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142 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best traveling 4K video camera!
First of all, I can confirm that this memory card performs perfectly recording 4k at 100Mbps. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I3BQJNA/ref=oh_details_o04_s02_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I own a RED camera so have been dealing with 4K footage and working in the format for a couple of years now. I work professionally for one of the big 3 letter networks and have two...
Published 6 months ago by J. Tiffee

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55 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An excellent camera, if you're willing to acknowledge the risks
I should start by saying this: the GH4 is an excellent camera, a thoughtful piece of technology, and a pleasure overall to use. It is, as I'm sure will be said in more detail in some of the four- and five- star reviews, an incredibly competent stills camera and an outrageously good video shooter. 4K is as impressive as advertised, especially as implemented here -...
Published 4 months ago by John Atkinson


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142 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best traveling 4K video camera!, May 8, 2014
By 
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
First of all, I can confirm that this memory card performs perfectly recording 4k at 100Mbps. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I3BQJNA/ref=oh_details_o04_s02_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I own a RED camera so have been dealing with 4K footage and working in the format for a couple of years now. I work professionally for one of the big 3 letter networks and have two Emmy statues sitting on my mantle. This camera absolutely blows me away.

Much can be debated about whether the DSLR form factor is suitable for professional video work. Its hard to get stable footage, most lenses are hard to focus with, zooming is difficult to impossible with most lenses, and the camera was designed to take still photos. What is hard to debate is that this is the best 4K camera currently available for travelers and DSLR style shooters.

I've put together a traveling kit that all fits into one backpack that includes the:
GH4
Tripod - 3 legged things "Brian" - Watch some videos on this extremely light and versatile tripod.
Monfrotto MVH500AH Fluid head - Seriously awesome and smooth
Slider - Edlekrone Slider Plus V2 - Medium with Motion module and Target module (waiting for shipment)
Jib - Aviator travel jib - Very compact. Extends 6ft. Haven't tested enough yet to determine worth.
Zacuto Marauder - Very Nice
Zacuto Z-Finder for GH3 - Pairs well with the higher resolution LCD on the GH4.
Olympus 12mm f/2 - Super sharp, no image stabilization
Pana Leica 25mm f/1.4 - Sharp at 2.8 everywhere. Excellent at 1.4. Creamy bokeh. Magical images but no IS.
Pana Leica 45mm f/2.8 - My Macro, 2nd portrait, and tele prime
Lumix G X 12-35 f/2 - Excellent all around zoom (24-70 equiv)
Lumix G X 35-100 f/2 - Excellent tele zoom (70-200 equiv)
Lumix 14-140 f/3.5-5.6 - Versatile run and gun lens. (24-280 equiv)

Yes, all of the above fits into a Lowepro Pro Trekker 400 AW! And is comfortable to carry.

I don't have much to add that hasn't already been written in these reviews so here are just a few notes from my experiences that may help others:

Editing 4K is no problem on a Mid 2012 Retina Mac Book Pro 2.7 i7 with 16GB Ram. With Adobe Premiere CS6 I edit at FULL resolution with no dropped frames usually. Sometimes when you hit play on the timeline it will drop 2 frames then playback the rest with no dropped frames. Or if your computer starts doing something else while you are playing it will drop a few frames. It will drop ZERO frames at HALF or QUARTER resolution. But remember, 4K is 4 times the resolution of 1080 so even at quarter resolution, you are previewing HD! There is no transcoding, just drag and drop on timeline and start editing.

Playing the files off the SD Card or even my SSD HD using quicktime player is not usable. It studders. I have to open premiere and import the files to play them back smoothly. Not an issue for me and my workflow. Haven't done much testing to figure out solutions.

HDMI to TV looks incredible. Some of the best looking HD you'll see at home. If you're a videophile who just has to watch movies on Blu Ray or better then you'll love the images from this camera.

You'll want to stick to the Panasonic Lumix / Leica lenses with image stabilization.

The onboard audio is decent but is very omni so you'll pick up sounds of your breathing and moving about. I have a rode stereo mic that attaches to the hotshoe.

Out of the box the footage is pretty sharp. Good for documentary shooting or everyday home use. But You can dial that back for a more cine style look.

I recommend shooting Cine-D.

This camera has no problem serving as a second camera to my RED or as my primary travel / docu camera.

I'll try and post more as I use this camera more, but if you're thinking about getting this camera- stop thinking and start clicking.
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109 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 FPS 8 MP Stills Revolution!!! Family, Portrait and Event Shooters Rejoice., April 30, 2014
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
If you are a video professional, this camera is a no brainer. There is nothing out there that can touch what this camera can do for anywhere near this price. However, I mostly shoot stills so that is the aspect I will be reviewing on this camera. $1700 is a lot to pay for a stills camera and the IQ is not really that big of a step up from the GH3 or E-M1 (Though it has the highest DxOMark score of any m43.) which can be had for around $1000 or $1200 respectively. So why would a stills shooter pay this much for a camera.

