Michael Reichmann at Luminous Landscape posts first review of the Panasonic GH4...


I've followed Michael Reichmann's website, the Luminous Landscape, for many years. I've read as he's waxed euphoric over ever more powerful cameras. Starting with Canon's first full framer right on through to his Phase One Phascination--- with enormous numbers of megapixels and all things medium format. But I have to give it to him. The man is mentally flexible and willing to change with the times. And the introduction of new and useful technology.

He wrote a couple of years ago about the Sony Nex-7 (which he liked very much) and recently he's been writing about his video love affair with the Panasonic GH3. Only a few months ago he got himself an Olympus OMD EM-1 and found lovely things to say about that camera as well. But now it looks like there is some sort of camera harmonic convergence going on and the mantra I keep hearing (from myself and others who taste and expertise I trust) is GH4. GH4. GH4.

Michael has one in his hands and it's got the final firmware so no weasel words or beating around the bush need take place in his first, preliminary assessment. And the word is: Good. "As good as anything out there..."

He goes on to say that if you can work with the limitations of 16 megapixels (and he says he can!) then this camera is as good as it gets. Not just from a video point of view but from a still photography point of view as well.

I'm saving up for my GH4. I'm not often accused of being "strategic" but I started selling off other camera systems and other lenses months ago. Around the time I first heard solid rumors of the GH4 specs. I've pretty much exited the Sony system (both Nex and Alpha) and I'm not overly nostalgic about the transition. I've winnowed down other systems and I've been preemptively buying up lenses I know I'll want for use with the GH4 and, for now, the GH3.

I figured that the reviews would start coming out before the end of April and there would be a mad rush on all the surrounding eco-system for the new camera. Maybe shortages or Amazon's famous ever changing (upward) pricing algorithm for stuff like the 12-35mm X lens and the 35-100mm X lens. A run on the 7-14mm and even a shortage of the two wonderfully cheap and happy Sigma lenses, the 30mm and the 60mm.  When I found out that the GH4 shared the same battery with the current GH3 I was overjoyed. But I cut the celebration short to go and buy an extra pair of batteries before the run on essentials built up steam.

The GH4s are starting to ship. MR has his. Samy's is shipping a quantity and Amazon counsels us that it will ship end of month but I expect waiting list cameras to start out the doors of the warehouses this week.

Why am I so happy about all of this? Well, this is the first camera that is equally good at both disciplines in which I am currently interested (stills and video), as well as being the most affordable professional system I've ever bought into. You can actually buy this company's top of the line camera without busting the bank. Amazing. To add some icing to the cake the GH series is actually quite fun to shoot...

And with the kind of enthusiasm Mr. Reichmann is expressing I expect that this particular offering will go over well without the recent caveats we've heard in conjunction with half-baked Sony products recently. No lens adapter required. Plenty of good lenses in the market. No tiny battery syndrome. No Bang-Bang-Pow shutter noise, Etc.

Ah. A nice, happy, productive camera launch. Just what we all needed after the doldrums of the recent lackluster product unveils.....

While I am saving up for my GH4 I am painfully, keenly, aware that my child just got accepted at his first choice of college. A private university in the Northeastern U.S. Much to the amazement of my European readers we parents will be required to scrape up the equivalent, in cash, of a nice, average American three bedroom house and send it to this fine institution over the course of the next four years. Will this slow down my thirst for new cameras? I guess we're about to find out....


  1. I have to ask the obvious question about Ben: why not the University of Texas at Austin?

    Plus tution there seems to be a third
    that of private universities.

  2. Ben has grown up in Texas. His parameters for college included: Experience life in a "blue state"/get out of Texas. Since both of his parents are UT Austin Grads and his father taught there he's grown up surrounded by UT profs. and UT admins. He wanted to do something different on his own steam. He's also ready to see what a real winter looks like. Finally, he's been dragged all over UT for most of his life and this allowed him to realize that he wanted a more intimate, ivy league experience.

  3. Bravo for Ben. UT has something like 50,000 students. Too easy to get lost there. There is a reason small, private schools exist (and excel).

  4. What do you think of the 16 megapixel limitation?

  5. Anonymous..More importantly what do you think about it. If you believe that a pixel count is what makes it happen in your photography world than Pentax has a 50 megapixel waiting for you.

  6. I live in southern Italy. Here parents have always saved such big money as you are for Ben's education instead for buying him a house to go live after he marries. In this modern world, you are giving him much more: the means to become. I suspect this is one main reason why my country is rotting, and the US is...the US.

  7. A couple of thoughts, Kirk.

    However you skin it, university - "school" as I think you term it in the US (no disrespect) - is about getting out of the house and away from family. It's about finding your own legs and growing up. By your earlier comments, it looks as though you have thought this through.

    Good luck to Ben - and to Mum and Dad.

    I have two sons - 4 years at one "school" (Univ. of Stellenbosch, S. Africa), 7 years for the other (Univ of Cape Town, S. Africa), all funded by Mum & Dad. Would I trade either deal for a 500 f4? Not a chance...(Doesn't mean I don't want one, though!)

    Meantime, look forward to your views on the GH4 - I fear Nikon is losing the way and may be looking for an alternative...especially when it comes to wildlife.

  8. Congratulations on the college acceptance. I hope he finds what he's looking for there. I sent two to "northeast private colleges" and they're both happy with their choices.

    By the way, I found that I got smarter as they went through college and began to appreciate the wisdom their old man had accumulated.

    Good luck to all of you. It's an exciting milestone in life.

  9. Thanks to everyone who left college comments. We're very proud of Ben and excited about the his out of state adventure.


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