The GH4 is powerful 4k camera in a small package.

Chapter Markers (45 minute review)

  • 1:26 No Zacuto Viewfinder Required
  • 2:39 Skin tones
  • 3:05 Slow Motion
  • 3:45 4K Detail
  • 6:09 GH4 vs Red Epic
  • 7:33 Everything not in focus at f/16?
  • 8:19 Sensor Size
  • 16:43 ISO Tests
  • 18:42 CineLikeD
  • 19:48 Dynamic Range
  • 20:40 Pushing the Grade
  • 22:05 Motion Blur
  • 22:50 Aliasing
  • 23:41 Rolling Shutter
  • 25:09 Focus
  • 26:22 Time Lapse
  • 26:37 Construction
  • 27:18 4K Pan/Scan
  • 28:06 Stills
  • 30:14 4k Advantages
  • 31:59 Things I Don’t Like
  • 36:14 Magic Lantern Raw?
  • 36:51 Sony A7S?
  • 38:07 C100?
  • 39:19 Conclusion – why I am leaving Canon

Download Review

GH4 Video

Headline is the Panasonic GH4 is 4k on the cheap and in a small priced right package.

First up I have to show you some footage. The detail is impressive! Published in 1080 because I don’t have a 4k monitor yet, and I am comparing a lot of 5D footage that is only 1080.  Won’t see the resolution benefit of 4k watching this review on an iPhone.

It is the nicest DSLR I have ever shot video with, even if it is not a DSLR, it’s actually a mirrorless camera.

Gh4 Detailed Wide Shot

Best detailed image quality in this price range, I can say that because I’ve not used the Sony a7s yet. Canon & Nikon have nothing in this price range that can do 4k. And as we will see later it can even keep up with the Red Epic in terms of detail.

Great features like zebras, I am finding I am consistently getting better exposures now than with my Canon 5D Mark III.

GH4 Still From Video File

No attachable screen viewfinder to slow me down when I am outside. Can’t tell you how many times I didn’t put my view finder on because I thought I didn’t need it and later regretted it because the focus was soft or the exposure was off. Love seeing just how the image will come out in the Evf for color. Switch around WB in real time in a nice sealed isolated environment.  However I do miss optical VF in low light because of all the noise in low light. After I gave the gh4 back I held my 5D up to my eye and video mode and got very frustrated.

Skin tones are just as nice as 5d.

The slow motion at 1080 is wonderful. Since I have fast moving kids and I shoot handheld, I must say I use it a lot, perhaps 20% of the time, it just makes everything look wonderful. My daughter will have a gymnastics exercise and I can help her figure out what is going on by slowing it down.

The GH4 makes my 5D3 look so soft!  Can’t tell you how many times I have looked at the GH4 image and said wow, wow that is so nice!

So many times I wonder if I got the 5d in focus and then redo the test. The 5d has always been soft and many say it’s never truly been a 1080 camera.

But detail is not everything that is why I am excited for the Sony A7s because it might have the dynamic range and match the detail of the GH4 at 1080.

All this detail is great for compositing, like adding text to this 4k image was so easy because you can zoom right in and see all the great detail for finding the right motion tracking point.

For slow motion I will either shoot at 96fps when there is not a ton of textures in the image because it is a bit softer, and use 60fps when I want more detail.

GH4 vs Red Epic

My friend James Drake asked me to test his Red Epic against the Gh4, he was interested in some tests to see if he could use it along side his Epic.

Before some of you get all upset about this test because it is not apples to apples, James wanted to do this test to ask the question, “Is this a good B-camera for the Red?” After we finished the test we went to a coffee shop and James said, “the GH4 can really step in as a nice sub-$2000 addition to a Red users kit, under a few conditions.”

This next shot I took early on in my review blew me away, it really changed my thinking. You might be saying Dave it is just a shot of a ball. Not sure if you can see it but look at the top of the frame, I shot this both at f16! The full frame 5D is out of focus just a short distance from the ball, where the Gh4 is in focus! I thought that at f16 everything was in focus!

Sensor Size M43 Super 35mm APS-C Full frame at 16x9 ratio

At this point I need to say that the Gh4 is a m43 sensor, if you don’t know what that means, full-frame (35mm) sensor is FOUR TIMES the area of m4/3 sensor, but when you compare it to what most modern day movies are shot on super 35 it is not that bad, don’t be confused as I was, ‘super’ doesn’t mean it is bigger than a full frame stills camera, it is much smaller. And when you compare it to APS-C it is not that far off.

Check out this example, I shot this with both cameras at the same time at f3.2, first up is the 5D, check how it is out of focus until the dismount, while the Gh4 the whole balance beam at f3.2 is in focus. You might be saying, “Dave just jack up the f-stop and ISO on the 5D”, but as I demoed before with the flowers it is not that easy on a full frame.

Now some of you might be saying that the Gh4 does not look like film, you might be right, I have no idea since I have never shot on a film movie camera so I really don’t know what it is like to work with that, all I have ever known is video.

So why is this a big deal for me, because sometime I don’t want to be constantly adjusting focus, I can’t tell you how many shots have been ruined by my full frame camera and my lack of experience as a professional focus puller!

I am not saying full frames are bad for video, I like the look of super shallow DOF, but perhaps I don’t need it all the time, even at f16. That got me thinking about super 35mm and why all large scale movies today are shot on super 35.

Super 35mm=movies 35mm=pics.
Red Epic, Scarlet  (25.9 x 14.5)
Canon C300 C100 C500  (24.6 x13.8mm)
Arri Alexa (23.8 x 13.4mm)
Sony F65/F3, FS100, FS700  (23.6 x13.3)
Sony F55 F5 (22.6 x12.7mm) M43 17 x 13mm

GH4 vs Canon 5D3 camera bag comparison

At this point let’s talk about lenses for m43 as you can see they are a lot smaller than FF lenses, just check out my camera bag, the two cases pretty much match in terms of focal range zooms. Don’t worry we will get back to DOF in a moment because lenses tie in to the DOF equation.

