Back To Listings RSS Print

First look: Panasonic Lumix GH4 4K camera with YAGH

The GH4 does 4K, has a full 4:2:2/10-bit HDMI output

By Allan Tépper | February 09, 2014

Thanks to reader René Borroto, I became aware of Panasonic’s announcement of the new GH4 camera and its optional YAGH “broadcast” adapter. The GH4 camera adds 4K video recording, additional framerates, and lower compression rates. The YAGH adds XLR audio inputs, timecode inputs, HDMI & 3G-SDI output. Details ahead, plus UPDATED with test footage.

Quick history of the GH4’s recent predecessors

The GH2 and GH3 gradually improved video performance, primarily for internal video recording. Both also initially promised a clean HDMI output for recording externally with higher quality. However, they both unfortunately fell short in that department. Although after a firmware update and some unusual menu settings (as I covered in this article from April 2013), the GH3 was made compatible with external 4:2:2 recorders, unfortunately it became clear that the HDMI output was at least partially post-compression, and therefore wasn’t a truly 4:2:2 signal, so recording externally only offered partial benefits, especially for people who still edit with legacy editing programs that don’t deal with long GOP H.264 well.

The GH4: more extreme video options than ever GH before

Like prior GH models, the GH4 continues to have a Micro Four Thirds mount, which means that Micro Four Third lenses you may already own for a prior GH or Blackmagic camera will fit. Panasonic now specifically promises true 4:2:2/10-bit output via micro HDMI, although if you want that, then internal recording is not available simultaneously. If you choose to record internally, then it continues to be 8-bit internal, but with much lower compression possibilities than ever before. The GH4 offers many more spatial (pixels) resolution up to 4K, as well as many more temporal resolution options (framerate) than ever before, including 23.976p, 24.000p , 25p, 29.97p, 50p, and 59.94p, and it offers VFR (Variable Frame Rates) for slow, fast, or time lapse/stop-motion animation:

Beyond High Definition

MOV
4096 x 2160p / 24.000 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 23.976 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 24.000 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 25 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 29.97 fps (100Mbps)


MP4
4096 x 2160p / 24.000 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 23.976 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 24.000 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 25 fps (100Mbps)
3840 x 2160p / 29.97 fps (100Mbps)

High Definition 1080p

MOV
1920 x 1080p / 23.976 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 24.000 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 25 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 29.97 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 50 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (200Mbps)

MP4
1920 x 1080p / 23.976 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 24.000 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 25 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 29.97 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 50 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (200Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 25 fps (20Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 29.97 fps (20Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 50 fps (28Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (28Mbps)

AVCHD
1920 x 1080p / 23.976 fps (24Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 50 fps (28Mbps)
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (28Mbps)

High Definition 1080i

AVCHD
1920 x 1080i / 50i (24Mbps)
1920 x 1080i / 50i (17Mbps)
1920 x 1080i / 59.94i (24Mbps)
1920 x 1080i / 59.94i (17Mbps)

High Definition 720p

1280 x 720p / 25 fps (10Mbps)
1280 x 720p / 29.97 fps (10Mbps)

Standard Definition 480p

MP4 640 x 480p / 25 fps (4Mbps)
640 x 480p / 29.97 fps (4Mbps)

The GH4’s touchscreen swivel monitor is 3“ OLED with 1,036,000 dots, not quite as large as the 3.5” OLED in the Canon XA 20 which I compared in this article.

The GH4 even offers color bars (SMPTE/EBU/ARIB) and a 1 kHz tone. Like the GH3, monitoring and remote control is available via 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. There is still no word as to whether it’s dual band 2.4/5 GHz, or 2.4 GHz only.

The optional DMC-YAGH interface unit

The DMC-YAGH offers 3G-SDI, XLR audio inputs (mic/line switchable/switchable 48-volt phantom power), a timecode input, a 4-Pin XLR 12-volt power input, an audio level indicator, and 3G-SDI output. Although the information that I have received so far doesn’t indicate anything about a genlock input, I suppose many veteran video people will call the YAGH the “broadcast” adapter, at least by definitions 19 and 21 of the word, as indicated in this 2011 article.

Whether you’ll need the YAGH will depend upon what you plan to do with a GH4, how the YAGH’s price will compare with other other devices that already exist on the market, and how many functions you need (or expect to need in the future). For example, if your external 10-bit/4:2:2 recorder recorder has an HDMI input, then you won’t need the YAGH (just for that) since the GH4 camera head already has a micro HDMI output. (You’ll just need a cable with HDMI on one end and micro HDMI on the other.) Even if your external recorder accepts only SDI, there are certainly devices like the convert HDMI to SDI, like the H2S which I covered here, which can also remove the nasty pulldown that most HDMI cameras add to their output. In order to have XLR inputs, you may prefer to purchase a an external audio device from JuicedLink or Beachtek. I reviewed the Beachtek DXA-SLR Pro here, and tested it with the GH3 here.

Price and availability

Price and availability were not available at publication time of this article. Standby for more articles about the GH4 and YAGH in upcoming articles.

Upcoming articles, reviews, and books

Stand by for upcoming articles, reviews, and books. Sign up to my free mailing list by clicking here.

Si deseas suscribirte a mi lista en castellano, visita aquí. Si prefieres, puedes suscribirte a ambas listas (castellano e inglés).

FTC disclosure

No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs.

Copyright and use of this article

The articles contained in the TecnoTur channel in ProVideo Coalition magazine are copyright Allan Tépper/TecnoTur LLC, except where otherwise attributed. Unauthorized use is prohibited without prior approval, except for short quotes which link back to this page, which are encouraged!

Editor's Choice
PVC Exclusive
From our Sponsors

Share This

Back To Listings RSS Print

Get articles like this in your inbox: Sign Up

Comments

Please login or register to comment