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Author Topic: Panasonic's GH4 Has Nothing to Fear  (Read 15061 times)
michael
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« on: April 06, 2014, 05:16:36 PM »
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So Sony has revealed the A7s, their latest Alpha series camera (or is it really a NEX?).

In any event, for still photographers it has a 12 Megapixel sensor with sensitivity to north of ISO 409,000.  That's actually quite remarkable, and I have no doubt that image quality will be stunning.

But for video aficionados the big news was that it records 4K. Yes, but not to an internal card; only to an external third party recorder (which don't actually exists yet, though a few will likely be announced at NAB this coming week). Also, the Sony's HDMI output is only 8 bit 4:2:2, while the GH4's is 10 bit 4:2:2.

Sorry Sony, but that just doesn't cut it. Even if the Panasonic GH4 wasn't shipping in less than 3 weeks, not recording 4K internally is an also-ran response to the competition. And, given that the A7s hasn't yet been given a release date or price, leads one to surmise that it's a rushed response to Panasonic's latest camera.

Sorry Sony, but unless there's something that you havn't yet told us, from a video perspective the A7s just doesn't cut it.

Michael
« Last Edit: April 06, 2014, 05:33:02 PM by michael » Logged
billy
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2014, 05:19:28 PM »
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Ya I am underwhelmed so far. But if it has 14 stops of DR and great AF during video then I might be into it.
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michael
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2014, 05:37:01 PM »
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14 stops of DR?

I haven't seen that spec. It has 14 bit raw output for stills, but that's something else entirely, and not uncommon in quality stills cameras.

Michael
 
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Vladimirovich
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2014, 08:04:24 PM »
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Sony 50 Mbps and Panasonic 50 (2K, 4K), 100 (2K, 4K), 200 (2K) Mbps... am I missing something ?
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michael
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2014, 08:19:36 PM »
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No, but Sony seems to be.

Michael
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billy
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2014, 11:04:07 PM »
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14 stops of DR?

I haven't seen that spec. It has 14 bit raw output for stills, but that's something else entirely, and not uncommon in quality stills cameras.

Michael
 
I just presumed it would have great DR like the Sony a7 and a7r, and that since it was optimized for video that the great DR of the stills would carry over to video. Just hoping, not theorizing.
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2014, 03:25:35 AM »
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14 stops of DR?

I haven't seen that spec. It has 14 bit raw output for stills, but that's something else entirely, and not uncommon in quality stills cameras.
If the sensor is 14 stops and video reads out (practically) the entire sensor at full spec, one might assume that the number of "stops of DR" in video files is mostly a matter of the applied gamma slope (or, if any, tonemapping)?

I can see that having 10-bit luma would come in handy in some cases. I don't understand why video people are so eager for >4:2:0 and very high bitrates for "general" use. It reminds me of still-image-people always saving their JPEGs at "100% quality", when the flexibility gains that they are presumably after was lost the minute the raw file was developed _for_ jpeg, no matter the quantization level.

-h
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bcooter
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2014, 04:11:25 AM »
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No, but Sony seems to be.

Michael

I guess I should thank Sony for saving me some money, or maybe they cost me money, depends on your perspective.

I don't understand that company.   Other than the ability to shoot 4k eventually, the A7s has less specs than the gh3, much less the gh4.  50mbs, avchd2, vs. the gh3s 70 mbs in all intra.

for some reason they forgot it was mirrorless and didn't cover the whole frame with focus points and as usual with Sony, the 4k capability is tbd.

Now what they miss for studios like ours that shoots parallel productions is how many cameras the A7 series could have replaced.

If the two still cameras had better track focusing, covered the full frame they would have covered my Olympus for stills and my Canon 1dx series.   If the video A7s had the specs they also would have covered my Panasonic gh3s soon to be gh4's.

So instead of two large cases I would just have one.

Sometimes I think Sony looks at the competition, knows how to beat them then goes naw, if we do that we can't sell the next A7 as quickly.

