March 21, 2014

Panasonic GH4 Specs Clarified, Including 10-bit 4K from Its On-Board HDMI Port

Panasonic GH4 - ZacutoThe new 4K-shooting Panasonic GH4, which should arrive sometime next month, has gotten quite a bit of attention, not just because of its specs, but also because of its price. Unfortunately, there have been some confusing details about what the camera is actually capable of doing without the expensive add-on grip, the YAGH Interface Unit, which adds XLRs, 3G-SDIs, and a full HDMI port. Thanks to Zacuto, we've now got some better details from Panasonic about what the camera can really do.

Here is Panasonic's Matt Frazer talking with Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn from Zacuto about the new GH4:

Something that has been a little confusing at the outset was whether the camera was capable of outputting 4K from the HDMI, or whether you needed the interface unit. That is cleared up nicely in the video, and it is confirmed that while the GH4 will only give you 8-bit 4:2:0 in 4K and 1080p to the SD cards, it will give 10-bit 4:2:2 4K and 10-bit 4:2:2 1080p from the HDMI port on the camera. There aren't any 4K HDMI external recorders just yet, but something like the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q could theoretically get a firmware update to support it. The HDMI is completely selectable to whatever frame rate you need it to be, whether that's 24, 25, or 30fps.

If you want to use the YAGH interface unit (which will need some sort of external power) to get the 4K from the 3G-SDI outputs, the Odyssey 7Q and AJA Ki Pro Quad may also support it at some point as they both have 4 SDI inputs and are already capable of 4K with other cameras (that's if they can't take the signal natively right away, which is possible).

Panasonic-GH4-4K-with-Base-Front-616x601

Rolling shutter will also be improved over the GH3, and dynamic range should be better. Matt mentions that it should be safely 11 stops of dynamic range (possibly as much as 12), but it's unclear whether this is in a standard color profile, or in some sort of log/CineGamma mode. The last thing that really needs to be clarified is how this camera will output flatter profiles to preserve more dynamic range. Since you have the ability to get 10-bit 4:2:2, recording in log makes sense on this camera, as you have more room to push and pull the image in post. We know that the camera will have some sort of additional color profiles, but we don't yet know how flat they will be.

In terms of native ISO, Matt says that ISO 800 is equivalent to 0 dB in the camera, so that could be where the Panasonic engineers see the most dynamic range with the least amount of noise, or it may be where they think video shooters will be happiest with the image in terms of balancing noise, dynamic range, and sensitivity.

Lastly, Steve mentioned that Zacuto is trying to come up with some sort of rig that will give you servo zoom from a handle with still lenses, so we'll have to wait and see at NAB to learn more about that. For those running one-man-band operations, that could be an interesting and incredibly useful piece of kit.

Link: Zacuto’s First Look: Panasonic Lumix GH4

Your Comment

58 Comments

ISO 800 might be 0 dB, but the lowest (not extended) ISO will definitely be the native sensitivity with the highest DR, like on all other DSLRs or DSLMs.

March 21, 2014 at 7:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Felix

How can ISO 800 be 0 db if it has more DR at ISO 100?

Just does not compute. 0 db on videocameras is 0 db. If you go under (-3db, -6db etc) it's like using ISO 50. You lose DR.

March 21, 2014 at 7:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Teuvo Pakkanen

@Teuvo Pakkanen: Just wait for the DXOmark sensor measurement. I bet the DR is highest at ISO 200 (or is base ISO160 on the GH4) and at least 2 stops less at ISO 800.

That´s the GH3 Dynamic Range (Photo RAW): http://i.imgur.com/UKaqHbq.jpg

March 21, 2014 at 8:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Felix

That's Still-Photo dynamic range, it might be different for video.

March 27, 2014 at 4:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Guy McLoughlin

I believe the cine gamma settings are the same ones from the DVX100 days (for the old school amongst us). The Camera Store did a GH4 review that shows a brief clip of the flattest setting, CineLikeD. It looks about like the CineGamma settings on the FS700; not log but relatively flat. This gives you some nice highlight protection for milder grading, which works well with 8-bit footage.

