Unveiled: Panasonic GH4 Mirrorless Digital Camera

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Panasonic has announced a new addition to the company’s Lumix GH series, the Lumix DMC-GH4, a hybrid  DSLM camera that adds substantial features to an already competent platform. Although still photography has not taken a back seat to the video functionality, it is in the latter area that the majority of the advancements have been made, primarily in the ability to capture footage in 4K resolution. Available to anyone, but positioned for the advanced amateur, indie, and professional photographer and filmmaker, the camera’s 17.02 megapixel (16.05 effective) Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor is supported by the Venus Engine image processor running on a quad-core CPU. This combination delivers approximately 50% higher speed signal readout, which aids in suppressing rolling shutter artifacts when using the electronic shutter or recording video. And for professional photo performance, moiré suppression has been improved, along with superior noise reduction that allows for exposures of up to sixty minutes.

The camera features the same durable magnesium-alloy body used by its predecessor, and when combined with suitable lenses, delivers a splash- and dust-proof package. The high-performance shutter is rated for 200,000 release times with a maximum speed of 1/8000 of a second. A silent mode switches the shutter from mechanical to electronic operation, turns off any sounds, and suppresses the AF assist lamp and flash for situations where working in a discreet manner is required. Contrast Auto Focus with 49-area focusing enables the camera to lock on to a subject in approximately 0.07 seconds when paired with certain Panasonic lenses. Burst speeds in AFS mode have been boosted to 12 fps using the mechanical shutter, and up to 40 fps with the electronic shutter. Sensitivity has also been improved with a maximum ISO 25600, along with gradation performance, resolution, and color reproduction. Images can be captured in RAW or JPEG or a combination of both, and various photo styles can be added, with multiple parameters in each mode that can be adjusted or set into the camera’s memory.

Video recording is available in Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160, 24 fps) and QFHD 4K (3840 x 2160, up to 30 fps) in MOV/MP4 formats. Full HD video can be captured with 200Mbps ALL-Intra or 100Mbps IPB, with no limit on recording time, and users can choose from MOV, MP4, AVCHD Progressive, and AVCHD formats at a variety of frame rates, according to their needs. In MP4/MOV, sound is recorded as LPCM (Linear Pulse Code Modulation) audio files. Real-time 4:2:2/8-bit output to an external monitor is available using an optional micro HDMI cable. In this instance, video is simultaneously recorded in 4:2:0/8-bit to the internal cards. 4:2:2/10-bit output is also available but simultaneous recording is not possible in this scenario. Users can choose to output only the recorded content or the content with the setting menus displayed. Variable Frame Rates (VFR) enable Full HD to be recorded with slow or fast motion (up to 96 fps) and time lapse/stop-motion animation can also be achieved without resorting to post production.

A slew of features for professional video production are available. SMPTE compliant Timecode in “Rec Run” or “Free Run” makes it easy to synchronize multiple videos or sound sources in post production. Color Bars (SMPTE/EBU/ARIB Standard) are used for fixing color or brightness to broadcast specifications and a 1kHz Test Tone can be used for setting appropriate audio levels. Synchro Scan helps suppress flicker over the TV or PC monitor, or when shooting under fluorescent lights, and a Center Marker works as a guide mark for image composition. “CINELIKE D” and “CINELIKE V” gamma settings create a cinema-like tone for expanded creativity, and use of the Master Pedestal allows for adjusting the brightness balance +/-15 steps based on the color black. A Zebra Pattern function displays overexposed areas before or during shooting with the pattern available for output to an external monitor. Focus Peaking displays accurate focus in MF and AF+MF modes. Users can monitor the focus peak in live view or via remote photo/ video shooting with a smartphone or a tablet using Wi-Fi.

And speaking of Wi-Fi, the GH4 integrates IEEE 802.11 b/g/n connectivity with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to offer more operational options, as well as instant image sharing. With the company’s iOS and Android "Image App," remote shooting of both photo and video is possible using a smartphone or tablet as the remote shutter and monitor. In addition to releasing the shutter, control over zooming, focusing, and settings of shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation is available. It is also easy to embed geotags into the image after shooting. For the smartphone or tablet without NFC, the camera displays a dedicated QR code on its monitor for easy pairing.

