I have a dilemma. Will I go out tomorrow and buy a GH4?

photographer wracked by gear addiction and indecision.
don't tell me you've never been there.

I got the call that I love and dread. It always comes from Ian at Precision Camera. It begins like this: "I put an order in on a Panasonic GH4 for you. I knew you would want one. The camera came in today and I'm holding it for you." And like the guy who always thinks that just because someone throws you a ball you have to catch it, I start planning the acquisition. Usually I just off load some other camera gear to make the math come out right but I've whittled down pretty spectacularly lately and I'm almost down to the cameras I don't want to sell. 

I could get rid of the little G6 I picked up last Fall but I won't get much for it and, well, it is adorable. I'll keep it around for it's combination of a surprisingly good finder and well done focus peaking. That and the fact that it takes great images and weighs next to nothing. Okay. That one is safe....

Well, that makes the logical next choice one of the two GH3's I bought just at the turn of the year. But again, I like them so much and now am wracked with the realization that for most of the uses I have for these cameras the image quality (in photographs) might not be much better between the GH3 and the GH4. I love having a perfectly matched pair of cameras when I'm shooting in a documentary style. Wide zoom on one and a fast zoom on the other. Magic. Will the GH4 throw my brain out of balance? Will I want two GH4's instead? Or will the cascading method of acquisition actually work for me?

My guess at the moment, to be solidified by tomorrow morning, is that one of the GH3's will get boxed up and sent off as a sacrifice to the financial sanity gods that seem to be inhabiting the studio these days. The other choice is to just not pull the trigger. To get off the "new gear" merry-go-round but I think we all know that's probably a non-starter. How could I bear to be left behind in the great Panasonic 4K revolution?

I've still got the full frame Sony but it's my safety camera for those times when I get overly nostalgic for the full frame look and need to spend a few days separating fact from emotion. Then the Sony will go back in the drawer until I see some older black and white image with no depth of field whatsoever and we'll go through the whole exercise again....

I don't have a pressing use for the new camera. I have some video projects but I'm certainly not ready to step up the ante and hit the "4k club" on actual productions any time soon. Editing is a slow enough process for me as it is. 

I think I know how to handle this. I'll just get up in the morning and swim and have coffee. Then, when everyone is off at school and work I'll just take a casual drive up to the camera store just to look at the camera in the flesh. What could that hurt? I'll have Ian pull it out of the box and we'll look at all the new menu settings and features. I'm sure I'll have an objective appraisal and I'm sure the lure of the new camera won't overwhelm me. Of course I could take the check book along, just in case. 


  1. You do realize that you will need a new Mac Pro to handle the 4K material, right?
    And a new 4K monitor, right?
    Sounds like two more good reasons to get the GH4.

  2. If you need 4k you need it :). If not, the GH3 is a fine camera. Personally I'd take the chequebook - I have a long history of buying the last camera I'll ever buy every 18 months ;)

  3. What could it hurt? Only your wallet. ;-)

  4. You will also get about a billion readers for a few days as you test it out. Seems to be lots of anticipation for it. I like the fact that it is not a radical re-do, but has some solid improvements (viewfinder, for instance). And every time I look at 4K samples on my computer I'm amazed how good it looks. Still quality looks a little different (more DR) but with similar noise, and reminds me of the EM-1 a lot.

  5. Hmm ... maybe some sort of 12-step program exists for GAS?

    On the other hand, money can't spend itself, can it?

  6. A 1% rate add on to the next few paying accounts should take the sting out of the GH4. The increase could be shown as a separate charge before the subtotal, and be labelled lens diffraction correction application.

  7. Pass on the GH4 and put it towards a 645z

  8. Even if you don't output in 4k, filming in it will help with your 1080p productions. Have you read what Andrew wrote at eoshd about his experience with the gh4?

  9. Just take it for a spin for a day or two and then...

  10. That was fun, so Damon at my local Henry's isn't the only proactive camera store wonder then, somehow knowing exactly what I want.

    My advice, for what little it is worth... Leave it for now. You are early enough in your video experience to still have a great deal to get out of your GH3's and at the pace the market is currently moving (along with your own abilities/products) it may be prudent to see what comes down the pipeline as your skills rapidly improve. Plus you can rent the thing for a review if needs be.

