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Author Topic: GH4 eye opener  (Read 22759 times)

Hywel

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GH4 eye opener
« on: April 04, 2015, 04:48:43 pm »

Well, that was an eye opener. The GH4 is a bloody good stills camera.

I've got back from a long-anticipated trip up the Norwegian fjords on the Hurtigruten post boats. I only took the GH4 because it was meant to be at least partly a holiday and I decided I wanted something lighter than my 7D (and definitely lighter than my Hasselblad, which I've really only got studio focal length lenses for anyway).

The 7D has always been my go-to stills camera for when the Hasselblad is outside it's comfort zone. I've been doing a video project at the top of a local mountain showing the changing seasons with the GH4 and been impressed with its toughness, light weight and battery endurance so thought I'd give it a go.

Plus being able to cover everything from 15 mm to 400 mm full-frame equivalent focal lengths with just three lightweight lenses ( Tamron 11-16 + speedbooster, 12-35 f/2.8 Panasonic Lumix and 45-200 mm telephoto zoom) was very attractive. Especially when I tried lifting a bag with my closest Canon equivalents.

I added a Voigtlander 25 mm f/0.95 in the hopes of Auroras and decided to go with JUST the GH4. (I think my wife would have objected to me taking a second camera!)

I shot a few thousand pics with it. Today I went back to the 7D and it felt like going back several generations, not to mention the sheer bloody weight of the bag again.

I've been using Canons for 20+ years yet the ergonomics of the GH4 just feel better to me now.

I love that the centre one of the three WB/ISO/EC buttons on top has a "nipple" so you can tell which is which without looking, even with gloves on. I love that the mode dial locks. I got used to the EVF after swearing I hated anything that wasn't optical viewfinder (the trick is to shade my viewing eye in bright sunlight, so no light spill gets in between spectacles and EVF). I liked the image stabilisation in the lenses, the built-in two second self timer, the timelapse facility, the autofocus, the quick change to continuous shooting when a sea eagle appeared, and the battery life is epic. Even on days where the temperature stayed below -10 degrees C I never ran out of charge.

I love silent mode with electronic shutter- this plus IS enabling me to hand hold down to shutter speeds I'd never have dreamt of trying with the 7D.

The GH4 is a kick ass video camera but it's also my new best friend for mountain photography.

I don't know how well it'll hold up when I start trying to make large prints from it, so the dream of a landscape sideline for the business may not come to fruition. But the GH4 makes me feel like I have a fighting chance at taking some really stunning photos in the mountains where I'd end up not getting anything if I had to lug the Hasselblad or 7D plus heavy tripod.

I like to be fast and light when I'm shooting, hate tripods, and with a stabilised lens, no mirror slap and clean ISO 400 or 800, plus a gorillapod, I think I'm good to go.

I feel like I was shooting landscapes the way I like to shoot, instead of the way you're "meant" to  ;)  ;)  ;) and I loved it. I'm never going to be the guy who camps out for a week with large format camera to take one shot, so better go with my strengths and my style. I feel like the GH4 is the right camera FOR ME for the mountains.

I was really impressed by the ergonomics (can you tell?)

The image quality? Well, no, it isn't up to the Hasselblad's, there's no denying it. The dynamic range is OK but nothing to write home about. The noise performance likewise, but at least the noise looks fairly grain-like and organic. The lenses are pretty sharp considering their low cost and light weight. I'm pretty happy with what I got. Even the ISO6400 aurora shots (from a moving boat, remember) came out pretty well- some fixed pattern noise but a better shot than I'd have managed with any other camera I currently own, I think.

Here's a few quick samples- let me know what you think (but please be nice, I'm not claiming great things).

Cheers, Hywel.












« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 04:52:06 pm by Hywel »
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Kevin Gallagher

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2015, 05:56:27 pm »

 Looks like you did get some Auroras! I do really like the second shot, I'm assuming it's a pano?
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eronald

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2015, 02:43:50 am »

My GH4 is frighteningly sharp for video but not so good in stills, I am now often resorting to doing a 2 second video instead of stills. I wonder whether I have something wrong in the stabiliser settings.

Edmund
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Hywel

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2015, 05:34:23 am »

The second shot's just a crop rather than a pano. I did do some panoramas but haven't stitched them together yet. One facility that I would use which isn't in the GH4 is in-camera panos, actually.

I like the ability to set 16 x 9 format in camera. OK, I know it is just a crop, but I prefer to see what I'm composing as I do it. I'd like 'scope aspect ratios in there too in a firmware update, please Panasonic ;)

I'm going to experiment with building panoramas from video footage next I think- as Edmund says the 4K video is pretty damn good, and all those reference frames at 25 fps must be possible to use as the basis of some cracking panoramic stitches.

