It may be the first mirrorless model to shoot 4K video, but the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 compact system camera is no one-trick pony. Among other things, it also has a new 16.05-million-pixel Live MOS sensor
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 review – Motion pictures
By offering superior video performance in the compact system camera sector, Panasonic has attracted a lot of admirers among hybrid photographers and filmmakers with its GH-series cameras. The addition of ultra-high-definition (UHD) 4K video recording will only bolster Panasonic’s position in this class.
Inside the Lumix DMC-GH4, Panasonic has included technology and features from its professional video camera division, such as focusing peaking, master pedestal adjustment, zebra patterning and a raft of bit rate, resolution and codec options, including cinema-grade 4K video (4096×2160 pixels) at 24p with a bit rate of 100Mbps. It’s also capable of recording 1080p full HD video with a maximum bit rate of 200Mbps, which is a big step up from the GH3’s 73Mbps and significantly more impressive than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III’s 91Mbps. The higher bit rate reduces compression artefacts recorded during filming, meaning the GH4 is better equipped for shooting motion and capturing more dynamic shots.
Although 4K displays are still a while away from replacing HD, the ability to record in UHD opens up a number of possibilities in post-production, particularly in low-light and high-contrast situations. With four times as many pixels as full HD, 4K video footage delivers crisper footage with a high dynamic range when it is down-converted to full HD. I found it is also possible to crop into 4K footage as much as 200% to either recompose a shot or simulate camera motion from stationary shots.
For high-contrast scenes, I was pleased to see that Panasonic has included its Cinelike Gamma D and V presets, also featured in its broadcast-quality camcorders. Cinelike D is a flat profile that is ideal for film grading in post-production due to its flexibility, as the codec from the GH4 can withstand a lot of correction without losing quality. Cinelike V, meanwhile, contains greater contrast and has a smooth cinematic feel that looks good without grading.