March 21, 2014 at 7:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Does it have a log gamma?

March 21, 2014 at 8:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Any intravlometre setting for us timelapsers or a 4k option?

March 21, 2014 at 8:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The camera has the same intervalometer functions as the GH3.

March 21, 2014 at 11:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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With the 1080p 422 10bit through hdmi - what are the frame rate limitations? Is there a current recorder that can capture the 96fps or maybe it exports in a 24fps package?

March 21, 2014 at 9:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You didn't even mention a very important feature that I plan on making a part of my workflow. The in camera 4k, 8 bit 4:2:0 color can be downsampled to 1080p 10 bit 4:4:4.

March 21, 2014 at 10:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Angelo

Can you elaborate? I've thought about this too, but actually implementing it would be really interesting.

March 21, 2014 at 1:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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All you have to do is downsample in a program that works in a higher bit-depth like Premiere (which is 32-bit linear) or After Effects with bit depth set to 16-bit or 32-bit.

March 21, 2014 at 3:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gabe

Sorry, I may be a little ignorant in this area, but, how can you come up with higher bit depth when you have captured at a lower one, which means that color depth has been discarded? Is there an algorithm which reconstructs the color depth? In my ignorant opinion, in terms of color depth what you didn't capture, you can't make up for. I may be wrong.

April 25, 2014 at 8:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bestfrontman

It cannot be downsampled to a higher color bit depth, only a higher color resolution. Camera footage that records 8 bits-per-channel of color can't magically add color information that wasn't initially recorded. So, one could derive 4:4:4 8-bit footage from 4:2:2 8-bit footage of four times the resolution.

Further, this is not a quality that is limited to the GH4; any 3840 x 2160 footage could conceivably be converted in the same way to gain greater color resolution at 1920 x 1080.

March 21, 2014 at 4:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mr Blah

March 22, 2014 at 11:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I bought a BMCC with lenses, batteries, SSDs and camerarig etc. in january - but this...this kinda makes me wish I waited a bit longer ;)

March 21, 2014 at 11:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Two very different cameras. I know that buyers regret: just be patient. The BMPC is capable of amazing images and you don't have RAW yet.
The GH4 looks great - on paper. To get the very best out of it you'll need an external recorder, and even then no RAW. I agree its a very interesting unit, but don't panic.
If you're aiming for cinematic on a genuine S35 sensor, you made the right choice.

March 21, 2014 at 12:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

Although it is very true what you say, please note that the camera I bought is the BMCC, not the BMPC. Seems like the GH4 with 422 out and a recorder (when available) would be a lot easier to use than the BMCC. Of course, I have RAW wich the GH4 does not have...but still :)

March 21, 2014 at 3:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ah - in which case you now possess a camera we regularly use as B Cam to an Alexa. That is never happening with a GH4.
Get the Nikon Metabones for it - will change your life.
However, if you shoot events or news, maybe its not the right choice.
If you shoot drama music video or commercials, you own the best camera under 5K for it. :-)

March 21, 2014 at 4:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

+1

March 22, 2014 at 12:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marc B

And yeah, the UI sucks.
You do get used to it though!

March 21, 2014 at 4:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

You're right - I cant really say a bad word about the BMCC (besides in-camera software).
The only trouble I have now is that the rig is becomming rather heavy +/- 10KG. My tripodhead is having some severe problems with that :P

And yea, the speedbooster is ALWAYS on the cam. Dont want to shoot without it :)

March 22, 2014 at 5:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cokklWD97yE ] this was shot in Cine D mode but I can't tell if this was left ungraded. (also it seems to be uploaded only in 1440p)
.
an RC aerial in Hungary - [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B23FjecVRV4 ] --- moire present but alleged to have been a fault of the YouTube compression ... the auto focus is working well though ...