The reason for a stills shooter to buy the GH4 and pay the money is for the 4K video. But wait you said you were focusing on stills so why are you talking about 4K video? To answer that question I will provide a brief primer on 4K video.

Current high definition 1080p video has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and is sometimes called 2K video. If you multiply the 1920 x 1080 you get an approximate 2MP image. The name 4K video, while technically correct, can be a little misleading of a name. 4K video is double the horizontal and vertical resolution of 2K and while there are a couple of resolutions for 4K video I am going to use the 3840 x 2160 for this discussion. When you multiply 3840 x 2160 together you get an approximate 8MP image. So another good name for 4K video might be 8MP video. 8MP is the the holy grail of image sizes for families for the following reason. The average pair of eyes can see about 300 dots per inch (dpi) at a normal reading distance. The largest most families like to print pictures of their kids, etc is 8x10. If you want to print an 8 x 10 at 300 dpi you need an image of the following size: (8 x 300) x (10 x 300) which equals 80 x 90000 which equals about a 7.2MP image (An interesting aside is professional sports were shot for many years in 8MP). The GH4 shoots 8MP video. So with the GH4 you can pull 8MP still images from your video!!!

That is huge. The GH4 can shoot 4K video at 30fps. This allows you to shoot video of your subject and then pull a 8mp still image of just the right moment. As of this moment, no other fully featured stills camera lets you to that. So if you like to shoot stills of your kids sports, or your kids running around, with the GH4 you now shoot in video and then pull 8mp images. This is brilliant and has outstanding implications for video/still electronic photo albums. As a tip for doing this. Don't just switch on the video and let it run for 2 hours. The pain that causes in editing is unbelievable. Instead, shoot your video in 8-15 second clips. There are obvious exceptions such as when your child is delivering a speech or something like that. But for the most part try to stick to that. Next time you are watching a movie or TV show, pay attention to how long a scene is shot from one camera. You will notice it is mostly shot in 8-15 seconds clips. That is what keeps it visually interesting. It also makes for easier editing. Most of life is boring so only recored the interesting parts.

So that is the theory but how does it work in real life. In one word Amazing! You can't see it on Amazon but the stills I have pulled from video looked amazing. I am not a big pixel peeper but I have even blown them up to 100% and they look fantastic. I have them posted on my web site if you want to check them out.

Here is some specific info on doing this:

You can only get 4K video in the creative video position of the mode dial. So switch it to that mode and then pick the MP4 or Mov setting. There are 2 MP4 settings standard MP4 and MP4 LPCM. The LPCM does not work in Aperture. I have been using MP4 to great effect.

At 100 mega bits/sec that equates to 12.5 MB/sec so it can use up a lot of hard drive space. So you may need to delete quite a lot of video after you pull the stills.

As I mentioned earlier you have to be in the creative video position to shoot 4K. Unfortunately, auto focus in this mode works like a video autofocus, slow and smooth like focus pulls and is quite a bit slower than stills autofocus. It does track and I recommend shooting in face focus as in this mode it will focus normally or focus on a face if it is in the image. Fast focal plane changes will result in out of focus video/pictures. I take a lot of shallow DOF pictures of my kids and they move around a lot so I do have quite a bit of Out Of Focus (OOF) video. However, I am still pulling out lots of amazing images.

The stills are in a 16:9 format so you lose some mp converting to 4:5 format. After cropping to 4:5 there are about 6.3mp left in the image. This 280 dpi which is not quite 300 dpi but is still more than enough for printing an 8x10.

Rolling shutter distortion can be a problem with fast movement. I have a few images like this of moving children but for the most part it was a non-event. For those not familiar with the rolling shutter issue it is basically that the electronic shutter is not a global shutter which is to say it does not sample the whole sensor at one time. It scans or rolls to all the positions on sensor. That means for a fast moving object, it is not in the same place when it is scanning the bottom of the sensor as it was when it scanned the top. This causes distortion. So here is what I have found so far to be an issue.

No propellers or rotor blades as they are going to look really funny.

Don't shoot fast moving subjects perpendicular to their movement. Even as little as 5 deg off perpendicular can prevent a large part of the distortion.

Fast pans -- If you are tracking a moving subject by panning to freeze the subject and blur the background, if you do it too fast you can cause distortion. Don't quote me on this rate but if you keep it below ~90 deg/sec then there is very little issue.

For digital fusion work this camera absolutely cannot be beat.

