Finally got a GH4 :3 and for a steal

KBeezie

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I've been and likely to still be using Olympus primarily for photography. But I been wanting to get into video more often, but on the olympus side that doesn't seem to be cheap for the good stuff (my current E-M1 Mk1 for example is 26mbps and really no functionality for video).

So for a little bit I been using a hacked GH1 to get my ~100mbps video with excellent shadow detail in low light. (a tweak of humpman's firmware settings for the AVCHD stuff, and LPowell's for the rest, with 48i trick to get 24p without enabling the problematic progressive mode)

But the GH1 lacked so much, no audio monitor, no audio levels, no peaking, no zebra, etc etc etc.

This last Saturday I was hired to shoot a wedding, and wanted to give more than one camera angle, but I didn't trust the GH1 enough for it not to crash during the wedding as a secondary camera. So I borrowed from the school I graduated from a GH4, Sigma 85/1.4 with metabones, a Lilliput A7s monitor, and a Go Pro Hero 7 Black. Though I decided not to use the Sigma 85 and went instead with my Rokinon 85/1.4 without a focal reducer because I was up in the balcony and needed the reach. (I used the GH4 + Oly E-M1 as as stabilized secondary, and Hero 7 Black for third alternate angles)

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For the purpose of audio without getting in the way of the two photographers they had, I had my digital audio preamp/recorder with a Rode SVM attached sitting on top of the piano which you can see in the E-M1 view towards the right.

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I knew I had to get myself a GH4 that I didn't need to borrow, or least something close to it's quality/options.

In my quest to find a good-but-affordable video camera, preferably capable of 4K, I sought out the possibility of a used G85. So while searching around, saw one here in the forums for 300.

But then I looked on ebay just in case there was something better,and there I saw it, a newly listed, buy-it-now kit by a retiring guy who seems to be unloading a lot of what I would call toys. Very little description other than the important parts such as being like new in excellent working condition, and with 100% feedback history from a seller in the US.

For less than 400 shipped I got (shipping was 35 for UPS ground):

  • Panasonic GH4 in like-new condition (hidden menu showed 430 power cycles, 34 shutter clicks, and 0 flash fires).
  • Equally as nice Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 1st version attached (selling that since I already have a 20/1.7)
  • The Panasonic DMW-YAGH interface unit attached at the bottom, missing the rubber cover over the SDI ports
  • A Wooden Camera half-cage that was specific for the GH4+YAGH (looked it up, they made at least 3 configurations for this combination). With older style Nato handle, arri style dovetail quick release (can't seem to find the same one again, more on why I would want to later) and 15mm rods.
  • A battery plate and rod mount for a gold-mount battery, an older used Anton Bauer Dionic battery (but no charger), and a D-Tap to XLR 4-pin cord
No battery for the camera as I suspected, because he powered the whole unit from the Anton Bauer battery thru the interface unit. So I had brought ahead of time four wasabi batteries (same brand I liked for both my GH1 and E-M1).

Picture that I took right after unwrapping all the parts.

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The downside was that when I tried to get the top plate to slide off the bottom late it seemed like it was stuck. But finally managed to slide it back enough to pop up.

Turns out he didn't use the proper screw to attach the interface unit to the QR Plate, as the nut he uses was a little too tall and impacted with the base plate :

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I made it work for my purpose though without running the additional risk of of having to unscrew a camera over and over again. Using the appropriate screw (With a washer for added width) and attached a arca style plate from my conversion kit (converts a 496 ballhead from RC2 style to arca), though wish it was a lever type instead of a knob so I could rotate it and not impact with the height of the knob but this works.

PS: I didn't know how expensive Wooden Camera brand stuff was, they make me think of Hasselblad when a small part is several hundred dollars. The replacement equivalent of the above without the cheese rod holder for a half-cage configuration is like $250.

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But the cage and rod didn't seem that practical for me to attach both a mic and monitor to it (seems like the handle would get in the way unless I got a nato clamp for the monitor and took the handle off when I have the rig mounted).

But the camera body alone was worth the price, just trying to make everything work.

On that note, got approved for financing at B&H since they had a promotional (12 month no interest for 600 up, or 6 month for 200 up, but just on a single qualifying purchase). Likely approved because it's by the same company that does my amazon store card of which I already have an account with.