Cheers, hywel
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spidermike

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2015, 08:39:41 am »

I have the GX7 which is pretty much the GH4 sensor and I have also grown to like it as a lightweight alternative to my 7D.
The 12-35 is a great lens (though I have not tried the Tamron) - the 45-200 is a good lens but I am not convinced to its quality above A3 size prints. If you really want a really good telephoto then there is the new Olympus 40-150 f2.8 but it is pricey.
However, both Panasonic and Olympus make some superb wide to standard primes: the Panny 14 & 20mm and Olympus 45mm f1.8 spring to mind and the Sigma 60mm f2.8 is unbvelievable value.
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spidermike

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2015, 08:53:22 am »

I have just remembered reading this link - I thought you might find it interesting.

http://naturalexposures.com/one-year-shooting-the-panasonic-lumix-gh4/


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eronald

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2015, 08:10:38 am »

I have just remembered reading this link - I thought you might find it interesting.

http://naturalexposures.com/one-year-shooting-the-panasonic-lumix-gh4/




That chase sequence ....
My impression is that with the GH4 it would be simpler to just set a high shutter speed and do it in cine mode.

Edmund
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Mjollnir

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2015, 06:20:36 pm »

Yup.  I've been shooting the GH series exclusively for stills since the GH1 and have found it to be an incredible tool for landscapes.

To say nothing of the fact that its sensor is better than the 7d and the lens selection is incredible.
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bluekorn

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2015, 02:27:28 pm »

Wonderful seascapes/landscapes. Thank you. Were the last two taken with the 45-200?

I want to ask Spidermike if the GX7 really does have the same sensor as the GH4. I haven't been able to track down this info.
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spidermike

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2015, 02:59:25 pm »

Wonderful seascapes/landscapes. Thank you. Were the last two taken with the 45-200?

I want to ask Spidermike if the GX7 really does have the same sensor as the GH4. I haven't been able to track down this info.


Good point. With each MFT camera (beit Olympus or Panasonic) there has always been a lot of speculation about which sensor is being used and at the time of the GH4 release it was rumoured to be a development of the GX7 sensor. Doing a brief check just now, I have not been able to confirm it so maybe it isnt. Mind you, the GH4 also had a totally new processing engine so that will add to the mix as well. But whichever one it is several reviews said the images were very similar with a slight improvement to the GH4. Mind you the readout speed dnabled a better video output and that is pretty much where Panasonic have been headed the last couple of years.
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Hywel

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2015, 03:01:48 pm »

The last one (Aurora) was taken with the Tamron 11-16 plus speedbooster. The first one is the 12-35 mm Lumix. The middle three are the 45-200 mm.


Cheers, Hywel.

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vulture

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2015, 07:54:51 am »

Working with the GH 4 since almost a year.
My experience: outstanding video quality. shooting in K4 and output in HD is giving incredible results, never achieved before with Canon DSRL's.
With stills I am less satisfied. Dynamic range and noise well below 5D M II or MIII, even when using EF canon glass with adaptor on the GH 4. But did not extract stills from 4K videos yet.
The 4K Photo mode added to the Motion Picture menu with firmware 2.0 by Panasonic will tempt me to use it more often.
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danieljcox

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2015, 12:21:24 pm »

Edmund,

Daniel Cox here, the guy who shot the cheetah chase with the GH4. I agree something like this would have been great to try with the 4K Photo Mode but I'm not confident the AF will keep up while shooting video. Can't say for sure and I hope to try it out on fast moving subjects but a great cheetah chase doesn't come along every day so when it happened I was in still shooting mode and that's what I went with. No time to change when action starts like a bolt of lightning.

www.naturalexposures.com
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Mjollnir

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2015, 01:33:21 pm »

Working with the GH 4 since almost a year.
My experience: outstanding video quality. shooting in K4 and output in HD is giving incredible results, never achieved before with Canon DSRL's.
With stills I am less satisfied. Dynamic range and noise well below 5D M II or MIII, even when using EF canon glass with adaptor on the GH 4. But did not extract stills from 4K videos yet.
The 4K Photo mode added to the Motion Picture menu with firmware 2.0 by Panasonic will tempt me to use it more often.

That's an odd observation.  The GH4, for stills, has a higher DR than either the 5D2 or 3.  More noise?  Sure.  But 'well below'?  Nope.
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eronald

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2015, 12:33:02 pm »


Your dong something wrong, or not testing or shooting with disipline.

If you want to better stabilization, get a small gitzo fluid head, a simple balance plate,  a medium weight tripod, and an L bracket for the gh4 .   You can then loosen the fluid head and use it as a still tripod and also a decent video support.

There is no way, given the compression and bit depth of the video file the gh4 produces that your getting as deep and usefull a still file as if you set up your camera for stills.

The h264 gh4 codec is pretty good, but not near as robust as a 12 bit still file and sharpness is much improved from a mechanical vs. the electronic shutter.

You also mentioned colour issues, but once again, set your camera up to match the on board monitor to you computer as best possible and then build your own settings in raw developer or lightroom so your starting at a good base point.

The gh4 is a very capable still camera but keeping it sharp is more difficult than full frame 35mm just due to the smaller sensor and lightweight body that will accentuate any shake or vibration.

That is the beauty of heavy cameras, vs. small lightweight cameras, but as I mentioned the gh4 is a very capable stills camera.