In creative movie mode you have complete control of your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. However, if you want really nice video you need to be shooting a shutter speed around 2x FPS or in this case 1/60. In bright light conditions you are going to need a ND filter to block light or you could have a 1/8000 shutter speed at fast apertures which produces a kind of strobie video. At the moment there is no easy way to fix it.

Roll your stills and video together to create a video/stills album

I used a 30MB/sec card and it worked just fine for 4K. I think the 60MB/sec cards will be more important for the 2K 200mb/sec video mode. I have received my card and it is this one Transcend 64 GB High Speed 10 UHS-3 Flash Memory Card 95/60 MB/s (TS64GSDU3). All I can say is this card is fast!!!! I did a test compared to the 30MB/s and here are my results. 30MB/s -- write avg 20MB/s read avg 23MB/s. 60MB/s -- write avg 60MB/s read avg 80MB/s. This was done on an Apple computer. As you can see the new cards are really really fast.

Event photographers, can "video" their photos using LED lighting and then pull the still when everyone's eyes are open. Etc. So they can offer high quality stills and 4K video.

For studio photographers, forget trying to click the camera at just the right moment. Just have the camera recording 4K video and then work to get the subject to smile and pose. Skim the video to find the best combination and then pull the video.

There are great possibilities in travel photography, underwater photography. The possibilities are limited by the imagination.

As a stills photographer, 4K video is something I have been eagerly anticipating and now it is finally hear in an affordable package. No other camera in this price range offers these capabilities.

From the average home users video perspective, the biggest thing 4K brings is the ability to apply ken burns effects, or zoom effects when down converting 4K to 2K video.

With 4k lbs gorilla out of the way, how does this camera stack up as just a plain stills camera? In a word, brilliantly.

For the most part, this camera handles wonderfully. The construction on this camera is top rate. It feels more hollow than the EM1 though. Whether you think this is good or bad is up to you. I think it keeps weight down so I feel it is good. This camera is so jam packed with features, most people, including me, will never use 90% of them. I do prefer the size of the GH1 and GH2 though. It feels like could be made smaller with no real penalty.

The auto focus is the fastest I have ever used. I don't use "tracking" auto focus per say but I do use face focus which is a tracking auto focus and that works very well and very quickly. I also, don't use burst mode though this camera will shoot 120+ full-size JPEGs at 40 FPS. It has a new technology which lets the camera know how far OOF something is so it can instantly put the subject in focus without hunting. Auto focus is basically instantaneous on the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 which is the fastest focusing lens I own. The OOF technology requires a lens database and so Olympus lenses are not currently supported by it. So the 75mm f/1.8 is not as fast as it could be but is still very quick. Unfortunately, in creative video mode (mode to shoot 4K), the autofocus is not as fast even when video is not being recorded. I wish Panasonic would either let me record 4K in manual stills mode or use stills autofocus when not recording video in creative movie mode.

As far as the benefits of m4/3 goes, I have covered that extensively in my Olympus E-M1 review so that is the place to go to understand differences in the formats. Needless to say I am a big fan of the m4/3 format and how small and light the cameras and lenses are. While the GH4 is on the large size of m4/3 bodies, when I want to go small and light I pack the outstanding GM1. I do prefer the size of the GH1 and GH2 though. It feels like the GH4 could have been made smaller with no real penalty. But maybe heat was an issue.

The EVF on this camera is excellent but not as nice as the one on the EM1. The back tilt and swivel screen is beautiful and I really have missed the swiveling aspect on the EM1.

With the exception of setting exposure (EV) the handling on this camera is top notch. Panasonic's excellent touch screen system and quick menu work very well.

But let's talk about how EV is set on this camera. Photograph literally means to write with light. So being able to set the EV (or how much light) is the most basic control on a camera. Panasonic used to have an innovative brilliant approach with a clickable rear dial. Depending on what mode you were in (P, A, S, M), the rear dial would set either aperture or shutter speed and then clicking on the dial would allow you to set EV. Very very fast. Very very efficient. (Warning Rant Ahead, Skip to the next paragraph if you don't care) However, under the category of you can't teach an old dog new tricks, the established pros complained about not having 2 dials and a EV button. (Which by the way is why in the modern computer age we are still saddled with the QWERTY keyboard which was designed on purpose to be the slowest possible keyboard to prevent manual typewriter issues). Because of this very poor feedback we are now saddled with, instead of one dial, a Frankensteined DSLResqe 2 dial one button system which is much slower and clunkier than the innovative system it replaced. Instead of being able to use your thumb to quickly and easily set exposure when holding the camera to your eye. You need to take the camera away from your eye to find the +/- button. Then with one finger you need to press that button and then another to rotate a dial to change the EV. I spent a few hours in the instruction manual to see you could change this. I could not find it (note to Panasonic in the manual where you are talking about the dials put a footnote in about the ability to customize them). However, a kind reader pointed out to me that you can change the setup on the dials to have either wheel change EV which makes the EV control much nicer.