So I bit the bullet and got the following coming tomorrow :

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  • SmallRig 1585 Cage for GH4 with HDMI Cable Clamp (I'll take the Wooden Camera NATO bar and handle from the side cage and use it on this)
  • SmallRig Quick Release Plate Arca type, so I can screw it directly onto the cage without blocking access to removing the camera from it.
  • SmallRig NATO Rail (1.6), that I can mount to the left side of the cage, the cage already has a rail built in on the right side
  • SmallRig EVF Mount with NATO Clamp (has a 360 degree swivel)
  • Lilliput A8 4K 8.9" On Camera Monitor (not as bright as the A7s but bigger with a sun shade that gets screwed in instead of velcro'd in)
  • SHAPE Full Play Gold Mount Battery Kit with Portable D-Tap Charger. Needed a spare battery anyways, and this one comes with a USB port on the side for USB powered accessories such as my Tascam DR-60MkII. And I'm hoping the D-tap charger can also charge the Anton Bauer battery.
  • Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 ASPH Power O.I.S. (because I don't have any image stabilized lens, and kind of need one for either the GH1 or GH4). I already own a Olympus 45/1.8, but it's not stabilized ,and apparently doesn't focus as close as the 42.5.
So that'll be a heck of a mail day tomorrow, I'll likely find a decent DC coupler for the GH4 (already got an AC adapter for it) that I can attach to the D-Tap terminal as I don't see myself using the YAGH that much, especially if I intend to keep the smallrig cage on when I unmount it from the wooden camera rails, and use my tascam for audio recording (for later sync).

Still tweaking it to my taste and with the intent of editing, so been using CineLike D with -3 contrast, -5 sharp, -2 NR, +2 Hue. With C4K 24p as my default recording format (especially if I'm intending on a 1080p output to allow for some stabilization, light zoom/pan etc).

So I'm pretty giddy as been wanting a GH4 for a while thinking it wouldn't be easily obtained without also getting all the other stuff I would want with it for video purpose (items like the Rode SVM and Tascam DR60ii were components I purchased to work around the limitations of the GH1, but still seem quite beneficial for this setup).

Would love to know of some tips/tricks for the GH4 configuration, or FN button placements, I mostly went off this article for the initial setup The 5-Minute Quick-Setup Guide for the Panasonic GH4
 

fader

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Score! GH4's seem hard to find these days. I have read that the BBC were using them in spades for 4k shots in various TV shows - Top Gear among them. All of the inside-vehicle dialogue was being recorded with GH4/5's. Look forward to seeing some video / b-roll from your rig.
 

KBeezie

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Score! GH4's seem hard to find these days. I have read that the BBC were using them in spades for 4k shots in various TV shows - Top Gear among them. All of the inside-vehicle dialogue was being recorded with GH4/5's. Look forward to seeing some video / b-roll from your rig.

I imagine they're hard to find because they're still very usable and good performing and inexpensive when you can find them (they still hold used about 200 less than retail). Getting the GH1 Hacked was a major boost for me video quality wise, while working around it's limitations.

These are not final products by any means but test/demonstration before going thru and grading all the footage similar for the final product to be organized. Not with my GH4 but with the school's (as the one I bought didn't arrive until few days ago, I was hoping to use two GH4s at the event)

This one recording the exiting of the Church with the GH4 and GoPro Hero 7 Black mounted on top of my cheap Neewer cage.

Basically showing GH4 graded with audio fix, Hero 7 with the same, then GH4 and Hero 7 without editing, and the last one a mix of two. Since both were borrowed I hadn't have too much experience with either (even less with the Hero 7). The Party Bus they had out front was running and was creating a lot of background noise on both cameras (Worse on the Hero 7) You'll notice when you get to the unedited part.


And then from inside the church. The first clip is off my Olympus E-M1 Mk1, with sensor-only stabilization turned on. Then after that clip you see the 3-way as shown above, with it zooming into the GH4 footage around the 5 minute mark, then cuts over to dance with the GH4 (while I was also recording with the EM1 handheld, but not shown in this test output), then finally handheld GH4 in the neewer cage and Olympus 12mm f/2.0.


