Test: Panasonic GH4, He Mixes Film Camera And Slr Successfully

Very good picture, the Panasonic GH4 is untouchable in video, offering 4K to a price gun. A jewel of techno!

The Opinion Of Our site Panasonic Lumix GH4


  • +Housing pro: tropicalized, cage in magnesium, shutter 1/8000 guaranteed 200,000 cycles, etc.
  • +UHD and 4K video modes
  • +Up to 200 Mbps in FHD, 100 Mbps in 4K
  • +36 Mpix OLED viewfinder
  • +Swivel and touch screen
  • +Grip optional broadcast video

Panasonic Lumix GH4: the promise

The GH3 was already a reference video, thanks to its varied modes and its compression rate semi-professional. However the GH4 goes further by offering 4K video recording at a price very low and treating the part photo, including the rise in high ISO: a future bestseller?

Panasonic Lumix GH4: reality

The grip of the GH4 would please comrade Putin: robust like a T55 tank, it is a device “man / woman strong.” More packed that an SLR, yet offers the same grip as these, the effect “professional reflex” that can even be amplified when using the optional grip. After the GH1 and GH2 too light, the GH3 then the GH4 well dressed shooting – magnesium alloy casings, shutter guaranteed 200,000 triggers, button layout, configuration, etc. Now it is the most rugged of the Micro 4/3 world, theOM-D E-M1 Olympusyielding its first place because of its swivel screen that can not return…

Buttons OK, dial to review

If the GH4 buttons are quite nice – rather large given the compactness of the device – the rear wheel is not a model of its kind. A little thin, his touch and his notches are not as open that the aspect of the case don’t let hope. No worries on the side of resistance, but the wheel is not yet quite accurate and easy to use – not like the wheels of headlights from Canon and Nikon cameras. Nothing serious, but it takes that Panasonic is improving on this side.

Fast and powerful

The GH4 autofocus is very, very responsive and turns to the same level as that of the best SLR. The device hangs quickly the subject and being able to point the finger the area to point directly on the touch screen can be a real most notably in situations on tripod – expected a bird over a nest, for example, and as soon as he arrives, his head is referred to as the target to develop. Very effective. The rate of shoot is also excellent: 12 frames per second in burst in AF simple, must settle for a 7.5 fps mode to enjoy a continuous AF. Damage however that there is only one location for map memory (see below)!

Improved, but there are better viewfinder

Long low point of hybrids compared to DSLRs, the electronic viewfinder has known so many enhancements these past years that it is poised to displace its ancestor the optical viewfinder on all plans. Very decent and well defined, 2.36 million points of the GH4 electronic viewfinder is finally adapted to professional work since it is brighter, better defined and more responsive than that of the GH3. Not only the slab is of better quality, but Electronics also seems to have been improved. The competition offers however the electronic viewfinders of best quality, whether in terms of the size of the image – the Olympus OM – D E – M1 has an optical unit in 6 items in front of the viewfinder – or in terms of the image Refresh – Fujifilm XT1 climbs to 120 Hz. brief, the viewfinder of the GH4 is pretty good and perfectly usable in all situations, but some competitors are doing better.

Rise in ISO well improved photo

The image of the GH4 definition is the same as that of his grandfather the GH3. In addition to the 4K video or autofocus more aggressive, the rise in ISO picture is also improved: when it came to be limited to ISO 1600 with the GH3, GH4 the offers an additional level and offers good results up to ISO 3200, ISO 6400 is even an option according to the type of scene. If we are not at the level of the best-performing SLR (not to mention the Alpha A7S that goes up to ISO 400,000!), we can only praise the performance. Professionals can now look on the side of the Micro 4/3 standard to work, which is not nothing (your back will thank you in 10 years!).
In terms of image quality, depends of course of the optics that you place in front of the sensor: the 14-140 is good video but not very stung in photo. But as soon as we get one optical quality as the 42.5 mm f/1.2 (85 mm equivalent) or the Olympus 12-40 mm f/2.8 (24-80 mm equivalent) clichés are rich in detail and dynamic range very close to what offer SLR. In two words: very good.

The video that take the eye

4K video is more than a marketing ploy, it is simply the photo that would take life! Limited to 24 p (3840 x 2160 points), the 4 K UHD mode available is harming the retina: the images are full of details, we have the impression of rediscovering certain elements (branches trees, writes on signs, etc.) when comparing a Full HD and 4 K of the same scene flows! Panasonic didn’t go with the back of the spoon with this GH4, 4K high flow 100 Mbps! And for those who will continue to run in Full HD, the FHD flow goes up to 200 Mbps in All – i mode (IE with all the intermediate images fully captured)! Side video RAW, the GH4 offers an uncompressed HDMI output. If we could not test this feature reserved for professional productions (including cinema), pros them know what it is: through the HDMI 4:2:2, professionals can get a RAW stream to the properties close to those of the professional cameras. And to the production companies Panasonic offers even a grip special broadcast.

The 5 d Mark III takes a technical knock out

In video, the GH4 behaves perfectly in video up to 1600 ISO max, but the small sensor generates more noise than the large sensor 24 x 36 of the Canon EOS 5 d Mark III. And that is the only advantage that remains to the 5 d Mark III: on all levels, poor Canon case takes a true technical K.O.! Judge rather: the GH4 offers 4K directly on memory (unlike the Alpha A7, A7R and A7S) card and via HDMI, the update is automatic, you control the sound through headphones and video compression is better at Panasonic Full HD! Fortunately for Cannon – and unfortunately for Panasonic – Park accessories to transform a camera in camera is richer for the Canon ecosystem. But that is changing and the GH4 could greatly speed things up.

Very complete optical Park

The park view Micro 4/3 is the best market so far. Combining the optics of Panasonic and Olympus, but also those of Voigtländer, Samyang (very focused video and cinema) and now Kodak, it’s the oldest, most supplied and the most diverse standards for hybrids. With its large size the GH4 goes perfectly with all the optics, while that mini-boxes as the GM1 are quickly destabilized by the heavier zoom lenses. Tested with the new 14-140 mm delivered in kit, our GH4 also known Panasonic 42.5 mm f/1.2, the Olympus 12-40 mm f/2.8 and the 45 mm f/1.8 Olympus. Each time the optics behaved perfectly, no AF or compatibility concern.

No stabilized sensor, one place SD

The sensor of the GH4 is not stabilized, like what Panasonic already offers the GX7 with GM1. This stabilization applies to all the optics, this would have been a big most notably for the Olympus Optical (non stabilized since Olympus stabilizes the sensor) and the cinema of Samyang optics or even the optics “custom”, that is to say all these optical Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc. can be installed with adapters. No doubt the long gestation of such a device (which extends over several months or even years) has played against him – the technology should not be developed when establishing the specifications. And that’s a shame! We very much hope that Panasonic proposed the stabilisation of the sensor for the next GH5!
In addition to the lack of stabilization, we also regret the single location for memory card. Here, the device is larger than the traditional mini-hybrides.