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GH4 as a picture camera
  • The GH4 is the first camera from the GH line up ( I got them all) and even the first mirrorless model ( I got the EM-1 and still have the Nikon1) that I would consider to replace my Nikon D800 for my paid job.

    GH3 was too weak on the vie

    wfinder and its pictures were missing something (compare to EM-1 or D800) to be pleasing out of the camera or after post processing.

    This Saturday, I took advantage of one class I was orginazing for my students in Shanghai (China) to do some shots with the GH4 I was doing high speed shoot workshop (Freezing water with Flash or High Shutter speed) and the GH4 did great.

    It is the first camera I am using, for that type of topic, able to take so many jpg+Raw continuous fast shots without filling up its buffer too quickly. Much better than any of my students camera (Olympus EM1, Nikon D800 and D7100, Canon 700D and 70D...).

    I used an Olympus 45mm f1.8 for that series of pictures (Manual focus)

    From the GH4, I like the lasting Battery (5 times more duration than the on in the EM-1), the comfortable viewfinder (size, sharpness, shape), the peaking assitance for MF and the overall ergonomy of the camera. I sold my EM-1 as I couldn't cop with its weird menu, its poor battery life and one important missing feature: A physical switch to quickly change focus mode. I get it on the GH4 at the exact right position.

    The EM-1 still produce more vivd and natural color, but I also like the signature of the GH4. Smoother, but great.

    Only one things is still not good enough is the Dynamic Range (or Contrat ratio) of the viewfinder which is too contrasty; highlight are too easilly overexposed in high contrast situation, which is not visually accurate and comfortable to use.

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  • 54 Replies sorted by
  • I'm not sure if GH4 can compete with D800 image quality wise. IMHO, GH4 is not even close...

  • @abolit Photography is a case by case situation. Impossible to generalize. This is better than this? For whom? For which purpose? I am not speaking about pixel peeping here, I am speaking about usability of a camera for taking pictures at high speed rate. I am a professional photographer since 28 years and I always worked with cameras to create pictures I can publish or share in my class, and more than pixel counts or Sensor size, I am interested in ergonomy, efficiency and potential creativity.

    I can do great shots with my FX, DX, M43, CX and compact cameras by using the strentgh of each type of camera, not by complaining about its potential weakness. please visit my website:

    D800 is great, but not for the kind of pictures I am posting here. The D800 is 4fps maximum while the GH4 can shoot 12fps, at least (as I am using MF). With 4fps you are missing lots of interesting shot as to fill up a glass with water only last a couple of second. I can take 8 pictures with the D800, while I am taking 24 with the GH4. Which on is better to get more chance ot have a great shot? The D800 stops after 20 or 25 shots, the GH4 can record 50 shots before to slow down and stop. To reach 1/4000s shutter speed at ISO100, I workd at f1.8 or f2. With the M43, I am having enough depth of field to record the splash, with the D800, I have to close down to f4, which means I have to increase the ISO to 400 to reach same shutter speed to freeze motion. Bigger is NOT always better. Here is a natural portrait I shot 6 years ago with a point and shoot camera. The guy didn't notice me because my camera was discreet and got a movable screen ( I didn't need to look straight to the person to shoot). This shot would not happen with a FX camera. Here are some Mixed sample, whatever format I am using. Portrait Train station (Canon A640, compact), black cat (A640, compact), street cat (D800, FX), Model at night (D90, DX), High Speed Bike (D200, DX), Sleeping guy in Black and white (Nikon1, CX), Kids in school (EM-1, M43), Round Building (GH3, M43).

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  • Have to agree. Owning GH1,2,3 and 4, the 4 finally feels like it can really compete with other pro cameras for still photography. Pro photographers I know have been impressed after handling the GH4 and seeing the results I have achieved. The speed of the camera- not just burst, but af, menu changes etc, all are wicked fast. DR also seems to have significantly improved over the previous GH cams.

  • @sam_rides_a_mtb You are perfectly right. The plasticy feel of the GH2 and the clunky sound of the shutter disapeared with the GH3 which was much higher standart already (much more expensive too), but the viewfinder of the GH3 was just so terrible, especially for shooting moving subjects in video with Manual lenses. The GH4 smartly kept a very similar layout but cured the main problem of the GH3 (viewfinder and peaking) and add some more feature and a fast reactive layout. I really hope that Panasonic is going to keep the shape and button position of the GH4 for next generation. And the same battery! Beside the GH series, I am using Nikon since 28 years for my job and a pro line up always try to preserve a similar ergonomy between generation to keep user quick to adapt themself to a new model. Panasonic is having this approach since the GH3/GH4 upgrade and this is also a step up to a more professional vision of a line up.

