Sunday, May 25, 2014

Does The GH4 Hold up?

It's been about a month since the release of the GH4. While I still await the review from EOSHD, I think it safe to say that the GH4 mostly lives up to the hype. ISO performance is very good, resolution is excellent, color is good, and on and on.

I am disappointed that the increase in sensor read speed is countered by the increase in resolution, meaning that rolling shutter is actually worse than the old GH3. As such, the GH4 is pretty much useless for high-speed action shots.

It's interesting to note that sensors are "clocked" in much the same that computer CPUs are clocked. You can set a sensor to run slower or faster. Setting it faster uses more power and generates more heat, which is where design concessions come into play.

I suppose, then, that a dream feature would be the ability to add a cooling fan and "overclock" the sensor, thus reducing rolling shutter. Panasonic wanted to keep the camera usable for stills, though, and hardware like that would make the camera look more like something that Blackmagic might design.

Most importantly, unlike the GH3, which was loaded with artificial crippling, the GH4 is truly limited by the hardware. This is important, because it means that Panasonic has genuinely made the best product they could for the price. This is not an arrogant product.

Panasonic should be concerned, though, because they also have their X lenses, which are arrogant products. The 42.5mm lens is laughable for its price. And seeing how popular the GH4 already is, the nearly complete lack of people using it with Panasonic lenses is rather conspicuous. Granted, most people talking about the camera online are talking about it as regards video, but still; you would expect at least a few people to be using Panasonic lenses. Instead, everyone is using Sigma and/or old Olympus 4/3 lenses.

The Micro 4/3 industry is still, sadly, very small. Outside of Japan it is being left behind by both Sony and Fuji in terms of interest and mind-share. As I've laid out in my writings, this is entirely the fault of Panasonic and Olympus. Their sheer, unmitigated stupidity has stunted the growth of a camera system that should have taken the world by storm.

I hope that the GH4 succeeds. I think that it will succeed. But Panasonic will have to bring their A-game in a big way for the holiday season. They need far more than one camera; they need well-priced glass, and lots of it.

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