Sent them the last one above (showing the 3-way etc) so they had an idea of what perspectives were captured, and they'll decide on usage when they get back from the honey moon while I go ahead and process and clean up each clips ahead of time (roughly 140GB of footage, 180 if you transcode it to DNxHR/DNxHD LB). With audio from the Tascam DR-60Mk2 for the ceremony.

I don't normally borrow the GH4 from the school except once for a college newspaper job I had to do here, as I don't like borrowing equipment. So most the time I would use my GH1 + Tascam + Rode SVM and edit it up in Davinci Resolve Studio

In the past this is what I recorded on the GH4 from the school :


Versus what I've shot on the GH1 (Tripoded) + EM1 (For handheld)


And this strictly on my Olympus E-M1 (I didn't edit the audio, that was the main editor at the school paper, but I shot and prepared the video for them)


So I'm hoping with the GH4 in my possession, a good monitor, and a secure cage (and hopefully get a decent pair of tripod legs for video as I already have a manfrotto fluid head, a cheap 128LP), that I'll be able to get more of the same with better overall quality and easier to set up without crossing my fingers like I did with the GH1 and inability to peak/etc.
 

KBeezie

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Oh by the way, since I am deaf (bilateral severe-to-profound hearing loss since birth), I've found that I have been far more picky about getting the audio right compared to most hearing people. Which I found odd, but making sure to get good audio has been very important to me ever since I started getting into videos. Hence the reason for getting a 4 channel audio recorder and a good stereo mic that can capture the ambiance of a location (As opposed to a shotgun), and why its so important for me to have reliable monitoring and viewing the levels.

But I'm always surprised to get work from other people (I do some editing freelance) and the audio usually needs a lot of help, like they give it to me with the peak being -24 ~ -36dB.
 

KBeezie

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Got all the B&H stuff in, just two downsides, the 1710 arca swiss plate from SmallRig doesn't fit the Smallrig GH4 cage (holes don't line up on bottom, and not the right diameter screw). And the Monitor came with a mini cable and not a micro. Other than that everything looks good, going to head downtown and test out the lens at least while the weather is good for festival of the arts.
 

Bif

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Would love to know of some tips/tricks for the GH4 configuration, or FN button placements, I mostly went off this article for the initial setup The 5-Minute Quick-Setup Guide for the Panasonic GH4

Here's mine:

Go for simple. Go for GH4 camera batteries over the rig the former owner sent you, and don't rely on the Wasabi's as I've had 2 go bad within hours of each other and with only 4 use/charge cycles out of either. One died never to take a charge again and the other swelled up in the camera and near ruined it. Another pair of Wasabi's for the GH2 never gave 50% of the run time of Panasonic OEM's. So now if I don't want to spend for a spare couple of Lumix batteries I order Watson's from B&H. The cost more than the other 3rd party batteries but less than the OEM's and have been giving me the same good service.

On the 5-minute quick setup guide, most of it I agree with. However I recommend having the meter readout set to ON. I use it as a starting point for exposure, adjusting for "look" with CONSTANT PREVIEW set to ON (remember, this works only in manual exposure mode).

I also differ with the guide on "Touch screen to focus", I set this to ON. Allows you to do a "rack focus" with touch.

Easy way to get to Manual Exposure mode with dial on top set to motion picture icon: Touch red Motion Picture icon at top right of LCD, gives you 4 choices - P, A, S, and M. Touch M - setting remains (for video) until you change it.

On AF vs. MF: I use "back button autofocus". AE/AF button to AF LOCK,and set AF/AE LOCK HOLD to ON - this now will give ONE SAF operation when pressed and will then automatically set focus to MF. Remains this way until you press it again, or change modes with dial on top, or POWER DOWN. Set AF+MF to ON, and Set MF ASSIST to whatever control or button you want to use to get the magnified ASSIST.

The way it works: I look through the camera, press the AF/AE lock button and the camera does one Single AF operation and locks focus. If the focus looks good, fine. If not (or I want to focus on something else all I do is turn the focus ring. If I need the focus assist pressing the left cursor button (what I chose for this) pops the magnified view up, touching the shutter button clears it back to normal view. But I am still in MF mode and will remain that way take after take, until I press the AF/AE Lock button again (goes back to default half press of shutter button for AF), change modes, or power down. Once you get used to it it is a fast simple way to go to MF in both video and still modes.

