30 replies on “A fun comparison between the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K and the Panasonic GH4 4K Camera”

  1. Thanks, I’m learning a lot here. Time to buy you a cup of coffee.
    So, then, every minute of 4K at 100 Mbps is .75 GB? And an hour of 4K at 100 Mbps is around 45 GB?

  2. Okay, so every minute of 4K at 100 Mbps is almost 6GB? Sorry, I have English and Law degrees and, therefore, math challenged.

  3. I’m curious if anyone has been able to get the file size per minute on the GH4 at 4K internal.

    For documentary filmmakers the file size is a big issue because we shoot a lot of interviews and such.

    Any ideas Sareesh Sudhakaran?

  4. Who would want to record audio on a production camera? No camera offers 96kHz or 192kHz audio recording. 48kHz is only for ENG shooting, where audio quality isn’t too important. But if audio is important, there is no way I would ever record in camera on any camera. 96kHz is the minimum for professional quality audio recording.

  5. Thank you Dan and SS for your helpful replies. I am keeping my fingers crossed that some affordable solution will emerge in the next year so two. Meanwhile I plan to rent a high speed camera to gain some experience before buying. Best wishes. Goff

  6. compass2k Goff  Guys, this post is being updated and will be republished tomorrow. 

    To answer your question, Goff, Dan is right. The only camera (The Dragon is limited to 100-150 fps between 4K to 6K) I know that fulfills all requirements is the Phantom 4K, but that is also out of your price range (unless you plan to rent it whenever necessary). The FS700 is limited to 4 sec 120 fps burst mode in 4K.

    The biggest problem is the data rate. Ultra HD uncompressed RAW at 200 fps is 2 GB/s!! Only the Phantom has media (with internal RAM buffer) capable of sustaining that rate, but at short bursts. The Dragon attains some semblance of sanity due to a 3 to 5:1 compression. 

    Will Blackmagic produce a new camera? Who knows? I don’t think so, because they tend to create products that co-exist with their existing lineup of switchers and adapters.

  7. I have a long-term project that (based on Experience with a Hassleblad 50Mp still camera and Phocus for colour management i.e. Grading) has the following requirements.
    1. Raw, with high dynamic range
    2. 4K
    3. Slow motion based on at least 200fps.
    Panasonic GH4 is killed by (1)
    Blackmagic cinema and Panasonic GH4 are both killed by (3)
    Red Epica Dragon satisfies my requirements, but is too expensive.
    Any suggestions? Any rumours about a camera that might meet my need?
    Will Blackmagic produce a new camera with slow motion capability?
    Best wishes, Goff

  8. Battery life is where the Tascam 60D suffers. The thing drains them pretty fast. But I can’t argue with the quality. Tomorrow morning we’re doing two interviews and I’ve ore-rigged the GH3 with the Tascam which can be wobbly on a tripod and this could be another negative.
    Very curious about how Panasonic couples an XLR adapter with the GH4. A modular design could be attractive.

  9. Sareesh Sudhakaran compass2k Cheers you seem to have the same sources as me. You have missed the Olympus LS-10 .
    I have been using both the zoom and the ls-10 and the zoom (actually two of them) have had weird quirks (intermittent buzz, cutting in and out) and power issues where the the LS10 has lovely sound , just gets the job done and barely ever needs battery changing. 
    Liked the zoom’s xlr inputs mainly but after about a year of average use they became progressively unreliable and I have stopped using one entirely and the other only as 2nd source or reserve.

  10. JonathanHickman compass2k Sareesh Sudhakaran Quickly off topic – I’ve used Tascam DATs in the past and was looking at the HD P2 which has pretty well every feature a filmie would want at a very decent price. Any experience of this unit?

  11. I see BMD’s camera’s as aimed at cinematographers not stills photographers and more than documentarians or commercial videographers.
    As in (digital or celluloid) filmmaking onboard audio is rare and usually only required for reference I don’t see pro audio as being a priority for BMD right now. It might improve but ultimately only one man crews need onboard audio and the quality is going to be ENG-ish because of the limitations of gunsight directionality. 
    I see BMD as aimed at RED and Arri’s lunchboxes rather than competing with hybrid stills/video cams or ENG kits.
    Works for me as a narrative filmmaker as I’m almost never going to use onboard audio in product and if BMD start bulking up their kit with crossover junk my interest will diminish.
    But does limit their general appeal though they do seem to be doing good business in the cinematic niche ;)

  12. compass2kJonathanHickmanSareesh SudhakaranNow that the GH4 has been teased, the market is getting more crowded.  If the color space is improved to 4.2.2 with the GH4, it will make the decision to move to it easier. Of course, I wonder if the 4K with that color space will be in camera or implemented via an external recorder.

    As an aside, I rarely run the GH3 at 72 All-I opting for the very pleasing 50 instead.  And my b-cam now is the G6, which produces a more yellowish image, from my experience.  Both are performing well on my latest doc.
    The codec is very important.  I’ve not had any experience with BM Raw, but it would make sense that it would produce a better image than from a more compressed file coming out of the GH4 (I’m no expert).  And everything I’ve seen and read makes it clear that the DR is greater with the BM cameras.  While color space is ultra important, DR may be even more important.  This is where the BM4K will be the narrative “cinematic” choice, I would imagine.

