GH4 in Japan

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by Wasabi Bob, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I recently visited Japan was asked to use a GH4. I just started posting some of my photos. After using the GH4 it becomes very obvious (to me) that far too much emphasis is being given to the 4K video capability. Compared to the GH3, the GH4 is simply faster, sharper and significantly better (especially in low light / high ISO). I'm still undecided whether this is due to the new sensor or the new focusing system. The majority of these were taken in "P" mode, at ISO 1600. I used the 12-35 F2.8 exclusively.
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  2. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 13, 2011
    If only this camera had in-body IS like the GX7 or even better 5 axis, I would have pre-ordered it!

    Lovely images by the way!!
  3. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Photographic Crack

    IBIS is so overstated. The GH3/4's system has never let me down. May of these shots were taken hand held at 1/10 sec. I did not loose even one shot to motion blur or shake. The only valid justification is when you shoot legacy lens. Otherwise, it's a non issue. Just a warning ... don't shoot the GH4, otherwise you'll get hooked! The GH4 is photographic "crack"!
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  4. JDW

    JDW New to Mu-43

    Apr 7, 2011
    Since you appear to have had a direct hands-on with a Japanese edition GH4, did you have the option to select English as the primary menu language, or was it restricted to Japanese only like past Lumix cameras sold in Japan? If it had English menus, did you confirm if that was an export model (to be sold outside Japan) or did you confirm if it was the standard model that will be sold in Japan? (I ask because I live in Japan but I hate the fact Lumix tends to sell Japanese-only menu editions within Japan. When you consider the weaker Yen and international shipping charges, it's only logical that one who lives in Japan would want to buy it in Japan, but I won't do that without the English menus. On a camera costing ¥170000 or so, I should be given a language choice, regardless of where I buy the camera.)
  5. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 16, 2013
    Real Name:
    Wonderful photos! They're so sharp!
  6. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    The GH4 I had was a US version, given to me in the US for the trip. Japanese versions, which I saw, are still Japanese only. I agree with you, but from what I heard from dealers, this policy is to "protect" the Japanese units from being resold as gray goods. Now with the exchange rate at ~97 yen to 1US dollar, you can actually purchase cameras for less money in the US.
  7. JDW

    JDW New to Mu-43

    Apr 7, 2011
    Actually, the exchange rate has been more than ¥100 to US$1 for quite a while now, and the Yen continues to weaken. Today is ¥102.8 to the Dollar (bank rate). So what you mean to say was "you can buy cheaper in Japan." And although that may be true, it's not significantly cheaper to give rise to a PROFITABLE gray market. Panasonic merely uses that line as an excuse to maintain the status quo of language discrimination on units sold in Japan. There are a substantial number of English speakers in Japan. Consider well how much Spanish you see on printed materials in the US, even on ballots! Not so here in Japan (relatively speaking). Even so, other Japanese camera makers don't follow Panasonic's discriminatory lead. They proudly offer multiple languages on their cameras. Also, some other Japanese products such as cell phones and car navigation devices offer English or Japanese in the UI. So again, Panasonic's excuse is fundamentally flawed, and I reject all attempts to explain it away.

    I simply had hoped Panasonic / Lumix might change their tune with a much more expensive camera like this. But from what you say, such is not so. Very unfortunate. I will have to purchase a GH4 from outside Japan. Hopefully Abe won't destroy the Yen too much further by the time I make that purchase, since I get paid in Yen.
  8. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Real Name:
    call me Arg
    Just go to the counter of a genuine Panasonic outlet in Japan and say you want to order an English-language GH4. Good luck.
  9. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    No it's substantially cheaper in the US. Products are discounted deeper and faster here in the US, so despite varying exchange rates, what you pay is less here. I visited two dealers and saw GX7 and GM1 selling at the MSRP. Here, these are already selling below that.
  10. JDW

    JDW New to Mu-43

    Apr 7, 2011
    You seem to be oblivious to Japan's, which is already selling the yet unreleased GH4 body at a discount:

    But even if you can show us via multiple URLs in the US that the GH4 is cheaper in the US than in Japan, that only supports what I was saying; namely, the Panasonic is citing "dirt cheap prices in Japan" as their excuse to remove English from the UI on all Lumix camera sold in Japan. Panasonic's foolish stance is absolutely infuriating for those of us who live in Japan. I may speak Japanese, but that doesn't mean I prefer that language on my $1700 prosumer grade camera!
  11. BlackOakMo

    BlackOakMo Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 10, 2012
    Oxford Mississippi
    Hey Wasabi,
    Looks like you had a fantastic trip. Was wondering if we could hear more about your thoughts on what the engineers were able to do with the GH4 (and less about the corporate monkeys, after all, we all know it is going to be different around here once I’m in charge:smile:).

    I’m most interested in hearing more about the new focusing system. I love my mu43 camera but it is a real challenge to shoot fast moving subjects. It can be done but it’s like having one hand tied behind your back compared to other setups. I couldn’t get a sense from the pictures you posted if you had a chance to play with this new feature or not.

    BTW, love the black&white pic of the station platform.
  12. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I can see why JDW feels this way - here in the US we are spoiled. However, I think there must be reasons for the decisions that companies make, we'll beyond the reasons some conclude they are made. Regarding the focus, all I can say is, it's fast! I did not want to be a slave to the camera so I decided to set it to ISO 1600 and shoot in P mode. At night it nailed every shot. I enjoyed taking photos - it wasn't about using a new camera? It was that simple. The GH4 is just easy and fun to use!
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  13. JDW

    JDW New to Mu-43

    Apr 7, 2011
    For the record, I'm a Lumix GF-1 owner. I have the 20mm pancake and the 14-140 HD lens (with OIS). I bought it in Japan, and that was when I learned the hideous truth about Panasonic discriminating against us English speakers here (which not all Japanese camera makers do), but thankfully I found a firmware hack on the internet that gave me English menus! The GF-1 is still a great camera, but it's low light capabilities are dated, especially when I try to shoot video of my kids at dimly lit on-stage events. Moreover, the GF-1 can only shoot 720p and has mono sound. I really don't need 4k (since I don't have a computer that can play it back smoothly), but the extra resolution of the GH4 would give me the ability to downsize to a magnificently noise-free 1080p! I also would like to have the ability to "zoom" in post, even with video taken on my 20mm prime. The speed of the autofocus (70ms) is incredible too. And the ability to add an external zoom mic would be great.
  14. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Lots to comment on.
    1. I've tried the 4k video. My PC which is no powerhouse has no problem viewing or editing 4k. Actually, AVCHD requires more CPU usage than MP4 and MOV. I can also capture an 8mb still frame from 4k that make beautiful large prints. Too much media attention being given to the video aspect of GH4. For still photographers the GH4 is a visible step up, visually and performance wise.

    2. My post, was intended to simply share some GH4 output. It seems to have evolved into a discussion on your perceived discrimination by Panasonic. We are all entitled to our opinions, but lets lighten it up, this is no fun.

    3. You have several options:
    You can buy an export version which I saw advertised at Yodabashi Camera.
    You can order an English version from dealers like B&H
    You may already know some Japanese. I met a few Americans who worked there. They spoke both Japanese and English, and they were able to read some Japanese.
    You can buy one of the other brands who offer an English interface. No one is forcing you to buy Panasonic.

    Have you ever been in Quebec Canada? All the traffic signs I saw were in French. What was the saying, "when in Rome do as the Romans do".
  15. JDW

    JDW New to Mu-43

    Apr 7, 2011
    But can your PC view 4K on YouTube without dropping frames? My Nov. 2009 2.8GHz QuadCore iMac handles 1080p just fine, but 4K and even 1440p definitely does not play back at 30fps.

    But as I said before, the benefit I see to 4K in the short term is the ability to make outstanding 1080p, which can playback just fine over YouTube on most computers out there today.

    The only other issue I see with the GH4 when shooting 4K is the need for a large SD card of at least 64GB but probably 128GB would be needed when shooting well in excess of 1 hour of video. There are not a lot of SDHC cards in 128GB sizes that meet the speed requirements, although that will probably change quickly once the camera is released.