Hope you find this useful, congrats on the GH4. I chose to hang onto mine when ordering the GH5, the GH4 is still a great piece of gear.
 

KBeezie

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Here's mine:

Go for simple. Go for GH4 camera batteries over the rig the former owner sent you, and don't rely on the Wasabi's as I've had 2 go bad within hours of each other and with only 4 use/charge cycles out of either. One died never to take a charge again and the other swelled up in the camera and near ruined it. Another pair of Wasabi's for the GH2 never gave 50% of the run time of Panasonic OEM's. So now if I don't want to spend for a spare couple of Lumix batteries I order Watson's from B&H. The cost more than the other 3rd party batteries but less than the OEM's and have been giving me the same good service.

Interesting to know, rarely had an issue with my Wasabis (mainly with Olympus BLN-1), as I purchase them directly from Blue Nook. Only two of my old ones from over 3 years ago had started to bloat a little bit (making a tighter fit to the camera), which I reported to them and got replacements on them. They lasted longer than the OEM Olympus ones. I'm seeing the same being true of the Wasabi for Panasonic, the school has some originals, and then some Watson branded generics. The Wasabi I got for mine has been lasting as long as the OEM that the school uses for their GH4. I also use a pair of them with my Pentax Q10 mirrorless camera, no problems there either. So my Track record over the last 4 years have not been a problem, but have had issues with other third party batteries, but not those.

The Watsons however I noticed though, do not have the same voltage as the original OEM panasonic batteries so their power rating is a bit of a trick, and you *must* use their charger or the battery will not reach full capacity, or vice versa could cause an overcharge. The Wasabi batteries I have uses the exact same voltage as the Panasonic OEM.

On the 5-minute quick setup guide, most of it I agree with. However I recommend having the meter readout set to ON. I use it as a starting point for exposure, adjusting for "look" with CONSTANT PREVIEW set to ON (remember, this works only in manual exposure mode).

I only shoot in manual exposure mode, but good to know if I ever do switch over to aperture priority (But chances are I would only want auto iso and not auto shutter).

I also differ with the guide on "Touch screen to focus", I set this to ON. Allows you to do a "rack focus" with touch.

Easy way to get to Manual Exposure mode with dial on top set to motion picture icon: Touch red Motion Picture icon at top right of LCD, gives you 4 choices - P, A, S, and M. Touch M - setting remains (for video) until you change it.

I'm not familiar with what rack focusing is, generally speaking, for me touching to focus can be annoying for video if the touch was unintended like trying to get to the menu.

On AF vs. MF: I use "back button autofocus". AE/AF button to AF LOCK,and set AF/AE LOCK HOLD to ON - this now will give ONE SAF operation when pressed and will then automatically set focus to MF. Remains this way until you press it again, or change modes with dial on top, or POWER DOWN. Set AF+MF to ON, and Set MF ASSIST to whatever control or button you want to use to get the magnified ASSIST.

The way it works: I look through the camera, press the AF/AE lock button and the camera does one Single AF operation and locks focus. If the focus looks good, fine. If not (or I want to focus on something else all I do is turn the focus ring. If I need the focus assist pressing the left cursor button (what I chose for this) pops the magnified view up, touching the shutter button clears it back to normal view. But I am still in MF mode and will remain that way take after take, until I press the AF/AE Lock button again (goes back to default half press of shutter button for AF), change modes, or power down. Once you get used to it it is a fast simple way to go to MF in both video and still modes.

That's kind of something I was debating on doing, making one of the buttons do single-AF which as you said can be a nice quick way to get a starting point. Even though the GH4 touts 10 Fn I only really have 5, and haven't really found a spot to put it on (I think I need to find where the setting is to change the AE/AF button, if it's not in the Fn Set menu).

Right now on Fn1-5 I have
Fn1 = Manual Focus (depending on if it's in AF or MF mode does the magnification), Similar to how I use Magnify on my Olympus E-M1 in the same spot of the camera
Fn2 = Q.Menu
Fn3 = Zebra Cycle
Fn4 = Peaking (though I may swap Fn3 and Fn4)
Fn5 = Currently just set to EVF switch as I haven't found a way to set the EVF switch on another button, other than to close the LCD screen.

