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 – Build and handling
The water and dust-resistant magnesium-alloy body of the GH4 shares similar physical dimensions with the GH3, but is slightly larger and heavier at 132.9×93.4×83.9mm and 560g body only. The camera fits like a mid-range DSLR in the hand, but I’d argue that it feels a little more solid due to its metallic chassis and quality build. Panasonic has sealed every single joint, button and dial to make the GH4 splash-proof, which meant I didn’t have to think twice about taking the camera out to capture shots in a wet environment, or simply keeping it around my neck on long walks while the weather was changeable.
The rubberised grip is the perfect size for medium and large hands, resting comfortably in the palm and allowing fingers to fall in almost precisely the right place to access the camera’s controls. There are five customisable function buttons, although two of these could be placed in better positions. Fn1 on the camera’s top-plate would have been better positioned closer to the edge where your thumb rests, and Fn4 (delete/return) is uncomfortable to use while holding the camera in a natural shooting position – it is only easily accessed during picture reviewing. Five customisable functions buttons are perhaps too many and will intimidate the less experienced user, especially considering that there are dedicated buttons, switches and dials for almost every shooting function one could expect to use on a regular basis, including ISO, white balance, drive, exposure compensation, AF/AE lock, focus mode and more.
There is definitely something to be said for allowing users to tailor their devices to their own specific needs, but there’s also something to be said for a manufacturer telling users exactly what is what and letting them love or loathe those decisions. It feels like Panasonic is trying too hard to cover all bases, leaving this relatively small camera looking a little cluttered.
One of my favourite improvements is the speckled finish that has been given to the GH4’s metal frame, bestowing a level of sophistication on this camera that the GH3 lacked. The GH4 looks and feels special. Another pleasant touch is the addition of a locking mechanism on the shooting dial, which can be pushed in to prevent accidental mode switching.