March 21, 2014 at 12:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

...and every problem with GH cameras is present in that footage.
It takes real effort with those cameras to deliver images that seem deep, or three-dimensional. Most of the time you get that 'flat' look that makes everything look like its on the same plane.
Back in the good old days of say, 2010, when GH2 hackers wouldn't shut up, they kept claiming that many films would be shot with those cameras. Exactly one of any visual note was, and by pretty much a mad genius (who has since dumped the format). The reason is every time a GH was camera tested where I was present, even with PL glass, the image just lacked something - it looked like nice video. That may be useful in some spots but its very unattractive in others.
The GH4 footage so far has all the same qualities. Perhaps in 6-8 months when people have gotten used to it, have speedboosted some good glass on it and probably using an external recorder, we'll start to see some deep, emotional footage. It could be like the FS700 where only now with the 7Q are we starting to see results that genuinely give you pause.
I'll wait.

March 21, 2014 at 1:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

Keep waiting then.

"Black Swan" was shot on 16mm - was that flat and "unemotional"?

Or how about this - is this to "2D" and "unemotional"?: www.vimeo.com/82849742

March 21, 2014 at 1:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Johnny

I'm sorry - where do I criticize 16mm above?
Its not sensor size that's an issue (I'm a HUGE fan of the Pocket with the new Metabones in RAW) - its the way Panasonic processes it. Also, not a fan of their lenses either.

/FD: I have owned and used GH2/3 and AF100.

March 21, 2014 at 4:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

Well, you said mFT takes a "real effort with those cameras to deliver images that seem deep, or three-dimensional."

Strictly technically speaking - mFT, due to sensor-size, has the potential to achieve more DoF, more depth, than that of 16mm, hence one would assume that you'd think the same of any sensor smaller than mFT, i.e. 16mm/BMPCC.

So please forgive me for jumping to conclusions.

As you said, sensor-size has nothing to do with it. I can give you the same DoF on a mFT sensor that I could on a Full-Frame sensor - it all comes down to the speed of the lens you are using. A 25mm F1.4 on an mFT will give you the same DoF as a 50mm F2.8 on a Full-Frame (given both cameras are the exact same distance from the subject).

As for depth, that all depends on cinematography. We can start talking about the Z-Axis and all that, but I've never bought into the ideology that a bigger sensor gives a greater Z-Axis. In my humble opinion, depth has more to do with light and shadow, rather than sensor size. It has to do with framing and composition (i.e. shooting at 45-degree angles for example), rather than sensor size.

Also, for the depth-of-field junkies - most films are shot around T4 - T5.6 on Super35 film/sensors. When you shoot at faster apertures than those, the image becomes too disorienting (not to mention given the focus-puller on set a real run for their money) and unnatural to human perception. This entire "HDSLR revolution" has really created this strange misconception that "shallow DoF = cinematic". You want "cinematic", stop obsessing about sensor-size, and start obsessing about light, shadow, framing, and composition.

March 21, 2014 at 4:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Johnny

C'mon guys, easy...16 is still unmatched by all this pseudo-film-crap. To compete with 16mm you have to start from the F55 up and it's still debatable.

April 25, 2014 at 8:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bestfrontman

My own personal experience is that no-one used the GH2 because most people still have never heard about it. I've introduced several people to it, and everyone's been impressed with the footage compared with the Canon's they'd been shooting on.

March 21, 2014 at 3:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gabe

Well, maybe where you live that's true. And that 'nice video' look is perfectly fine for a lot of uses. No-one's arguing that a GH2/3 can't be much sharper than a base Canon DSLR.
But anyone above a hobbyist has probably read a few of these blogs no?
Have a look at the SXSW article that follows this. Notice anything?
And Canon is not the only (better) choice.

March 21, 2014 at 4:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

I'm not sure you can assume that all filmmakers are avid internet users, many of them get their information in the field and among people they work with, not from blogs.

March 21, 2014 at 8:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gabe

Gabe: I think it is a failure to their craft/profession if they're not trying to educate themselves further, and one of the key ways to do that is via the internet.