Hope you find this useful, congrats on the GH4. I chose to hang onto mine when ordering the GH5, the GH4 is still a great piece of gear.

Thanks, while getting the GH5 would have been awesome, I couldn't pass up getting a GH4 when the whole kit was 400 shipped.

So far the pieces of gear that I might not (or will not) hold onto have been :
  • Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 - As I already have one, and currently selling the nicer one that came with this kit
  • The Panasonic YAGH interface. I can already do XLR input into my Tascam DR-60Mkii giving me a second area to have backup audio, and can store 4 tracks, plus I don't own anything that would utilize the SDI 3G ports. And the Smallrig Cage I have wouldn't fit with that anyways.
  • Parts of the Wooden Camera Cage. The cage seems to have been made specifically for the GH4+Interface, with the shoe pinch and reliance on XLR power, it doesn't make it easy for removal, and seems to be intended for this full set up full time. I've taken the handle from it to put on top of the small rig, and may use the rails on the bottom with some longer rails for french barndoors and the new battery on back. Also the cheese rod was installed incorrectly and I don't have the tool to unscrew it from the top plate.
  • The Anton Bauer battery he included even though wasn't initially listed. It can't be charged with the charger that came with the Shape Full Play gold mount battery, requires a special Anton Bauer battery charger. May give this away to someone who can use it for price of shipping.
 

Bif

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I only shoot in manual exposure mode, but good to know if I ever do switch over to aperture priority (But chances are I would only want auto iso and not auto shutter).

CONSTANT PREVIEW in manual shows you in the EVF and on the LCD what your actual exposure will look like, in all of the AUTO modes the EVF/LCD shows you only what an "ideal" exposure (as the camera is programmed) will be. It's like having a Polaroid test in the viewfinder like I used to have to do with a Polaroid back on my Mamiya RB67 or other studio camera in the film days.

With video especially I want no auto ISO (or auto ANYTHING), I want nothing making any changes I don't make myself in the middle of a take. If the lighting changes (sun goes behind a cloud, etc.), the exposure adjustment itself calls attention to itself. But that's just me.

I'm not familiar with what rack focusing is, generally speaking, for me touching to focus can be annoying for video if the touch was unintended like trying to get to the menu.

Rack focusing is changing focus from one item to another in the same take. Like maybe from one person out in front of the camera at a medium distance to a wine bottle in the foreground. As far as inadvertant touch on the LCD while trying to get to the menu, that shouldn't happen in the middle of a take. You will be accessing the menu with either the OK button or the quick menu button in between takes.

(I just tried it. Neither button responded while recording a take.)

(Regarding AE/AF Lock button "back button autofocus")

That's kind of something I was debating on doing, making one of the buttons do single-AF which as you said can be a nice quick way to get a starting point. Even though the GH4 touts 10 Fn I only really have 5, and haven't really found a spot to put it on (I think I need to find where the setting is to change the AE/AF button, if it's not in the Fn Set menu).

What I suggested changes no Fn buttons. Look in the Custom menu (wrench with a C) page 1:
AF/AE Lock set to AF LOCK
AF/AE Lock Hold set to ON

And on page 3:
AF+MF set to ON (allows touching up focus manually in normal AF)
MF Assist set for What control (or button) you want to activate magnified view.
MF Guide set to ON if you want the distance guide. I do on mine.

I don't really have any of the Fn buttons assigned to other than defaults. I don't need zebras as I pretty much learned exposure the hard way, light meters and color slide film, and I can eyeball a scene and have some feel for what is going to under or overexpose. Peaking I find to be distracting while doing a take, but that's just me.

Thanks, while getting the GH5 would have been awesome, I couldn't pass up getting a GH4 when the whole kit was 400 shipped.

Coming from a GH1, acquiring a GH4 is AWSOME! Be glad you didn't go for a GH3, the EVF on that one was a step backwards from the GH2. The EVF on the GH4 was a whole world of improvement. You did good!

So far the pieces of gear that I might not (or will not) hold onto have been :
  • The Panasonic YAGH interface. I can already do XLR input into my Tascam DR-60Mkii giving me a second area to have backup audio, and can store 4 tracks, plus I don't own anything that would utilize the SDI 3G ports. And the Smallrig Cage I have wouldn't fit with that anyways.