There are 3 other notable misses on this camera. The first is it does not have an In-Body Image Stabilizing system (IBIS). The 5 axis on the EM1 is so excellent and opens up so many shooting opportunities, that it is missed on this camera. In fact, if you are, primarily, a stills photographer, and what I said about 4K video up above does not interest or excite you, I would recommend the Olympus EM1 over the GH4, simply because of the 5 axis. A kind reader pointed out this is because of heat dissipation issues from such high transfer rates. That being the case I would still like Panasonic to do some solid research on this to come up with the solution.

The next miss is this camera does not have dual card slots. This is a camera that will be used for paid work such as weddings or other events. Having a back up card in these situations is almost a must. Put in a second card slot Panasonic.

The final miss on this camera is the global e shutter. A global shutter would be so amazing for both stills and video. Panasonic have been working this since the GH1 and unfortunately got sidetracked by 3D. Hopefully, they will have this problem solved with the GH5.

Pros

- Pull 8mp stills from 30fps 4K video!
- Fastest real world auto focus I have used in both bright and low light
- Build quality
- EVF
- Tilt and swivel screen
- Price -- Nothing in this price range can do what the GH4 can do.

Cons
- Poor EV control out of the box. Customized dial setup allows for a very good EV control.
- 4K is in creative mode only and autofocus is slow in that mode even when not recording.
- No IBIS (put the IS in the camera not the lens, this will keep the lenses smaller and gives IS to all lenses mounted on the camera) Olympus 5 axis is better than any lens based IS I have used.
- Rolling shutter causes distortion -- Focus on global shutter for GH5
- Only 1 SD card slot

Overall, if you are a video professional or someone who is very serious about your video work, this camera is a no brainer.

If you plan to utilize the 4K video for still photo shoots, this camera is a no brainer also.

If, however, stills are your primary focus and you have no intention of pulling 8mp still images out of 4K video, then other cameras are going to be a better bang for the buck; notably the excellent GX7, EM1 or even the EM10.
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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I started clearing out old gear a month ago to make room and money for this camera. It's worth it., April 27, 2014
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
To understand where I'm coming from I've been a professional photographer for about 25 years, have written five books about photography (all available here on Amazon...) and I've been shooting video on and off for well over a decade. I originally bought a Sony a99 to do video with since it seemed set up to do good video production but the camera is crippled with a poor codec, line skipping and a generally mediocre image quality (in video, the stills are great). Searching for another option I researched the Panasonic GH3 and bought two of them. They've been really great video cameras and I think their image quality, especially from raw files is as good as nearly all APS-C cameras and the Olympus m4:3 cameras. While I like my GH3's and have made money with them in video production the specs on the GH4 were too good to pass up. The camera isn't a giant step up from the GH3 but it's a great refinement. A well done evolution.

The processors in the camera are twice as fast as the ones in the previous generation and that means faster focusing, faster read times and generally better processing while the camera is reading information off the sensor. The camera will shoot 4K video which is twice the resolution overall as the 2K video on the previous generation. I won't be using the full 4k any time soon but the improvements required to handle 4k mean a better image in 2k.

I've had the camera for three days, have shot over 1,000 still images and tested the video in both 2K and 4k and everything about the camera exceeds my expectations. I love having more video controls. There is a master pedestal control that allows you to set black levels. There are two cine profiles that give you footage that's easier to color correct and grade in post processing. There's a better set of audio meters with a marked zero Db hashmark. There are two settings for Zebras to help you nail exposures. There's focus peaking to assist you in focus pulling and using manual focus legacy lenses.

The camera takes the same batteries as the GH3 which, since I own five or six of them, is a big bonus. But the best thing of all on the new camera is the very much improved EVF (electronic viewfinder) which I find to be much closer to an optical viewfinder than anything Panasonic has done before.

I've only had the chance to play with the large, Jpeg Fine files since I haven't loaded SilkyPix yet. Since my real need is for video production, and I have two of the GH3s, I have the luxury of waiting for Adobe to add the raw file converter to Adobe Raw in Lightroom and PhotoShop.

If you shoot only stills and you have the GH3 you probably don't need to change. I don't think the files are more than about 5% better in the new camera. If you shoot video you'll probably be interested in all the upgraded features and the ability, if needed, to buy a unit that attaches to the bottom of the camera and provides XLR microphone inputs and good pre-amps for the microphones.

My take on it is that the GH4 is the best of the DSLR video cameras at this moment. It's a moving target so check back frequently.

