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GH4 Owners - Pro Grade Photo and Video Comment Pls

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by ProPhotoDude, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. ProPhotoDude

    ProPhotoDude Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 21, 2013
    Hi, I am in the market to upgrade my camera which is a GH1 and looking for a gear that takes pro grade stills and great videos.

    Frankly I like the Canon 70D (tilt screen, continuous focus in video), but will not buy it, I would wait for the next generation of the dual pixel in 80D and I am seriously also considering GH4.

    For those of you who use the GH4 for semi-pro or pro photography how does it rate now against the $2K Canons and Nikons. I terribly dislike the stills on my GH1, but it does a good job in the video dept.

    For those of you who use the GH4 for indie or student films, how does it rate against Canon, which has become the standard camera for almost all Indie users.

    Thank you!
  2. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    I have it from very reliable sources that NBC's producer, Bill Wages, uses both the GH3 & GH4 to shoot segments of the NBC series The Revolution. GH3 / 4 is used in conjunction with an Arri Alexa. In situations where Alexa won't fit, the GH cameras take over. When compared the video from both is indistinguishable.
  3. ProPhotoDude

    ProPhotoDude Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 21, 2013
    Thanks! No question the GH series has become a video favorite in certain circles.

    Now how much better is it in the stills department compared with a $2k Canon or Nikon? :) 
  4. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    I am a canon user when it comes to photography. I'll be honest and say I find the m43 a compromise in image quality. My olympus em-5 and GH3 is a great secondary system for very specific reasons. I use my gh3 as a video camcorder with good "stills" (purchased for my wife). My EM-5 I use it for a portable small from factor camera when image quality is not paramount but convenience of having a capable camera..

    I made the decision of purchasing the GH3 over the more expensive GH4 simply because 1080 will suite my needs. With my limited testing of the gh4 As far as still photography is concerned I am not totally thrilled with the image quality for real workflow for accurate documentation of an event. The gh4 is "good" but if you used a 70D with some good glass like an 85L, 24Lmk2, 24-70Lmk2, 70-200 f/2.8IS mk2 it would be a massive step up from a gh4 with a zuiko 12mm f/2, panny/leica 25mm f/1.4, zuiko 45 f/1.8, 75mm f/1.8 etc etc. Ultimately the keeper rate of the 70D would surpass the gh4 due to the inferior contrast detection of the m43 body.

    If I had the choice of purchasing a camera based on excellent video capabilities but very good stills. I'd purchase the 70D. For challenging light the 70D would perform much better than the GH4. Now that I've purchased the gh3 (wifes camera) I'm even considering on buying a 70D to go with my canon glass until the 80d or 7dmk2 comes out.

    IMO opinion the gh4 is still not near at the level of what pro gear is suppose to perform as far as stills are concerned. Contrast detection is not reliable for running and gunning events. For video the gh3 and gh4 is a great tool for video.

    If you have patience the rumours of the 7dmk2 is going to be the newer canon dslr for incredible continuous AF for video. The 70D is available now and I'd give the 80D another year before it arrives at your local camera store (just guessing since the 70d is aprox 3yrs old)

    The price of a 70D you can pay partially more and buy a tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC lens (image stabilized lens) for the price of the gh4 body alone. This is basically upto personal preference and demands. If 1080 is not meeting your needs you may need to purchase the gh4. However for camera stills even the 70D would prove to be a better camera for landing the "shot" with higher keeper rates.

    With my current m43 gear I actually find the Olympus em-5 to be a much better performing stills camera compared to the GH3. Infact I am struggling to take acceptance in the lower quality stills of the gh3 vs my OMD em-5. If stills are more critical I'm looking at the fuji XT-1 and Sony A7 series.....however money does not grow on trees and I'm willing to take more weight and use my 5dmk2 bodies with pro glass if IQ is imperative even for casual usage.

    I just recently fell in love with the massive viewfinder of the fuji xt-1....oh my what a treat!!!!

    Just a note.... a 70d with a tammy 24-70 f/2.8 will be a very capable body/lens combo for a reasonable price. I'll admit for good light my gh4 with 14-140 is pretty darn good.
  5. ProPhotoDude

    ProPhotoDude Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 21, 2013
    Thanks for such a thoughtful reply. I think you are basically echoing my own thoughts. No question if one wants a primarily video use for their DSLR (or mirroless) that the GH provides a good answer. But for still they do lack.

    As stated I really, really dislike the stills quality of my GH1, but one would argue that it is the first gen and things may have improved, but I agree with you, that the GH is simply not a pro grade stills camera no matter at what price.