I have the DR60D MkI so I know what you mean there. On cages, look at this one:

Photography and Cinema · GB-1 GearBox Video Cage

Incredibly simple, yet incredibly flexible. I have 2 of them and can use either for anything from a GX85 size camera to the GH4 or GH5. You can use these with almost any camera. Watch the videos on that page to see what I mean.

I tried working with my Tascam DR60D mounted on the cage with the GH4 but the cables got in the way no matter which I put on top so I use a smaller recorder (a Zoom H6) which lets me manage cables better. This image shows how I used the Tascam most of the time.

Tascam_DR60D (1)_a.JPG
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With the GH5 I found a used XLR module for a price I could afford and that simplifies things a lot! At 80 simple means much!

Again, I hope I've helped.
 
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KBeezie

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CONSTANT PREVIEW in manual shows you in the EVF and on the LCD what your actual exposure will look like, in all of the AUTO modes the EVF/LCD shows you only what an "ideal" exposure (as the camera is programmed) will be. It's like having a Polaroid test in the viewfinder like I used to have to do with a Polaroid back on my Mamiya RB67 or other studio camera in the film days.

I rely mostly on center-weighted exposure, and histogram. Where the Zebra comes in handy for me is event shooting where I'm moving, and I'm not quite sure what is being clipped in the histogram (the sky where it doesn't matter as much, or some of the lit subject just outside the center meter range).

I too have a film and slide film background. Used to work at Camera Center LLC several years back and shot almost everything from a Minox B up to a Linhof 5x7 , and developed the film myself (including E-6 roll and sheet film, but mostly preferred black and white). I treat digital in a similar way to slide film. The latitude is quite narrow, and if you overexpose you lose it (Where as negative film you underexpose and you lose it).

Constant preview mode sounds like the opposite of Live Exposure Boost mode on Olympus, which I usually use. But mainly because in photographs (rather than video) I'm looking at the exposure meter more than anything rather than the LCD giving me a good view of the scene (very helpful for focusing on the spot in low light situations).

With video especially I want no auto ISO (or auto ANYTHING), I want nothing making any changes I don't make myself in the middle of a take. If the lighting changes (sun goes behind a cloud, etc.), the exposure adjustment itself calls attention to itself. But that's just me.

Depends on where/what, in most indoor situations, I set it and forget it once I've had it metered. Not even on my olympus for photos do I set anything automatically. I only mentioned that if I did set something auto, out of the three contributors, it would likely be the ISO as it won't affect the 180-degree rule, and it won't affect the depth of field.

Usually in exposure change situation (particularly if it's near the beginning of the clip), I'll just change it in camera, and snip off the lead in post.

Rack focusing is changing focus from one item to another in the same take. Like maybe from one person out in front of the camera at a medium distance to a wine bottle in the foreground. As far as inadvertant touch on the LCD while trying to get to the menu, that shouldn't happen in the middle of a take. You will be accessing the menu with either the OK button or the quick menu button in between takes.

(I just tried it. Neither button responded while recording a take.)

Q.Menu does seem to respond, but only if Silent Operation is enabled. But also I don't care for autofocus in general for video. The transition from focusing from one object to the next tends to be very inorganic in most situations, especially if the lens decides to seek back and forth a little. Where as if I manually focus by hand (at the risk of some camera vibration) even if I go past focus a little, and then back, it's a much smoother movement than Zzzzz-snap-zz-snap back (All my lens tend to be silent AF with the exception of the Panasonic 20/1.7, but I still use manual focus for visual preference).

What I suggested changes no Fn buttons. Look in the Custom menu (wrench with a C) page 1:
AF/AE Lock set to AF LOCK
AF/AE Lock Hold set to ON

And on page 3:
AF+MF set to ON (allows touching up focus manually in normal AF)
MF Assist set for What control (or button) you want to activate magnified view.
MF Guide set to ON if you want the distance guide. I do on mine.

I don't really have any of the Fn buttons assigned to other than defaults. I don't need zebras as I pretty much learned exposure the hard way, light meters and color slide film, and I can eyeball a scene and have some feel for what is going to under or overexpose. Peaking I find to be distracting while doing a take, but that's just me.