March 22, 2014 at 3:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Referring to Upstrem Color? Wasn't aware Mr. Carruth was done with the hacked GH2 but it totally makes sense considering what's available now.

March 21, 2014 at 7:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yeah, you'd use a Panasonic G6 or GH3 today instead :-D

March 22, 2014 at 3:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You are one of the stupidest people ever born.

March 22, 2014 at 10:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Leica and Voightlander lenses may make that image you're talking about. Those two usually make a nice image with GH's. Have to wait and see.

March 22, 2014 at 4:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Is there currently no hdmi 4K input on any capture card, to capture via a PC ? Not ideal, I know, but better than nothing.

March 21, 2014 at 1:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Saied

Ultra Studio 4K by Black Magic should be able to do this.

March 21, 2014 at 2:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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March 21, 2014 at 2:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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One more thing: been interesting noticing the low level of comments on a camera post on the first Friday of March Madness.
Very revealing. :-)

March 21, 2014 at 5:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

March Madness??? I am still recovering from the UEFA Champions League.
.
Anyhow, to cinematic quality off GH4 - most of the videos shown were on auto focus with nary a depth of field concern or emotional narrative. Ilya Friedman of Hot Rod Camera has mentioned that GH4 was one of the participants of the 4K Camera Shootout that is still in the process of grading, editing, etc. We'll see what results they will show. Additionally, Panasonic - and today, Samyang; later Sigma - is coming out with a bunch of fast MFT lenses. Those could prove quite fitting for the narrative work.

March 21, 2014 at 6:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

I am interested in the other possible lens choices for the GH4. I like the initial footage better than the GH3. My GH2 looks very flattering and warm when I throw an old Canon FD 50mm 1.4. Especially when the f-stop gets around 1.8-2.8. It feels very different when I put my Panasonic Lumix 14-140 on there.

March 21, 2014 at 10:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Morgan Simpson

I reckon Nikon F mount for filmmakers is the way to go (almost no matter what camera body you're using, though personal I use one of the GH series already). Due to them being the most "future proofed" (well, as much as anything can be in this very fast moving industry).

This makes sense, as lenses are going to hold your investment a lot better than camera bodies will. And while I will likely change between many different camera bodies and even brands over my career, I'd like to keep on using my glass as much as I can for as long as I can.

Also I believe this provides by far the best value (important as my budget was very limited), thanks to Nikon F mount being the longest continuously produced mount for DSLRs, so there are heaps and heaps of vintage and other second hand bargains to be picked up.

As well as gives the greatest future potential use as the Nikon F mount is the most versatile one when buying lenses. (kinda like how the m4/3 mount is the most versatile for a camera, but in reverse) You can see this is a rather important point for me :-) No need to keep on selling and buying lenses continuously as cameras change. Instead purchases would be towards growing the collection, not simply turning it over to match the mount of whatever is the current hot new camera.

Anyway, there are many different paths to building up a perfect lens collection for yourself.

Personally I've gone for the path of primarily Nikon F mount with Nikon F to Micro Four Thirds adapters (also have a Nikon F to m4/3 focal reducer, this one: http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/9086/rj-lens-turbo-m43-ada... )

My dream lens collection which I'm building up towards (currently got a Nikon 50mm f/1.8D and a bunch of other cheaper Nikon F mount lenses from this: http://www.gh1-hack.info/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.ShootingMoviesWithHackOn... Which is what I initially started out following):

#1 Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
#2 Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX
#3 Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
#4 Rokinon 85mm f/1.4
#5 Rokinon 8mm f/3.5
#6 Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8

I do have a Panasonic kit lens too that came with my Panasonic GF3, and I purchased a Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 too. Probably will be getting a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 at some point too. But primarily getting Nikon F mount lenses, and the native Micro Four Third lenses are just supplementary.

I've also got my notes and thoughts collected together on my Amazon Wishlist I created to track this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/140OXHDTVTUJI/?sort=priority&...