Final thing. The Autofocus. It's as fast as anything I've ever shot with and more accurate than a lot of them. I'd buy this camera again in a heartbeat.
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55 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An excellent camera, if you're willing to acknowledge the risks, July 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
I should start by saying this: the GH4 is an excellent camera, a thoughtful piece of technology, and a pleasure overall to use. It is, as I'm sure will be said in more detail in some of the four- and five- star reviews, an incredibly competent stills camera and an outrageously good video shooter. 4K is as impressive as advertised, especially as implemented here - extraordinarily detailed, but with a very small footprint in terms of file size and necessary computing power.

That's really the pleasure of the GH4, in fact - small, light, and incredibly powerful. The stills are on-par with the leading APS-C offerings, and I rarely found myself wanting for a larger sensor. The ability to carry one or two primes, together no bigger than a can of coke, in a bag with a body significantly smaller than even the "small," consumer level (think D3300, t3i) DSLRs is incredibly liberating. And yes, the GH4 is *small* - anyone arguing otherwise is talking completely out of context. Is it the size of a point-and-shoot? No. But it's many times more versatile, and significantly less cumbersome than the cameras it's meant to directly compete against.

It's a wonderful piece of kit, and if cameras never broke, and if you weren't buying into a larger system with every camera body you purchase, I would give the GH4 5-stars and advise you to invest now and not worry about buying a new camera for several years.

BUT.

It's impossible to ignore the fact that this is a Panasonic camera, and Panasonic's customer service and repair departments are, in my experience and in the experience of many others online (google "Panasonic camera repair experience," I worry that linking directly will get this review flagged), the worst in the industry by some margin. You cannot get anyone on the phone, ever. The online repair portal is cumbersome and difficult to use, and I was never completely convinced that they were able to process my information correctly. They have one service center in the entire United States, with no local support for anyone outside of driving distance of McAllen, Texas. They have no pro service program (remember, this is their top-of-the-line stills camera), so if you rely on your GH4 for pro work and it goes down, there is no loaner, no special service team, no expedited repair or shipping (there is a program posted on the SmallCameraBigPicture blog purporting to be a "Panasonic Pro Services," of sorts, but after researching - including calling the dealers supposedly on the service list - I've found no one who can confirm the program's existence). And above all else, when you actually decide to take the risk and send your camera in, you're treated to the worst, least-effective service in the camera industry.

I've owned four different models (five bodies total) of Panasonic camera - a G5, a GM1, two GH3s, and a GH4 - and all of them, save the G5, had problems needing repair. None of them were user error (a broken shutter after 1,000 cycles on the GM1, the notorious screen flop on one of the GH3's, a problems with lines of dead pixels on the other, and a bad crashing problem on the GH4 that has supposedly since been resolved with firmware), and yet each time I sent a camera in, I was without it for at least six weeks. In the case of my GH3's, I sent two in and only got one back. Only after days of back and forth was I able to get them to acknowledge that they took receipt of two cameras and send me a replacement for the one that was not returned (not my original camera, mind you, a refurb that was "up to specification pursuant to the manufacturer warranty."

In fairness, the GH4 - which had problems with crashing, buzzing in the audio, and lines on the LCD out of the box - never went in to Panasonic; it went back to Amazon, who sent me a replacement with no questions asked. The replacement worked well, and after a few thousand exposures I was quite enjoying myself, but as I mainly shoot stills (and already had several other bodies), I decided to sell it.

Overall, as a camera, I highly recommend it - it's a joy to use, an incredibly fast performer; capable of taking beautiful images only bested in terms of absolute quality by the top-of-the-line FF bodies. The EVF is bigger and with less smearing in the corners than was the one on the GH3, and the AF is lightning quick, even with Olympus lenses. It's a great camera, and the addition of 4K should make it if not a must have then at least a "must-consider" for anyone who has an interest in shooting stills and video.

As a product, though, and a relatively complex electronic one at that, it's harder to be enthusiastic. Many people will buy the GH4 and never have issues, and if you can somehow guarantee that you'll be one of those people (which, unfortunately, you can't), by all means, get one today. For everyone else, you're taking a relatively significant gamble. The upside is a wonderful camera at the forefront of technology, one that is useful for almost every consumer, enthusiast, and professional application. The downside is a service network that doesn't seem to care about you or it's products, one that you may spend many months fighting with just to get them to honor their own warranty. For me, it wouldn't be worth the risk - I would buy Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Pentax, and/or even Olympus before Panasonic. Yes, the GH4 is a better camera, but the peace of mind you get with a 6D, or a D7100, or a K-3, or an A6000, do a lot to mitigate the (mainly video) performance gap.

