Panasonic’s GH4: this changes everything – again

4K cameras

Panasonic GH4
The new 4K, Panasonic Lumix GH4. Picture: Panasonic

Not without limits

Of course, the GH4 has its drawbacks; we will look at these in more depth in an upcoming review of the camera. But it is only fair to point out that this is not a camera for everyone.

The Micro Four Thirds sensor is not going to give the same shallow depth of field as a full-frame or Super35mm camcorder. There are some very fast lenses for M43, but these tend to be costly, and most are manual focus primes. The Micro Four Thirds format does not produce quite the same cinematic “look” as full frame, and nor is it as good in low light.

The Micro Four Thirds sensor is not going to give the same shallow depth of field as a full-frame or Super35mm camcorder

Nor is the lens choice as good, at least for video, as on other systems.

Micro Four Thirds lacks an equivalent to the Canon 28-105 f4L, a deservedly popular lens with EOS 5D or C300 users. The choice of fast, pro zooms is limited – currently to a pair of Panasonic f2.8 zooms – although Olympus has announced plans to produce some new glass next year.

Above all, for video users, there is a real lack of power zoom lenses (and there is no power zoom rocker on the GH4). There is only the tiny, Panasonic 14-42mm X power zoom. This is a good lens within its limitations, but no real match for the Sony E Mount system, which offers a range of power zooms for both the compact system cameras and the FS-100 and FS-700; there will also be a power zoom for the a7 range.

And the GH4 does not have neutral density filters. This is an annoyance – although one by no means limited to the Panasonic. Although it is easy enough to overcome this drawback, it seems strange that Panasonic went to the trouble of designing the YAGH interface and neglected to add in NDs. Sony have managed NDs with its RX10 bridge camera – so it can be done.

Are these enough to stop the GH4 from revolutionising our industry once again?