NAB 2014: A First Look at Panasonic's GH4

with Rob Garrott
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NAB 2014: A First Look at Panasonic's GH4
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For filmmakers, 2014 was an incredible year to attend the NAB Show. The exhibit floor was packed full of new gear and technology for creating video. One of the most exciting introductions was the Panasonic GH4: a 4K video-capable micro four-thirds camera specifically targeted at filmmakers. Get a sneak peek at this fantastic new camera as we interview Panasonic's Matt Fraser, straight from the show floor. He talks about the camera's coolest features, including 10-bit 4K output over HDMI and 96 fps slow-motion recording.

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Panasonic GH4 Intro

- [Voiceover] The 2014 NAB show was full of incredible new gear and technology for creating video. One of the most important introductions was the Panasonic GH4, a Micro Four Thirds camera with a set of features directly targeted at video content creators and filmmakers. In this video from the show floor, Matt Frazer from Panasonic shows us what makes the GH4 a powerful tool for capturing video. - GH4 is our latest Micro Four Thirds sensored camera, so, for those of you who are not familiar with the Micro Four Thirds Standard, this sensor here is a quarter the size of a 35mm photographic camera.

So, this is a quarter of the size of a 5D Mark III sensor. The benefits of us using this sensor are that, for one, I get very small lenses. This an F1.7 lens. It's the equivalent field of view of a 30mm lens, 'cause we use a 2x crop factor. So, what you have is a lens that on the top, says that it's 15mm, but, in practice, it has the effective field of view of a 30mm lens on a Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D.

So, you get a really small lens that's very bright, and all of our lenses are incredibly compact on the Micro Four Thirds Standard. There's other benefits as well. The system is mirrorless, so it does not have the mirror, doesn't have a pentaprism, and, so this allows us to make a much narrower flange back distance. That means that I only have a 19.5mm flange back. Typical SLRs, they would have 40mm of flange. The reason that this is a benefit for our system is that, I can adapt other lenses to this very easily. So the sensors Micro Four Thirds are smaller, which means, if I want to use a PL lens, I can go ahead and put a PL adapter onto this camera, and then add my PL glass to it, and, because the sensor is slightly smaller than what a Super 35 Sensor would be, I have the entire sensor within the field of view of the lens.

But, let's say you're a Nikon shooter, and you want to use your Nikon glass. Well, obviously we can go ahead and add a Nikon adapter. We can add Canon adapters. We can add just about any lens adapter that's greater than 19.5mm away from the sensor, we can add those lenses. But there's a few things to consider. So, let's say you're a Nikon shooter, and you want to use your Nikon glass. There are different flavors of adapters that are available. You could buy an adapter that has an aperture control. If you're using newer Nikon lenses that don't have aperture controls on the lens.

Or, you can buy a Nikon adapter made by a company called Metabones, that has something called a speed booster function. Speed booster function gives you a full stop more light gathering capability, so if use an F28 lens, it's now an F20, and on top of that, it actually gives you a wider field of view. So, it really, frankly on this camera, with a Nikon lens and a speed booster, it will approximate the same field of view that you'd expect from a Super 35 Sensor. So, you really get a cinematic field of view with that Nikon lens. If you're going to try to do Canon, Canon has an interesting control system to control the aperture of the lens.

It requires an electrical coupling to control the aperture. So, companies like Red Rock make an adapter that you can connect to our camera, then you would connect the Canon lens to it, and, on the side of the adapter, you would see controls for aperture. And, it will tell you the aperture settings on the lens. If you're looking for a less expensive solution, there are companies that make adapters that have an aperture inside the adapter, that has about 20 blades of aperture blades. So, that gives you a more rounded aperture, so then you can adjust it, and you'll get a little more rounded boca in the background.

So, the point is, you have solutions if you want to use your own Canon lens and use its aperture control, you can do that with Red Rock. If you don't care what the aperture value is on the lens, you're just looking for a specific look, you can use adapters from other companies. And then, obviously, you can use our glass as well. And, it fits natively. Or you can Olympus glass, and it fits natively, as well. We have over 35 different lenses between Panasonic, Olympus, and all the other third parties that are making lenses now, including glass I've seen as bright as F0.79, that is Micro Four Thirds native, so you can get some incredibly shallow depth of field with this system.

And it's not going to break the bank. You know, I've seen lenses like a 45mm F0.95 that you get for under $1500 for this system. So, they're terrific for somebody whose wanting to get that cinematic look without having to pay the cinematic price.

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