  • I've never used a real Pro camera, so I have no reference point there, but after using my new GH4 for a few days it is now easily, by far, by millions of miles the most organic, flexible, agile and intuitive camera I've ever used. (EOS500D, 1000D, Pana GX1, Nikon J1, 5200, 7000, Oly E-M1).

    The way everything flows makes it extremely pleasurable to shoot with.

    I was surprised at the number of spontaneous moments I captured with it, that I would have otherwise missed with most of the other listed cameras.

    The amount of control you get from having a light body that still fills your hand, almost instantaneous response to any command and Very fast and precise AF is extremely refreshing.

    Can't compare to super high end cameras as I haven't used any, but boy is this an insanely fun camera to shoot with.

  • @LunyAlex Your description say it all. GH4 is compact (compare to Nikon D7000 or D800) but still fill the hand. For another comparison, I do prefer to hold the GH4 all day long than the EM-1. The Olympus get this classic and metallic feel, but its design and shape is not as comfortable and efficient as the GH4's one. I organized a trip in June with 11 of my students in Yunnan China and I was carrying both GH3 and OMD EM-1. I shot more than 4000 pictures in a week and at the end of the trip I sold the EM-1. Battery life is terrible and this problem is in your mind all the time as you never know when the battery si going to suddenly turn the cam off. There is a useless lever on the EM-1 (as there is not the right function available for it) where you get the autofocus mode switch on the Gh3 (or GH4). Those details count in term of pleasure of use and efficienty. I did bunch of great shots with the EM-1 (which is a great camera overall), but I am more in tune with the GH3/GH4.

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  • I have some older Pentax manual lenses on my GH4 and they do a great job when I don't want the modern electronic corrections that the Panasonic lenses have. Overall the photo's from the GH4 have been very good. It is the best camera I have owned.

  • @caveport Ture, one of the good thing of cropped sensor mirrorless camera is the possibility to get an adaptater and to use whatever lens on the market, as soon as it gets an aperture ring. I am mostly using Old manual Nikon lenses (as I also use them on my D800), but I invested in Voigtlander, Pentacon and other M42 mount lenses. GH series always got this double personality; clinical look with lumix or Olympus lenses and more filmic look with old style lenses. And this is even more true with the GH4 as its image seems even sharper than previous model.

  • @eurocameraman Yes I agree with the double personality comment. It's a bonus, as I can get a nice organic look for video with Pentax lenses and grading in Resolve. When I use the Panasonic lenses I get auto focus, auto exposure and stabilisation which gives a modern video look which matches nicely with 'pro' video cameras on multi-camera shoots. For stills I can choose the lens that will work for the style of shoot. I even have a Pentax 35-70 zoom lens with macro that will fill the frame with a small coin! Yes it's a bit noisy at high ISO and dynamic range could be a bit better, but I am getting great results and that keeps me interested in refining my settings and pushing the limits.

  • @caveport You are right. Lumix (and Olympus) lenses line up is a perfect match for efficient photographic purpose.

    I have also something to tell about stabilization as, I might be against the mainstream opinion here, I didn't find any advantage with the Olympus EM-1 IBIS system.

    With the Olympus 45mm f1.8 or Lumix 20mm f1.7 (no in lens stabilization) , I had to turn of the IBIS system, as while shooting in low light condition (shutter speed as low as 1/4s or 1/8s handheld) I discovered that I got more blurred shot with the IBIS on than off.

    It seems that, on my camera, at least, I got vibration shock (shutter?) or something mechanical blurring my shot if the sensor were on IBIS feature.

    As soon as IBIS was off I got a sharp result again. If I had used longer lens at slightly higher shutter speed (out of mechanical vibration frequency) IBIS might also work for me, but I didn't get a chance to try. Overall, GH3 (and now GH4) are not lacking that feature for me. Working in Photography since 28 year

    s with many different type of camera and lenses, I never felt I needed to rely on this kind of things to get sharp shots at low shutter speed. (picture attached with Em-1 without IBIS, 20mm f1.7 @ f2, shutter speed 1/6s handheld)

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  • I've been shooting a lot lately with the GH4. I was at the point where I though I wanted more from my pictures so I started looking into the Fuji XT1 and Sony A7series. What I was wanting was that clarity and colour rendition you see in those larger FF cameras like the 5D etc but still in a compact mirror less form. I just couldnt seem to get that same look from the GH4, well I lie, I get it now and then, it just feels the hit rate is a lot lower. But after a lot of reading, the GH4 comes up to be the more capable and versatile camera in its price range at the moment. The Fuji XT1 with its amazing fuji look and iso performance drops the ball in the continuous focusing department and the A7series is $$, not so great on continuous focus and burst either. So for now, I've decided to sit on the GH4 till something better comes along. I now have my eye set on that 42.5mm lens which still isn't easy on the pocket either ha.

