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Panasonic GH4 4K Hybrid Camera Review – Lumix DMC-GH4K

by on June 6, 2014
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Overview

The Panasonic GH4 is the manufacturer’s serious effort at improving the predominantly used for video GH3 and turning it into a truly powerful, respect worthy hybrid camera that can handle both 4K images and Video shooting needs. In this Panasonic has mostly succeeded. This camera rocks and both its features and general specs really underline the GH4’s quality.

For both the amateur or professional video and photo buff, this is an awesome little gadget that delivers on image resolution, video format, processing power and just about every other essential digital camera requirement you can think of. This is also a surprisingly rugged piece of photo equipment, given its weather sealed body and magnesium alloy skin.

The Good

There is an awful lot going for the Panasonic GH4. For one thing, we’re talking about a nicely compact, robustly designed hybrid camera that can do both photo and video to professional standards of quality and resolution.

The GH4 combines a 16.05 megapixel MOS sensor with a Venus Engine 4 CPU processor that together allow it to produce some of the highest quality JPEG or RAW images of any of Panasonic’s G series cameras.

In terms of video, the GH4 lets you create UHD 4K 3840×2160 shoots at 24/p and 4096×2160 DCI 4K clips at a 24p rate. Both the photo and video features of the GH4 are further augmented by its powerhouse 49-point autofocus capability.

Other awesome stuff about the GH4 includes very high resolution on both its electronic viewfinder and OLED monitor as well as built-in WiFi and NFC connectivity for easy transfer of photos or video clips to other mediums.

The Bad

There really isn’t much that’s bad about the Panasonic GH4, especially considering its fairly reasonable price tag (as far as 4K photo and video cameras go). However, the 16.05 megapixel resolution and the 17 megapixel MOS sensor could both be more powerful. Although they’re still great, the detail resolution offered by them does suffer just a bit.

In the case of the MOS sensor, the beneficial tradeoff of this is that it’s a Four Thirds sensor with smaller pixel creation and thus goes further than its megapixel reading normally would allow. Also, because the sensor is smaller, the overall size of the camera and lens are both more compact while still powerful. On the other hand, the smaller pixels also mean greater challenges in noise control.

Final Thoughts

This is an absolutely awesome 4K hybrid camera that, for its relatively affordable price, offers superb resolution on both photos and videos while also providing its users with a long list of excellent lens, digital manipulation and shooting features.

Check the Price of Panasonic GH4k on Amazon:

Specs

Panasonic GH4 Hybrid Cam Specs
• Camera Type: Mirrorless
• Video Resolution: 4608 x 3456 pixels (4k resolution)
• Photo Resolution: 16.05 Megapixel (rated at 17.2 Mpixels)
• Sensor Type: MOS 17.3 X 13 mm
• File Formats: JPEG,MPO, RAW (Images), MOV, MP4, MPEG-4, AVCHD (movies), AAC, Dolby Digital 2ch, Linear PCM (Audio)
• Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC
• Lens Mount: Micro four thirds
• Image Stabilization: No
• Connectivity: WiFi, NFC
• Digital Zoom: 4X
• Screen Size: 7.6 cm
• Max Frame Rate: 60 fps
• Focus Modes: Auto & Manual, 49 Autofocus points

Accessories

The Panasonic GH4 comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery kit, an AC cable and battery charger, a body cap, hot show cover, shoulder strap, USB cable, and an instructional DVD that also includes all its necessary software. There’s is also an accompanying 12-35 mm f/2.8 lens included.


Highlights

There are plenty of excellent highlights with the Panasonic GH4, starting with a hybrid nature that while combining photo and video shooting capacity, doesn’t leave either one lacking in any meaningful way as far as professionalism is concerned. Video buffs can shoot film in a number of formats such as efficient AVCHD Progressive, AVCHD, 200Mbps All-Intra and 100 Mbps IPB MOV or MP4 types. Video can also be shot in UHD 4K 3840x2160 30p/24p or DCI cinematic 4K in beautiful 4096 x 2160 glory at 24p.

Photo lovers on the other hand, can enjoy varied options such as capturing 16.05 megapixel images ultra-high resolution images in JPEG, RAW and MPO. The 17 megapixel MOS sensor helps this along nicely along with the Venus Quad CPU engine.

The increased resolution of the OLED monitor and electronic view finder makes framing shots a wonderful experience and the camera’s magnesium alloy weather resistant body is designed for durability while shooting in rough weather. Transferring all those UHD photos and videos is also made much easier through a variety of memory card formats such as SD, SDHC and SDXC. Or, if you want to send images and video wirelessly, the NFC and WiFi capacities of the GH4 make that easy to handle.

The GH4 also offers a wide assortment of preset photo styles and creative modes for videos that you can choose from. These include Natural, Standard, Vivid, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom and specialized controls for contrast, sharpness saturation, hue and noise reduction.