    I do not care for the 4K. A high quality 1080 will suit me fine.

    I soon will be working on a project that involves taking landscape images for print. Keep in mind that they'll be printed in a book as part of a series of essays and they'll be in black and white. At this time I don't know how fine of a print they'll appear in the book, it maybe that my GH1 will suffice. But for this project for my own enjoyment as well, I want a camera with an app that I can view, focus and shoot with my QHD tablet. This is a big deal for me and my GH1 has no such capability and it sucks as a stills shooter anyway.

    I am also working on a indie web series that I will shooting part of it. I am planning to bring help with gear to shoot most of it. So, this next camera that I buy needs to have excellent 1080.

    Finally, I must have tilt screen and WiFi/Bluetooth with an App connection. I hate shooting and composing on a tiny 3" screen. And the 7D II will not have tilt screen, although supposed to have great specs, the sensor will be basically the same as the 70D.

    That's my dilemma.

    I was hoping that Canon would come out with 80D already, but I know they take their time.

    My only issue with getting a 70D is that it's the first generation dual pixel tech and I much rather wait for the second gen.

    The only other brand to look into is Sony but I never read a completely satisfactory review of their DSLRs.
  6. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    There is an app called "dslr controller" meant to be used with Canon. I really haven't looked into that app even though I bought it over a year ago. Its apparently a versatile app.

    As a casual m43 user I find the IQ to be quite remarkable for a small form factor camera (em-5). The Oly em-5 to my eyes proves to provide much nicer files compared to my gh3. Often online reviews have stated there is very little difference between the two camera's I own respects to image still quality. I definitely beg to differ and really find the Oly to be a better stills camera with mediocre video capabilities. After reading that the gh4 has improved very little in the stills department I did not find this appealing. The gh4 price tag was also not appealing. The conversion to 4k to 1080 is an improvement but to my knowledge most non critical / average eyes do not analyze ultra sharpness in 1080 vid. If you need and optional 4k I guess there's no discussion and you must look into an "inexpensive 4k capable gh4" or purchase a substantially more expensive 4k video rig.

    Will you be using a 15mm rail system with follow focus? or rely on AF?

    If 1080 satisfies your needs the GH3 may be a camera that fits the bill. Footage using the gh3 in good light really seems to be a great video camera.

    The 70d might be a tad more versatile if your going to manual focus since there is an abundance of awesome quality primes.

    If you read alot about gh3 and skin tones this seems to be a complicated topic. I can't comment since I am on a steep learning curve at the moment regarding colour grading. Even when proper white balance is achieved I still find the gh3 to be a challenge. When it comes to stills with my canon I use the xrite passport for colour management...... stills and vid are two completely different beasts :eek: 
  7. ProPhotoDude

    ProPhotoDude Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 21, 2013
    Hi, I did check on Craigslist for used GH3 and there are a few and also there are a few 70Ds being sold for basically the same price (well, just a little more). I really do not need 4K, so GH4 and it's high price point for body only is not motivating. I have checked out YouTube videos of GH4 4K downgraded to 1080, vs 1080 and the difference is not noticeable.

    I guess my wish is for Canon to come out with 80D, but that may not be happening for a long while.

    I do very much like the EM-5. What a concept!!! But it won't do either.

    Will see, I might pick up a used a GH3 or a 70D from CL. But I'll take my time to make sure I am not missing out on the 80D. GH3 near new are going for $720 and 70Ds for $900 or so. I have no more Canon lenses by the way. I do have my 14-140 Pana lens.
  8. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    GH4 4K video has no moire or alaising even after downsampling to 1080 - a huge advantage over 1080 cameras like the 70D when filming moving objects and complex scenes. The future is high density computer displays and TV's (like the current iPad Air and Macbook Pro with retina display). The GH4's 4K video looks vastly more detailed on such a display than 70D 1080 video does. To compete with the GH4, Canon needs to come out with a 4K capable 7D Mark II or 4K 80D.
  9. ProPhotoDude

    ProPhotoDude Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 21, 2013
    No question that higher resolution is always better, a lot of us started with digital cameras when they were only at 2 or 3 mps.

    here's my rational: the web series I am developing will be for YouTube, so, DSLR grade 1080 with a good lens is already over qualifies as most people will be watching it on their phones.

    The work flow of working with 4K just to convert to 1080 and buying expensive monitors and computers that can actually show 4K is not for everyone and if your end came is YouTube it's a waste of time, unless you have a large budget and a lot of time and want to mess around with the latest and greatest technology.