They really need to take a look at panasonic.  The gh3, gh4 aren't perfect and it's not the most unique looking industrial design on the planet, but if you've used a gh3 you get the feeling that Panasonic gave it all they could for the price point.  In fact they gave it more than anyone, with an interface that is one of the most intuitive made, rivaling analog cameras.

So Sony thanks . . . or maybe not.

IMO

BC
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2014, 05:16:21 AM »
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I am a bit surprised that they don't do 4k raw/"raw"/insane bitrates internally. Obviously, some outspoken people crave it. Raw files are the norm for still-images. I am confident that every step from the ADC and onwards could be solved by clever digital tech. I am not as confident in my understanding of image sensors and analog circuitry, but when you can do 4k through HDMI out, then the analog part should also work for internal storage. Even Sonys own Z2 cell-phone does 4k@30fps (no doubt at a compromise in quality, but still...).

So is the A7s for reduced cost professional video that would otherwise use VDSLR or Vm43? Or is it for "soccer-dads" with a new Sony 4k tv and (too) little content? I don't see the latter purchasing costly external storage, but then they are perhaps satisfied that their camera has a "4k compatible" sticker?

Personally, I won't touch 4k until I can have 60fps. But then, I am a "soccer dad" in this context.

-h
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 05:21:06 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
MatthewCromer
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2014, 08:29:39 AM »
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The A7s is a full-frame sensor that reads almost the entire frame for video (a slight crop for 16:9, and a slight crop for stabilization) with no line-skipping. It has access to practically all of the full-frame lenses in the world for video use.

The GH4 is a slight crop of a micro 4/3 sensor, that does use line-skipping. About 1/4 the area. It too can use FF lenses, but at a 2x equivalence.

The A7s should have world-class dynamic range and sensitivity for videoing in the dark.
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michael
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2014, 08:58:41 AM »
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The GH4 is a slight crop of a micro 4/3 sensor, that does use line-skipping...


That is factually incorrect. The Gh4 does not do line skipping. Like the A7s it reads the full sensor.

I would also add, that while some people find full-frame-stills 35mm format appealing for video, it is in fact closer to Vistavision in terms depth of field. The GH4's MFT, on the other hand, is closer to Academy cine 35mm. Film makers will be more familiar with the characteristics of these focal lengths, and also S35 lenses fit with full coverage. There are few actual cine lenses available that can cover 35mm frame width. Canon and Nikon FF still lenses can, of course, but are mechanically not ideal for film production.

In the end, and in the real world, the shallower DOF of the full-frame stills format is hugely challenging for film makers. And while the smaller camera sizes are valued for location shooting, many DOPs complain that they then need to add more light to be able to stop down enough to get manageable DOF. Shallow DOF is a two edged sword.

Michael




Michael
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 09:13:23 AM by michael » Logged
Vladimirovich
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2014, 09:51:25 AM »
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That is factually incorrect. The Gh4 does not do line skipping. Like the A7s it reads the full sensor.
GH4 sensor is capable to do 16mp (full 16mp sensor readout, all 16mp sensels) in 10bit (that's what ADCs on die do in such mode) resolution (and that is what goes out HDMI, 10bit... Sony does output 8bit) @ 22.5fps... 4K does not require 16mp naturally... now whether GH4 does line skipping in 4K mode (like skips every 3rd line ? that will be very odd) I do not know... I 'd assume it just does readout full cental part of the sensor that forms 4K image w/o any line skipping.

here are the official Panasonic sensor specs = http://www.semicon.panasonic.co.jp/ds8/c3/IS00006AE.pdf

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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2014, 10:09:29 AM »
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GH4 sensor is capable to do 16mp (full 16mp sensor readout, all 16mp sensels) in 10bit (that's what ADCs on die do in such mode) resolution (and that is what goes out HDMI, 10bit... Sony does output 8bit) @ 22.5fps... 4K does not require 16mp naturally... now whether GH4 does line skipping in 4K mode (like skips every 3rd line ? that will be very odd) I do not know... I 'd assume it just does readout full cental part of the sensor that forms 4K image w/o any line skipping.

here are the official Panasonic sensor specs = http://www.semicon.panasonic.co.jp/ds8/c3/IS00006AE.pdf


Sorry Michael, looks like I was wrong about line skipping. Bad assumption guessing how Panasonic turns their 16 MP sensor into 8MP video.
 