Beautiful body, wonderful camera, hard to recommend. Electronics can and do go bad, often at the worst time, often for no reason. When that happens, do you want a company that says, "We're sorry, please let us do everything we can to help you," or a phone in Texas that rings off the hook?
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GH4... Practical Review., May 3, 2014
By 
Jonathan Taylor (Salisbury, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
Housekeeping/Bias/Reviewer History
First off, I am most interested in video and short films. I am also into photography, and have shot with Nikons and Canons, but have always preferred Panasonic for video (No record length limit is critical for events). Canon video is nice, owing mainly to sensor size, but I've always felt all the way back to the GH1 that Panasonic video was superior, though I felt the stills capabilities were drastically unimpressive. The GH2 was a massive improvement for video, and a small still upgrade, but still nowhere near a Nikon or Canon. I skipped the GH3 because the video of the GH2 was so good I really didn't see a need to upgrade. I've been missing a good stills camera, and though I have always preferred Nikon, their late tendency to increase MP size has left me incredibly unimpressed with ISO performance. Canon's tendency to keep MP constant with new generations of sensors is REALLY attractive, because that means the ISO performance and noise is getting better (One can either make smaller pixels with less sensitivity or keep the pixel count steady and increase the sensitivity). I was set to buy a Canon 6D when I heard rumblings of the GH4. I waited, and everything seemed to be pointing to leaps and bounds in performance... new engine, same MP count, etc. I'm VERY glad I did.

The Body/Control Layout
Having not had a GH3, I'm not sure of the changes, but over the GH2, it's an incredible difference. It IS a little larger, in all three dimensions, but the weight is not noticeable. It's noted as "splashproof"... a claim I have no intention of testing, but I do like the ergonomics better. One of the BEST improvements of the GH4 is the layouts. I'm used to having buttons (from the Pro Nikon and Canon worlds), but on the GH1 and 2, there was only one forward dial, and it required a button push to switch from SS to A settings. This is remedied. There is a FORWARD dial, a REAR dial and an additional wheel dial on the control pad by the LCD. There are BUTTONS for ISO, WB, Exposure Compensation. While these might sound like non-issues, The control layout is EXCELLENT. I recently had to shoot with a Nikon D5200 and I couldn't believe how piss-poor the layout was for the dials. OOPS, DIAL, singular. It made the shooting experience miserable and I couldn't believe THIS was a NIKON and how far the mighty had fallen. I was shocked at having pulled the GH4 out and shot a few simple test pictures. The quality of the stills are a massive improvement over the 1 and 2... does it compete with a Canon 6D? Doubtful, but they are good enough I'm not worrying about getting a 6D anymore...

The LCD
Much has been made of Panasonic DOUBLING the resolution of the LCD. It seem like a small thing, but it really is a gorgeous screen. When you add in some of the touch features and how responsive they are, I no longer miss having a through the lens system instead of an LCD viewfinder. I HATED it in the GH1 and 2, and was a major reason I despised the Pannies for stills. The touchscreen functionality is incredibly responsive too, and when you are in focus, you are IN focus... it's razor sharp and the additional features really take advantage.

Video
Wow. I haven't tried 4K, but let's be absolutely clear about this: VFR is CLEARLY going to become an overused function in the future. Why? Because it is GORGEOUS in this camera. GORGEOUS. Here are the breakdowns of available modes:
AVCHD:
24Mbit/30p: 2, 15, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 45, 60
24Mbit/24p: 2, 12, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 36, 48, 60
MP4 or MOV:
100Mbit/30p: 2, 15, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 45, 60, 75, 90, 96
100Mbit/24p: 2, 12, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, !!!96!!!
Personally, I do not understand why anyone would choose to shoot in anything but 24fps... but I am a filmmaker at heart. I don't shoot sports. I want everything to look as much like a film as possible. Having said that, following the 180shutter rule as closely as you can and shooting in 96fps MP424fps is GLORIOUS. What's more is the fact that it is instantaneous. You set the VFR, you record the footage (it will tell you "25%" on the viewfinder), you hit record, you stop recording, you hit play and you get to see unbelievably high quality sharp, full 1080 HD slow motion. It's incredible. Slower Frame Rates (Time Lapse) will require some time to compose the image, but Slow Motion is instant, Crisp, Fluid, and incredibly impressive.
The rest of the video is also improved. It's actually mindblowing how good it looks, but the VFR is reason enough to buy this camera. It's a gamechanger for anyone who shoots anything. This is the NUMBER ONE reason to buy this camera, I'd argue a bigger advance than the 4K. As impressive as the ability to shoot 4K is, there are other cameras on the market (albeit at a higher price point) that shoot 4K. Slow motion of this quality is an incredibly useful tool. Note that you can't use the VFR in the 200Mbit settings. This is not even approaching the reasonable limits of a downside. 100Mbit at this quality is incredible.

