2 Years With a GH4

The GH4 first popped up on my radar when walking the CES 2014 convention floor. As I passed Panasonic's curved TVs and a Tesla for some reason, I spied what looked like a GH3 in a glass case. The Stamp in the top corner  told me that this was something new: "4K". 

 This is the first photo of the Gh4 I took the CES 2014 floor

This is the first photo of the Gh4 I took the CES 2014 floor

I quickly grabbed a Lumix rep to ask him about the camera, and he revealed that the Gh4 would not only be a 4K camera, but would have 10bit 422 out, and a 1080p max frame rate somewhere above 60p. Coming from a Canon DSLR centric world view of low budget cameras, this was unheard of. In March I put in my preorder for the camera and by May it was in my hand.

 Compared to the previous camera I had bought, the BMCC, the time from announcement to ship was amazing on the GH4

Compared to the previous camera I had bought, the BMCC, the time from announcement to ship was amazing on the GH4

 

After spending some time kitting it out and playing with it, the Gh4 became my favorite little low budget camera and cheap alternative for a lot of short films and corporate projects. Friend's short films, 48 hour film project entries, and my dad's panels at tech conventions were all shot on this camera. It flipped between cinema work, corporate work, and videography work so easily that I rarely used much else. Actually that's a lie, I used plenty of other cameras. Working as an OP or occasionally an AC, the choice isn't up to me, and when I did DP projects that had the Budget for an Epic or Alexa, you bet I went for it. But looking back at the projects I've shot since buying the GH4, about 50% were shot on this little Lumix. Some of those used the Atomos Shogun with it, and all were shot on Rokinon cine primes, but the thing that caught me mostly by surprise this year happened when I was cutting my 2016 reel. Out of 30 shots on my narrative reel, 25 of them were from the GH4! Since buying the camera, I had a Music Video shot on the Epic Dragon, shorts shot with the BMPC, C300, fs700 and Red Scarlet, and bunch of other projects that I was decently proud of. So is the GH4 really that good? Well a lot of my personal success with this camera came down to the project specifically. The "passion projects" got shot with the cheap camera, but they also ended up being the ones I worked hardest at. When you're not getting a big paycheck, you've got to get something else out of the project, so I guess I worked extra hard on the look and maybe tried a few things that payed off. My point is that the Gh4 has been punching above its weight for 2 straight years, and with the addition of things like Anamorphic modes and V-log, it makes you wonder why other low budget cameras don't have such a longevity. With NAB around the corner, I'm not hungry for a GH4 replacement like I am with other cameras that have been out for the same amount of time. The A7s has already seen a version 2 since it was announced, and the Blackmagic URSA has been sidestepped by the URSA mini... sort of.

All in all, i have to say that this little camera still impresses me as much as it did at launch.