Panasonic GH4 vs Blackmagic Production Camera 4K Dynamic Range Comparisons

Here’s a comparison of the dynamic range between the Panasonic GH4 and the Blackmagic Design Production Camera 4K, by Phil Hover:

Testing the two cameras for dynamic range and color. Left is GH4, Right BM. Both UHD, download for full res. Almost no color correction – only saturation added to the BM and one shot had exposure off and was corrected. Before I started I assumed the GH4 would be a little sharper, BM would have more dynamic range, better color, smoother tone.

Both cameras were matched for exposure in camera not in post but the BMPC4k looks a little less exposed – could be lens or maybe 400iso on the BM is closer to 320iso.

Conclusion. I’m seeing more dynamic range from the GH4 specifically with cineD. I like the noise performance and look of Natural. CineV dialed down is slightly more contrasty then Natural. CineD slightly better then Natural at the cost of shadow noise. BM has more accurate color but not significantly even with 10bit 4.2.2.

Here’s another test:

Captured on 4-28-14 with the GH4 & BMPC4K for comparison. Slo-mo shots are 1080 @ 96fps and there is a clear resolution loss for those shots. Highlight rolloff seems to be better on the GH4 in the shots around 4:40. I could have under exposed the BMPC4K shots a little more to help.

GH4: CineD UHD, +2 master ped, -2 sharpness, normal curve.
BMPC: Prores 4K film.

Which camera does Phil prefer? He says:

That is a good question. If I had to choose one, the GH4 is more versatile, lighter, better low light, better battery life, great screen & EVF. CineD is fantastic. The color straight out of the camera is wonderful, significantly better then the GH3. Panasonic finally has taken the mojo from their video cams and put it into the stills side. But, I will be keeping both cams because…

The BMPC4K seems to have more detail. The global shutter makes a big difference when you watch the footage at 100%. The GH4’s rolling shutter looks bad when you see micro jitters (wind blowing on the cam in a few shots). I have also seen the rolling shutter issues with helicopter footage posted. Image stabilization might help, using a bigger rig or MOVI type devices. The BMPC4K has shallower DOF from the larger sensor and you can create a better look with the LOG footage. I feel like the BMPC4K is for more controlled shoots where you can rig up or be on sticks (very easy to shoot on support). GH4 is a camera you can grab run with in any environment assuming the rolling shutter isn’t an issue.