When the GH4 was first released, the YAGH interface unit was priced well beyond the camera itself, leading many to wonder whether or not it was worth that hefty chunk of change.
The (almost) universal response to that question was a resounding "hell no." At roughly $2100 when it began shipping, the YAGH was really only suited for professionals in dire need of the quad link SDI output for 10-bit 4:2:2 recording and the built-in timecode features. Even for folks interested in the YAGH's audio capabilities, there was really no reason to purchase it at that price considering all of the other DSLR audio solutions on the market at much lower prices.
However, the price of the YAGH unit has fallen significantly since it was first released, and it recently hit an all time low of $698 at B&H, which means that it may be worth reassessing the value that this funky interface can provide to users of the GH4. Caleb Pike, who just released what is easily the most comprehensive GH4 course on the market, pulled a video from the course in order to explain what the YAGH interface does, who it's designed for, and who it isn't. Check it out.
All things considered, the YAGH interface is still likely a no-go for most GH4 shooters. Sure, it does add some professional video features, most notably the SDI outputs, which can be essential for various on-set workflows. With that said, the fact that it has to be powered by an external battery means that you're looking at cobbling together a sizable and somewhat expensive rig just for the camera, interface, and battery, and in many ways, that defeats the purpose of working with a camera of this size.
And again, if getting better on-board audio is the primary reason that you're looking at this unit, there are tons of other options on the market that will provide results that are just as good (if not better), for a significantly lower price tag. As Caleb mentions in the video, juicedLink makes some solid pre-amps that fill that purpose nicely. Not to mention all of the solutions from companies like Tascam and Zoom.
If you're interested in checking out more of Caleb's GH4 videos, head over to DSLR Video Shooter where he's excerpted a few more videos from his in-depth course. Also, if you have any experience with the YAGH interface (positive or negative), share it with us down in the comments.
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If it had an internal battery I'd be all over this. Strictly for the SDI outputs.
July 24, 2015 at 12:28PM, Edited July 24, 1:04PM
Or at least the option to use smaller batteries with it. Maybe I don't understand the technical aspects of it, but why can't it run on dual F570s like say the Atomos Powerstation?
July 25, 2015 at 8:01AM, Edited July 25, 8:01AM
I'm not sure. How amazing would it be if Panasonic made a version of the YAGH that used internal battery, AC input, and/or GH batteries. XLR inputs, SDI output, and featured an internal 4K ProRes recorder similar to the Ninja Star.
July 25, 2015 at 12:46PM
Still a no-go for us. The GH4 is a great camera, a workhorse but we have a pretty solid system using a H6n with dual audio setup. Syncing audio is an extra step but it's become so easy these days with FCP X and Plural Eyes. For our higher end stuff we're usually renting RED cameras so, for us, it still doesn't make a lot of sense.
My guess is that the GH5 is likely around the corner and Panasonic needs to move these units.
July 24, 2015 at 12:29PM
If the GH5 doesn't work with the YAGH, then I predict that these units will be selling for $299 by next summer.
July 24, 2015 at 12:38PM
Right now B&H Photo has the GH3 on sale for $599, so maybe the GH5 will be announced later this year.
July 24, 2015 at 12:41PM
July 24, 2015 at 12:41PM, Edited July 24, 12:41PM
Didn't watch the video, but I have used the YAGH for around 5 months now. It boasts lackluster audio quality and very little in the way of audio tracking/recording options. Limiting enough for me to recently return to using my Tascam DR70D and syncing in post.
July 24, 2015 at 12:48PM
Honestly I would never trust any device that has not been specifically built around the Pre-amp.
Really a shame we cannot get a device with decent pre-amp and all the video services we wanted too...
July 26, 2015 at 6:19PM
whoops copy :(
July 26, 2015 at 6:19PM, Edited July 26, 6:19PM
It all depends on what you're shooting. It's worth it for our productions. We do 6 camera studio shoots and the GH4 would be unusable in our shoots without the YAGH.
July 24, 2015 at 2:21PM
Without seeing a teardown of the YAGH, it's difficult to know if an internal battery would fit. But my feeling is that Panasonic rushed this unit to market without to much R&D and later generations will be totally self-contained. When you consider complex units from Sound Devices, that all run happy on batteries, panasonic should be able to achieve similar with a bit more effort. Then it would sell.
July 25, 2015 at 5:14AM
Thank you so much Mr. Hardy for sharing this! I'm planning on getting a GH4 soon and I was wanting to upgrade my audio as well. I had seen this unit way back when it first came out and wondered what the hell it was for. I've been trying to find something to explain it and this is it... I've decided to go with the Zoom H6.
July 25, 2015 at 3:14PM, Edited July 25, 3:14PM
Unfortunately and bafflingly, the Zoom units are crippled in that their dual-recording function doesn't work with external mics. I was considering one until I discovered this design blunder.
The Tascam units properly implement the feature, allowing you to record a backup set of tracks from any of the two inputs at a lower lever; this gives you a safety recording in case the main one clips. I consider this a required feature now for a field recorder.
August 1, 2015 at 2:55PM
WTF is going on with this commenting system and the double-posts?
Come on, it's 2015, and somebody can't field a working comment system?
August 1, 2015 at 2:55PM, Edited August 1, 2:56PM
Grab a few L series batteries and a power block from indiepro with a 15mm fitting which is compact and easy to use. I am out on location shooting a doco in a very remote region and the system gives me a full day of use on a set of batteries. No drama and pro level sound, btw temp. have been in the high 40 Celsius on some days, and -5 was the coldest it hit the other night.
August 12, 2015 at 10:02PM, Edited August 12, 10:02PM