The Panasonic GH4 is a versatile camera that is capable of capturing both high resolution still images and state of the art 4K video footage. It aims high and hits the mark on so many different levels.
Panasonic GH4 Key Specs
- 16.05MP Live MOS Sensor
- 4K 4096×2160 at 24p
- UHD 4K 3840×2160 at 30p/24p
- 1080p up to 60 fps
- 3.0″ 1,036k-Dot OLED Touchscreen Monitor
- 2,359K-Dot OLED Live View Finder
- Support for 59.94p, 23.98p, 50p, & 24p
- 4:2:2 8-Bit or 10-Bit HDMI Output
- 49-Point Autofocus
- Magnesium Alloy, Weather-Sealed Body
Panasonic GH4 Controls, Functions and Features
The GH4 has a very familiar look and feel with prior GH models. The camera’s controls are laid out well and offers plenty of manual control without the need to dive into the menu system for common settings.
The articulating LCD is functional and works well on this lightweight camera when shooting still or video. While not as large as a mid-range or pro DSLR, the GH4 has a nice grip and overall feel. That said, it is not as compact as most other mirrorless cameras.
The GH4 has seen generally mild upgrades for still imagery when compared to its predecessor, the GH3. However, several under-the-hood improvements keep the GH4 on the state-of-the-art level in the still imaging department.
The autofocus is incredibly fast thanks to an improved AF system featuring face/eye detection and 49-point AF sensors with a focus time of 0.07 seconds. I didn’t measure that speed claim; however, in practical use, it’s just as fast and responsive as a sports-oriented DSLR.
One of the great things about using a mirrorless camera like the GH4 is ability to treat it the same whether you are looking through the very nice OLED viewfinder or the 3″ OLED display. One DSLRs, the AF system changes when switching from the optical viewfinder to the live view system. Of course, all mirrorless cameras provide this advantage but it’s worth noting here with the GH4’s great AF system.
Here’s a look at the in-camera JPEG file processing vs. the GH4 RAW files converted to DNGs and processed through Lightroom 5 with no adjustments. First, here’s a look at the full scene that was captured.
Next, is a chart that looks at the full resolution of the files.
On the left, you’ll see a 100% crop of the images that came as JPEG files straight from the camera. On the right, you’ll see the corresponding RAW files shot alongside the JPEG files in a RAW + JPEG configuration.
If you want to take a look at the full resolution files, you can download them at the following links:
I have included both the RAW files and the converted DNG files for those who want to examine the originals in your own raw processing program. You can download the original files at this link. Please do not post the download link directly to any forums or other sites. It’s ok to link to this page, but if the external bandwidth gets too heavy, I will have to take them down.
While the camera gets noisy at higher ISO settings, it still delivers professional image quality at a very fair price. ISO 800 and below are great for most circumstances and I feel like ISO 3200 is usable for most situations as well.
I shot a little bit of slow motion footage at 1080/24p and 96fps, as well as a few frames in 4K, while I was prepping my grill one night. Both are shown in the videos below.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFaWwanGdfk&w=700]
The GH4 will shoot up to 96fps; however, it wraps the overcranked footage in a 24p file after it is shot so you get a full 4x slow motion video file rather than a file that plays back at 96fps.
You can download the above HD video for closer inspection here on Vimeo.
The 4K footage is below and shot at 24p. If you want to watch it in full screen 4K, you’ll have to watch it directly on Youtube. Fair warning: if you have a slow computer, it may bring it to its knees.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt44v-6Khd4&w=700]
Both videos were shot using the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph. lens.
The GH4 is no doubt a powerful video camera. While you can capture 4K video internally to SD cards, the GH4 can be extended using the DMW-YAGH interface unit – a $2000 add-on. The external unit adds the ability to record 4:2:2/10-Bit 4K via Quad-Link SDI output.
I could spend a few minutes breaking down all of the ins and outs of the video features that the GH4 delivers; however, instead, I am going to point you to a very thorough video review from Philip Bloom below.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/99538435 w=700]
If you are a video geek, I would encourage you to check out Bloom’s accompanying post the covers the video and time lapse features of the GH4 in much greater depth than I cover here.
The Panasonic GH4 performs exceptionally well as a flagship Micro Four Thirds camera. It brings 4K video to the masses, yet still offers the ability to extend the video recording capabilities for professional when combined with the DMW-YAGH interface unit. The GH4 has plenty to offer enthusiasts and pros who need a dual threat camera.
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