:p I'm more like that on the photo side. And I still do have my (Working) Minolta Flash Meter IVf and Gossen DigiPro 6 (plus I've found that the selenium meter on top of my Canon 7 is still amazingly working accurately).

Peaking I've found so far seems primarily good in run-n-gun type of situations, when using the camera's LCD which is far too small to rely upon accurately without it, especially when the picture profile has been set to a low contrast.

For situations where I can use a larger configuration, I now have that Lilliput A8 monitor (8.9")

Coming from a GH1, acquiring a GH4 is AWSOME! Be glad you didn't go for a GH3, the EVF on that one was a step backwards from the GH2. The EVF on the GH4 was a whole world of improvement. You did good!

Was considering a GH2 to be hacked, but all the verdict showed that with the GH1 hacked the sensor was sharper and better handle on getting that 'cinematic' look, and had a base ISO of 100. Also with the hack, my GH1 does about 100mbps 24p (pull down from 48i) 1080p 4:2:0 in FHD mode, 100mbps 59.90 progressive 720p in SH, same in H (but at a lower average bitrate), and my MotionJpeg HD is set to 30fps progressive, 4:2:2 at 1,536 x 864 (80% of 1080p, so can easily be upscaled or downscaled), averaging around 56Mbps bit rate.

Heck of a bit nicer than the unmodified GH1 which at best did 17mbps. The GH3 to date still doesn't seem like it can be hacked, and like the GH1 horrible noise above ISO 800.

What I primarily gain with the GH4 over the hacked GH1 is 4K, much better audio control and monitoring, zebra/peaking, much clearer LCD (so I can eyeball it if I wish), ability to change more than just shutter/aperture during recording, live HDMI output, 60fps at 1080 (instead of just at 720), ability to use cards over 32GB, and the knowledge that it won't likely crash due to a hack quirk (most of which I've gotten fixed by slowing the maximum bit rate by about 2mbps compared to the original hack).

I have the DR60D MkI so I know what you mean there. On cages, look at this one:

Photography and Cinema · GB-1 GearBox Video Cage

Incredibly simple, yet incredibly flexible. I have 2 of them and can use either for anything from a GX85 size camera to the GH4 or GH5. You can use these with almost any camera. Watch the videos on that page to see what I mean.

Oh you mean the Neewer I already have/had? ($45 on Amazon back in 2017) :D in the first picture of the thread.

E52-2B1LYNdghxMI0d4GKPMfaUtuzoemibdRGWdnGVLHXXm6jE2MuGJUUxbltn_RPTZCdOTPy&_nc_ht=scontent-ort2-2.jpg
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(the main difference is that the Newer one used a round gear to help screw in the tripod screw)
Didn't care for the handle bar construction, mostly plastic leading to squeaking/creaking when handled. It does have plenty of space on top, and that big stud in the middle of the top is where I placed a 10" Fotodiox LED Flapjack light via the yoke attachment it had. The smallrig or even the Wooden Camera half cage (not much room on top tho with the handle used) was more solid overall.

The same configuration (minus the Rode Pro) used to create this video with the GH1 hacked :


I can course get handles attached to the sides of the smallrig (I already have it).

I still have the above Neewer cage, except I removed their own tripod thread, and bolted down a Manfrotto RC2 quick release, then can place whatever you need on the bottom of the cage (either mount direct, or a QR plate).

I tried working with my Tascam DR60D mounted on the cage with the GH4 but the cables got in the way no matter which I put on top so I use a smaller recorder (a Zoom H6) which lets me manage cables better. With the GH5 I found a used XLR module for a price I could afford and that simplifies things a lot! At 80 simple means much!

Again, I hope I've helped.

There were some bits of wisdom especially with the configuration suggestion.
 

Bif

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I treat digital in a similar way to slide film. The latitude is quite narrow, and if you overexpose you lose it (Where as negative film you underexpose and you lose it).

I shot Kodachrome for a few decades for my personal stuff then after closing a studio to take a position as a staff photog at an air force training base I wound up running an E-6 processing line until we went 100% digital, (filled a room!) and shot a ton of Ektachrome. You're right about digital exposure being very similiarly narrow.