I love the smaller lenses on M43!  People less camera shy. Smaller means I’ll take it more places. Carry all day on a vacation without feeling it. Easier to fly on gimble, drone or Movi. PTA sees a big camera they think your a pro and want to volunteer, the GH4 you are low on the radar. Not intimidating: if I point this at you which one feels more intimidating?  I love how small it is!  I love my 70-200 but I don’t use it much because it is a tank. 35-100 I have been using a ton, my style has changed!  Use it for vacations, hikes, all day shooting. Put it in your pockets like at the show.

GH4 w/Speedbooster vs Canon 5D Mark III Same Distance

OK getting back to DOF, I want to show you some bokeh balls tests with my girls  dolls.

The Gh4 has a crop factor of 2, so this 12-35mm lens on a gh4 is going to behave like this Tamron 24-70mm on a FF. The Panasonic lens also behaves similar when comes to stabilization and constant aperture. But where it does not behave the same is dof. I just want to make sure people buying a GH4 and this 24-70 equivalent lens that they will NOT be getting the same level of blurry backgrounds you will get with a full frame camera. When you’ve shot with a ff for a long time you know what f2.8 will look like at 70mm. You will be quickly disappointed with this lens if that is what you are used to. I know this might sound obvious to some but I want to say that again in a different way. Both of these lenses behave the same way for field of view but don’t think just because they both have f2.8 written on them that the Panasonic lens is going to give you the same shallow DOF as shown here in this example. Shooting at f2.8 on the GH4 is like shooting at f5.6 on a FF.

If I wanted to match the bokeh balls with the Gh4 I would need the longer lens and backed up three times the distance, but I wouldn’t have the same compression as you can see. Sometimes moving 3 times the distance for an interview is just not going to happen.  If you want to stay the same distance in an interview you would have to use fast glass like this Sigma f1.4 lens with a speedbooster wide open, now you get almost the same look and you can stay the same distance to your subject. If you want to even out the balls you need to close down the speedbooster slightly. The look is pretty close but you will still notice that the dolls eyebrows are actually more out of focus than the Gh4 version, the full frame can’t be hard to keep in focus.

Camera Sensor

So full frame is hard to focus, what about this super 35mm sensor that many movies are shot on, how does that compare to the gh4 with a speedbooster. This time we are using the same focal length and the same aperture lens of 1.4 to the Red Epic. I want you to study the out of focus areas here, not the dynamic range or color, etc. I think they are pretty close, I think the Epic is a little better, but it is close.

Without the speedbooster here are some shots with just Panasonic lenses, and yes you can get some nice shallow DOF.

I ran a lot of low light high ISO tests, it is no surprise that the full frame Canon did a lot better than the M43, it seemed like ISO 1600 on the Gh4 was like ISO 6400 on the 5D3.

But the real surprise was at ISO 200 as you can see here the GH4 4k footage down scaled to 1080, I think it blows the doors off the Canon 5D.

One of the things I hear people complain about m43 is shooting wide. I was using the Panasonic 7-14 and it worked pretty well, I think it behaved similar to my Tokina 16-28mm ultra wide lens in terms of focal range and distortion.

Before I show you my dynamic range tests we need to talk about profile settings because they can effect the perceived dynamic range. I first started out using the CineLikeD, but after a few days of shooting and trying to grade the image I gave up. Not sure about really flat picture styles when using an 8-bit codec for color, plus the GH4 liked the color orange too much for my tastes, I just couldn’t get the skin tones right. So I did a ton of tests on natural and found the sweet spot for me, I will list all the setting below. When I have time I will go back and learn more about that profile.

Dynamic Range better? iDynamic range adds a ton of noise to the shadows even at lowest ISO, so I do use it, it does lift the shadows however. GH4 is slightly better, not by a lot, A7S will be interesting, should do very well. I am seeing more dynamic range in 4k than 1080.

Don’t want to review the brick right now, so when I am testing how far I can push the footage in post I am only referring to the internal 8-bit recording.

Sometimes when you add too much contrast or saturation to a blue sky gradient you can get banding like you see her with my iphone.

Using the same pushed settings from the Iphone I wanted to see how the gh4 and 5D could handle the abuse.

Bit Rate comparison (8bit):  GH4 in 4k does not break apart as quickly as the 5D (not by much  it’s close), also you get slight banding with the 5D but none on the GH4. If you don’t punish it, they both look good no banding. Comparing 200Mbps vs 100Mbps with heavy contrast and saturation, 96fps looked the cleanest, I’m sure it has to do with the codec used.

Also in terms of the codec I was trying to find compression issues with a lot of motion in the frame, but it looked good to me. I also did some green screen work. Since you have more resolution the edge where you are most concerned about should be easier to get a nice clean edge but I didn’t see that much difference, but I only know enough to be dangerous here.

I wanted to look at motion blur, both on the display and in the EVF. Motion blur looked similar to the 5D but different than Epic, the Epic had less for some reason. James and Luke Neumann both noticed this.

I couldn’t find any aliasing or moire at 4K, I found it at 1080, but no where to be found at 4k, so nice to have a clean image! And if you think the 5D doesn’t have any, it does here is a green screen shot I did and look at his shirt!

So I went on the road to find some rolling shutter.  Rolling shutter at 4k is similar to the 5D in this type of test. However don’t want to quickly pan or bump the camera when shooting at 100mm. Compared to the Epic it is not as good. Electronic shutter great for totally silent mode, but watch out for massive angles on the stills side.

