September 8, 2014 at 11:41AM, Edited September 10, 1:05PM

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Is the GH4 above the 5D mark III?

I, myself am a GH4 user, been using this camera for about 3 months now. I am happy with it but not fully satisfied. I hate the fact that this is NOT a low light camera which makes it a pain in the ass when shooting with no light setup. On the other hand, i've seen plenty of videos shot with the 5D Miii and the quality seems almost the same, can I know some thoughts about this?

39 Comments

My understanding is that it's pretty unanimous that the GH4 generally spits out a better-looking picture than the Mark III (without magic lantern).

Keep in mind that the camera is only one factor in what makes a good-looking video online. There is still fantastic-looking stuff out there being shot with the 5D Mark II or the 7D. Lighting, color grading and correction, lenses, filters, etc. all are contributing factors to what can influence the end result you see online.

September 8, 2014 at 3:24PM, Edited September 8, 3:24PM

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David S.
2931

Thank you David

Tommy Plesky

September 8, 2014 at 7:41PM

This is one of the things that is placing my decision of buying the GH4 on a knife edge. It's not a low light camera but I haven't tried it to see how good or bad it is in those lighting conditions. Until I do I won't know for sure. Although people are saying ISO up to 6,400 is workable it may still not look good in the final output.

September 8, 2014 at 5:08PM

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Kyri Saphiris
Filmmaker
431

Have you seen how good a RED camera is in lowlight... yeah, well a GH4 with a focal reducer is going to do better! Yet somehow I rarely see people in forums like this complain about RED's lack of top lowlight performance.

I have used a hacked GH1 a lot, including in low light. And I'm quite happy enough with it, even though a GH2 has better low light, and the GH3 even better, and the GH4 even better again! I reckon most people shouldn't have any trouble with the GH4 unless they're being extreme, and then for that we have the A7S!

David Peterson

October 5, 2014 at 9:42PM

(if you ignore for now the debate around ML raw, which is right for some people but not for some others) I would say GH4 has got the edge over the 5DmkIII (and the GH4 is cheaper too!).

But at this level, they are both so very good, that what ultimately determines the end result is much more the hands using it than the actual camera itself.

I wouldn't be too worried at all about the low light capabilities (unless your project especially needs that, then go for the A7s) as in most cases the GH4 will be more than fine.

The GH4 is better at low light than the GH3, the GH3 is better at low light than the GH2, and the GH2 is better than the GH1 at low light.... and I've used the GH1 a lot in low light! Together with a focal reducer (such as the very affordable RJ Lens Turbo) and a prime lens (the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D is a common one I use, and is cheap too) even the GH1 can do well enough in low light once cleaned up. So the GH4 will do just terrific in comparison.

September 9, 2014 at 3:28AM

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David Peterson
Wedding Cinematographer
2470

But at this level, they are both so very good, that what ultimately determines the end result is much more the hands using it than the actual camera itself.

This was a very good response, regardless that my reply is 2 years later,...it will always be true. well said.

emotion.film

September 10, 2016 at 1:36AM

What lens are you using? I spent the weekend shooting with no additional lighting with a GH3 and a Voightlander Nokton (http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/voigtlander-17-5mm-f0-95-nokton-micro-four-...) which was amazing down to f0.95 (expected) but was also extremely crisp at all apertures (unexpected). I'd expect the GH4 do do even better.

On the other hand, our steadicam operator is always eyeing up cameras with bigger sensors, since for steadicam work you want smaller apertures for more focal depth and noise starts to become a problem.

I'm just wondering if shelling out the price difference between the two cameras on better lenses might help your situation. One bonus of M4/3 is that most lenses can be adapted to work as micro-four-thirds adapters for most mounts are cheap and easy to buy. Some vintage low light glass might be your friend, if the crop factors isn't too off putting.

September 9, 2014 at 8:41AM

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Alia Sheikh
Director
159

Im currently using a Rokinon 35mm, 1.4, shooting at 1/50 and 400-800 ISO, most of the time, and sometimes, when I check my footage when I get home, It's noisy, I don't exactly know what im doing wrong...

Tommy Plesky

September 9, 2014 at 1:32PM

Tommy, you shouldn't have any trouble at all shooting ISO 400! :-o Even my old old Panasonic GH1 has no trouble handling ISO 400 with ease. And the GH4 is *waaaaaaay* better than the GH1 at low light.

David Peterson

September 10, 2014 at 6:46AM

Tommy, I can be almost positive that your are under exposing. With the GH4, you will get less noise bumping up the ISO and properly exposing than sticking with the lower ISO. If you're shooting 4K, don't be afraid to go as high as 1600 if you have to.