Constant preview mode sounds like the opposite of Live Exposure Boost mode on Olympus, which I usually use. But mainly because in photographs (rather than video) I'm looking at the exposure meter more than anything rather than the LCD giving me a good view of the scene (very helpful for focusing on the spot in low light situations).

Once you get your eye "tuned" to how CONSTANT PREVIEW relates to what you will see on your monitor in the editing bay, it's a whole new world. As you make exposure setting changes you see the effect immediately before you take the shot or start a motion picture take. The meter readout gets me "in the ballpark" quickly, then I look at image tones and exposure in the EVF and adjust further to what I want. I've got a 7" Marshall LCD monitor but being 80 I keep my camera rig as lightweight as I can. The 7" monitor might be set up close by for some of my crew to watch (when I have crew).

I don't use the histogram that much, it's not really an exposure meter or guide. I'll activate it if I want to see where image tones fall but a trained eye can see clipping in the EVF.

Q.Menu does seem to respond, but only if Silent Operation is enabled. I still use manual focus for visual preference).

I hadn't noticed that about Silent Operation. The "rack focus" from one subject to another is a tool most used in narrative film work. It comes in handy for visual direction for the viewer.

I sprung for a couple of Rokinon Cine primes with geared focus ring and declicked aperture. Haven't had much chance to use them yet but initial testing looks promising. They are "big" compared to m4/3 optics. They are strickly manual with auto NOTHING. Focus is very smooth with a long throw.

:p I still do have my (Working) Minolta Flash Meter IVf and Gossen DigiPro 6

Those were super meters, all I could afford for a long time was a Vivitar with LED readout for flash work. Coming back from VietNam in 1970 I "rewarded" myself (for surviving a combat tour) with a Sekonic L28c incident meter. I "rediscovered" it a few years ago, still works but the scales are so tiny I ordered a modern Sekonic digital meter for both flash and ambient. But the meter systems in the Panasonic cameras are surprisingly accurate.

Was considering a GH2 to be hacked,

What I primarily gain with the GH4 over the hacked GH1 is 4K,
and way, way, much more. But one thing you need (absolutely) is some kind of HDMI cable lock. That micro HDMI port on the GH4 is notoriously fragile. The Fhugen Honu cage for the GH4 just below comes with an HDMI cable lock.

Photography and Cinema · Honu v2.0 GH3/GH4 and Sony A7/A7r Video Cage

It gets even more solid if you use a micro HDMI to full size HDMI adapter in clamp on the HDMI cable lock and shim it up from underneath. That's how I used mine. The GH5 has a full size HDMI port which partially alleviates that problem.

Oh you mean the Neewer I already have/had? ($45 on Amazon back in 2017) :D in the first picture of the thread.


(the main difference is that the Newer one used a round gear to help screw in the tripod screw)
Didn't care for the handle bar construction, mostly plastic leading to squeaking/creaking when handled.


I still have the above Neewer cage, except I removed their own tripod thread, and bolted down a Manfrotto RC2 quick release, then can place whatever you need on the bottom of the cage (either mount direct, or a QR plate).

That looks like the ones I got from P&C. I've seen it under a couple of brand names, I got my first one when it first appeared and paid $95 for it, $50 for the second one used. I don't get any noise or creaking out of mine, maybe something needs tightening...

At one time I used the Manfrotto 577 quick release and 501PL plates (they used to make an HDMI clamp that fit on the 577) but I've since switch to Arca Swiss type. The RC2 looks good also.

Enjoy that GH4! It's one heckuva piece of gear!
 

Bif

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I can course get handles attached to the sides of the smallrig (I already have it).

More important than handles would be an HDMI cable clamp. Smallrig makes some for their cages and fairly inexpensive too.

Way less than the cost of replacing the HDMI port on the GH4. I hear that's an expensive repair and it takes very little stress on the camera port to break the solder join to the board.
 

KBeezie

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More important than handles would be an HDMI cable clamp. Smallrig makes some for their cages and fairly inexpensive too.

Way less than the cost of replacing the HDMI port on the GH4. I hear that's an expensive repair and it takes very little stress on the camera port to break the solder join to the board.

The smallrig cage comes with the HDMI clamp which I screwed into the wooden camera baseplate ready for when I need it.
 

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