Panasonic GH4 vs Samsung NX1

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Fafa2e, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. Fafa2e macrumors newbie

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #1
    I have narrowed down my new camera buying decision to the Panasonic GH4 and Samsung NX1, but I am really struggling to make a decision.

    I am primarily interested in the 4k video capabilities of these cameras, but also want a high quality camera for photographs. Below are the considerations that are causing me to waffle back and forth in order of importance to me.

    • Sensor - NX1 = APS-C 28MP / GH4 = MFT 16MP
    • Video Codec - GH4 = H.264 / NX1 = H.265
    • Screen - GH4 = Full Articulating / NX1 = Vertical Articulating
    • Low Light Performance - NX1 / GH4
    • Auto Focus - NX1 / GH4
    • Long Term Support - GH4 / NX1

    Camera with better spec / performance listed first in the list above.

    I really like the larger sensor and better low light performance of the NX1, but I am concerned about the H.265 video codec and the need to transcode before I can edit in FCPX. Also, the heavier APS-C lenses may be more cumbersome.

    I really like the ease of use that the Panasonic seems to offer, the lighter form factor of the MFT lenses, and the fully articulating screen, but I am concerned about the low light performance, auto focus for video, and lower megapixels for photos.

    I trust the Panasonic brand more than Samsung for long term support.

    I will primarily be using the camera outdoors during the day time, so light is not a huge issue; however, I'm sure I will run into less favorable lighting scenarios. I am a complete novice and this will be my first interchangeable lens camera.

    I am completely in the Apple eco system and I am looking forward to editing RAW photos and 4k video on my 5k iMac.

    Can anyone provide some insight that might help with my decision?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Unami macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    i'd go for the gh4 - the samsung offers some nice specs, but it's still a samsung (meaning: looks good on the outside, but wait until you have to use it...).

    autofocus would be a non issue for me because on videocameras it almost never works satisfactory. usually the camera can't know what you want to have in focus.

    another point for the gh4 - there are a lot of adapters that let you fit other lenses than mft on the gh4 (e.g.: metabones speedbooster). not sure if there are as many for samsung.

    as for low light... panasonic has never been a low light king, but they've gotten acceptable. i can get away with using 3200 iso on my gh3 - that's a far cry from the insane iso-rates something like a sony a7s does, but it still gets the job done.
     
  3. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    #4
    You well summarized the differences. We have a GH4 in my documentary film group plus many other DSLRs and camcorders, although not the NX1.

    The GH4 is a really good camera -- magnesium body, feels very pro-like, good EVF, lots of aftermarket support. The sensor is a little small so you lose some low light. There are two answers to this:

    (1) Ask yourself how often you need to shoot in really low light

    (2) Due to the m 4/3 size, optically fast lenses are more affordable. E.g, the Voigtlander Nokton 25mm/0.95 is just $1k, and that makes the GH4 as capable in low light as my 5D Mark III with f/2.8 lens. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...KsCktNAO7Bi6lMaAuGz8P8HAQ&Q=&is=REG&A=details

    I think a more common choice is between the GH4 and Sony A7 or A7S. The Sonys don't have 4k internal recording but the A7S much better low light.

    If a fair amount of your work in indoor, existing light still and video in dim settings (e.g, wedding reception) then the A7S or NX1 are probably better choices. For all other things the GH4 is a better all-around camera plus has 4k internal recording.

    In budgeting the overall expenditure it's important to get good quality lenses. For hand-held video shooting, optical stabilization is very important. On the GH4 this would be the Lumix 12-35 f/2.8: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/865111-REG/Panasonic_H_HS12035_Lumix_G_X_Vario.html

    And the Lumix 35-100 f/2.8: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/892457-REG/Panasonic_h_hs35100_35_100mm_f_2_8_Lumix_G.html

    These lenses may seem expensive but they are roughly equal to the 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8 pro lenses used on Nikons and Canons, and about 1/2 the cost.
     
  4. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #5
    25m/0.95 on m4/3 behaves as 50mm/1.9 on FF. I wouldn't call $1000 for a nifty fifty a bargain.
     
  5. Fafa2e thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #6
    Pulled the Trigger on the GH4

    Thank you for the responses.

    I decided to go with the GH4 with the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 Lens to get started.

    The primary deciding factor was the video and raw photo file codecs used on the Samsung, as I was able to download some files over the weekend and realized that they don't play well with the Apple ecosystem.

    Also, the majority of my shooting will take place outdoors in broad daylight (golf related), so the low light performance issues will rarely be a factor.

    In addition, I have several friends that have Canon cameras and lenses and I could buy or rent a metabones speedbooster and borrow their lenses if I need better low light performance.

    Finally, I don't really trust Samsung for long term support.
     
  6. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    #7
    The m4/3 35-100 f/2.8 lens is over $1000 cheaper than my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II. That one difference just paid for the entire cost of the f/0.95 lens.

    If that f/0.95 lens seems expensive, consider the f/0.7 Zeiss lens Stanley Kubrick used to shoot candle-lit scenes in Barry Lyndon cost $12 million. The maximum film speed with good quality was ASA 400 and they push processed it to 800, the lens did the rest. That was supposedly the first scene ever shot in a motion picture using only candle light: http://stanleykubrick.neocities.org/1uncle3.jpg
     
  7. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #8
    That is because the m4/3 lens works like a 70-200 f/5.6 lens on FF. Two very different lens speeds.

    ----------

    That lens works like a f1.9 would work on FF.
    It's not anywhere near in the same league as the noctilux or Zeiss Planar 0.7
     
  8. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #9
    Partly wrong. An f-stop is an f-stop, no matter the recording area.
     
  9. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #10
    Sure. And a focal length is a focal length, no matter the recording area.
    But when we compare camera bodies we use the crop factor for conversion.
     