In addition to the standard luminance level of 16-235 and 16-255, the camera offers the full luminance range of 0-255 for the photographer who is new to video. The Live View function is also advanced, making it possible to adjust highlight and shadow separately, using the front and rear dial. Three pattern settings can be customized in addition to the three preset patterns. Aside from the conventional Face Recognition Auto Focus (AF), newly incorporated Eye Detection AF automatically sets focus on the eye of a human face. Custom Multi AF mode allows users to freely select the blocks for focusing out of the total 49 points. 1-area AF area can be seamlessly magnified not only in manual but also in autofocus modes. Tracking AF has also been advanced in tracking accuracy by estimating the subject’s movement. The focus point can be set on any part of the 100% field of view and can be magnified either with a manual focus ring or with the cursor key in MF Assist mode. In the Touch Pad AF, the position can be set either on an absolute or relative coordinate.

The GH4 features newly developed high-precision, high-speed dual Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) displays for the Live View Finder (LVF) and the rear monitor. Increasing the resolution of the display area to 2,359K dots, the 16:9 wide screen electronic viewfinder has approximately 1.34x/0.67x (35mm camera equivalent) magnification, 100% field of view, and an eye point of approximately 21mm. Notably, the OLED for the LVF boasts 10,000:1 high contrast for superior color reproduction. And with a newly designed large eyecup, the visibility of the LVF is dramatically improved. Image output is automatically switched between the LVF and the rear monitor with high, low, and off sensitivity options to reduce false switching. The 3.0-inch 1,036K-dot free-angle OLED rear monitor can be rotated 180° to the side and tilted 270° up and down and offers an approximately 100% field of view. It features static touch control for smooth operation, either while shooting or during playback. Both the LVF and rear monitor have a high-speed response with minimum time lag, while enhancing the resolution.

Three dials are available on the top and back of the camera and the main dial now comes with a lock. A dedicated button allows direct access to exposure compensation, white balance adjustment, or ISO setting, and a maximum of five settings can be assigned to the “Fn” button. All these external components are designed to be operated easily without taking one's eye away from the viewfinder. A variety of terminals provides flexible shooting options. A 3.5mm microphone jack is available for audio recording using an external microphone, and the 3.5mm headphone jack provides monitoring of the incoming audio while shooting video. In addition to these, the camera has AV outputs (two-channel audio, composite), a flash sync terminal, and 2.5mm jack for a remote controller. The built-in and an external flash can be synchronized with a maximum 1/250-second shutter speed.

While on the subject of connectivity, the company has developed the DMW-YAGH interface unit that places the camera squarely in a professional production environment. 3G-SDI video terminals that are compliant with full HD (4:2:2/10-bit) offer four parallel outputs that can also be used for 4K (4:2:2/10-bit) output, both with Timecode. Dual XLR input terminals can accept either line or microphone levels, with individually switchable 48V phantom power available for use with condenser microphones. Volume levels can be controlled separately for each channel, with the audio levels displayed via LED meters on the rear of the unit. The 12V DC input is compliant with large-capacity industrial batteries for continuously supplying the GH4 with power.

A total of twenty-two interchangeable LUMIX G digital lenses offers a multitude of creative options, including HD lenses that allow for silent, high performance AF control suitable for video recording. Various expansion options are available including an external flash, shotgun microphones, a battery grip, and more. Of course, as with all Micro Four Thirds cameras, almost the entire world of manual lenses is available for use on the GH4 with a suitable optional adapter. And last, but not least, for the global business of professional users, the system frequency can be selected between 59.94 (23.98), 50.00, or 24.00Hz.

The camera will be available as a GH4 body only, or as a kit with the DMW-YAGH unit, in addition to purchasing the DMW-YAGH expansion unit separately.