I did more reading, from what I have been able to gather apparently both the Sony and the Panasonic crop the central area to generate 4K video (the A7s reads about 2/3 of the sensor area, the GH4 about 1/2 the sensor area).

I think the total video crop ends up being 1.15x for the Sony and 2.3x for the Panasonic (versus 35mm full frame).
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 10:16:04 AM by MatthewCromer » Logged
Michael Erlewine
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2014, 10:30:35 AM »
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I won't name names, but in a private phone conversation with one company who has or had access to a GH4 (because they are producing something that will work with that camera), he explained that his techs tested and determined that the dynamic range of the GH4 was not what it should be. They were underwhelmed by the DR and he suggested I might well look for something else if that was important.

On another issue, those of us who want 10-bit ProRes, etc. are used to using off-board recorders to get it. No big deal.

My own hunch is that these larger photosites in the A7s will be a big deal and actually work. I come from a still camera background (Nikon systems) and noted that there was quite a lot of discussion that the Nikon D3 camera had larger photosites than the D3s, and that it made a real difference. This leads me to believe that Sony knows what they are doing to get us a flexible 1080p image. Instead of offering us 10-bit, they are offering us larger photosites, which will bring us something equivalent and special in its own way. I really look forward to seeing if this works.

The A7r is obviously a video camera for the most part, not a still camera.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 10:40:42 AM by Michael Erlewine » Logged

Michael Erlewine
Founder: MacroStop.com, AMG - All-Movie Guide, All-Music Guide, All-Game Guide, Matrix Software, Classic Posters, ClassicPosters.com, SpiritGrooves.net, and other sites.
Vladimirovich
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2014, 10:43:53 AM »
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the Nikon D3 camera had larger photosites than the D3s
12mp D3 vs 12mp D3s and different sensel sizes ? really ? not D3x ? not better ADC off die, different CFAs, different microlenses, etc, etc - but different sensel sizes in silicone under CFA ? ... and prooflink is where ?
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Michael Erlewine
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2014, 10:50:17 AM »
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I may remember wrong, and I don't have a link to share with you. But there were a lot of discussions as to the value of the D3 sensor having larger whatever you want to call them, and yes the D3x also was criticized in the same fashion.
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Michael Erlewine
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2014, 02:15:15 PM »
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Sony reminds me of those Dr. Evil skits where he puts his pinky in his mouth and say  "ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!!.

You can just see the sony guys during a product video saying "Four K possible", and the trade press says, yea we've had that for years.   Then they say "Small Form Factor"  and the press goes, yea Panasonic already has that,  The "Autofocus?"   Yep panasonic covers the whole sensor with tracking, "Lenses?"  Uh yea they have olympus, Panasonic, Pansonic Leicas and manual focus Voights that go to f .95 . . but do you have touch screen focus and controls, a smaller xlr box for large hdmi support and can we preorder now?

Then Sony says but, but you can order it at our cool dedicated Apple like stores and someone in the back says, didn't you close all of those?

Mini Me turns off the live feed.

IMO

BC
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2014, 02:30:43 PM »
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Quote
Sony reminds me of those Dr. Evil skits where he puts his pinky in his mouth and say  "ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!!.

It all depends on whether you want / need 2/3 of a FF sensor for video or a half of a micro 4/3 sensor.
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bcooter
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2014, 03:15:03 PM »
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It all depends on whether you want / need 2/3 of a FF sensor for video or a half of a micro 4/3 sensor.

The pansonic isn't realy half size of 4/3 at 4k it's the same width just not the same height.

Anyway since you asked.


Ok in all seriousness I want it all.

Or better put, I want the electronic camera companies (all of them) to stop fooling around.

1.   Touch screen focus like the gh3, tracking focus that covers the full frame without hunting like the gh3/ gh4.

2.   In camera stabilization like the olympus em-1

3.   xlr inputs with a good preamp, and a module like the panasonic that does conversion to dng and proress, without having to add another $4,000 box.