Focus tracking, I wanted to try it out with Weather Channel personality Halley O’Brien walking towards the camera. Nice to have when you don’t have an operator and shooting at f2.8. As you can see it got pretty confused.

Focus peaking, this is even more important with the detail in 4K because you will see it out of focus more.  Works well, as you can see here I was not doing a very good job at first using peaking because no peaking marks on the swimmer but they were there on the lane lines, but as you can see I got better with practice.  Other features it has a built in timer so creating a time lapse is easy to do. Not a big deal, but I’ll take it since Canon would never give us this.

Construction on par with 5d. Rain. Wish record button was raise like 5d. Camera shake each start and stop on 70-200.

You can pan and scan within the 4k image when publishing to 1080, I am really getting used to that already and not sure I can go back. Remember that monster computer build video I did a year ago, the reason for that build was I knew that I would be editing 4k footage some day, and it totally rocks the footage no problem.

Stills on the GH4

  • Focus speed is insane using the Panasonic glass.  I’m not a sports photographer but it seems just as fast as my 5d. Turn off focus assist and it keeps up with my 5d in low light.
  • FPS for sports is insane. “12 fps in single autofocus mode using the mechanical shutter, 7.5 fps in continuous AF mode.  When using the electronic shutter, you can shoot in bursts up to 40 fps.”
  • WiFi for my real estate photos, instead of expensive CamRanger. Or just sending something to Facebook or attaching GPS info.
  • JPG:  The Gh4 just looks brittle or over sharpened or digital noise reduction, I think it is the noise reduction is too much, but raw is much nicer

4k Advantages over 1080 on GH4

Besides shooting slow motion I can’t really figure out why you won’t always shoot in 4K. So many advantages to shooting in 4K:

  • More detail!
  • You get a lot less noise when you take the 4k image and downscale to 1080!
  • You don’t have to worry about aliasing and moire.
  • Slightly more dynamic range
  • It’s weird, you would think that the 4K file would be 4 times the size of my 5D All-i, but they are not, about the same size!
  • You have so many creative things you can do in post, pan and scan, rotate, punch in for a one camera interview.

Audio on the GH4

  • It has a slight noise issue with the Rode Videomic Pro, I’ve been talking with Rode and Panasonic and it sounds like they are working on a solution. No issue with Panasonic’s DMW-MS2 shotgun mic.

Things I Don’t Like About the GH4

  • Zebras can be slow to react.
  • Zebras go away when setting iso.
  • Peaking: Sometimes there’s too much focus peaking blue and I can’t see what I’m doing.
  • Histogram is too small to find the middle when setting exposure with gray card.
  • Can’t auto bracket on a 2 second self timer. Use app or cable release.
  • Can’t change the aperture while zoomed in like you can with 5D.
  • Don’t like charger. Cable and green led.
  • Crashed 3 times. Card, perhaps not.
  • In terms of punching in and focusing, I was a little disappointed with the Gh4 will comparing to my 5D at the same time, it was not as fast to get manual focus punched in on the GH4.

Can I Live Without Magic Lantern Raw?

  • I hardly ever use ML raw because the pain in post. For those of you that have tried it know how hard it is, but sometimes I would use it on really high dynamic range shots.
  • Raw is great for passion project where you have tons of time in post, it is not good for a quick turn around.

What about the Sony A7S?

  • The Sony A7s should have really good Dynamic Range which I am interested in, it also can see in the dark. But it doesn’t have internal 4k recording
  • If I get the A7s I don’t need a Speedbooster which saves me $400.
  • Better codec than Gh4
  • No native FE mount fast zooms yet. Guess you have to go with many fast primes instead, but they are smaller and compact.
  • I do like small and light, but the Sony is not lighter, not when you add the full frame lenses.
  • Big question: will the a7s have the close enough detail at 1080 as the gh4 at 4k? Will the a7s line skip at 1080?
  • So many questions that I will have to test it too.

What About a C100?

  • What about a C100? I think Canon is doing great things with their Cinema line because clearly they are putting all their innovation with that line, but they are too expensive when starting $5,500 and the size and weight are going the wrong way, I want smaller and lighter.  Ryan Connolly and many others have graduated up to a c100 which works for them, built-in ND’s and awesome in low light with the super 35mm sensor.  C100 has a 4K sensor that scales down to HD in camera, so you don’t have to in post. The Gh4 vs C100 tests I have seen, it looked like the Gh4 held it’s own very well in terms of image quality.
  • The 1DC: it will do 4k in a small form factor which is great, but at $10k.
  • Direct correlation of small size to amount of usage, which means since the gh4 is so small I will shoot more.

