Thursday, August 28, 2014

Here's how to get clean low light footage from the Panasonic GH4

I have heard from several video shooters who are concerned about buying or renting the Panasonic GH4 because they have heard that it has less than stellar performance above ISO 800.

To address this concern, Sohail over at Borrowlenses (one of our terrific sponsors) has posted a great blog entry on shooting with the GH4 at night.

He makes the interesting point that low light and high ISO are not necessarily the same thing - and that with fast enough lenses, shooters can produce great footage with the GH4 for night exteriors.

As an example, here's some 4K footage he shot with the GH4 at San Francisco's Fishermans' Wharf using the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 and a Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 (with Speed Booster). Cleanest shots are between ISO 200 and 400 :

As Sohail says - shooting with superfast lenses doesn't give the GH4 the incredible light-gathering capability of the A7s - but it does give shooters the ability to deliver clean low-light footage at reasonable ISOs.

And for budget-conscious shooters, the additional benefit is that a $1698 Panasonic GH4 with a $799 Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Nikon mount lens is about the same price as a $2498 body-only Sony A7s.

Yes, you'll need a $429 Nikon G to MFT Speed Booster, but that's less than the cost of a decent lens for the Sony.

If you need a camera that can essentially see in the dark, the A7s is the better choice - but if you want internal 4K recording and you occasionally shoot in low light, the GH4 will do a terrific job.

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