Panasonic GH4…1st thoughts and disappointments
Having had time to read the official specifications of the Panasonic GH4 its certainly packed with a host of video features like syncro scan, not something I was expecting but a pleasant surprise.
One major disappointment was the 4:2:0 8bit internal processing, the same as the GH3, the least I was expecting from a 4K enabled camera was 4:2:2, you do get 4:2:2 10bit out of the SDI socket but I personally do not want to hook up an external recorder ! There is a possibility that the boys at Magic Lantern will reverse engineer this at some point but you do have to ask why Panasonic don’t give us 10bit from day one !
The addition of a 4 pin power XLR on the optional adapter unit should have given me a major clue on powering this beast, I certainly don’t want to go backwards wearing a battery belt so your option is a cage with a “V” lock adapter attached or a “V” lock battery plate with a longish cable !
My main gripe is what was the point producing a GH4 knowing how small it is then deliberately crippling it with external units like 12v batteries and external recorders that will be bigger than the camera itself.
The GH4’s HDMI 1.4a connector allows it to output 4K or 1080 streams. The bit-rate and amount of color information varies, depending on how the camera is used. By default, the HDMI outputs 8-bit 4:2:2, either for monitoring or for sending to an external recorder, leaving you with the option of using the 8-bit 4:2:0 files from the camera as more convenient proxies during the editing process. Alternatively, if you take the SD card out of the camera, you can use the GH4 as a camera head – which gives you access to a 10-bit 4:2:2 stream.
The camera is designed to use SDHC and SDXC cards with a UHS I bus and Panasonic only promises the camera’s full capability when used with cards conforming to the U3 speed class, which guarantees 30MB/s (240Mbps) sustained write speeds.
Looking around the internet this morning (Saturday 8th Feb 2014) I can only see adverts for Kingston SDXC speed 3 cards, £48 for a 64G card seems to be very reasonable considering a 64G XQD card is still £365.
Availability…I was hoping to get my hands on a GH4 before BVE (Last week in February) but Panasonic are not taking any pre orders till the 17th March which means we may be looking at April before the camera appears.
For practical video work I have no doubt that the GH4 on its own will out perform my GH3, the addition of the XLR adapter is a major bonus but I would have preferred an all in one solution without the need for the 4 pin DC power socket but taking that aside most of the time this camera will be filming interviews so on a tripod the extra 12v battery pack may not be such an issue. Having the SDI out is a major bonus for monitoring purposes though we are just as comfortable with HDMI theses days.
Q. Will I buy a GH4 the answer is yes…will I buy the YAGH XLR adapter…the jury is out.
Just watched a video about photographer Daniel Berehulak in Kenya using a prototype GH4 along side Danial is Takehito Miyatake a photographer from Japan.
We forget the GH4 is also a very competent photographic tool and Danial shows how good the dynamic range is in this picture…fantastic.