Conclusions

  • For those that skipped ahead, here are the conclusions. The image detail is over the top compared to my 5D, it’s small and lightweight which means I will take it more places, dynamic range is slightly better depending how you set it up, super clean image with no aliasing in 4k, cleaner image at iso200, file sizes that are comparable to my 5D, features not found in Canon camera like focus peaking, and zebras that are getting me better images.
  • This is by far the best run and gun stealth shooting machine out, and it is less than $2,000, I think it is better than the BMPCC for those that are not great at grading. Also I think indy film makers can produce stunning work with the camera as long as they add just a little bit of light.
  • To quote another reviewer Jonathan Yi, “Time to get excited… because this camera is awesome!”
  • Not a game changer, it’s a Canon Brand changer, I know several people that are changing from Canon like Caleb Pike.
  • Philosophy – Canon: “Highly unlikely we will bring feature down from the C line like focus peaking, unless the market demands it.” When I asked about their philosophy for the next Canon 5D Mark IV.
  • I need two camera bodies for interviews/backup reasons: nice to have a FF and a crop sensor.  After this summer I plan to sell my 5D3 and T3i. GH4 A-Cam because it’s lightweight and great for my run and gun style, and the Sony A7s B-Cam for when I need low light and want beautiful wide open lens shots.
  • Will I miss full frame. Yes I think I will. Perhaps cameras are like girl friends when I was in my 20’s, after a relationship ended the next one you look for tended to fill a void from the last one. 5d girlfriend was a bit soft so I’m looking for one that’s a lot sharper.  But after being in the new relationship you think about how good the last friend was, like in low light. So yes I might miss it but right now I want some detail. So the sad thing is I will probably get both the Gh4 and A7s.
  • I’m I saying everyone should leave Canon, no they still make good cameras, and with my luck the Canon 7D Mark II will come out with all the features we want for video with a super 35mm sensor for less than $2k just after I sell all my Canon glass!
  • Who is the GH4 for: run and gun, stealthy shooter, event coverage where you can’t miss on focus, sports where you can’t miss on stills actions, vacation camera light weight matters, no tripods allowed you can shoot in 4k and warp stabilize it like a lock off shot. If you have the money and it is your first camera, this one would be awesome.
  • Light weight and fast, which matches my style
  • Special thanks to Mathew Frazer James Drake Andrew Reid Caleb Pike  Halley O’Brien Ian Chisholm, Caleb Kohl.

My Notes That Didn’t Make it in the video

  • Make sure you get a good lens to shoot at f2.8 with a good ND filter, you will be shooting wide open a lot.
  • If you place 4k footage on a 1080 timeline you can add a vignette and it plays smooth, however if you put 4k footage into a 4k timeline and add a vignette it is very choppy.
  • You are better off working in a 1080 timeline. Both 4k footage on a 1080 and 4k timeline look similar, however you will be sharpening them differently
  • Stabilizer works great on handheld 4K footage.
  • You can zoom in on video files after you shoot! Wow.
  • You lose AF in variable frame rate mode, but you can get it back with another 1080 setting.
  • The dials are really intuitive to use, especially the ‘front’ dial for aperture – thank you! Canon: you have aperture on the mail dial, but you lose it in video mode, which can make muscle memory very hard!
  • Battery life is insanely good.
  • Auto wb does well. Better than Nikon
  • Span clips at 6:57 and creates new clip using 4k. Could not find that it missed any frames between clips which is good.
  • 400 iso on the GH zoomed in looks noisier than the 5D Mark III at ISO 1600 zoomed.
  • Perhaps the GORILLA $750 would work with a GH4 and pancake? GH4 at 560 g + 55 g (14mm) pancake = 625 g is less than the 400-800 g limit.

Camera Picture Profile Setup Used in this Review

  • Profile: Natural
  • Contrast: Like the -3 or -4 contrast
  • Saturation at 0. Saturation; only time I turned down is if the camera presents one color too much, canon does this with the reds easier in post to not key it out. But not finding that on the gh4 and I want all the color info I can get and not throw away because of the compression. However the gh4 looks really saturated compared to 5d3.
  • Sharpness: -3
  • Noise Reduction: not tested
  • Shadows: +2. no skin tones in scene you can do shadow +5, highlight -1 on natural, easy to grade.
  • Highlights: 0, Can’t seem to fix them in post. Safe for all lighting situations. Won’t get nasty skin textures.
  • Luminance Level: more range with 0-255
  • Master Pedestal: is for lifting the black level to match other cameras like canon clog or red.
  • Monitor Luminance: *2
  • Monitor Brightness: -1
  • Monitor Saturation: -1

GH4 Review Coming Soon

79 comments

  • Wow, great review! This seals my deal with Panasonic. Goodbye Canon. It was great while it lasted.

  • Wow you nailed this one. Some outstanding test images. I bought one a couple days ago and am using an old zeiss prime for now. The only two negatives I would add are perception on commercial jobs (it lacks that pro look of my chunky mark 3) and the annoying strap eyelets (took them off straight away)…

  • Thanks Dave! Good stuff as always. It really does come down to this and the a7s. I think at the end of July, I think the waiting game will be over and both of these cameras will be flying off shelves, provided Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (you know who I mean) don’t try to rush something out to capture some of the market.

  • It’s really infuriating that Canon won’t offer simple features in their cameras that wouldn’t require much work on their end. Let’s just start with a simple intervalometer, it’s available in Nikon DSLRs and now it’s in the GH4. How about the focus peaking or zebra tools? People are hacking the cameras and doing it with Magic Lantern so the work has already been done, just include it Canon. Yes, the market is asking for it Canon, you’re just not listening or paying attention. Canon could really hit one out of the ball park if they wanted to by including extra features in their next camera, 120fps, focus peaking, zebra, intervalometer, focus trap, etc, but they wont. I think I’m done with Canon too.

  • I guess I’m a bit confused about your being surprised at the difference in depth of field between FF and MFT. It’s exactly what you should expect. A MFT camera with a 50mm lens at f2.8 is equivalent to a FF camera with a 100mm lens at f5.6, shot from the same place. Equivalent means same field of view and same depth of field. For still photography FF cameras are considered better because they give you lots of creamy bokeh. Of course that may not be useful for video, and apparently that’s what you found – that the smaller sensor, which tends to have everything in focus, works better for video. But that’s just the nature of small sensors, not a particular feature of the GH4. But the Sony, being a FF camera, will put you back in the same place depth-of-field-wise as the 5D3. You’ll need to close down the aperture two stops to get the same DOF as the GH4 with equivalent FL lenses.

    You might want to review a recent Youtube video by Tony Northrup which goes over the equivalence factors for focal length, aperture and ISO based on the crop factor. I think what you found is pretty much what he predicts.

  • @Oscand yes I did, see what I wrote above, I had to cut a lot of things out since the video was so long already.