    Yes, on YouTube reviews of GH4, they are talking about 4K nonstop, in fact they don't bother to talk about the stills quality of the GH4, but that's because it's the main feature so it has to be talked about.

    I wondered how many of them will actually bother with 4K shooting later and how many if they didn't work for a camera store would have access to 4K ready computers and monitors?

    my sense is that, until such time as 4K becomes as accessible for viewing as today's 1080 it's really a luxury for small producers. Large production companies with staffing and hefty budgets is a different story.

    A Question. How bad would the moire be for action, if you are shooting 1080 at 60fps?

  10. EricRose

    EricRose Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 2, 2014
    The upper 12
    Eric Rose
  11. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    I make it a point to attend some of the larger shows and speak with many dealers. No doubt that the photo industry is changing. Probably biggest hit is the photo printing business. Most professional photographers will tell you that each year, less of their work goes to print. Traditional DSLR cameras had that ability to do very large prints. Today, more work is viewed on tablets, smart phones and on the web where any minor differences won't be seen. A lot of photographers are simply getting tired of carrying big, heavy, and sometimes intimidating cameras. Cameras like the GH4 now fit that bill very nicely. I know of at least 3 Nat Geo photographers who have gone mirrorless. Regarding 4K, I also initially said I had no need for 4K. After you shoot 4K and see the gorgeous stills you can pull, your attitude will change!

    I also believe that photographers who are invested in Canon and Nikon are reluctant to change, because "divorce is expensive". However, sometimes it's worth the expense. Shooting mirrorless allows you to carry your camera and once again enjoy photography.
  12. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Agreed. When you are shooting in 4K with the GH4 you are basically shooting 30 very high quality, detailed 8 MP stills every second. The GH4 even allows you to save any of those 30 stills IN-CAMERA! No need for a video editor to extract the 8MP stills from 4K footage. The $899 4K Panasonic FZ1000 may also have this feature. The affordable FZ1000 shoots gorgeous 4K video like this:
  13. ProPhotoDude

    ProPhotoDude Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 21, 2013
    Thanks for all the input, it's true that you can't argue with higher res.

    I am leaning on getting a FF for the print project and continue to use the GH1 or get a used GH3 for the video project.

    With the FF, as long as it has WiFi or BT that allows connections to tablets (or phones) where I can focus and shoot with my tablet, it would work just fine.

    Anyway, that's where I am right now with all this.
  14. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    Look at the Canon 6d :) 
  15. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    DSLR Controller is stunning. Some of the best reverse engineered firmware out there imo. Hopefully it combines with the future of the dual pixel sensors with AI servo being phase and contrast detect AF providing the speed and accuracy of both. I've said it many times, Canon should hire Chainfire to do their firmware.
  16. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hey ProPhotoDude, et al:

    I think unless you're printing VERY LARGE prints and you shoot in very difficult lighting, the images you receive from a GH4 or equivalent M/43 camera will be virtually indistinguishable (from an IQ perspective) from ANY full frame DSLR -- let alone a Canon 70D with its APS-C sensor...

    Be sure to have a look at this review by Dave Dugdale. He's a straight shooter and I think tells it like he sees it. Incidentally here's a direct quote from this particular review: Just blows the doors off my Canon 5D Mk3 Oh, and he decided to "dump ALL of his canon gear...".



    • Like Like x 1
  17. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012

    I can see how Dave Dugdale would switch to the gh4 for video application. I'll also agree that small print the image quality would probably be hard to determine if it was from a m43 or dslr.

    However I'll have to say my Canon 5dmk2's raw files are extremely flexible compared to my very rigid raw files I get from a gh3 or em-5. I have been in many situations where I would never be able to recover some m43 raw files compared to my full frame. At a professional/semi pro level landing the "moment" is a requirement for still photography and sometimes this means recovering a photo that is not perfectly exposed.

    Mr. Dugdale's requirements are strictly video application. I would be shocked to see a photographer selling his/her nikon/canon dslr for a gh4 for still photography. For photography the IQ of the gh4 is still not even close to a full frame body. Also contrast AF is not reliable enough for run and gun events for photography. However for casual application m43 is a great tool.

    For video the gh4 is truly hard to beat at this point in time. For photography people seem to choose m43 for form factor and very good IQ but for demanding users I dont think its a replacement for a dslr. The fuji xt-1 and sony A7 series is really becoming an incredible small form factor body for incredible stills much superior to a gh4, em-1 etc.