Joseph Moore

September 11, 2014 at 6:48PM

I just bought one, still waiting for it to arrive, but I already ordered a metabones to use my sigma 18-35 f/1.8. This is the ultimate lens for a M4T and aps/c

Sebastiano dell'eva

October 8, 2014 at 3:21PM

I shot with an f/0.95 lens last night together with a BMPCC and damn, the moon was causing troubles with the shadows it was casting! lol But seriously, that f/0.95 lens really helps you see in the dark :-D

David Peterson

November 9, 2014 at 5:20AM

I spent some time with the GH4 and came to understand pretty quickly that my brain thinks in terms of Super35, not Micro 4:3. This is probably just a personal issue -- if you can adjust to M43, the GH4 has some amazing features, but for me, I'm just much more comfortable in the world of 35mm sensors. YMMV!

September 10, 2014 at 1:08PM

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Same here. I can think in 35mm and Super35 easily. M43 and S16 is a much tougher thing to wrap my brain around, and throwing the 4k crop with the GH4 in makes it worse for me.

David S.

September 10, 2014 at 1:48PM

Excuse my lack of knowledge, but, what is the difference between this two?

Tommy Plesky

September 10, 2014 at 8:24PM

Tommy, it is the sensor size which impacts FoV and DoF. Personally I find it to be a very very minor point of contention. Just need to do a bit of simple math in your head or remember a few things such as say a 25mm on a m4/3 will give you approximately the same FoV as 35mm on APS-C / Super 35mm.

David Peterson

September 10, 2014 at 11:41PM

Speed Booster. Best of both worlds, and a stop of extra light.

Joseph Moore

September 11, 2014 at 6:45PM

As someone who has recently shot on both, I can say emphatically that the GH4 is a far, far better overall camera for a shooting motion. (film, video, whatever you want to call it.)

I think people too quickly discount usability features. There is no camera under $5K that can touch the GH4 in this regard.

September 11, 2014 at 6:51PM

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Joseph Moore
Director
323

I think people are way to serious about the whole 4k thing. Ofcourse it is going to be 'it' someday, but right now, most people don't have a 4k tv and will not buy it for at least a while.
http://www.newsshooter.com/2014/09/17/ibc-2014-panel-top-cinematographer...

September 21, 2014 at 3:21AM

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It's not only about 4k tv or monitors. It's about getting rid of almost all of the moiré and antialiasing for one, and mostly about being able to reframe / horizon fix and stabilisation in post. And reframing with a sharp 4k camera is great because it give you the ability to get more framings and shots from the same wide, while not having to shoot twice, so you get more variety with less.

Sebastiano dell'eva

October 8, 2014 at 3:17PM

4K television is getting pretty popular nowadays. (Sept 2015) I have seen my GH4 footage on a good 50 Inch UHD screen and it is amazing. Once you go 4K you don't wanna go back.

Erwin Hartsuiker

September 3, 2015 at 6:16PM

>>>I spent some time with the GH4 and came to understand pretty quickly that my brain thinks in terms of Super35, not Micro 4:3

Adding a Metabones SpeedBooster turns your Micro 4/3 sensor into something very close to Super35, plus you get an extra stop of light, and you get step-less aperture control of most lenses. It's quite a different experience once you add on the SpeedBooster.

September 23, 2014 at 5:06PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32774

Yes, I second that. A speed booster helps, and it's great to be able to use my Nikon primes with this cam.

Ed Wright

October 3, 2014 at 11:59PM

Another bonus about the GH4 is the amount of manual control built into the camera. Not just white balance and ISO but really sophisticated stuff like Gamma curve adjustments, dynamic range boosts (even SMPTE color bars) and extras like peaking and zebras -
It's a video camera with a lot of pro features disguised as a stills camera...

October 4, 2014 at 12:06AM

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Ed Wright
Director, DP, Writer
389

Buy the GH4 and a Sony A7S and ditch your Canon stuff.

October 4, 2014 at 11:20AM

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Tom Holton
UAS Specialist
194

It is crazy that Canon fanboys are down voting you! As the 5Dmk3 is so far behind, even the cheap as chips Sony A5100 is better than a 5Dmk3. (& I've used both)

David Peterson

December 25, 2014 at 7:47PM

In my opinion, although i haven't used both camera's because im figuring out which one to buy, im leaning more towards the 5DIII. Why? Dynamic range. The right amount of dynamic range can fool your eyes thinking its as sharp as 4k.

October 4, 2014 at 2:39PM

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The Canon 5D MkIII does NOT have greater dynamic range than the Panasonic GH4 when shooting in non-RAW formats, they both have about 11 F-stops of dynamic range.

The 5D MkIII may have slightly more dynamic range when shooting with the Magic Lantern RAW hack but the difference is far less than 1 F-stop, and it's a lot of hassle to shoot RAW with this camera, especially when you consider the cost of memory cards and how little footage you can store on each card.