  • Best review yet Dave. I left Canon when the GH2 came out. Then when I got the Gh3, that confirmed my decision to stick with Panasonic. I was surprised it took so long for Canon users to finally look at Panasonic as a better camera as far as image quality and features. I guess it was that 4K on the GH4 that got people’s attention.

  • Hey Dave,
    Thanks for the review. We got out GH4 first week of release and have been using it as our 3rd camera on Wedding shoots every weekend where we use it on on our MOVI M5. We get at least one crash a week, we do not lose and shots, just the camera locking up completely. I have tried all different cards including the Scandisck extremes and I do not think it is card based…what are your thoughts or what have you heard?

  • @Darrell the most common theme on the crashes is shooting at 96fps, I will make sure Panasonic looks through all the comments on my yt channels since others have mention it as well.

  • This would have to be one of the few reviews I respect, I had already made up my mind to buy a #GH4 however this totally sold me.
    Very balanced with out ego and well done on so many levels. Thank you for your time and sharing David.

  • Wow!!! One of the best reviews that i’ve ever seen!!
    Congratulations! I’m anxious about your A7s review to make my mind! Bye Canon!

  • Fantastic review! So thorough, so helpful, and so professional. One of the best that I’ve ever seen. I’ve been following you since 2012 and I think that it’s your best yet. Keep up the good work!

    I’ve noticed that with my GH4 the amount of focus peaking in the LCD monitor or EVF depends on the level of Sharpness in your Photo Style. The more sharpness, the more focus peaking. Just FYI.

    Also, having had the GH2 and GH3 and Metabones Speedbooster for a few years, I’d recommend getting the Sigma 18-35mm and Tokina 11-16mm. Those combinations really excel on the MFT sensor.

  • I don’t even understand how I stopped up here, but I believed this publish was
    once good. I don’t realize who you are but certainly you
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  • Unfortunately getting rid of all full frame equipment is not an option if you do serious low light stills photography as well as video.

    As no one tool seldom is perfect for everything I can unfortunately see a future where you will need 3 bloody expensive camera systems.. one GH4 for sharp 4K video, one highres 20+ megapixel fullframe for low light stills and one A7S for low light video. Puh…

  • Thanks Dave! This review is superb. Your cover everything!!
    I wanted to ask you, I wanna shoot with the 12-35 panasonic lens, mainly for the OIS but the “clinical look” puts me away.
    As you said in your review a diffusion filter on it helps, do you have any recommendation/experience on that?

    Thanks a lot!

  • I watched it yesterday so i may be confused and read about that somewhere else 🙂
    In any case if you know something about it I would love to hear your proffesional opinion.
    Thanks!!

  • Great review.
    Can you tell me what brand and model of the gray, white, black collapsible panel for you used in the video?

    thanks, Chris

  • Thanks for the review! Of course Canon is going to step up. The market rules. Too bad I have a lot of investment on glass from Canon and I’m guessing others have too so I’m hoping Canon will get closer to the competition… Elephants move slowly.

  • “Acquire in 4K, publish at 1080” — Sony basically does this in camera with the a6000, RX10 and RX100 III. Aliasing and moire never arise because the cameras down-sample the full sensor instead of skipping lines to generate the 1080×1920 video frame. (They are not 4K video cameras, but they do have at least 4000 horizontal pixel on their sensors). Of this lot, only the RX100 III has Sony’s updated codec at this point. But, XAVC S is the future for Sony’s consumer devices.

    An APS-C interchangeable lens camera with XAVC S, when it arrives, should be interesting. In the mean time, if you absolutely need a small camera with a high-data-rate codec ….I guess I would consider the GH4 but I wouldn’t overinvest as there are some problems:

    – acquiring in 4K and exhibiting in 1080 makes “post” more time consuming. Why bother with that when Sony does it in-camera?

    – if you acquire in 4K, you can’t use the sensor as a tele converter. Being able to do so gives your glass on the order of 2x extra reach with little or no loss of image quality (Sony calls it “clear image zoom”; Canon, “video digital zoom,” etc). Yes, you could “zoom” in post using your 4K footage, but your focus is probably going to be off. Nothing like composing the image in the viewfinder.

    – MTF glass is being deceptively advertised as far as the conversion to FF equivalency is concerned. For instance, a 35-100mm f/2.8 lens is a 70-200mm FF equivalent focal length lens …TRUE, but the f/2.8 maximum aperture is misleading. The full frame equivalent maximum aperture is f/5.6.

    – Multiply ISO by 4 to get a feeling for noise in FF equivalency. Your glass is slower than you think (e.g., f/5.6 not f/2.8) and your ISO is noisier than you think (e.g., 3200 not 800).

    – Sure, you can use Metabones but you’re going to lose AF. Also, the adapter adds bulk, weight and $400.

    – Continuous AF on the GH4 doesn’t work anyway…well, not well enough to produce acceptable image quality. That’s a huge knock against the camera especially when the continuous video AF in cameras like the Sony a6000 and Canon 70D works so well.

    GH4 — proceed with caution. It’s NOT the second coming of the savior.

  • Very good review, Dave. I am very Canon loyal, but the A7s is the first camera to come out that has made me seriously consider switching.

    For me, the GH4 looks like a great camera, but isn’t going to meet my needs as a wedding videographer that needs good low-light capabilities.

    You’re right about Canon’s philosophy. For us sub $5k camera owners, Canon is asleep at the wheel; which is odd because I’ll bet there are more 5DMk3 video shooters than C100 shooters.

    Thanks for all you do, Dave. 🙂

  • Excellent review, Dave. Really covered everything I was wondering about. As someone who has been shooting professionally for over a decade, but am just starting to branch out on my own, making a switch like that is out of the question. I am very hopeful that Canon is in fact listening, or at the very least seeing the writing on the wall in terms of declining sales, and will be coming out with comparable equipment in the next couple of years.

