Panasonic GH4 and Sony FDR AX100 Comparison in 4K: Bright, Contrasty Light, Locked Down

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
LingoDingo
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Re: Panasonic GH4 and Sony FDR AX100 Comparison in 4K: Bright, Contrasty Light, Locked Down
In reply to Markr041, 6 months ago

Markr041 wrote:

Let's be very clear here. This thread is not about what I choose to do or you choose to do when shooting video. It is about the value of posting graded videos to demonstrate camera capabilities.

But it's only your version of camera capabilities. Give the same camera to a different shooter and the in-camera results would likely be different that what you produced. There is no "one standard" with cameras like the GH4 because of the amount of in-camera controls available, so the results are very dependent decisions made by the operator.

You asked me to shoot flat and post a graded video. I said that was not very useful, as it would add many more variables over and above what the camera can do.

Actually it would utilize some of the more sophisticated features of the camera, and introduce more options with how the footage was treated in post. This is how many people are going to use this camera, especially for high production value work. They will likely never use the camera's default or standard settings.

What is the camera's fault and the editor's fault cannot be identified in that case. It can be misleading.

I don't think you can truly be sure of what's the camera's fault when looking at in-camera footage as you can never be sure about the decisions the operator made while shooting. I've seen many camera tests ruined because the operator did not fully understand the camera controls, or accidentally overlooked a key camera control.

One of the early GH4 comparisons (it was the music video with two young musicians playing ) was rendered useless because the operator under-exposed the GH4 footage by more than a full F-stop. ( it also appeared that they did not comprehend all of the GH4 camera settings )

I see these sort of mistakes made all the time, especially with audio tests where the tester does not understand the concept of audio noise-floor, how to properly set microphone gain, or even how to place the microphones when recording. The results from these tests are of no value at all.

For a still scene as in the above video, other than getting the exposure correct by me (the autoexposure on the GH4 is almost useless), you are seeing what the camera can do at its default settings.

In over 10 years of shooting professionally and working with lots of non-professionals on Indie projects, I have never met anyone that actually used the default camera settings to shoot anything.

I remember when the Panasonic AF100 camera first appeared on the market, and most people absolutely hated the results from this camera because Panasonic's default settings were absolutely horrible. The AF100 looked like a piece of junk, until somebody with a brain came up with settings that Panasonic should have used from the start, and suddenly this horrible camera was producing amazing results.

I had the same experience when I first bought my Panasonic DVX100B and Panasonic HMC150 cameras, because the default camera settings were truly awful. The DvxUser website had huge number of camera threads dedicated to camera setting "recipes" when these cameras first came out, as people learned the true power of the cameras they owned, with the bottom line being to never ever shoot with the default camera settings because they produced inferior results.

And let's also be clear, I have graded video from RAW, so I am not cutting off any nose, yours or mine.

I don't doubt your skills, from what I've seen you appear to be quite an experienced shooter, but you are limiting the performance of the camera by not allowing for settings that require some post-processing to complete. This is how most of us are going to use the GH4 camera.

The famous Philip Bloom is a downright awful grader (as he admits somewhat), and the videos he posted from RAW are terrible. They say nothing good about the camera or the capability of RAW.

Ha! Yes, Philip's many talents do not include professional level image grading. ( I am good with the basics, but am probably no better than Philip once you get into the "artistic" realm of grading )

Again, I agree with you that a major advantage of the GH4 over the AX100 is that you can do a great deal of post-processing that might result in better than what the camera can produce.

I take it both ways. It's an advantage of the GH4 in some situations, but it will require a deep understanding of the camera settings. Where the AX100 has the advantage of being able to turn it on and just start shooting, without having to wrack your brain over dozens of possible image settings.

I still shoot some things with a Panasonic X920 camera because it's great for this type of instant video shooting, and I plan on buying another prosumer ENG camera later this year as a go-between the X920 and the GH4 camera. Something like the new PX270 might be a good fit, as it has some of the advantages of both of these cameras. ( i.e. the better image quality and color of a GHx camera matched with the speed and grace of a long parfocal ENG zoom lens )

I understand why you chose default settings when you shot ( you could spend all day covering everything that both cameras are capable of doing ), but I do think the Panasonic "Cine D" setting and the image-controls that go with it are definitely worth investigating further.

...I've noticed with some GH4 tests that the GH4 can often match much higher priced professional cameras with the right settings, and some shooters are calling this "grading" in-camera, as most of this cannot be fixed in post because of the limitations of the 8-bit 4:2:0 in-camera recording format.

I thought that in-camera "grading" was a weird concept the first time I heard of it, but it's made total sense the more I thought about it. Just a different perspective on how to use your camera settings to achieve maximum performance from the camera.

Cheers!

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