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Showing posts with label add to compare panasonic lumix dmc gh4. Show all posts
Showing posts with label add to compare panasonic lumix dmc gh4. Show all posts

8/24/2014

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Reviews


4K lightning Above The GH4’s weatherproof seals mean you can use it in all conditions It may look like the GH3, but the GH4 is a serious upgrade with 4K video and better images.



While the Panasonic GH3 is widely regarded as a great compact system camera for shooting video, its stills capability has been rather overlooked. Panasonic is hoping that the GH4 will gain more respect as a stills camera –but its headline specification is its ability to shoot Ultra High Definition 4K (4,096x2,160-pixel) video.

Panasonic has clearly invested a lot of time and effort in improving on the GH3 for the GH4, and the new camera has an extensive list of new or enhanced features. However, some may be surprised to learn that the sensor’s pixel count has stayed the same at 16.05 million, even though the sensor is completely new. Outwardly, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 also looks almost identical to the GH3 and has a very similar arrangement of controls.

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"The GH4’s weatherproof seals mean you can use it in all conditions"


Features

Panasonic Lumix Gh4 - is keen to point out that any improvements made to allow 4K video recording also have a beneficial impact on still image quality. For example, because 4K recording is so demanding in processor power, the new 16.05-million-pixel Digital Live MOS sensor is coupled with the Venus Engine IX processor (the Panasonic GX7 has the Venus Engine VIII; the GH3 has the VII version), which is a quad-core processor. In addition, the sensor has twice the read-out speed of the GH3, reaching 200Mbps. This should mean improved autofocussing (AF) speeds and better noise control.

Clearly the company is confident of the GH4’s noise control: sensitivity may be set in the native range of ISO 200-25,600, with ISO 100 as an expansion setting. In comparison, the GH3 has a range of ISO 200-12,800 with expansion settings of ISO 125 and ISO 12,800-25,600. Thanks to the new processor, the GH4 can shoot continuously at up to 12fps (frames per second) in Single-AF mode with a UHS-III SD Card installed. This rate drops to 7.5fps in continuous autofocus mode. Further refinements on the GH3 include an increase in the number of selectable AF points from 23 to 49, focus peaking to help manual focussing, and zebra display to indicate highlights that are close to burning out.

Build and handling There are only a few noticeable differences in the appearance of the GH4 in comparison with the GH3. They are closely matched in size and weight, and have an almost identical control layout. However, the eye-cup around the electronic viewfinder is slightly larger on the GH4 to offer a little more shade from strong sunlight. There’s also a lock button at the centre of the mode dial to prevent it from being knocked out of position. This lock is our preferred type, which clicks to lock or unlock that so the button doesn’t need to be held down when rotating the dial.

As before, the GH4 has a magnesium alloy body that is dust- and splash-proof, and it has the same solid feel as the camera it replaces. But Panasonic has bolstered the GH4’s durability by giving its shutter a life-span of 200,000 cycles, double that of the GH3.

“The GH4 produces great-looking images with pleasing contrast, natural colours and lots of detail”


Like the electronic viewfinder, the 3-inch LCD rear display offers a very clear view, thanks to its 1,036k-dot resolution. Images look great on it, as there’s a very pleasing level of contrast. It’s also very responsive to the touch, making it a convenient way of selecting AF point and other setting options.

PERFORMANCE

As a general rule, the GH4 produces great looking images with good exposure, pleasing contrast, natural colours and lots of detail. Zooming in to 100% on-screen reveals that some JPEG images don’t have quite the fine detail or micro-contrast that we see from other cameras, but they look great at sensible viewing sizes.

As is often the case, the GH4’s simultaneously captured raw files have more detail. At higher sensitivity settings they also have more noise, but this can be dealt with on an image-by-image basis to produce a good result.

Noise is controlled well throughout the sensitivity range, but detail isn’t maintained quite as well as in the Fujifilm X-T1, for example, at higher sensitivity settings.