  • @MRfanny your say it all in your analysis and your choice is making a complete sens.

    I agree with you on the overall efficient package offered by the GH4 at that price point, even compared to FX system. For journalism, sport and travel it is a great package. a 150mm f2 (for sport) is missing.

    I am also working with a D800 and I am very pleased with the result too, but I am using it only for paid job and I prefer to get a much more compact and discreet system for my photo tour or my street photography session to be able to achieve candide portrait.

    The main advantage of the FX is to get a 24-70mm f2.8 zoom lens which is both flexible and able to deliver very shallow depth of field if needed. M43 doesn't have both.

    For example, the 12-35mm f2.8 or 35-100mm f2.8 for the GH4 does not offer the same look, and I need to use a fast prime lens (f1.4) on a m43 to achieve an equivalent shallow depth of field. This is the main limitation of M43 system, but I solved it by carrying 2 bodies (GH3 and GH4) with 2 prime lenses of different coverage.

    This is the way I was working 25 years ago (before zoom get good enough) and it is a pleasant way. Still my package is more compact and discreet than having a single FX with the 24-70mm f2.8. I also tested a Sony A7R during a night shooting session with my students.

    The A7R and a 35mm f1.4 Leica belonged to one of them and I liked the layout and the compactness. I am willing to try the A7s and to use it with adapted Manual lens the way I would use a classical camera. Here is a couple of shots I had done during that night shooting session.

    My first trial with the Sony A7R. GH4 could become my paid job camera and the A7s, the one I would carry to experiment.

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  • I've had my GH4 since the first preorder batch and I love it more every day. I do 50/50 photography and video and I don't think there's any one other camera that can do both to such an extent. High ISO noise can be overcome by manipulating lighting and planning shots. The DR seems more than adequate for my uses, and I carry reflectors and lights in my kits all the time for when the DR in a shot actually is too much for the camera to handle. But right when I think I might rather get an A7s, I'm always reminded how I will have to buy an external recorder if I want 4k resolution, how I can't use DX lenses, how horrible the menu navigation is, extremely slow photo burst modes, and how I lose an articulating LCD. It's too easy for people to shout at the top of their lungs "FULL FRAME" when it comes to the most important camera features they look for, but there really is so much more to it than that.

  • I find that I reach for it more than ever now for stills, and love it.


  • @IVIaverick52 100% agree with you.

    I bought the GH4 to shoot my video work, but discovering the result on my picture I really will consider to work with it for stills as well. Actually in term of DR, whatever camera I am using, I always meet a limit.

    For example, the 2 pictures from the A7R and pictures from the D800 I posted in this discussion, all needed a serious treatment of the raw file to not get the highlight burned out or the shadow crunched down in high contrast daylight or at night under artificial lighting.

    On Both the D800 and A7R I need to spend more post treatment to get the color I like while with the GH4 or the Nikon1 ( I am having a discussion about this gem), it comes out right straight out of the camera.

    The original shots from the GH4 (students shooting during my workshop) were taken in very high contrast situation and I was worrying seeing my composition through the viewfinder: highlight were totally burn out due to limited contrast ratio of the viewfinder, but when I opened the picture on my computer screen, everything was fine, nothing worst than my D800.

    And as you say, whatever camera you are using, you need good lighting to get good pictures. 25 years ago and for 10 years, I was working with film for publication and magazine loved saturated colors and details without grain.

    We had to use ISO50 (Velvia) and ISO100 (Provia) slide film whatever we were shooting and it was only in desparate situation that we were allowed to work with ISO400 or ISO800 films.

    Despite those limitations, I was able to shoot pictures of concert and theater play without flash. Nowadays, I rarely push my camera more than ISO1600.

    I always find a way to get a proper subject under enough light and I am working with bright lens, take care of my stability and my capacity to track motion to NOT be forced to push the ISO even shooting in the street at night.

    See my picture from my film time back from 1987 and later (all shot on slide and scanned with the GH4)).

    I also had a publication on CNNGo related to photography in Shanghai (first pix is from a compact camera)

    And for night shooting (shot with GH1)

  • If it's just still better option is GX7, use the same sensor as the GH4 and and save money. I have a NEX-5N and now the GX7 and I prefer GX7.

    So, you dont need much process colors. With the NEX and GH2 I needed much processed with LR, with GX7 occasional the RAW looks close to JPEG, especially in daylight shots.