Tools
There are a variety of features that deeply improve the shooting experience. Focus peaking is brilliantly used, and it also makes the LCD sharpness that much more apparent. Zebra Levels are also available in all modes. Hitting the display button will toggle through modes of the LCD, including a built in tilt and level sensor. Manual focus assist is also massively improved, allowing you to select the size of the magnified area and where it appears on screen. Working in concert with the focus peaking makes manual shooting like I prefer top notch. The modes and ability of the AutoFocus is also impressive, but like 4K is so over-reviewed that I do not wish to beat that particular horse. The AF is great, but the takeaway is that the MF features are equally improved.
Additionally, there are options for Luminance, Pedestal, SS -> Shutter Angle, CineD (Increased Dynamic Range) and CineV (Increased contrast), and a lot of other settings that I'm just not going to cover at this point. The larger point behind it is what's critical: There have been MASSIVE upgrades to the ability to tweak your video, and it's a very capable and impressive piece of hardware.

Batteries
This is an oversight to a lot of people/companies, but this vital to people like me. I am used to having to buy AC adapters and power couplers to shoot events, as with the GH1 and 2 you couldn't feel too confident after an hour... but last night I shot a band with a GH1, 2 gh2's and my GH4. I was unable to procure an AC10 adapter for the GH4. After shooting 2 hours and 44 minutes without stop, I noticed the battery level indicator still had 3 bars. I had bought Third Party batteries (Wasabi BTR-BLF19-JWP) beforehand to have spares, and figured the power level indication just didn't work. I paused the recording between songs and started immediately again, figuring I'd rather not lose it all if the battery suddenly died. I recorded an additional 48 minutes and still had 3 bars. I went to a pizza place and was recording some stuff for slomo and low light and after 20 minutes of that, the battery dropped to 2 bars. I was SHOCKED. So apparently, you can shoot roughly FOUR HOURS before the battery drops a SINGLE bar. This makes me want to sell every other camera I own and buy several of these. I never have to look for another outlet to shoot events or long time lapse shots (which can now also be done in camera).

The Memory Cards
I am shooting with the Sandisk 95MB/s ExtremePro's. I have not shot 4K yet, but have shot a good bit of MP4 (24fps, 100 Mbit) and have had NO issues, even running at 96fps. 4K may be the decider, but if you are shooting HD this seems to be a non-issue.

Wifi Too?
Yep. If you have an android or iPhone, the camera has an app that works incredibly well... so if you want to shoot from a crane or bucket truck or remote control vehicle, you can, and retain recording control as well as focus. Wonderful addition.

Overall.
It's simple. It's as if the Wright brothers got done with the flight at Kitty Hawk, went back to the drawing board, and rolled out a P51 Mustang 3 years later. It's difficult to overstate the difference in value this camera represents over previous versions, which were themselves great values for the video capabilities. It's as if Chevy decided to give free upgrades on Cobalts to Corvettes.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Sport's Photography, May 9, 2014
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
This is really an amazing camera and a big improvement over a GH3. They have greatly improved the noise in low light and the shutter speed of 8000th of a second allows you to shoot the with the aperture wide open even in bright light. The Lumix 2.8 lenses work really well with this to give amazing bokeh in all lighting conditions. The focus is much faster than the GH3 as well. For shooting sports or any fast action, setting the focus to continuous in high speed burst allows you to capture the perfect moment as the focus is fast and accurate and it continues to focus throughout the burst. I think it gives you around 7.5 frames per second in continuous focus which gives you much higher percentage of burst shots perfectly focused. The focus peaking allows you to quickly achieve very accurate manual focus. The displays are substantially improved also, giving you a much more accurate representation of the shot. I used it over the weekend to shoot a track meet and it far exceeded my expectations, a big improvement over the GH3. If you use a GH3, you will find the controls very similar, only improved with additional features. I was able to pick it up and start shooting right off the bat. I have only scratched the surface on the features, but wanted to share what I had used so far for anyone considering this. I haven't even had time to try the video, which from the specs sounds amazing, but I thought I would throw in some perspective from someone using it primarily for photography. I purchased this locally to get it faster, but amazon has it at the same price..
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beats Canon 5Diii out of the water!, August 18, 2014
By 
Marc Pitre (Charlotte, NC. USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
This camera changes everything and slaps Canon and Nikon in the face when it comes to image quality and the 4k experience at this price point. I know everyone will say the 5Diii is a full frame sensor and this Panasonic is a micro 4/3, but whatever. I've had it for a month and have been able to take fantastic looking video from it (that rivals or betters 5Diii) and the still images from photos are great as well. I'm not much of a photographer, so my review is based mostly around the videos I'm shooting. I got this along with what most consider to be the best general zoom lens, the LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8. Great Lens. I also bought a simple EF adaptor for my canon lenses and the picture quality is still great, albeit I different since it's going from the full frame to micro 4/3. This camera is lightweight, fast, clean, easy to use and I really couldn't be happier with the 4k resolution, downscaled to 1080 for my productions.