At 100% on-screen, JPEGs look good up to around ISO 3,200. Above this figure, softening becomes more apparent. Raw files have chroma noise visible at 100% from around ISO 800, but it’s within acceptable limits, and as we’ve mentioned before, can be subjected to reduction as required.

By ISO 12,800, however, raw files need careful editing to conceal noise and preserve detail. ISO 25,600 gives respectable results but, as is often the case, is best kept for emergencies.

Panasonic claims that the GH4’s autofocus system can operate down to an incredible -4EV. Our testing indicates that with the right lens, it is quite a bit better in low light than previous G-series cameras. We were impressed by how quickly it was able to focus with the new Leica DG Notricon 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH OIS in dim conditions, but this is a super-fast lens with a price to match.

Panasonic’s 12-35mm f/2.8 lens, which gives a focal length range equivalent to the popular 24-70mm on a full-frame camera, also delivers sharp subjects quickly, but we found the new 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens a little more variable – especially at the telephoto end.

In good light, the AF system is generally very fast and it can keep pace with moving subjects when the AF point is in the correct location. Tracking AF mode has also improved, but it can’t be relied upon to follow a fast moving subject around the frame.

The autofocus system changes pace when movies are being recorded. A touch of the screen to change focus point sees the focus shift smoothly and comparatively slowly, creating a professional-looking result.

Panasonic’s metering and white balance systems have been found to be good performers in the past, and the GH4 doesn’t disappoint in either respect. The camera’s automatic white balance system produces convincing results in a wide range of lighting conditions. In natural light, the results you get when shooting using the Automatic setting are often indistinguishable from those taken using the Daylight setting.

Although the GH4 has the usual trio of metering modes (Multiple, Centre-weighted and Spot), we found that the general-purpose 1,728-zone multi-pattern metering delivers great results in most situations. There were relatively few occasions when we had to use the exposure compensation facility to adjust exposure.

"The 2x focal-length magnification factor is useful with nervous subjects"

As usual, the GH4 is supplied with ISL’s Silkypix software for editing images and converting raw files. In reality, few GH4 owners are likely to use Silkypix in preference to Adobe’s more refined and better-specified options: Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5 or Elements 12. Silkypix has most of the controls you need, but it isn’t especially intuitive or pleasant to use. Adobe’s recent update to its Camera Raw plug-in (version 8.5) makes GH4 raw file processing possible with the Photoshop family.

"The GH4’s aF system found this scene, taken with the 14-140mm lens, challenging"


"There’s a good, deep grip on the GH4 body"


We haven’t been able to test the GH4’s video capability extensively, but it’s clear that it produces high-quality footage. As with the camera’s still images, exposure, white balance and colour all look good, and there’s plenty of detail visible.

Verdict

As Panasonic has stuck with the same pixel count as the GH3 for the GH4, it doesn’t make really significant strides with detail resolution, but the images do look a little nicer straight from the camera, and noise is better controlled. The GH4 also takes a step forward in autofocussing: it’s fast and accurate in most situations and can focus on subjects in pretty low light. Somehow, holding the GH4 doesn’t instil the same level of excitement as picking up the Olympus E-M10 or one of Fujifilm’s X-series CSCs, but it combines all the modern technologies that we like: a high-resolution electronic viewfinder; a vari-angle screen that’s touch-sensitive; the ability to shoot raw and JPEG images when using Creative Control filter effects; and Wi-Fi connectivity that allows the camera to be controlled remotely.

Perhaps the lack of excitement is largely because the GH4 has a modern SLR-like design rather than the retro-styling of the Olympus and Fujifilm cameras. Nevertheless, the GH4 is an excellent camera that encourages creativity and is weather- and dust-proof, so it can be used in a wide range of conditions.

Overall

The GH4 has some of our most sought-after features: a high-resolution EVF, a vari-angle screen that’s touch-sensitive and Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s also weather- and dust-proof and takes great-looking images

Where to Buy US >> Best Buy <<     UK >> Best Buy <<


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4.5 / 5