Tuesday, January 3, 2017

GH5 soon? GH4 with me for over two years

I was thinking that I'd only had the GH4 for a little more than 1 year, but it has been 2.  Strange how time seems to pass.  It's been almost 5 years since I started with micro Four-Thirds, with the GH3 and 35-100mm f/2.8 lens.

In about 36 hours, Panasonic will announce the GH5.  So far, the rumors have indicated very little.  It's getting a higher resolution sensor.  It's getting a higher resolution EVF and a higher resolution rear display.  It will be able to record at higher bit rates, including 4K at 60p, and possibly 120 fps or 180 fps for 1080p.  There is a new hotshoe-mounted interface device.

The 12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100mm f/2.8 lenses are to be revised.  Hopefully, they'll fix the pathetic OIS unit in the 35-100mm f/2.8.  The stutter in video was just as bad after the firmware fix.

Speculation is everything now.

I have one big wish--that the AF be tremendously improved.  Whether I'm recording video clips and the AF suddenly goes away or I'm trying to take a still photograph of someone and it locks onto the fence or wall behind the person, I need improvement.  Supposedly, they've divided the AF areas to provide a more granular set but it didn't feel as the number of CDAF areas were the problem.  It was that the camera body became too busy to be bothered with AF.

It's odd that I can be sitting and I point the GH4 in a slightly different direction and I can hear it working on AF, but if I need it to take care of it while doing the half-press on the shutter release button, it's off in lala land just enough to be a problem.

I've still had problems with the EVF blacking out while I'm wearing non-polarized sunglasses but that isn't really a problem for me.  Muscle memory helps me get my shots.

Since Sony and Canon have stepped up their game, Panasonic must arrive with much better technology and I'm not enough of a brand fanatic to believe that they have.  I believe whatever Venus Engine processor they use will be better but it always comes up a bit short.  They've become better at removing chroma noise, but not enough to make anything over ISO 3200 usable for me.

To me, they should have the same sensor with 121 cross-type AF PDAF and CDAF points that the E-M1 Mk II has.  This would solve many problems, if used correctly.  Panasonic told us that they didn't need PDAF and that using pixels for PDAF degraded image quality.  I suspect that they didn't use the best technology.

Whatever comes, they will likely underestimate demand and eek out a few units, so that people will wait months for their camera body to arrive, even if they receive a boatload of pre-orders.

I hope that Panasonic overwhelms us with good news about the GH5 and the 35-100mm f/2.8 replacement.

What, no PDAF?  Are they stupid, cheap, or both?  For the price, PDAF should be included.

I'm underwhelmed.  Yes, it's better than the GH4, but it would be difficult to not improve on the GH4.  Apparently, the sensor outputs at 1.7x the speed, they say, but isn't 480 2.0x 240?  Hopefully, the replacements for the 12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100mm f/2.8 are up to full speed instead of lagging.  They aren't--the same 240 fps that the originals did.  I'm wondering if they fixed the OIS in the 35-100mm f/2.8 or just re-did the exterior, as with the 20mm f/1.7 lens.  At least, they reduced the price from the maximum of the original.

I was unimpressed with the 35-100mm when I used it on the E-M1 instead of the GH3 because it was so much slower.  It's slow on the GX8 also, but of course, not on the GH4.  In the revised version, they say 240 fps, which seems the original figure, but it never seemed to work well, for me, on anything but the GH3 or GH4.  It was slow on the GX8 and E-M1, for me.

At least, the GH5 finally has 5 axis image stabilization, and hopefully, the new routines in the Venus Engine 10 image processor will help them keep up.  Its speed improvement was less than impressive, considering that the GH4 was overwhelmed at times and didn't keep up.  It almost feels as though the new one was good enough for the GH4.

It's both brilliant for the film maker, and brilliantly flawed for the rest of us.

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