Most helpful customer reviews
304 of 311 people found the following review helpful.
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 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:
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.
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful.
Camera is awesome but BUYER BEWARE!!!
By Amazon Customer
Love this camera. The stabilization has changed the way I film weddings. It's a thing of beauty to use a 70-200mm lens on a monopod for wedding toasts. The dual card slots is great to have. As one card runs out it switches to the next. I haven't played with the variable frame rate for slow mo video or the 4:2:2 but this is the most excited I've been to get a camera since I first got my GH1 all the years back. So how can I rate this so high with my title? Well my warning is not a defect of the camera but rather the sellers on Amazon.
You see I ordered four Gh5's through Amazon. It explicitly states the USA version. The problem was of those four that I ordered only one was the USA version. The other's were the UK, Canada and Australia. Normally I couldn't care less. They are basically the same camera except for one big difference. If you look at your manual the non us versions state that the warranty is only valid in those other countries. Basically meaning those versions have no warranty in the U.S.
Once again, love the camera but CHECK YOUR MANUAL! Look on the second page of the manual for what country your camera is intended for or in the manual contents for what region the limited warranty is good for. Based on my experience you have a pretty good shot of getting a non-US version with absolutely no warranty and if you don't check now you might not realize this until it's too late.
202 of 215 people found the following review helpful. See all 210 customer reviews...
30 FPS 8 MP Stills Revolution!!! Family, Portrait and Event Shooters Rejoice.
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.
- Pull 8mp stills from 30fps 4K video!
- Fastest real world auto focus I have used in both bright and low light
- Build quality
- Tilt and swivel screen
- Price -- Nothing in this price range can do what the GH4 can do.
- 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.