    I am really looking forward to your review of the A7s as that seems more my speed with the low light capability and it’s ability to take Canon glass.

  • Dave great video. My old thought of “why do I need 4k when no one has a 4k tv” gets destroyed when you see the 4k footage downgraded to 1080 blowing away the 5Dmk3’s.

    And now I’m depressed (because my 5Dmk3 isn’t even paid off yet and all the gear I bought to support it).

    But as a guy who thought he’d be shooting 50/50 stills/video but it leans more like 80/20, I’m not quite sure what to do. There’s just so many more canon specialty lenses. Case in point the Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro. That’s something Panny will never offer for the GH4.

    So I’m in the camp of buying a GH4 for video and continuing to shoot stills on 5D3.

    One of the reasons I went Canon over Panasonic is that the GH3 looks like and felt like a toy. When a client’s paying you and you bring some obscure brand it makes you look less professional. Yes the results matter most, but looking pro goes a long way too (in the eyes of clients).

    I agree, Canon has its head buried in the sand. And I’m really wondering will you be keeping any of your Canon lenses and what will you use to adapt them to the GH4? Is the $600 speed booster that gives 1 stop of light the only thing worth using?

    I don’t think I can drop my Canon and trust reviews. I feel I need to use both for a while.

    Lastly, hopefully all us vloggers have backup URLs ready since we all have DSLR in the name hehe.

  • Excellent review – really swayed me towards a GH4 to replace my Canon 7D / Tokina 11-16 for RE video.

    Zooming around 4K footage in a 1080 timeline sounds very cool too – no more carrying around a slider!

  • Thanks for the thorough review. About a year ago I sold my (then top of the line) camcorder and bought a micro4/3 camera instead and hooked on the system since then. i try to keep things small, so the workhorse is a GM1 – essentially the same as the GH line with a much smaller package with all its advantages and disadvantages.

    BTW thanks for including real life shots, my kids are doing the same activities. This is the only way I can see if this camera is really suitable for my uses.

  • Very nice review as usual Dave. I had a comment regarding the Canon C100 price: I did a quick check on prices:

    If you get a:
    Panasonic GH4;
    Panasonic 12-35;
    Panasonic 35-100;
    Beachtek SLR-ULTRA (for phantom power – making this comparison more ‘apples to apples’)

    and compare that to a:
    C100
    Canon 50mm 1.4
    Canon 28-135mm

    The Canon package is about $1500 more than the Panasonic – which is considerably less than the body to body price difference of $3300. Those Panasonic lenses are expensive!

    Granted – the Panasonic package is still considerable cheaper, but I was wondering for your case whether the $1500 would be worth the amount of time you spend finding and getting used to new lenses for the Panasonic GH4 as well as getting a hang of the Panasonic interface.

    I’m trying to put together a video equipment package for an organization here, and have now added the GH4 to the spreadsheet as an option. Just thought that “reduction in price difference” was worth sharing.

  • thanks Dave for this indepth review, love it, been using the gh4 for 4 weeks and still learning but definately love this. A few of my friends are switching too 🙂

  • Hey Gui I seen that article before, it’s very interesting. Thanks for reminding us. I’m going to go,read it again. Now that Dave got my interest in the GH4.

  • I got the GH4 in for a test a week or so ago. It has crashed several times during testing, i.e. frozen so completely I was forced to remove its battery to turn it off.

    I’m a bit surprised by how noisy the sensor appears to be at ISO200 for both stills and video. Another rather disappointing (but interesting too) phenomenon is the “stippling” effect seen at the boundary area between in-focus and out-of-focus areas of the image. It was instantly noticeable in UHD video when viewed at 100% on a UHD display, and it looks kinda ugly – like something produced by digital pocket cameras 8-10 years ago.

    It’s past 2am here so I didn’t watch the video (yet). Dave, did you notice the “stippling” effect and if so, what do you think of it?

  • Congrats Dave !

    Agree ! While the segment is moving very fast, canon still doesn’t propose advanced video features on his DSLR (no zebra, no focus peaking, no 1080 at 60fps, etc).

    What about timelapse ? Nope, you must buy an external and bulking timer…

    Why must FF be so big ? Take a look on the Sony A7s.. And I’m not even talking of the joke of the 18mp sensors, unchanged since the T2i. Canon has used this sensor on 4 generations of cameras (plus the SL1!).

    The only new thing the past years was the 70D and its dual pixel. However this is nothing more than a very big APS-C camera (Sony NEX does better) with descent focus capabilities but inferior to the Sony/Pana/Olympus for video…

    That’s enough, I’ve been waiting too long and Canon doesn’t want to wake up. I let them be conservative: make big “manly” DSLR, sell lenses for outrageous prices and don’t include basic features to protect their high end line of Camera.

    I’m going to get a Micro 3/4 (GH4) or the Sony A7s and sale all my EF and EF-S lenses on ebay.

  • Dave, do you know if there is a way in manual focus mode to get the MF Assist(magnification, enlarge image) while shooting?
    Thanks again for all your informative stuff.

  • Isn’t the softer and more “bokehy” canon image more “cinematic” as opposed to more “videoish” GH4 pixel perfect image?

  • You gotta change your site name to “learningmirrorlessvideo.com” ;-D Canon seems to have had it’s place as a springboard to one man band video productions. It may not have all the best features of the world, but it still is a great, reliable combo for small professional photo & video productions. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but don’t run too fast after it. Remember to think about the content too!

  • Wow, wow wow!

    Such a great job on this review. And thanks so much for avoiding the whole “right tool for the job” crap. I can afford only one also. So…. dude you got me thinking big time. Thanks for that.

