A lucky select few of us at Videopro had the chance to get hands on with the new GH4 last week. This is not a full review, I just wanted to highlight a few standouts from our first few moments with the little beast.
It feels great to hold. Solid. Not too heavy. Buttons feel good to press. And nothing really seems flimsy, but at the same time something about it is every so slightly plastic-y. The menu system is pretty easy to get your head around (coming from a Canon DSLR user). There’s 5 custom function buttons I could find, so plenty of freedom to set it up however you like. My one niggle here was that the right side of the ‘control dial’ is set under the grippy part of the casing, making it hard to slide your thumb all the way around, but I’m sure you’d get used to it.
There are loads of different options when setting your focus mode both for stills and video. This really impressed me personally, and I can see plenty of advantages to most of them. Most importantly, one allows you to simply touch any combination of the 49 points on screen to set your focus points. It’s so easy to setup and works really well – lots of opportunity for creative control.
So, there’s a lot of hype about 4K on the GH4. As you’d probably know, you can record in 24, 25 or 30 fps UHD in camera and 24pfs in Cinema 4K (not 50 or 60 sadly), or output 4:2:2 10-bit 4K via the dual-link HD-SDI when using the professional interface. All the demo footage they showed us was displayed on a nice new Panasonic 4K LED and looked truly phenomenal. Most of it was outdoors in the sunlight but what low-light content they showed was good as well. The other thing that blew me away was the footage they showed us that was shot at 96fps (Full HD). Seriously solid slo-mo for those who can’t afford an NEX-FS700.
I hear you say, “what about the Sony A7S?”, and that was in the back of my mind the whole time too to be honest. It’s hard to say what I’d pick at this stage. Right now I’d probably go with the GH4 if your focus is video and A7S if more-so stills. But time will tell, really…
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