4.   All active lens mounts.   Every dslr autofocus lens with an active adapter.

5.  higher sensitivity that is above 1200, though I'll never need 400,000 iso.

6.  A dslr form factor where you can put your eyes to the viewfinder, not stand back and view and lcd.

7.  A base mirrorless camera and lens system that even with a separate body will track focus, tether and shoot detailed stills as well as a Canon 1dx.

8.  An approved list of kit, something like RED where everything from matteboxes, cables, in and out boxes, are either offered or approved.

9.  Built in NDs.

10. Fast lenses.  None of this 2.8 stuff or f4 in fact everything in T stops so we know that nobody is fooling with us.

11. An upgradable sensor.   I'm tired of tossing 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 grand cameras because somebody comes out with a new sensor.

12. Variable crops in the viewfinder.   Not red lines, no custom tape, but wysiwyg.  16x9 (though not my favorite format) should be the standard at all frame rates, from 120 to 24, because 16x9 is the standard for the web where 99% get's played.

13.  4 channel, pre amped sound with (drum roll please) wireless mic reception on 4 frequencies.  I'm tired of hanging stuff off the rig.  This can be an add on adapter, but make it work with standard Seinhauser transmitters.  I'm sure Seinhauser would step on board in a minute.

14.  wireless HD out for HDMI client viewing.  None of this ipad stuff that has a flaky wifi system, but real radio transmitter 2k out.

15.  If your panasonic, or sony, make monitors dedicated for this (see #14).  Jeez your trying to sell tv's make some production monitors that run of vlock, or anton bauer, are wireless and mount or handhold easily.

16.  Once again, an approved list of third party rails, dovetails, arms, mounts.  (see RED).    I have cases of 15mm and 19mm rods and fittings that never seem to fit anything new, without buying more stuff that won't fit anything new in a year.

17.  A standard dnx, proress or dng format with approved video cards for color grading.    Walk into adobe, or someone and redesign a coloring plug in that works on a suite in the NLE timeline.    No round tripping, no transcoding, no spinning wheels and graphic cards that will work with thunderbolt macs and don't require an 8x lane.  I don't know how to do this but maybe 2 4x in a box, but something that speeds up grading and is more intuitive.

19. Most importantly a film like look.   See RED and Arri.   None of this over smooth 5d3 look or clumpy noise in the shadows.   

20.  All lenses should have the same front diameter to make lens changes fast.

21.  FAST long lenses.    We don't use them everyday, but a long lens gives huge importance to a piece, so how about a 200, 300, 400 and 600mm equivalent at f 2.8 constant. 

22.  Charge me for it.  I don't expect everyone to have the same needs but as the needs change, so do the modules.   I'm amazed that if I trick out a 5d3 or an gh3/4 I spend twice the money of "stuff" than I do on the camera.   I thought the camera industry was in the dumpster, so partner with someone, turn a profit and get it on the shelfs.

23.  Forget #19 being most important.  Most important is have the basics on the shelf the moment you announce.   Stop this let's announce something so the other guys don't get a sale and don't expect your users to be your beta testers.

24.  Keep the camera lightweight.   A dslr form factor that you build up and can't see through the viewfinder is silly.  Make it tall, not long, like a big motor drive on the bottom.

A smaller form factor makes everything cost less, work faster, gives you more time to create. 

IMO
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2014, 03:49:28 PM »
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The pansonic isn't realy half size of 4/3 at 4k it's the same width just not the same height.

The GH4 sensor is 16MP, only half the pixels are used by 4K (8-9MP depending on which flavor of 4K you are recording).

The A7s sensor is 12MP, only 2/3 of the pixels are used by 4K video (8MP on the flavor of 4K Sony supports).

Part of the reason for the crop is the change of aspect ratio from 4:3 or 3:2 to 16:9 or wider.
Part of the reason is to support stabilization, at least on the A7s.

The rest of your list is some good ideas...
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 03:51:17 PM by MatthewCromer » Logged
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