Test: Panasonic Lumix GH4-Cruel in Many Ways

After a little over a year and a half, updates the Panasonic’s monster camera GH3. Gh4 is thus here – and it has happened a lot on the inside of the camera, which leads many to flinch over what is happening in the micro four thirds.

Development on the inside would surely be able to say – for the new Panasonic GH4 has inherited much, indeed everything – from the predecessor GH3. But that does not mean that the inside follows the same path, for here we see big improvements over the already good model. The basic technique have been inherited, but also refined and developed to create an even better camera.

Resolution of GH4 has Panasonic decided to hold 16 megapixels, and allows you to shoot up to iso 25600. One of the reasons why the number of Megapixels is the image resolution in relation to the sensor resolution when it comes to video, which is one of the great things with GH4 – it may shoot in 4 k resolution (4096×2160 pixels), or the video standard that come in after the classic full-hd format that is 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Some design improvements

Panasonic GH4 has inherited almost the entire design from the GH3. The appearance is the same, the keypad and functions remain the same, as well as all control dials. Actually it is well just two things that go to see, and only implies an improvement.

The first and perhaps the smallest difference is the addition of time lapse Photography now finds the switch image shooting mode on the top of the camera. A larger and more important difference is the addition of the new lock button on the selector knob. By pressing the button once, open the slider to rotate and change program – a touch and you lock the steering wheel.

The benefits of this are many. You need never be afraid to come into the wrong location, which can be devastating in stressful situations when you don’t have time to check the camera settings. The change therefore not by accident, which is a really good feature.

Buttons are otherwise on well-proven positions, and is really well thought out. Possibly, I feel that a / AE lock button are a bit too far from the thumb, making it somewhat fiddly to use the autofocus button when shooting – even if it works ok. It would have been placed directly on the switch for the thumb instead.

Another detail that I am bothering me, it’s something for the bulging rubber at the bottom snurreglaget. When you spin the wheel with your thumb, you simply press a bit special to be able to spin around. It feels not quite optimal, and something that could be easily changed.

Increased speed – in many ways

One of the first things that strikes me when I use the Panasonic GH4 is the speed of the slide show. Faster image processor contributing so clearly, but it is not often that I feel that the photos to scroll and zoom in actually directly shown, without hacks or that they take time to load. A real plus.

Another speed worthy of mention are also burst shooting that goes up to 12 frames per second for up to 40 raw files, that is, a series of around three seconds. Would you focus with the following focus, you have to settle for 7 frames per second, but it’s also right there okay. Thus therefore broadened use of the camera, and it’s not only quick to handle, but also quick to take pictures.

Then there’s a favorite setting that I immediately started using, which goes hand in hand with a sense of speed. In the camera menu you can set it to take a picture when you press the shutter button halfway, thus where you usually sets the focus. However, if you set the focus on the thumb button to af- Hold switch so it is enough to just lightly press the shutter button to take a picture. It feels as if you are taking pictures in a Flash, which is pretty cool. Together with the electronic shutter and the quiet mode, you can capture images completely unnoticed – without it even appears on your finger.

For the filming seriously have manual focus has been an absolute must. But then have difficulties rather than been to see where the focus lands on the built-in display. But now Panasonic finally fixed to it as long-coveted contour enhancement for what is in focus (focus peaking), whose absence as many were frustrated with GH3. Peakingen can be set in the colors of dark blue, white or orange in the contour level low, or light blue, green, or yellow in the level high. The colors are clearly visible on the screen and are worth their weight in gold for the adjust focus manually, both when it comes to video or still image.

But there are also additional tools to simplify the manual focusing, among other things, focus assistant magnification, with a box for up to six times magnification shows a zoomed-in views of the area around the current focus point. For example, you can let the magnification box pop up when you turn the focus ring on the lens.

For the more advanced film-maker is also the setting for» zebra «in the menus. This gives you information on which areas are pitted or lack information, enabling you to reduce exposure or adjust the image to get a good picture. Wonderfully enough works all these means good, and finally we get to see the help functions for manual focus, which has existed in other camera models.

Another exciting thing with GH4 ‘s autofocus is that you can now compose yourself which focus points you want to include in the action. It’s a little innovative – and useful – to create your own pattern for how you want dots should look for focus. And I like the idea, because it’s going to be really specific in how the focus points.