    So, just to recap, keep it all where it is... after all, there is that college bill :)

  11. Even if you don't care about 4K UHD, the GH4 is also an excellent 1080p camera: 200mbps codec, zebras and peaking, 96 FPS slowmo, 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI, etc.

  12. your setting yourself up to going home with a GH4

    Michael R

  13. Hey bud, long time no talk. I just wanted to say thanks for selling these Rokinon lenses. I picked up the whole set from Precision. That 14mm is insane. Now I just need a continuous lighting system and an audio system and I'll be cooking with gas.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks!


  14. I avoid buying products that have just come out. I got burned once when I did - my mantra is "Wait for at least a few months after a product has been introduced." If a product has issues, the early adopters will let it be known loud and clear. After a few months any issues should be well known, and fixes should be in place. Whether you buy a GH4 tomorrow will depend on how comfortable you are with being an early adopter. You will be using it to earn money. A yet-to-be-discovered problem may arise that puts the camera out of commission. If you do buy a GH4, it might be prudent to hold onto both of your GH3s, until you are satisfied the GH4 is reliable. Just my $0.02 CDN.

  15. There's gonna be a GH5, then a GH6... What's the rush? Milk the GH3s and see what happens in a year or so.

  16. It wil do your click rate no harm at all.

    Get it. Write about it. Post some results. Think of the traffic it will bring !

    ( as if that really matters to you - Im not sure it does :) )

  17. Ian is a very naughty boy. Bad, bad Ian!

    There is only one way to end this agony.

  18. Do you need someone to take your K-01 off your hands, or have you done that already? :)

  19. P.S.we both already know what you plan to do,hope you sleep good tonight,sweet dreams!

  20. "I don't have a pressing use for the new camera."

    Well, that settles it, then, doesn't it. Need is the only logical reason to get a new camera.

    But I think we all know that logic doesn't really matter, as 90% of our buying decisions are emotional ones. So you might as well stop fooling yourself and just go and grab the damn new toy. ;-)

    "I'll just take a casual drive up to the camera store just to look at the camera in the flesh. What could that hurt?"

    Ha. ;-D

    "Of course I could take the check book along, just in case."

    Of course. :-)

    Well, if it's any consolation, the GH4 is capable of doing 1080p HD, too, and the 1080p out of it ought to be pretty darn good. One is not forced to shoot 4K from day one. The stills are likely to be incrementally better, too. Then there's focus peaking as well, unlike in the GH3. So you might as well sell off the GH3's, while you still get decent money off them.

    I for one won't go for the GH4 any time soon, though, if all. I'd rather wait and see what other options will be available later on this year or next year. When my badly battered budget will hopefully be in a better shape, too.

  21. I suppose by the time you read this you will have already bought or not bought.

    For the last 16 or 18 months I've been using a pair of GX1 bodies - the first time in my digital career I've had two of the same camera. To me it has been a great luxury having identical control sets and image quality, something I'd find hard to give up - especially as I move into video and anticipate doing more 2-camera setups.

    With that in mind, now that I'm feeling a need for mic input my debate has been between a pair of G6 bodies or a single GH3 with a GX1 as second body.

    Now you have me thinking it's not that big a budget stretch to get a GH4. Dammit.

  22. You use the video and make money from it. The 4 seems to have several advantages over the 3 in that regard. I'd sell a 3 and the 6, buy a 4 and work with it.

    I'm very happy with the E-M1 at present as I do 99% still work, but if I get into video the 4 is the right tool.

  23. You don't seem to be hitting any walls and problems with GH3, thus GH4 won't solve any. In the last year I've asked myself several times 'How will this improve my photography?'. Answer has been "none perceivable" or "only in this rarely used situation".

  24. Of course you have, uh, unwittingly stirred up the hornet's nest. The blog and the comments are wonderful theater. Congratulations. And I wonder if, this one time, you take your own 'road less traveled'.

  25. At our Age, we can not afford the time to wait. You may miss your destiny to create the greatest video or still that will be trapped inside your soul without this machine!

  26. You better hurry up. I talked to Ian and he said if you don't get there by 10am It's mine!!

  27. Yes. The camera is in my hands. Pretty cool. But anti-climatic. It feels just like a GH3 only a slight bit heavier. Might be my imagination or the camera could have....gravitas.


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