Imaging
Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds
Camera Format Micro Four Thirds (2x Crop Factor)
Pixels Actual: 17.2 Megapixel
Effective: 16.05 Megapixel
Max Resolution 4608 x 3456
Sensor Type / Size MOS, 17.3 x 13 mm
File Formats Still Images: JPEG, MPO, RAW
Movies: MOV, MP4, MPEG-4 AVCHD
Audio: AAC, Dolby Digital 2ch, Linear PCM
Dust Reduction System Yes
Memory Card Type SD
SDHC
SDXC
AV Recording
Video Recording Yes, NTSC/PAL
Video Format High Definition
MOV

4096 x 2160p / 24 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 23.98 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 24 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 25 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 29.97 fps (100Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 23.98 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 24 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 25 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 29.97 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 50 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (200Mbps)
High Definition
MP4

4096 x 2160p / 24 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 23.98 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 24 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 25 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 29.97 fps (100Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 23.98 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 24 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 25 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 29.97 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 50 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 25 fps (20Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 29.97 fps (20Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 50 fps (28Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (28Mbps)
1280 x 720p / 25 fps (10Mbps)
1280 x 720p / 29.97 fps (10Mbps)
Standard Definition
MP4

640 x 480p / 25 fps (4Mbps)
640 x 480p / 29.97 fps (4Mbps)
High Definition
AVCHD

1920 x 1080p / 23.98 fps (24Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 50 fps (28Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (28Mbps)
1920 x 1080i / 50 fps (24Mbps)
1920 x 1080i / 50 fps (17Mbps)
1920 x 1080i / 59.94 fps (24Mbps)
1920 x 1080i / 59.94 fps (17Mbps)
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 16:9
Video Clip Length Up to 220 min.
Audio Recording With Video, Stereo
Focus Control
Focus Type Auto & Manual
Focus Mode Single-servo AF (S), Continuous-servo AF (C), Manual Focus (M), Flexible (AFF)
Viewfinder/Display
Viewfinder Type Electronic
Viewfinder Pixel Count 2,359,000
Viewfinder Eye Point 21.0mm
Viewfinder Coverage 100%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 1.34x
Diopter Adjustment - 4.0 to +4.0 m
Display Screen 3" Touchscreen Swivel  OLED (1,036,000)
Screen Coverage 100%
Exposure Control
ISO Sensitivity 160-25600 (Extended Mode: 100-25600)
Shutter 60 - 1/8000 sec.
60 minute in Bulb Mode
1/24 - 1/16000 sec in Movie Mode
Remote Control DMW-RSL1 (Optional)
Metering Method Center-weighted average metering, Multiple, Spot metering
Exposure Modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Metering Range: EV 0.0 - EV 18.0
White Balance Modes Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Daylight, Flash, Incandescent, Shade, White Set
Burst Rate Up to 40 fps
Flash
Flash Modes Auto
Auto/Red-eye Reduction
Forced On
Forced On/Red-eye Reduction
Off
Slow Sync
Slow Sync/Red-eye Reduction
Built-in Flash Yes
Max Sync Speed 1 / 250 sec.
Flash Compensation -3 EV to +3 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
Dedicated Flash System TTL
External Flash Connection Hot Shoe
Performance
Self Timer 10 sec., 2 sec.
Number of Shots: 1-3
Interval Recording Yes
Connectivity 1/8" Headphone, 1/8" Microphone, AV Output, HDMI D (Micro), USB 2.0, Wired Remote Port
Wi-Fi Capable Yes
Included Software Requirements Windows: XP, Vista, 7, 8
Mac: OS X 10.5 or later
Power
Battery 1x Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 7.2VDC, 1860mAh
Operating/Storage Temperature 32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Humidity: 10 - 80%
Physical
Dimensions (WxHxD) 5.2 x 3.7 x 3.3" / 132.9 x 93.4 x 83.9mm
Weight 19.75 oz / 560 g with SD card and Battery

Items discussed in article

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You have a mistake in your specification of Panasonic GH4 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Its image sensor size is 17.3 x 13.0 mm acording to the Panasonic web site. You typed 17.3 x 30.0mm.