The autofocus will also be improved with the help of so-called dfd focus» depth from defocus «, as with the mft lenses to reduce hunting autofocus by measuring the distance to the object you want to focus on, in a smart way. And it is very possible that it helps, for autofocus is really quick, fast, secure, and works well even in the dark. The following autofocus is somewhat impressive, when I select the objects it should follow as it does really well – and you will find even the right again when the object you locked focus on moving out of the picture – and comes into the picture again. Impressive!

When shooting video works fine too using the touch-sensitive screen to select the focus point, something that makes the camera takes care of the job in order to focus to the right – which makes it easier if you are new to manual focus at filming. The camera is also equipped with wifi, and can be paired with an Iphone to be able to adjust settings and focus on hold. For example, I tried to mount gh4 on a rig to get the camera up in height, to then control the focus by pressing the phone’s picture. It all worked really well with fast image update without lag. A really clever feature for filming.

Viewfinder and screen in top

The electronic viewfinder Panasonic oled with GH4 has received a hefty upgrade from its predecessor GH3. The resolution has been increased from 1.74 million pixels to 2.36 million, and it shows. Contrast and detail is very good, as well as the update of the image in the viewfinder.

The vari-angle screen of 3 inches has a resolution of 1.04 million pixels, which on paper is a decent lift to GH3 ‘s 614 thousand. It is also seen on the resolution and sharpness, because the screen feels really qualitative and has good cream in black level and contrast. The screen has many settings for various things, such as refresh rates and brightness, but a really big difference to other camera screens are how fast it actually adjusts its brightness to the surrounding light. It is fastest so far.

Speed is a recurring motto, and it is also what makes the camera is so comfortable to work with.

Panasonic GH3, and its predecessor, in turn, has long been a favorite of those involved with the film. Therefore, it is not really surprising that Panasonic has now chosen – and successfully – to squeeze in recording video in 4 k resolution, that is 4096×2160 pixels. Today, however, it is not all too many who have TVs or computer monitors that support this, but the possibilities are many: for example, by recording a video sequence in the 4 k size using only an excerpt of this (for example, full-hd resolution, or 1920 x 1080 pixels) to create a more stable image in post processing of the film, as a sort of vibration reduction by means of sensor size. Another advantage is that you can use different cuts to create a feeling that the video was filmed by several cameras. This is really exciting for the consumer to be able to take advantage of.

Impressive enough, you can get from a 4 k Panasonic GH4 video at 25 frames per second with lpcm audio without a problem, as long as you use a memory card, class U3 capable of continuous writing of 30 megabytes per second, or 240 megabit.

Do you want to keep up to full-hd lets you record video in 1080 p 8-bit 4:2: 2, in up to 60 p – a bit-rate of the entire 200 megabits in all-in compression. But you can also record in the entire 96 frames per second if you want to have a sort of slow-motion effect in your recording. Otherwise, it is possible to eject a 10-bit 4:2: 2 signal via the hdmi connector to external recording devices or screens.

It all works really smoothly, and you make all choices for settings, file format, compression, audio, and other adjustments to your video in the menu system. When it comes to handling so Panasonic has really succeeded, because it is easy to understand the choices made. But there are more advanced settings for those in the know. Among other things, you can adjust the settings for black level between 16-255, 16-235 or 0-255, make different choices for time code, get three different test photos for colors and set up many things for the sound. But perhaps most important of all – you can work with the camera in manual mode during recording, and even change the focusing mode. It is impressive how many settings you can cave down into, and it’s no wonder that cinema aficionados feel that the camera plays in the same – and sometimes higher-League Arri Alexa and rode on some points.

When we analyze the image quality of the Panasonic GH4 we see great similarities with its predecessor GH3. Noise pictures look very similar, with possibly some advantage in GH4 with improved color noise reduction. The images from the camera gets really sharp and Nice, with good color reproduction.

When we check the sharpness in the camera’s video, we also see the same image quality as in GH3. The focus is the same, and really good, in 1080 mode. We go up to the 4 k mode so it looks really sharp, very naturally due to the increased detail.

Conclusion

If you look at what the new Panasonic GH4 can perform relative to its size, it is very impressive. Inside the shell, they have not only managed to get to a really fast, smart, well thought-out still camera – but also a camera that records moving video in high resolution. For the consumer market, it is a great news.

It is also these things, along with a compact design, which allows the camera to be interesting for all. It has the speed of burst shooting, all possible configuration options through its programmable function buttons, and great opportunities for good video. Basically so it fits everyone, even if the Setup is more for professionals.