Toal from Panasonic with the preproduction GH4. He warned me that this camera had beta software and from time to time would crash. Fortunately all I had to do was turn the camera off and turn it back on to continue shooting. I was able to shoot stills and 4K video at the store. All of the footage in my video besides his interview were shot with the preproduction GH4. How lucky was that! There are only four preproduction GH4’s in the country.

My thoughts about the GH4 after handling and shooting with the preproduction camera:

The first thing you will notice is that the camera looks like a GH3. It uses the same battery as the GH3 and battery grip. But a GH3 it is not. So much has been improved on this new camera that it is a major step forward.

The next thing you notice when putting it up to your eye is that the viewfinder has been improved dramatically. The viewfinder image appears very large to the eye. with no color fringing on the edges. It has a much clearer view because of the increased screen resolution and better optics in viewfinder. The eye cup is much more comfortable then the one on the GH3.

GH4 Top

The screen refresh rate has been increased so it doesn't not look like the traditional electronic viewfinder. The viewfinder image is much clearer. The pixels are so small that you don’t see them. Also the auto focus is blazingly fast because of a faster refresh rate and new quad processor.

There is a locking Mode Dial but it does not lock in the traditional way. If you leave it up the dial freely turns, if you push it down it locks. I like this arrangement much better than the way other camera manufacture’s do it.

All the buttons and dials are in the same place as the earlier camera. So anyone familiar with that earlier camera will be familiar with this camera. The menu system is very similar and more extensive add new features. There are a lot more controls for video in the new menus. With all these improvements we can tell that Panasonic is listening to the photographers who are using their cameras.

GH4 Back

But the main reason I came to see this camera was its biggest new feature, 4K video. It has been said before and I will say it again, 4K changes every thing. Panasonic has put together the most affordable 4K camera on the market. It does not have raw video, but the video it does have is damn good. Four times the resolution of full HD video is an incredible feat to put on an SD card. Mind it you need very fast cards for this camera. On this preproduction model with good cards it could shoot about 10 seconds of video before it quit. What a very fast card rated at 95 Mbps it could shoot 4K video without stopping. The 4K at this camera creates is at 100 Mbps. I tried the 1080 video at 200 Mbps and again on this very fast card I was able to get just a few seconds worth before it quit. To take advantage of this new camera, new SD cards will needed. This is not a big surprise but a necessity. The only video mode that you can still use regular cards is the slower AVCHD mode. This is a saving grace for wedding photographers and others who shoot long programs. 24 Mbps is a lot easier to record.

People are asking what is the benefit for still photographers with this new video centric camera? One of the major ones that I have thought of is that mirrorless cameras have never been thought of as good cameras for sports and other action photography. Most of them use contrast detection of focus so the camera usually is not good for tracking action. My solution is to shoot short 4K video clips and then pull out a still image from the video, a frame grab. 4K video yields an eight megapixel still, good enough for a lot of uses. Unlike the still photographers that use DSLR’s who get maybe 10 frames a second, with 4K video you get 30 frames a second with no viewfinder black out. That is a lot more frames to choose from. Still photographers are already doing this with the RED camera but the GH4 is only a fraction of the cost of the RED camera. In fact the GH4 is a lot less expensive than those DSLR's that the sports photographers are using now.

The better viewfinder, faster focus and better low light performance are also improvements for the still photographer.

Will I be adding this camera to my arsenal? You bet! Does it replace the GH3? No. It is now a higher tier camera then the GH3. It depends upon the shooter.

Here are the pictures I shot with and of the GH4 at Kenmore Camera at Flickr.

Here is my video recorded on February 21 at the Kenmore Camera Grand Opening.