Recording 4K video in a relatively cheap and accessible way is still next to impossible. However, it was only a matter of time before cameras with this capability were made available to the average user, not just professionals. That’s just what Panasonic wants with the new Lumix GH4: taking 4K video recording into a beautiful mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses.
Besides the ability to record 4K video, you can do it in 3840 x 2160 QFHD (Quad Full High Definition) at 30 fps and 4096 x 2160 at 24 fps; the GH4 is superior in almost every way than its predecessor, the GH3, launched in 2012.
It features a new micro four thirds sensor with a 16 megapixel resolution, equaling the previous model, but Panasonic promises better picture quality. It also improves the processor, featuring a Venus 9 instead of a Venus 7. This means a faster system, particularly in regards to picture processing. Other improvements include a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 seconds and a burst mode of 12 fps. A new technology, called DFD (depth from defocus), promises better speeds. The downside is that this system only works with Panasonic lenses.
The sealing of the GH4 body is very similar to the GH3. What have really changed are the internal components. The OLED touchscreen now has a resolution of 1 million pixels. The display is OLED with a resolution of 2.36 million pixels, which equals the Panasonic GX7 and similar models from Sony and Olympus. Not bad.
However, the biggest improvement is its video recording capabilities. The addition of 4K video recording is the main attraction which Panasonic hopes will attract new users. To record 4K video with this camera, you will have two options. First, you can purchase the new Panasonic ultra fast 30-GB SD card that allows you to record 4K video, though it can affect the quality of the image. If you want the highest quality, the other option is to connect the computer to an external recorder. You can do it via HDMI to record 4:2:2 8-bit3 video, or you can connect it by using the Panasonic accessory (shown below), which is a kind of extra battery on steroids. With this accessory connected to an external recorder, the GH4 can record 4K 4:2:2 10-bit video. It is a more professional (and expensive) option, but offers better quality.
Undoubtedly, the Lumix GH4 is an excellent camera. In regards to photography, it will compete against various micro four thirds cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M1. Its price? Panasonic still has not confirmed it, but we’ll probably know within a weeks. Some rumors suggest it could cost less than 2000 EUR, but it would be too good to be true. It’ll likely cost around 2500 EUR, maybe a little more.