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Resource Magazine

Panasonic GH4 Announced – Hands On & First Impressions

Adam Sherwin February 7, 2014 TECH
panasonic, gh4, 4k, announcement, photography, video

And now the moment we’ve all been…. hearing about for months now. That’s right, the Panasonic GH4 is here. The world’s first Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM), with 4K video recording  was officially announced today. The rumor mill has been churning for months and the leaked images and specs have done nothing but fan the proverbial rumor fire.  I think the only thing discussed more frequently in the inner geek circles was the long awaited release of the SONY PS4 and XBOX One. Sad? Yes. Exciting?  You know it.  With the introduction of the Panasonic GH4, Photographers and cinematographers alike are going to gorge themselves on the technology crammed in this relatively tiny, weather sealed, magnesium alloy body. We were fortunate enough to get some hands on time with a production model of the GH4 at the beautiful new Panasonic HQ in New Jersey this week.

panasonic, gh4, 4k, announcement, photography, video

 

It wasn’t a final working unit but it still had that same solid feel as the GH3.  At its heart the GH4 is sporting a newly designed 16MP Live MOS sensor that is supported by a brand new Venus 9 Engine image processor that boasts a quad-core CPU. This is the kind of high speed signal processing needed for 4K video recording. And, at the end of the day, that’s what the G4 was is all about, 4k. However, there is an ongoing argument as to the cost and the need to shoot 4k and that photographers making the jump to motion or aspiring filmmakers won’t benefit from the full range of features and technology offered by the newer GH4.  Panasonic hasn’t revealed the final price yet but it is rumored that the final, body only price, will be somewhere around $2K. If this is the case then the expense is not as serious a deterrent as some may think.Panasonic has been quite open about the fact that it is not going to replace the GH3 just yet and that both models will be available for the foreseeable future. A good indication that the GH4 will be embraced first by the video set and then later by photographers as they see the need to move in to 4k.

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Overall tweaks and improvements to the GH4 include a new AF system called DFD or Depth from Defocus. It calculates the distance to the subject by evaluating 2 images with different sharpness level while consulting the data of optical characteristics of the current lens. As a result, the GH4 achieves ultra high speed AF of approx.0.07 sec*. This improvement benefits more as focusing distance increases. While this is a great feature the GH4 was not the fastest performing camera as of late when it came to its overall AF capabilities. Cine geeks will love the focus peaking though. It made manual focusing easy and opens up a plethora of lens of manual focus lens options, while improved contrast ratios on both the rear OLED and the LVF make for beautiful playback and capturing.

There are three dialsd on the top and back of the camera and the main dial is now comes with a lock structure. A dedicated button allows direct reach to exposure compensation, white balance adjustment or ISO setting and various other settings, up to 5 max,  can be assigned to 1 of the 3 Fn buttons. All these external components are designed to be operated easily without taking eyes off the new larger, and definitely more comfortable, viewfinder.

panasonic, gh4, 4k, announcement, photography, video

At the end of our meeting we walked away impressed. Not so much by the  tweaks and improvements to the core features, like AF and weather sealing, but for the message that Panasonic is sending to the photo and video industry. They’re pushing forward with innovation and well on their way to leading the pack when it comes to their share of the video shooter market. The GH4 has the guts to give anything the tier 1 companies are releasing these days an easy run for their money. The Micro 4/3 size factor means a ton of lenses and an incredibly comfortable working size. Even fully-loaded, the GH4 is not going to add a ton of weight to your bag or your video rig.  One thing for sure, I’m not sure photographers will be easily impressed with all the video functionality. Some of us are still adjusting to shooting motion in general. While 4k sounds great, I’d have to agree with the masses and say that photographers are not ready to take advantage of all the GH4 has to offer.  That being said, and although we can’t show you, the still image samples we walked away with were impressive and we look forward to sharing our results with you in our upcoming review.

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Panasonic GH4 Highlights: 

  • Top ISO 25,600
  • Top Shutter 1/8000th
  • Easy Wireless Connectivity via Wi-Fi® / NFC with Smartphones
  • Luminance Level Adjustment
  • Focus Peaking
  • Silent Mode
  • RAW data development in Camera
  • 12 FPS burst shooting  AF-S /  7.0 FPS AF-C
  • High-speed dual OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) displays of 2,359K-dot LVF and 1,036K-dot rear tilting monitor
  • Face / Eye Detection AF or 49-point AF with Custom Multi AF mode
  • Built-in/external flash can be synchronized with max.1/250 second shutter speed
  • 3.5mm headphone jack for live audio monitoring while recording
  • 4K video in MOV & MP4

  •  4K 24p  (4096×2160), plus 4K 3840×2160 30p/24p
  • 4:2:0 internal SD recording / 4:2:2 on external recording devices

Panasonic GH4 Optional Accessories: 

panasonic, gh4, 4k, announcement, photography, video

DMW-FL580L: 

The GN58 is a powerful External Flashand is newly added to the LUMIX G optional accessories which allows high speed charging of approx.1.7 sec. Not only with wireless control but also LED video light function are available.

 

 

panasonic, gh4, 4k, announcement, photography, videoDMW-MS2: (Shown Above)

This is a stereo shotgun microphone which enables stereo/shotgun switch even allows more precise sound recording with selectable Super Shotgun / Lens Auto / Manual option on GH4.