    But…. this means you HAVE to get the Sony comparison done ASAP!!!!! LOL Really, though I can’t wait for that.

    Question…. are Sony and Panasonic related somehow? It sounds like you were saying they go together somehow or did I miss something?

  • Wow, I wish I could express in a few words how I feel about this whole thing, I cant… fortunately if anyone is interested I made a blog post here: http://goo.gl/iwgFCl let me know what you guys think.

  • Have you noticed the added crop factor when shooting in 4K ? Some reviews say there is another 1.5 crop compared to 1080.
    Would be interesting to know

    Thanks

  • Fantastic review Dave! Thank you for taking the time to do such an in-depth review.

    I own a Canon 6D (purchased your excellent course on the 6D as well)… I will be leaving Canon as well.

    The GH4 and Sony A7S give you so much more bang for your buck. My future $$$$ will be spent on non-Canon gear.

    My upgrade will be either the GH4 or A7S. I big downside for the A7S is that it cannot record 4K in-camera so be aware of that. You need need an external recorder to record 4k. The Atomos Shogun has been designed for the job but costs an additional $2k!!!

  • Hi Dave, I’ve followed your advice and really helpful videos for quite a while now. Interestingly I made the jump to Panasonic about a year ago with the GH3. I love the quality and the size. Just taken delivery of a GH4 and also have a G6 (which for the price makes a great B-roll camera). Now my GH3 is b-roll and GH4 main camera. All my Canon gear has gone (7D and 60D plus quite a few lenses). I don’t regret it one bit because I USE the panasonics so much more and they are so much more portable. By the way I’ve found that the sound issue with the GH4 doesn’t seem to occur with the original mono rode videomic – tried it today and sound is fine.

  • Great review! Man, lots of people are gonna jump ship. I was worried about the GH4 looking too video-y, but I’ve seen videos recently that look awesome and cinematic, so I’m no longer worried. I saw shitty looking video images off the T3i too, it just needs the right hands.

    Canon is just greedy. They should have hired Alex’s team from ML and created a great run and gun competitor to the GH4. Mark 3 raw is great, but that’s still $3000 and Canon doesn’t even write the OS! Not to mention the endless forum reading for tweaks and updates. I just want to shoot man!

    I’m jumping ship too. That thing looks sweet.

  • Nice review. I’m moving from a 5d3, just not sure if I go A7s or GH4. I’ve had the GH4 for the last few weeks and it can produce nice images, but the noise at relatively low ISO’s is really bugging me – anything past 1600 gets really bad. This is the case for both stills and video. Though DOF is an individual thing, I like to soften busy backgrounds more than the GH4 sometimes allows with the 12-35 and the 35-100.

    I find shooting too flat with Cine-D does some funky things, especially with skin tones. I get better results with Cine-V and it requires less work in post – which is good with an 8-bit 420 codec.

    I have the A7s on order to compare as the DR/noise looks to be superior to the GH4 and I don’t have to play math games with my lenses or fiddle with speedboosters and such. There is something about the FF aesthetic and more DR will give the image a much more pleasing look.

  • What a fantastic review! Ordered mine. I also ordered the Nocticron as the image stabilization coupled with the very fans lens should be great. I would love to see that reviewed – but suppose I will own it soon enough 🙂

  • Hey Dave, I’m having a lot of issues with noise. I’m shooting in CineD. Do you know if the master pedestal increases noise? I also have i.dynamic & i.resolution turned to standard, shadows + 5, highlights – 5, and my master pedestal set to +10. Do you know if all of these elements are increasing noise?

  • @Shawn yes all those will increase your noise. If I were you I would start with the settings I have shown above in my blog post, once you have used that for a while slowly add less contrast for the scene you are shooting.

  • Hey Dave, anyway you could share what is your timeline with Premiere Pro? I’m having big trouble starting a 4K timeline for a project and have the option to export correctly in 4K or 1080p with optimal performance (my PC is not a big deal). I don’t know if I need any plugins to work with the GH4 footage too, because after reinstalling my CS6 I only see 1080p options for a project timeline. Thank you and congratulations on your review!

  • Great review. I’m not switching But I will be getting a GH4. I have a 5dm3.

    What is a good equivalent lens to the 50mm 1.2 L and 100mm macro L for a GH4?

  • i just have gh3 for almost year. It is great, but Iam looking into gh4. My only ? if I buy it now then panasonic come out say “now we gh5 with 5k” 🙁 them we are always in the back.
    Tell me, is the lumix fz 1000 will be a better choices?. If gh5 5k on the way? Iam really interesting on the 4k for may type of work. thankS! great review!

  • @ Olga Irizarry

    haha, the GH4 just came out and no one is going to match it’s performance-price range for quite some time.

    At best, there might be some firmware updates for the BMPCC that might make it more appealing. But, the BMPCC still doesn’t do high frame rates. But, $1600 for 4k shooting on SD cards and all the cool features like focus peaking, zebras, etc., it’s a no brainer.

    It’s very clear that Panasonic saw a hole in the industry and filled it. It has all the cool features of Magic Lantern, and you can still shoot on SD cards. This is a company that actually reads reviews and forum boards and is ready to dethrone Canon.

    There is always going to be something better and faster within two years, that’s just the way it goes, but two years is a lot of work and memories.

  • great review. only question is that true canon dslr use only at 2 megapixel at video capability while the panasonics gh4 use 8 megapixel at video.?
    thanks again

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  • Thanks for making this highly informative and fantastically detailed review, Dave. It gave me all the information I needed in deciding whether or not to buy the camera. I’ve placed my order!

  • Your best review ever, Dave. One thing I have not seen addressed, which is not GH4 specific, but a major advantage of 4K origination, is software stabilization in post. I’d love to know how various stabilizers such as the one built into FCP X, Adobe’s Warp Stabilizer, and Core Melt’s Lock & Load work or don’t work on GH4 footage.