Guy McLoughlin

October 5, 2014 at 5:12PM

A camera's still performance is not the same as its video performance, and often they are very very different! But even when looking at the dynamic range of the 5DmkIII for stills it looks worse than the GH4 (and a lot worse than the very cheap Nikon D5200): http://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-...

David Peterson

October 6, 2014 at 10:06PM

Does the canon 5dMIII has equal or less dinamic range than the GH4?

October 6, 2014 at 8:44PM

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David Velasquez
Camarographer, Editor, VFX Artist
102

You might not see my comment above, so here it is again:
A camera's still performance is not the same as its video performance, and often they are very very different! But even when looking at the dynamic range of the 5DmkIII for stills it looks worse than the GH4 (and a lot worse than the very cheap Nikon D5200): http://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-...

David Peterson

October 6, 2014 at 10:07PM

from my experience, gh4 has a far far better dynamic range than any dslr counting 5d mIII and nikon dslrs. also image quality is incomparable

Igor Smitka

October 7, 2014 at 7:51AM

I come from Canon and I can say that even the Panasonic G6 is far better!
GH4 is just insanely better then 5D. No softness, no mosquito blacks and banding... but just see this test at 17:48"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxGekOHEPuc

Maybe in high ISO TESTS probably the 5D is slightly better, but we are trying to shoot movies, not tests. And probably with a simple10 $ light you can illuminate enough your set and maintain ISO under 1600.

My 2 cents :)

November 6, 2014 at 4:02AM

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Simone Salvatore
Filmmaker / Recording Engineer / Musician
143

I haven't used the GH4, but do own a GH3 and shoot quite a bit with 5D MK III's. There's plenty to debate about the pros and cons of each camera. I agree that the low light capabilities of the 5D are much superior.

But straight out the box the GH series gives you an image that is sharper with a slew of options geared towards video. For me, they're much more of a joy to use than the Canon DSLRs.

November 6, 2014 at 6:36PM

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Chris Uy
120

If anyone is interested my company is selling a pretty sweet ready to shoot GH4 package with the YAGH interface. Take a look http://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-Lumix-GH4-4K-Cinema-Camera-Bundle-w-SL...?

November 10, 2014 at 7:26PM

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Terrell Lamont
Director, Director of Photography
358

When it comes to cameras they all have their pros and cons. They are only tools for crafting a look/image. When I start questioning the camera that I own, all I think is a new "better" camera will come along in a few months.I personally always prefer nice/characteristic glass to a "better" camera.

All that being said I love the thought of using GH4 for it's versatility of settings (all based on specs and other's perspectives) and lens mount. I still need to get my hands on one to really dig into what it can do.

December 23, 2014 at 3:37PM

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Kyle Acker
Cinematographer/ Video Editor
459

I cant say it enough that cameras are tools, but in terms of usability and features and advanced film features you have to give it to the GH4, Canon has that super 35mm to its advantage but with the advent of speedboosters to reduce crop, i would like to believe that the playing field is now levelled. Canon was the market leader in DSLR film but notice i said "was". If you are serious about value for money as a film maker then GH4 is the way to go!

December 23, 2014 at 11:35PM

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Wentworth Kelly
Director/DP/Colorist/Drone Op
2033

Yup, Canon is history. As the 5Dmk3 is so far behind, even the cheap as chips Sony A5100 is better than a 5Dmk3. (& I've used both)

David Peterson

December 25, 2014 at 7:49PM

I have worked a lot with the 7D and 5D III and switched to GH4 last year. It can be a difficult choice to change from Canon to Panasonic, but I do no regret my choice. I do recommend to buy a Metabones Speed Booster (EF / M43). This will give you an extra stop and will also change your FOV. The crop factor of the GH4 in 4K is 2,3x and in 1080 it is 2x. The Speed Booster will reduce that wil 0,71x. Your GH4 will become more of a super 35 camera and will give your more choice in lenses as well! And by the way, the firmwire of the GH4 is so much better and more stable.

January 1, 2015 at 6:33PM

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Awi Rabelista
Director, DP
1

Dear! cameras are just tools of trade. The real magician is the man behind the camera. Before, one can achieve an acceptable or a stunning look, one must have to master the techniques of this trade. Photography is painting with light, same is true for video. Although GH4 is good, but for stills, Canon is better, while for video and especially the 4k, the GH4 is the winner in its price range. And if you have something to capture your footage in to PRORES or DNxHD you will be stunned with the performance of GH4 for video.

October 8, 2015 at 5:50AM, Edited October 8, 5:54AM

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Muhammad Anil Babur
Film Producer/Director/Editor
209

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