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  • @Manu4Vendetta I would like to try the GX7 once. The think I like about the GH4 (compare to previous generation) is the comfortable viewfinder and the grip I get on the camera, especially while using heavier lenses (such as Voigtlander 25mm or 17.5mm, I dont get the 42.5 yet).

    But it is true that as a traveling option with more compact lenses (such as the 14mm f2.5, 20mm f1.7 and 45mm f1.8), it make sens to get a more compact camera.

    May be the GX7 is too close to the GH4 in term of size, and if I wanted to carry a compact camera, I might check the GM5 but it looks like an overpriced product while the GX7 has the benefit of huge discount nowadays.

    For sure, the GX7 is a very interesting option. And what you are saying about colors, I get excatly the same feeling with the GH4 compare to my D800 (Sony Sensor) or the previous generation of GH. I don't need to work on post to get natural and saturated colors. D800 is a real pain in that concern, especially for skin color.

    Here is one of the numerous shot I had done for a Coach recrutement program in China. I had to work a lot to get the right skin color out of the D800 and to make "average" working people look great.

    Funny things is I am using a Nikon1 V1 as a "point and shoot" option (Alpina Sensor) and the color are great out of the box, they have this Nikon feel.

    You can see my other post concerning that little gem here:

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  • I even always used my GH2 for photography. Did some really nice shots with it and I am using the GH4 for all my photography right now. I had been thinking to get a A7 or Fuji too, but chose for the GH4 in the end, mainly because I am also doing a lot of video.

    If you are interested in my photos, please check

    I also used alot of legacy lenses with my GH2 in the past, especially for night photography once can get some nice cinematic shots.

  • @albertdros Thanks for the link and for sharing your experience. True that I did also lots of picture with GH1 and GH2, even I mainly used them for video, and I also get my most interesting shots with C-mount lenses, M42 or Nikon Lenses with adaptors.

    I had never be a big fan of the Lumix lenses, except the 20mm f1.7. I never tried the 25mm f1.4, but at its size and price point, it doesn't make sens to me as I am having other alternative.

    I would say that 25% of my use of GH1 and GH2 were photo and the GH3 raised it to 35% and the GH4 is going to reach the 50%, not because I am doing less video with it, but because I am doing more pictures with it, leaving my D800 at home.

    Here are 2 pictures of my students I shot with the GH2 during a night shooting workshop I organized (20mm f1.7). And also a frame grab from a video I had shot with the GH1 and a old Pentacon 50mm f1.8 (M42 mount lens).

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  • Just thought I would add that I use my GH4 for real estate photography everyday with the Panasonic 7-14mm lens. Although I'm the only one using Panasonic and everyone else is on Canon/Nikon gear, both agents and clients are blown away with the results.

    I use the Panasonic iOS app as a remote trigger a lot too for when I need to be out of frame or avoid a mirror.

  • @eurocameraman haha I also have that pentacon lens, along with the old russian helion lens. Really good value for their prices imo. They cost almost nothing and are really sharp

  • @dial You see, I am still too new with the GH4, and I might be too old school, but you get another good point concerning this camera for shooting with a smart phone as a remote control. I have to seriously invest more time to orgaize my professional photography work around the GH4.

    By the way, the 7-14mm f4 is a great zoom along the 12-35mm f2.8. I also invested in the 35-100mm f2.8, but I am not seduced by the result.

    Not enough separation between subject and background. Needed a f2 aperture or a longer throw to achieve that on a M43 camera. If I like the convenience of the 2 wider zoom, I prefer to get prime lens on the longer side.

    Actually, I am using a Nikon 85mm f1.4D (which is greatly discounted new nowadays) with a speedbooster and I am delighted by the result. I also use a Nikon 105mm f2.5, but of course, all is manual, which is not a big deal on a longer lens as the field of view is narrow and you get plenty of details on your subject to hit the focus.

  • @albertdros I have both too, but I especially like the Pentacon as it is a light weight lens with a minimum focus distance of 0.35m, this is great for a 50mm lens. By the way, in another comment, I mentioned the 35-100mm f2.8. It's minimum focus distance keeps me too far from my subject. the 12-35mm @ 35mm is much better in this regard.

  • Here are some shots with the GH4 and different lenses: 12-35mm f2.8 and 35-100mm f2.8. In a previous post, I wrote that I was not so satisfied with the 35-100mm f2.8, But in this lighting situation it came out good as there is more option with strong contrast to separate the subject from the background than shallow depth of field. I did those shot during a street photography session I organized for my students in old area of Shanghai taking advantage of the Autumn light and colors.

    You can see more on my website.

    I will post more later on

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