Overall Performance

The overall performance of the Panasonic GH4 can’t be called anything less than superb. It offers a well-balanced selection of photo, video and editing and control features for most essential professional needs. And for the amateurs out there, who don’t yet have enough experience to really customize this cameras settings to their needs, features such as the autofocus system and intuitive button layout make taking high quality images or film clips surprisingly easy to get the hang of.

Features

The sheer quantity of features that the GH4 has been crammed with is enormous and useful for all sorts of photo/video needs for both amateurs and professionals. Some of the most important aspects have already been covered above under the Highlights but here are even more.

The GH4’s autofocus system is particularly flexible thanks to the 49 points it gives you if you’re composing a shot. However, its flexibility goes much further under Custom Multi mode since it lets a user choose specific blocks out of those 49 autofocus points. What’s great about this particular feature is that it you can set the focus points to fall in a row or column of specific points, making an excellent AF control for shooting a moving object and keeping one single moving point in constant sharpness.

Additionally, the Contrast AF utilizes Depth from Defocus technology to create focus speeds of roughly 0.07 seconds under the autofocus setting. This means being able to shoot bursts of 12 frames per second in Autofocus mode.

The GH4 also gives you in-camera RAW photo development that lets you shoot a series of RAW images and then convert them into JPEGs right inside the camera. Some of the manipulations this includes involve being able to adjust color space settings such as sRGB and AdoveRGB, white balance, noise reduction, hue and image sharpness.

Video recording formats on the GH4 are extremely versatile and let you choose the ideal video format for each one of your projects. These include ultra-high bitrate (All-intra) video recording at 200 Mbps, IPB 100Mbps and available movie formats that include MOV, AVCHD (at an assortment of frame rates) and progressive. Furthermore, all of the internal video codecs give you 8 and 10 bit color depth and 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 color sampling.

Finally, let’s mention the ability to send 8 or 10 bit 4:2:2 video to external monitors and recorders in real-time via micro HDMI output, though you’ll have to get the cable separately.

Image Quality and Resolution

In terms of video resolution, the GH4 is the 4K benchmark of Panasonic’s GH series of cameras. It offers 16:9 UHD 3840x2160 4K video at 23.98, 24 and 29.97p and at 17:9 Digital Camera Initiatives. It also gives you 4K videos at a 4096x2160 resolution at a 24p rate. Either type of 4K can be recorded in MOV or MP4 formats at a high bitrate of 100 Mps IPB.

For images, the 16.05 pixels provided by the MOS sensor give you some truly excellent high resolution images and extremely fast response times that suppress the effects of rolling shutter or movement. The GH4’s quad core Venus engine processor combines with the MOS sensor to create a maximum sensitivity of ISO 25,600, extreme resolution and rich color reproduction.

Both JPEG and RAW images taken with the GH4 at different ISO settings look excellent, hover the RAW format generally produces much better results and both formats start to deteriorate slightly in resolution cleanliness at ISO settings above 3200 for JPEGs and 12,800 for RAW images.

Finally, the camera only comes with a basic built-in 12-35 mm f/2.8 lens and users who want a more versatile and telephoto capable experience are better off buying an additional 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

Pricing

The Panasonic GH4 4K retails for roughly $1,697 but this price can vary a bit from one retailer to the next. Additional lenses will set you back by several hundred to 1000+ dollars more but might be worth the price if you need some serious additional shooting capacity.

Check the Price of Panasonic GH4k on Amazon:


The Not So Great

The Panasonic GH4 4K retails for roughly $1,697 but this price can vary a bit from one retailer to the next. Additional lenses will set you back by several hundred to 1000+ dollars more but might be worth the price if you need some serious additional shooting capacity.

Positives

• Fantastic 4K/UHD video recording
• Wonderful 49 point autofocus
• Excellent wireless connectivity features
• Tough, compact, weather resistant design
• Dual OLED displays in viewfinder and monitor
• Nicely sized Micro Four Thirds Sensor and lens mount
• Range of photo features
• High speed burst shooting features

Negatives

• 16.05 megapixels might be too low
• Small MOS sensor

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Bottom Line
 

For professionals with both photo and video shooting needs, this is a superb compact hybrid camera. However, if your key focus is video, then you’re really getting your money’s worth with the GH4. Photographers will get plenty of value too but there are even better alternative brands available on the market.

Check the Price of Panasonic GH4k on Amazon:

 
2 comments
 
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  • aminulnadim
    December 23, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Excelent camera for video

    Reply

  • varun g
    March 19, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Hi,
    I am actually confused between nikon d750 and lumix gh4 and samsung nx1.
    my preliminary use is video shooting although i wanna use it for photography too,with bokeh and such.
    Fact is that,in my place ,where i live,these three cameras comes in almost the same price tag!!.
    So,which one you will recommend me ? i hope this is the best to place to get answered.I need pros.I need your support.
    Thanks again
    Varun

    Reply

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