Shooting With The Panasonic Lumix GH4

As promised, a few images and video made with the Panasonic Lumix GH4 and the Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 lens, and some more comments on the camera in use. This is also not and technical review. Lightroom 5.4 can't process the RAW files from the camera, so with the exception of cropping, these are JPEGs straight out of the camera.

As I mentioned previously, the GH4 acts like a pretty typical DSLR-type camera when shooting either stills or video (which I don't like much). There are front and rear command dials in the usual places, and they control the usual things. There are five function buttons that are user-configurable, but I saw no reason to change them from the defaults. Without reading the manual, I was able to use the camera for still photography and get it set up the way I wanted it. There's also a large LCD touch screen on the back that flips out and tilts and swings to pretty much any angle you could want. I was concerned that I'd accidentally send the camera into some unknown mode with my nose when shooting, but the camera switches between the LCD and EVF instantly, and disables the touchscreen just as quickly.

I like the image quality of the JPEGs shot in good light. Colors are vivid, there's good dynamic range, and the pictures are plenty sharp. The autofocus was pretty zippy, too, although shooting with the 7-14mm lens didn't put too much demand on the AF system. Battery life is excellent. I was able to shoot 4K video half the day on Saturday, and shoot a couple more hours on Monday without needing the charge.

Despite being a mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera, it's as large and as heavy as the Canon EOS Rebel 5Ti. I found that surprising, as part of the appeal of the MFT cameras is that they're supposed to be small and light.

One area of disappointment is the electronic viewfinder. When panning or shooting fast-moving subjects, there's a fair amount of stuttering. I had expected that would be improved in this camera over the GH3, but it's really not a lot better than what I remember of the older camera, which I looked at back in October.

And, now for some HD video. This video is not 4K video. I'll upload some of that in the next few days, once I finish processing it.

This is hand-held, and I have not processed it through the Warp Stabilizer in Premiere. As I've said in the past, I'm not one who believes that still cameras should be regularly used as video cameras. Video cameras are designed specifically for video. However, Panasonic has been promoting the GH-series as "hybrid" cameras, and I'm really, really impressed with the video -- both HD and 4K. With a body price of $1,700, and with the excellent Panasonic and Olympus lenses available, this could be a digital cinematographer's dream camera -- except... that I couldn't find a way to manually control exposure when shooting video. That doesn't mean it's not there, but I couldn't find it.

Panasonic also offer a large adapter that screws to the bottom of the camera that provides professional external connectors for audio and video -- XLR audio inputs, and a number of HD and 4K video output options. Unfortunately, when using the interface option, it is not possible to record video to an SDXC card in the camera -- all recording is to an external device connected to the adapter.

So there you have it. The GH4 is a good, solid, premium camera for those who like the current DSLR paradigm.