  • Does the GH4 offer audio monitoring and 422 ProRes HDMI output without the YAGH interface unit?

  • Thanks for another great review! You really inspire me to go on shooting video!

    One point sticks out to me in this review: you say it’s not easy using RAW on Canon 5D3 using Magic Lantern. I totally understand this because you have to investigate a lot optimizing the workflow. It took quite some time for me to find an easy workflow. I use MLRawviewer now to convert the Raw files and it works really nice and easy.

    I would love to see a comparison of 5D raw versus GH4 because in my eyes thats the only relevant comparison.

    Do you still have some problems with hangups of the GH4? I read in a forum other users also have these problems…

    For now I stick to my Canon bodies and glass. The few extra kilos is not worth considering changing gear now.

  • @Frank Boekamp

    I agree with you about Magic Lantern raw, but I wasted a lot of time looking through forums, trying different programs for conversion, etc. Canon has just got it’s head in the sand and is trying to ride out it’s fame without giving customers new features or even acknowledging the hard work from the Magic Lantern team.

    Panasonic on the other hand saw what the Magic Lantern team was doing and gave us those features, and more. That alone, for me is enough to switch, and c’mon…..$1800 for 4k!

    And, I think Dave doing this is probably a big deal for Canon as they know how much traffic comes through here. Canon just dropped their prices on a couple things, but it’s not nearly enough. They’re just greedy. Right now they’re selling 1080p for $3000. BS.

  • Great info… but can you explain this item from your notes: “400 iso on the GH zoomed in looks noisier than the 5D Mark III at ISO 1600 zoomed.”

    Are you saying that at and above 400iso the gh4 is noisier than the mk3?

  • Thanks Dave for such an in-depth review. I was wondering if you could comment on comparing the GH4 contrast adjustment variables i.e. Cine D vs. V vs. Neutral, etc. combined with shadows / highlights, reduction in sharpness, contrast, Noise Reduction in each profile, as well as i.Contrast, master pedestal, and if possible combining those steps with colour correction in Premiere Pro or using third party colour correction plugins or software. In an extreme contrasty situation (a relatively dark room with bright sunny window) I was using a combination of Cine D with minimal sharpness, contrast and NR, increasing master pedestal to max, maximizing flatness with shadows and highlights and it created a content that was not clipping the outdoor sunny stuff while the content of the dark furniture in the dark room was decently visible. Since the colours were all looking washed out, I tried using the built in colour correction and third party plugins to bring back life to the footage while keeping the visibility of the dark objects as well as avoiding clipping the brights. At the end of the process I was able to do a decent job for visibility of the extreme bright and dark content but I noticed my subject’s face looked a bit flat. I was wondering if you could comment on this if you have spent time to discover different contrast related settings. Thank you.

  • @Frank Boekamp Have you even used the GH4? What do you mean by ‘crammed on a relatively small sensor’? Absolutely ridiculous. The GH4 is crammed with professional features, it’s discrete for street photography, the colors are much improved over the GH4, more in line with other Panasonic cameras like the GM1, no moire or aliasing, a beautiful film-like grain… It is totally worth the $1,800, and definitely worth upgrading if you already own a GH3 or other camera.

  • I ought to have said the colors are much improved over the GH3. Also, being able to view the image in B&W while using peaking makes focusing, which used to be one of the most annoying aspects of the GH3, extremely easy. And you can program the function buttons to quickly switch between B&W and color, as well as turn the peaking on and off. In manual mode, you can hit touch an icon on the monitor for fast and accurate auto-focus, too.

  • @jonpais: Please read carefully before commenting: I’m not saying that the results of the GH4 are poor. I’m just curious about a comparison between GH4 and Canon 5d raw. In the meantime I read some other reviews that do compare GH4 and 5d raw. I must say the results of the GH4 are very impressive. For me it is not enough to change gear.

  • @Frank Boekamp

    Frank, don’t get me wrong, I would love nothing more than for Canon to bring out a camera with all the features of Magic Lantern. The only reason Canon is even a close competitor is because of the hard work of the Magic Lantern team, and raw from the Mark III looks gorgeous.

    As far as the glass, with a speedbooster you could use your current glass and be pretty damn happy.
    http://suggestionofmotion.com/blog/panasonic-gh4-lens-options-canon-ef/

    I think Dave’s argument and mine too is that it’s nice to just get back shooting again without having to deal with raw conversions, unsupported software (ML), and hefty price tags from Canon.

    I own a T3i, but if I owned a Mark III I would care less about the GH4 because the raw results are gorgeous, but if I’m going to invest in a new camera, the GH4 is much more appealing.

  • @Alan Veucasovic I agree with you on almost all points.

    ML is unsupported but very stable: I use ML over 6 months now without any problem or bug. Nevertheless Canon should indeed invest more in software development.

    The raw conversion actually works good for me because I can use Adobe Camera Raw to color my film as if it were a photo. For me this is a big plus.

    Thanks for your tip on speedbooster. It’s a pitty they don’t have made a version for Canon EF lenses yet.

    Since you don’t own a 5D I think you will be very satisfied using a GH4. It really looks like an awesome camera to me.

  • Huh, Dave, I know you don’t get paid for this review but if I was working in Panasonic’s sales team I’d made them pay you lot’s of money! You just executed the the 5D markIII and I’m sure you made alot of people to switch to Lumix (I was already a GH3 guy). Thank you for this deep in detail review!

    Also just a quick note that many times when I’m playing a video on youtube I get your advertisement which is a waste of money for you as I am already following you so you might want to target your ads more accurate!

    Thanks again for this amazing review!

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