If canon doesn't step up to the plate soon I will be forced to consider selling the C300 and MarkIII's in favor of offerings from other brands like sony and Panasonic who aren't trying to over capitalize on higher frame rates and beyond-2k pixel dimensions. Brand loyalty is only a form of ignorance in this fast paced industry. 

Well said. I've been an avid Canon use for years. Have been wanting to upgrade lately and was looking TO a C100 or C300 - but this may have changed things. What I'd like to know is what's the max "acceptable" ISO while shooting video.

I own the C100, C300, and GH4.

Max usable ISO on GH4 is 1600. The Canon cameras go much higher; you can use 12,800 or even 25,000 ISO with noise reduction without a major problem.

The GH4 cuts well with the C100 and C300 when filmed in 4K an then downsampled to 1080. It's native 1080 is a little soft because it's line binned. It seems to have less dyanamic range (even shooting in Cinelike) than the C100/300, but not much less... maybe a stop. So 11 vs 12 stops. Also, the internal shooting on the Gh4 is 420 (external is 422 10 bit, even at 4k, which is very nice). I find this strongly limits how much you can grade the images. The C300 is 422 internally, and it holds up better. The bitrate is nice though; I don't see luminance break up like I do on the C100's AVCHD. I shoot with an external recorder always on the C100.

Skin color and color in general is nicer on the Canon cameras, which they are known for. The Gh4 also has harsher rolloff in the highlights, and can look a little flat if you don't light it correctly or seek out scenes with nice contrast.

The bottom line is I would never get rid of my C100 or C300 for this (they are still proper video cameras, usable in far more lighting condtions, with built in waveform, ND, XLR, and in the C300's case, more internal color resolution.) However, with careful use, the GH4 certainly can act as a B or C camera to them and cut nicely together. The GH4 is also far smaller, so that is a big advantage to some. And yes, it shoots 4K.

Recording audio directly to GH-4 (without NMW-YAGH adapter) is it possible to turn off AGC & set audio levels manually, & what is the audio format ie 16bit 48k, or other?

Thanks Chris Rodgers

Whitehorse Yukon Canada

You can turn off AGC and manually adjust the audio levels.

Audio is recorded as: AAC, Dolby Digital 2ch, Linear PCM They do not go into detail on the specs of the audio format though.

Where can I find actual Test video footage in 4K taken with this camera that I can download and play with on my video editor ?

Thanks

Once the GH4 is released, I’m sure people will start posting demo footage.  That being said, I don’t know that anyone will post 4K files to be downloaded to be played with on a video editor.  This isn’t something I’ve seen done before.  Even if you did find a source where you could download such files, I would be wary.  It's likely not worth the risk when it comes to malware.

For the high definition MOV Vídeo recording, in 4096 x 2160p / 24 fps (100Mbps)

What is the compression ?codec used , can this camera record RAW Vídeo files ?

Hi Luiz -

The compression scheme is H.264. RAW video recording is not possible in-camera.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

This camra looks Very promising.  I too, have been a LOYAL Canon user, with Many Lenses for many years. BUT, since they have not stepped up their game in such a long time, I too,may be now tempted to jump ship. Although it will be a pain to sell off all that equipment, I know I wont lose much money on the lenes. I would like to know more about the audio recording for Movies though. I am sure there will be more info on it soon. I have thougth Canon would catch on and get with the program for a few years now. But, now I am close to throwing in the towel, and going with the innovaters, that seem to listen to the public...Will be sad. Change is hard. But, this looks pretty cool...We will see...

Hi. Please keep me up to date on pricing and reviews of this camera....in particular what lenses can be used with it.   I have a nikon d800.....can any of my lenses work on the new Panasonic model?  

Regards.  Ron. 

Our site is live with pricing and stock.  If you click on the image of the GH4 above, it will take you to the camera’s page on our site where the current price will be listed.  After the camera is released, hands on reviews, along with customer reviews should start coming out.  The GH4 is a micro four thirds mount camera, so it can use any micro four thirds mount lens.  If you wanted to use a lens from your D800 (an F-mount lens), you would need a Nikon lens to micro four thirds camera adapter.  Keep in mind that you will lose auto functions with this.

Please let me know when available.