You might also want to check your lenses and invest in some fast primes.

IMO

BC


Yes, yes. Now wake up, smell the coffee, remember which idiot you are talking to, and tell me what might be the particular issue I might be missing.


HYWEL - YOUR SHOTS ARE GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edmund
« Last Edit: May 10, 2015, 12:37:11 pm by eronald »
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Paul Wright

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2015, 10:38:57 am »

That's an odd observation.  The GH4, for stills, has a higher DR than either the 5D2 or 3.  More noise?  Sure.  But 'well below'?  Nope.
I have to concur with this too. My 12 months experience with the GH4 has shown a clear DR advantage over my main shooter, the 5D3. I bought the GH4 exclusively for video and instantly achieved results that left the 5D3 video gasping for respectability. Only later I started using it for stills as a third, light body at events jobs, kitted with a bright prime like the 45 f/1.8 or the 20 f/1.7.  For other projects I shoot the GH4 with the Panasonic 12-35 and the 35-100 zooms. These lenses are pure class. Like the OP, this will be my sole travel camera for the foreseeable future. The only thing I'd really like to see in a GH5 is substantially improved iso performance and a snappier EVF. But after 12 months, overall I rank the GH4 higher than I ever expected to.

-pw
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Hywel

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2015, 02:09:34 pm »

I still love my GH4, especially in the mountains. The built-in timelapse features are awesome, the image quality is good enough considering the small size of the package, and I *love* that with the battery grip I can shoot timelapse for the WHOLE NIGHT.

I've just bought an A7Rii and it'll be interesting to compare the two in the mountains if I get a couple of compact-ish lenses for it. I can already say that the ergonomics of the Sony are pretty rubbish compared with the GH4, though.

Here are a few more GH4 shots from recent nights in the mountains.

Cheers, Hywel

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Pete Berry

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2015, 03:30:09 pm »

I have to concur with this too. My 12 months experience with the GH4 has shown a clear DR advantage over my main shooter, the 5D3. I bought the GH4 exclusively for video and instantly achieved results that left the 5D3 video gasping for respectability. Only later I started using it for stills as a third, light body at events jobs, kitted with a bright prime like the 45 f/1.8 or the 20 f/1.7.  For other projects I shoot the GH4 with the Panasonic 12-35 and the 35-100 zooms. These lenses are pure class. Like the OP, this will be my sole travel camera for the foreseeable future. The only thing I'd really like to see in a GH5 is substantially improved iso performance and a snappier EVF. But after 12 months, overall I rank the GH4 higher than I ever expected to.

-pw

+1
The GH4 has certainly exceeded my expectations over the past year, as until the GH3, GH1-2's DR had been pretty pedestrian. If you can believe DxO's RAW sensor testing, the 5D3 has a DR of 11.7 EV, the GH3 12.4, and the GH4 12.8. They showed no significant improvement in hi-ISO performance between the two Panny's, though, but in my experience the rendering of noise has become more fine-grained with less detail smearing in the GH4 with an ACR workflow including judicial NR application.

Another point rarely mentioned in favor of the m4/3 format is the two stops of increased DOF vs. FF, which I utilize much more often than shallow DOF images.

Below is a GH4 ISO 5000 image (1/5 sec, f/4.9, 36mm EFL, with my excellent Pana-Leica adapted 4/3 14-150/3.5-5.6 "bag of slow primes" zoom), which displays at it's 15x20" print size on my 24" HD mon (and recently sold in a Sacramento Viewpoint Gallery exhibition):
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Mjollnir

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2015, 08:06:25 pm »

+1
The GH4 has certainly exceeded my expectations over the past year, as until the GH3, GH1-2's DR had been pretty pedestrian. If you can believe DxO's RAW sensor testing, the 5D3 has a DR of 11.7 EV, the GH3 12.4, and the GH4 12.8. They showed no significant improvement in hi-ISO performance between the two Panny's, though, but in my experience the rendering of noise has become more fine-grained with less detail smearing in the GH4 with an ACR workflow including judicial NR application.

Another point rarely mentioned in favor of the m4/3 format is the two stops of increased DOF vs. FF, which I utilize much more often than shallow DOF images.

Below is a GH4 ISO 5000 image (1/5 sec, f/4.9, 36mm EFL, with my excellent Pana-Leica adapted 4/3 14-150/3.5-5.6 "bag of slow primes" zoom), which displays at it's 15x20" print size on my 24" HD mon (and recently sold in a Sacramento Viewpoint Gallery exhibition):

^^^^ +1  I never take my GH4 over 800, but that's because I don't have to, shooting primarily landscape and architecture, but it's nice to see someone who does.

Sunrise, Dover Canyon Road (1 of 1) by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr

And it prints big in a really surprisingly good manner.
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danieljcox

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Re: GH4 eye opener
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2015, 11:04:48 am »

Hywel,

Like others in this thread I've found the GH4 able to do prints much larger than you would ever imagine. Here's a link to a comparison I did between the GH4 and my nikon D800. http://naturalexposures.com/the-lumix-diaries-printing-large-photos/
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