    Prophotodude, I think your on the right track on purchasing a gh3 as a video rig and purchasing a full frame body for stills

    If you do buy a gh4 or gh3 you should consider looking at a Carry speed VF4 3x viewfinder(alot cheaper than a z finder). It fits tight but its definitely a great product with excellent quality. Do not consider buying the Kamerar QV-1 (does not fit the gh3 or gh4 without a custom spacer).

    This is a perfect example of selecting tools for specific applications.
  18. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hi Alan U,

    I've been a professional photographer for nearly 30 years and have shot (and currently own practically) every format upwards of 4x5. haven't touched my Hasselblads with or without my Phase One back in ages. Just shot a still life job for a client and just for yucks shot it with both an E-M1 and a Nikon D800e (both capturing RAW files). Lighting was Profoto / Dynalite strobes... You'd be hard pressed to pick out which images were photographed with the FF and which were captured using the Oly.

    Sorry, I but really have to disagree with your assessment that the RAW files from M/43 aren't as workable as your Canon FF -- that is unless your files were so far gone as to need a lot of pulling and tugging. I've been able to salvage images that were for all practical intents and purposes unusable. Furthermore, neither the Fuji XT-1 nor the Sony A7 are "much superior to a GH4 or EM-1" Simply NOT true (ie, within the constraints of my original "argument"). In the final analysis, a FF camera will not shoot better photographs. YOU have to shoot better photographs!

    ProPhotoDude: all of our opinions are just that -- OUR own opinions. Go out and borrow or rent whatever cameras you're considering and then go and shoot them extensively... That's the BEST way to go about this process!

    • Like Like x 3
  19. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    My experiences with my girlfriend's 5Dmk2 and my E-M5 are totally opposite. E-M5 recovers WAY more information/details (from both shadows and highlights) than the glorious FF-legend. There have been only a handful of scenarios where the 5Dmk2 has bested the E-M5. And that is over the the past 2 years so I'm really not that impressed with that PRO FF-camera...
  20. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012

    Would you shoot a wedding with your m43 as a professional photographer?:eek: 

    I'm fully aware of how well my Oly em-5 performs in a studio situation. I've used the em-5 for entertainment/testing purposes shooting Einstein strobes through a 7 foot octadome. In this particular shoot and every studio setup I've used the light is ideal and even an 8yr old Canon xti rebel would perform stellar in ideal perfect consistent lighting. Static / slow moving subjects are also fine with m43 in ideal studio lighting or outdoor portraiture. For a ceremony walk down the aisle using an m43 I'd imagine "spray and pray" to achieve keepers would be a safe practice due to the gh4's contrast AF. And yes.....I've played with the latest phase one medium format and I look at full frame and m43 camera's as a toy (truly completely jaded in how dynamic digital medium format performs).

    I'm still drawn to my full frame using and 85Lmk2 or 70-200 f/2.8is mk2 before I grab my olympus em-5 or gh3 for headshots even in safe brainless/perfect studio environment.

    Having proper gear is equally as important as the person behind the viewfinder/operator. Shooting a run and gun event with an introductory dslr will produce great images but having a flashship level dslr with pro lenses would provide less noise, higher keeper rates (potentially due to better AF calculations) and improvements in image quality. Better tools help the photographer in achieving their vision. So I must disagree and say "gear" will shoot better IQ. Imagery of the operator has nothing to do with what I've discussed regarding technical capabilities of gear.

    If you compare a D800e with the newest nikkor 24-70mm or a canon 1dx/5dmk3/5dmk2/6d with a 24-70Lmk2 the image quality and micro contrast would surpass any m43 with an oly 75mm/leica 25mm f/1.4. On a high gamut monitor you would clearly see a difference between a dslr with zoom (as I've mentioned earlier) compared to an M43 with flashship primes. On the other hand on a 4x6 or 5x7 print a client would have a difficult time noticing the difference.

    I've been fortunate enough to play with the fuji xt-1 and sony A7 with hybrid focus and many other camera bodies. Those two camera's are clearly superior in IQ compared to a gh4, Em-1 and my Em-5.

    The gh4 is clearly a beast in the market for a 4k video camera. I'm finding my gh3 a very capable video camera. The op wanted a great video and stills camera. From my testing the gh3 and gh4 is not a high caliber still camera by any means. GH4 is a great video tool but there are definitely more capable "still" camera bodies that surpass the gh4 by a huge margin.
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