We anticipate receiving the first shipment of GH4 cameras May 25 2014, and will be filling the pre-orders in the order they were placed.  Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to say how long it might take to fill the preexisting orders and have the camera in stock in the store. If you haven't already, you could choose the Notify When in Stock option on the camera's page on our website.  We would then send you an email when it came into stock.

Why would a vidographer who shoot wedding etc. switch from the AG HMC-150 and the AG HMC-160 to the GH4. Those camera are design for that kind of events.

Hi Stanley -

HDSLR cameras have become popular for wedding and event videography, in part,  because of the tremendous selection of lenses and the shallow depth of field (DOF) they offer. These factors contribute to, and enhance the creative control that may distinguish one videographer's product over another's.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I would like to se some pictures taken with this camera

I have a Lumix point n' shoot and Love It!  Very excited about the GH4.  Quality means everything to me.  I don't believe in the upgrade game so I save my cash and get what I want.  Looking forward to learning more about the many features and seeing some demos of the GH4.  Oh, I will shamelessly mention this would be my first DSLR!  The perfect poster child!  LOL

Look like a good camera 

can this camera accept cannon lenses

is the sensor aps c

is the auto focusing system as good as the cannon 70d or do I have to rely on manual focusing for accuarcy

The camera has a Micro 4/3 lens mount, for Canon lenses you would need an adapter.

The camera sensor is 17.3mm x 13.0mm so it's about 30% smaller than APS-C.

The camera does have AF when using compatible lenses. It is not as fast as a video camera but worked pretty well. Manual focus may be needed at times.

How do I set up my video setting to a optimal use of my Gh4 shooting 4k.

Optimal settings for 4K will be:

MP4 (LPCM) or MOV, depending on the file type you would like.

C4K/100M/24p or 4K/100M/24p,25p,30p depending on which 4K type you would like. Cinema 4K or Quad HD.

awesome.

When it will be available for sale?

The GH4 is available for sale currently. 

It is for sale, but on pre-order. When is it released on B&H?

I've already preordered mine :)

Panasonic has started shipping the GH4, and we have started filling orders in the order they were placed.  If you would like to check on the status of your order, your best bet will be to contact our Customer Service Department.

Customer Service: 800.221.5743 or 212.239.7765   cs@bhphotovideo.com

hi, sorry my english.
i'm brazilian dive instructor to 33 years, , my intentio is: used for u/w use.
this camera is mucher better than nikon d610?

thanks.

Both the Panasonic GH4 and Nikon D610 are excellent cameras. We have a number of different housings available for the D610 but at this time not a single one for the GH4. Aquatica has just started designing one but we not have a date when it will become available.

Full frame cameras have all the advantages underwater as they do on land. But there are problems when using wide-angle lenses in dome ports. You need an extra large and expensive dome. In order to get good edge sharpness you have to also stop the lens down more. Having a more compact housing for a mirrorless camera will have advantages when traveling.

The Aquatica 4" mini dome with the Panasonic 8mm fisheye lens is sharp corner to corner when set at f/4. We tested this on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 in the new Aquatica housing. This would be a good kit for underwater imaging:

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only)
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1003633-REG/olympus_v207010bu000_om_d_e_m1_mirrorless_micro.html

Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm/F3.5 Lens
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/731983-REG/Panasonic_H_F008_Lumix_G_Fisheye_8mm_F3_5.html

Aquatica AE-M1 Underwater Housing for Olympus OM-D E-M1
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1028279-REG/aquatica_32000_opt_ae_m1_underwater_housing_for.html

Aquatica 4" Glass Dome Port
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/755411-REG/Aquatica_30200_4_Glass_Dome_Port.html

If you want manual focus you need focus gear 30503. This should be in our system soon.

My first chwaise gh4 lumix

Turning off sounds.

Does anyone know how to turn off all sounds when recording video?

Yes.  On page 204 of the Advanced Owners manual for the camera, it discusses how to diable all operational sounds when recording videos.  See the following link for an online PDF copy of the manual in case you do not have access to one.  http://bit.ly/1oKJTCi