A few more points....

1. Dave Dugdale of learning DSLR video has a fantastic review of this on YouTube that you should take the time to watch before you plunk down $1,700 for this camera body. http://www.learningdslrvideo.com/gh4-review/. This review is why I jumped from Canon to Panasonic for sure.

2. I'm waiting for Metabones to come out with their speedbooster for Canon (not available yet). I know they have the speedbooster for other brands like Sony and Nikon, just not Canon right now. Eventually, it will be a great addition for my Canon lenses.

3. Having used Canon products my whole career, I was a bit unfamiliar with the Panasonic settings and menu system. I found a great video course for like $37 from Michael the Maven who I never heard of before. Check it out... http://www.canontrainingvideo.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=74

4. Buy extra batteries, because it only comes with one. the battery life is fantastic though.

*I'm not affiliated with any of the above mentioned people and products. I just thought they are important.

** Buy good memory cards and keep the firmware updated.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From GH2 to GH4, couldn't be happier., May 9, 2014
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
I will try to update my review when I've played with it even more, but let me just say everything has been everything I wanted in the GH4 so far. Image quality in all levels is great. Stills are superb. It's funny when my Canon buddies kind of gawk at a non Canon camera. "What is that?" they ask. Then I show them the 4K, the incredible display, and as my friend looked at the footage I had given him to edit, the jealousy was palpable. My ONLY, VERY SLIGHT letdown was the amount of rolling shutter in 4K. Just a little more than I expected after hearing about how fast the new sensor was and how much they'd reduced rolling shutter. Turns out that's for 1080p, where granted, rolling shutter is almost unnoticeable for anything you'd consider showing to anybody. But that won't keep my review from being 5 stars, as it's not bad, TOTALLY useable. You just have to be aware, and know that certain unstabilized shots will have jello in 4K if you're not careful.

It's a joy to use, the battery life is great, the displays are awesome, the menus are fairly easy to get around in. A lot of features to learn, but that isn't a bad thing. Great camera.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weather Sealing and Panasonic Customer Service -- You have been warned, September 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
I'm the lead producer at a digital agency and we produced more than 100 videos last year on dslr's and REDs.

This review is based on two major flaws that will keep me from using this camera as my day-to-day travel camera or integrating it into our digital workflow. I wanted to love it. I pre-ordered it and have used it extensively. If you are someone that keeps their camera in a glass bubble -- then my review is not applicable. However, if you use your camera outside the studio then be warned.

First, the weather sealing is non-existent. In just a minor drizzle, water got into the SD card slot, battery compartment (which is open to the sensor area), and the bottom connectors. We've been using Canon's and Nikon's for years and this is at the bottom of the list. Even the consumer grade ($1k range) Canon's are better sealed.

After a couple months of use, the main sensor corroded and in Panasonic's terms the camera is a "total loss." This means they offer to sell you a refurbished unit for barely any less then you can buy a new one on Amazon.

Second, the panasonic service department in Texas is a huge waste of your time. After sending it to them I had to call them every day for multiple weeks just to find out what the status was. They provide you with a dedicated customer service rep -- who will ask for all your contact numbers and then quickly start call screening you to delay the process. I found the only way to access my rep was to start calling in and asking for supervisors -- I eventually landed with the operations manager and he sped up the process. After two months -- I was able to order a replacement camera for their pitiful discount.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewing photo capture., July 7, 2014
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only) (Electronics)
Since everyone else is throwing in positives for video mode, ill comment on photo capture. I have done 2 paid photo shoots with the GH4 and mostly the Panasonic Lecia 25mm lens. The images are great. before this camera I used the following cameras for paid branding shoots with prime lenses; Canon 6D for night, Nikon D800, Canon 7D, Canon t4i. Although the other cameras I used were great and clients were happy with results, I dumped them all for the GH4. The GH4 paired with they Lecia lenses gives me instant focus. No hunting ever. The focus peaking, focus tracking, mirorless instant image feedback makes me want to never return to Canon and I was a huge Canon fan boy for many years. The Canon 6D is awesome for night shoots. The GH4 can't beat it at that but for everything else, the GH4 is the most versatile cam i ever owned. Basically it looks like Panasonic took all the best features from Canon and Nikon, listened to what people really wanted and threw it all in for the best price. I never thought I would go backwards and leave full frame but it happened. Canon and Nikon have a stubborn mentality and I guess they will pay the price for that. I mean come on. They still use mirrors and force you to look at the LCD for results in bright daylight. I still can't believe i'm shooting with what looks like a toy and little lenses but at least my hands don't get tired.
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