Interface Unit DMW-YAGH: 

Panasonic offers an new optional Interface Unit (DMW-YAGH) exclusively for professional/industrial workflow with GH4 that enables more powerful video transmission. It complies with Full HD (4:2:2 / 10-bit) offering four parallel outputs and these can be used for 4K (4:2:2 / 10-bit) output – both with time code*1. The XLR input terminals (2ch) are also equipped to connect line or condenser microphone. When connecting with microphone, volume can be controlled for L and R separately, which can be monitored LED audio level display on the back of the unit. The 12V DC IN is highly compliant with large-capacity industrial battery and continuously supplies the GH4 with power. panasonic, gh4, 4k, announcement, photography, video panasonic, gh4, 4k, announcement, photography, video panasonic, gh4, 4k, announcement, photography, video

 

And, for all you video geeks out there, here’s some hardcore data that we hope will help you sleep better at night.  

 

Video Recording Format Matrix

MOV 59.94Hz [4K] 3840×2160, 29.97p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM [4K] 3840×2160, 23.98p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 59.94p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 29.97p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 23.98p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM
50.0Hz [4K] 3840×2160, 25.00p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 50.00p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 25.00p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM
24.0Hz [C4K] 4096×2160, 24.00p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM [4K] 3840×2160, 24.00p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 24.00p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM
MP4 59.94Hz [4K] 3840×2160, 29.97p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM/AAC [4K] 3840×2160, 23.98p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 59.94p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 29.97p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 23.98p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 59.94p, 28Mbps(IPB), AAC [FHD] 1920×1080, 29.97p, 20Mbps(IPB), AAC [HD] 1280×720, 29.97p, 10Mbps(IPB), AAC [VGA] 640×480, 29.97p, 4Mbps(IPB), AAC
50.0Hz [4K] 3840×2160, 25.00p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM/AAC [FHD] 1920×1080, 50.00p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 25.00p, 200Mbps(ALL-Intra)/100Mbps(IPB)/50Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 50.00p, 28Mbps(IPB), AAC [FHD] 1920×1080, 25.00p, 20Mbps(IPB), AAC [HD] 1280×720, 25.00p, 10Mbps(IPB), AAC [VGA] 640×480, 25.00p, 4Mbps(IPB), AAC
24.0Hz [C4K] 4096×2160, 24.00p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM [4K] 3840×2160, 24.00p, 100Mbps(IPB), LPCM [FHD] 1920×1080, 24.00p, 200 Mbps (ALL-Intra) / 100 Mbps (IPB) / 50 Mbps (IPB), LPCM
AVCHD Progressive AVCHD 59.94Hz [FHD] 1920×1080, 59.94p, 28Mbps(IPB), Dolby Digital [FHD] 1920×1080, 59.94i, 24Mbps(IPB), Dolby Digital (sensor output: 29.97fps) [FHD] 1920×1080, 59.94i, 17Mbps(IPB), Dolby Digital (sensor output: 59.94fps) [FHD] 1920×1080, 23.98p, 24Mbps(IPB), Dolby Digital
50.0Hz [FHD] 1920×1080, 50.00p, 28Mbps(IPB), Dolby Digital [FHD] 1920×1080, 50.00i, 24Mbps(IPB), Dolby Digital (sensor output: 25.00fps) [FHD] 1920×1080, 50.00i, 17Mbps(IPB), Dolby Digital (sensor output: 50.00fps)

VFR (Variable Frame Rate) Matrix

59.94Hz MOV/FHD/100Mbps/29.97p, MP4(LPCM)/FHD/100Mbps/29.97p: 2fps, 15fps, 26fps, 28fps, 30fps, 32fps, 34fps, 45fps, 60fps, 75fps, 90fps, 96fps MOV/FHD/100Mbps/23.98p, MP4(LPCM)/FHD/100Mbps/23.98p: 2fps, 12fps, 20fps, 22fps, 24fps, 26fps, 28fps, 36fps, 48fps, 60fps, 72fps, 84fps, 96fps AVCHD/FHD/24Mbps/29.97p: 2fps, 15fps, 26fps, 28fps, 30fps, 32fps, 34fps, 45fps, 60fps AVCHD/FHD/24Mbps/23.98p: 2fps, 12fps, 20fps, 22fps, 24fps, 26fps, 28fps, 36fps, 48fps, 60fps
50.00Hz MOV/FHD/100Mbps/25.00p, MP4(LPCM)/FHD/100Mbps/25.00p: 2fps, 12fps, 21fps, 23fps, 25fps, 27fps, 30fps, 37fps, 50fps, 62fps, 75fps, 96fps AVCHD/FHD/24Mbps/25.00p: 2fps, 12fps, 21fps, 23fps, 25fps, 27fps, 30fps, 37fps, 50fps
24.00Hz MOV/FHD/100Mbps/24.00p, MP4(LPCM)/FHD/100Mbps/24.00p: 2fps, 12fps, 20fps, 22fps, 24fps, 26fps, 28fps, 36fps, 48fps, 60fps, 72fps, 84fps, 96fps

 

Let us know what you think!

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous February 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    100 mbps is not enough for recording 4k at good quality. It needs to be at least 200 mbps IPB for 4k. Preferably 400mbps IPB, but that data rate is a little high right now for SD cards. What is surprising is that it doesn’t allow 200 mbps IPB for 4k, but it does allow 200 mbps ALL-I for 1080p. That is weird. The 4k needs the 200 mbps more. 4k ALL-I would require 800 mbps.

  2. Heri February 13, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    New sensor? Isn’t it the same as in the GX7?

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