    And the whole sound issue mentioned above is interesting.  I’ve not run in camera sound in years (it is only for syncing).  On my feature, Three Days at Foster, all sound was sync.  On my latest film, Roberta, everything has been recorded using the Tascam 60D.  It is pretty wonderful.  Here is an example: https://vimeo.com/68323642

    Seems like image is what you want out of a camera.  Sound is way down the list.
    Finally, I think that the GH4 will make sense for a great many shooters who want that active MFT mount.  The Leica and the Zuiko lenses I use are the best I’ve have worked with.  And compass2kcompass, if only I had patience to learn to use a lightmeter…

  13. IDK, I would almost be willing to take slightly less video quality for IN CAMERA AUDIO.  That is the biggest downfall of the blackmagic camera’s in my opinion.  Specially now that the GH4 is expected to come in at half the price.  I was originally looking at the BMPCC, but with all the inexpensive 4K monitors, I dont want my output to be dated in a year or two by not meeting the new standards.

  14. Bmcp : Camera Features
    Effective Sensor Size
    21.12mm x 11.88mm (Super 35).
    Effective Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Shooting Resolutions
    3840 x 2160, 1920×1080.
    Frame Rates
    3840 x 2160p23.98,
    3840 x 2160p24,
    3840 x 2160p25,
    3840 x 2160p29.97,
    3840 x 2160p30,
    1920 x 1080p23.98,
    1920 x 1080p24,
    1920 x 1080p25,
    1920 x 1080p29.97,
    1920 x 1080p30,
    1920 x 1080i50,
    1920 x 1080i59.94.
    Dynamic Range
    12 stops.

  15. JonathanHickman compass2k Sareesh Sudhakaran 
    End of the day – use what you know and works till it fails.
    Metabones probably helps for doco – you pay to get the instant interface for live action.
    For film (cinematic videography) fototdiax are way cheaper but you might have to learn to use a lightmeter like a real photographer ;)


  16. compass2kSareesh SudhakaranJonathanHickmanThe lens issue is interesting, however, I would have to buy all manual lenses with the BMCC and would likely go Nikon with the metabones.

    My wife shoots all Canon but her lenses are exposure by wire like my micro 4/3 ones.  So, getting the MFT mount would make sense if I were to go BMCC (of course, it is passive, so my favorite Zuiko would be SOL, I suppose).  
    Still, I would likely only use the BMCC for short work and for narrative films.  I’m pretty wedded to the Panasonic for doc work.  Storage is easily managed and the cams run forever even on a single battery.

    But if the BMCC fell in price, I might be tempted to give it a go for a doc.  I do love the images I’ve seen on the web.  But the files would fill up your array pretty quick…

  17. Sareesh Sudhakaran JonathanHickman I have heard nothing about the BMCC being phased out. I’ve been to a few BMCC events (they are just up the road from us here) and they seem to have targetted the market from entry level  (pocket)  to prosumer (cine) and enterprise/feature( prod/4k) .

    I suppose there is an argument with the same body essentially the BMCC could be phased out for the production camera but the production camera is twice the cost of the BMCC.( 4K for $4K seems to have been only a marketing slogan) – and that’s a huge difference when you are buying. 

    I haven’t heard of any new products (but BM do like to spring suprises ( and then unsurprisingly  by now be very slow and late on delivery)) . If they were to drop the BMCC they would have to have a reduced cost version of the BMCC or some enhanced version of the pocket camera.

    Another consideration is glass. You can use  16mm glass on the pocket and BMCC micro 4/3rd cams but would have to put out for new lenses if you went production camera. That would be a huge discouragement for me I know as my 16mm glass is my largest investment and something BMagic pitched to with the M4/3 format.

    There should be some more used BMCC’s coming on the market as people trade up to the Production camera. The interesting thing to me is my pocket camera is essentially as good as the BMCC in practice – the pictures are about the quality so that should put pressure on the BMCC but knowing camera geeks they will go for the more shiny gear regardless of the realities of final product ;)..

  18. JonathanHickmanI’m not sure the price of the BMCC will fall any further. In all likelihood, the product might be phased out.
    The cool thing about the BMCC is that at 2.5K, you can uprez to 4K and it won’t look so bad.

  19. I wonder what the eventual shipment of the BM 4K will have on the price of the BMCC? I have a client who has preordered the BM 4K and has been eagerly awaiting it for his green screen feature.
    Personally, I use the GH3 for my doc work, but I’m keen on picking up a BMCC on the cheap. Sure, it’s already under $2k, but do you think it will fall even further this year?
    Also, the endless 4K vs. 2K vs. 1080p debate is still with us (and will be for a good while). The BMCC combined with RAW falls a bit in between. Seems like it would be a fine compromise for ultra low budget narrative filmmaking and in most ways superior to the Canon DSLR option. This is especially true with the explosion of streaming distribution where 4K is less important.

  20. compass2k I think Panasonic has lost their way a bit with video. They’re a big company, so they might bounce back. It’s simply tough to believe the company that gave us the HVX200 and the Varicam doesn’t have anything up their sleeves.
    The GH4 might have a surprise – I wonder why it needs 4 SDI ports?

  21. Agree with your summary – I think that’s precisely blackmagics deliberate advantage – dedicated cinematic video digital workflow (or should we say wolfcrow) .. Panasonic still seems to want to have some appeal to still photographers . Hammers for nails. 


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