March 22, 2014 at 3:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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But then, when using the adapters, you're stuck with the manual focus, right? That was no big deal until recently. Nowadays, with Canon upgrading their Cine line into the Dual Pixel AF technology, GH-4 introducing a very fast AF system, it really benefits to have the electronic compatibility with the camera manufacturer for a number of reasons. Sigma, supposedly, is coming out with such product for the popular mountings but what exactly that entails remains to be seen.

March 22, 2014 at 4:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

For comparison purposes -

Bright sunny day, a fast lens, everything in focus - [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36qyPVeF8WA ]
Looks like a video.
vs.
A hand-held narrative, funky grading - [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCJMaQ858bk ]
Sort of looks like film ... except the blue eyeballs. (I said, eyeballs!)

March 22, 2014 at 1:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Looks good. Not to take away anything from the filmmaker, personally anything I see shot outdoors from any camera released over the last 3 years looks nice. To really get a feel for the characteristics of a sensor I think we're better off seeing how it reacts indoors. Of course the way a camera handles the highlights, DR etc are important, I think its safe to say you can get what you need out of most cameras today if all you're shooting is outdoor scenes.

March 22, 2014 at 8:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

Just to be clear, those were clips shot on BMPC4K.
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From Panasonic - Craig Cunningham, a Product Manager for Panasonic :
"At Panasonic we are doing what we can to address 4K content so our Lumix cameras for example all can film 4K so you can still create some 4K content you just need the movies now and the broadcasters to get on board. Netflix is going to be a great start to that".

http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/panasonic-talks-the-rise-of-4k-says-w...

All Lumix in 4K? Interesting. (I will note that several of the new smartphones coming out will have 4K as well)

March 23, 2014 at 12:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Hey, let's start talking 6K already. ;-)

March 23, 2014 at 12:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

I know it's the bm4k, it's kinda my point. There's a lot of cameras that look good shot outdoors, i just think it's the footage you see indoors can give you a better idea what a sensor can handle.

March 23, 2014 at 2:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anthony Marino

I think, indoors, one can just blast everything with lights as a worst case scenario. Who knows, at some point we might see the return of the heavy overheads. Look at this, a a 3600 light LED panel. Hang one high on the left, keep the other low on the right, add some flags and cookies and there's basically your set.
-
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-X-3600-LED-Video-Panel-Light-Camera-DSLR-Film-... -
.
Cheaper yet, four 900 light panels for around a grand from our favorite Chinese importer CAME-TV. They claim 1280 lux from 3 meters.
.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Free-Bag-Bi-color-4-X-900-LED-Camera-Video-Panel...

March 23, 2014 at 12:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

The YAGH is much more sophisticated than some had speculated it would be, not just a place to plug things in.

March 22, 2014 at 4:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Convergent Design offers an HDMI 1.4a port on the 7Q, not HDMI 2.0. They would need to update the hardware to support 4K 4:2:2 10 bit. Maybe this is in the works, but the article is actually wrong, to my knowledge.

March 22, 2014 at 7:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yes, it would need HDMI 2.0 to support 10-bit, but I was simply talking about recording the 4K in general.

March 23, 2014 at 11:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

What about the GH4 in raw? Is that possjble? I know upstream color was shot on the GH3 . But does anyone know how he captured that footage? Prores? Raw?

Also Digital Bolex vs BM4K?

Which is better?

March 24, 2014 at 6:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Aaron

What a great, innovative 4k camera this is hopefully going to be. If the bloodsuckers at Canon came up with something remotely similar they would slap a price tag on it several times that which the GH4 is going to sell for.

Well done Panasonic!

March 25, 2014 at 6:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Doubtful

Hey guys, I ordered the GH4... gonna see if it is good for my workflow, and maybe make my GH3 for b-roll or backup, but here's my latest episode I shot entirely with the GH3 if you're curious... if you like it, just imagine the GH4? :) http://blip.tv/dayzerotv/day-zero-2x2-redemption-6786360

March 27, 2014 at 4:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cal

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July 27, 2014 at 1:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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September 2, 2014 at 5:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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