  10. juanm, Mar 9, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

    juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #11
    And the crop factor doesn't affect the f-stop. Know your subject, or you risk spreading wrong ideas.

    DoF-wise, the deeper DoF is a by-product of the necessity of having to choose a shorter FL to get the same FoV, but the effective aperture is the same.

    Wrong again. It's like a 140-400* f2.8 (*depending on the exact crop factor, of course, in this example I'm using an even x2).

    This crop factor helps a lot the GH4 for extreme telephoto shoots. The other day, I mounted the 300mm f/2.8 on mine and I got to see people on the deck of a boat several kms away. With a 5D, you'd have to use something like the $100000 1200mm lens to get the same FoV, and you'd lose two stops of light, since the Canon 1200mm is an f/5.6. And that's without an extender (which I never use unless absolutely necessary)


    Tl;dr:
    -Smaller sensors are better for Macro work (more DoF, since you can use a shorter FL to get the same FoV) and telephoto shots (shorter FL (= about 50% cheaper) lenses needed for the same FoV).

    - Larger sensors are more adequate for wide angle shots and generally for better low light performance.
     
  11. Meister, Mar 9, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

    Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #12
    You are wrong. Know the laws of physics, or you risk spreading wrong ideas.

    [​IMG]

    N stands for the f-stop. D is the diameter of the lens, which obviously does not change. If you apply the crop factor to the focal length (f), then you have to also apply it to the f-stop (N). Unless you are claiming that the physical laws of optics are false. In that case better get ready for that Nobel Prize ;)

    ----------

    This is somewhat correct, but the surface of a MF4/3 sensor has 1/4 the surface of a standard 35mm sensor. It hence collects 1/4 of the photons a FF sensor would collect. It loses precisely two stops of light. Therefore if you want to compare lenses you have to apply the crop factor to both the focal length, as well as the f-stop.

    ----------

    A 35-70mm acts like 70-200, not 140 - 400. I also corrected that f-stop for you. :p


    .. and according to your maths the 300mm f2.8 Canon acts like a 600mm f5.6 on the GH4. You don't lose any light.
    I hate to bring this to you, but your arithmetic is faulty.
     
  12. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #13
    Nope, nope, and nope. You're confusing different concepts.

    By the way, I don't like to brag, but just this weekend I was shooting with an Alexa and Master Primes, it's my job, and I kind of know what I'm talking about.
     
  13. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    #14
    We compare specifically and only what the comparison requires. In this case the OP defined that and it was *only* that which I spoke to. Namely the light gathering ability and cost to achieve that on m4/3 vs other formats.

    A 100mm f/2.8 m4/3 lens produces the same focal plane illuminance as a larger-diameter 200mm f/2.8 "FF" lens. That was the OP's concern -- low light.

    We were not talking about DOF, framing, or anything else.
     
  14. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #15
    No, it doesn't. If you change the focal length, but not the f-stop, the equation is wrong.
    [​IMG]

    Fascinating, but irrelevant. If you change the focal length, you have to change the f-stop or the equation is wrong. No way around that.
     
  15. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #16
    A GH4 in 4K has a x2 crop factor (I think it's 2.2, actually). Once you put that 4K image in your timeline and scale it at 100%, you're adding another factor of 2, so 2*2=4, hence the 1200 figure.
    Caveat: at 100Mbps for a 4K image, if you use it at 100% in a Full HD timeline, you're only using 1/4 of it, so your "effective" bitrate would be around 25Mbps, so it's much better in this case to use the GH4 with its Extended mode, using only the actual 1920*1080 center pixels, which works at a bitrate of 200Mbps.

    ----------

    Exactly. That's what Meister doesn't understand.

    Take a picture at 100mm and 2.8. Open it in Photoshop. Crop it. That's what your cropped sensor does, in essence.
     
  16. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #17
    The GH4 is a great camera and compensates for it's tiny sensor (and therefore less light) with great sensitivity and processing. Your system of applying crop factors to the focal length, but keeping the aperture is a nice trick often used to advertise small sensor cameras. The physics behind it are plain wrong. There is no way of disputing this.

    ----------

    I understand this very well, but it is a deception and common misconception. Once you crop, you are losing information (light/photons). It might appear to you as if you can liberally apply the crop to the focal length, but conveniently discard the change of the f-stop, but it is a scientific fact that less light is gathered and the effective f-stop changes according to the equation.
     
  17. juanm, Mar 9, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

    juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #18
    Your equation doesn't apply. You're thinking of focal length multipliers (or reducers, in the case of Speedboosters) not of just smaller sensors. Seriously, this is a Mac forum, not the ASC private forum, there's no shame in being wrong.

    And my trade and work experience is rather relevant, considering I get paid to work on international campaigns, I *think* by now someone would have noticed if I didn't know what I'm talking about.

    Oh my.

    When you take a smaller sensor, you DO NOT multiply your focal length. It's still a 100mm (or whatever you put on it. It just takes the center part of it.

    There you go, educate yourself in the noble art of photography: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital-camera-sensor-size.htm
     
  18. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #19
    The f-stop is defined by the lens diameter and the focal length. You cannot change the focal length and then just say that the "equation doesn't apply". The equation always applies. It is the very definition of the f-stop.

    ----------

    I do not doubt your work experience, but it doesn't change the very laws of physics.

    ----------

    ... and therefore the FOV and DOF changes accordingly. And the small sensor also gathers less photons.
    In your words: No shame in being wrong ;)

    ----------

    This discussion is not about the art of photography, but about the physical laws of optics.
     
  19. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #20
    Forgive me for yelling, but...

    YOU DO NOT CHANGE THE FOCAL LENGTH!!

    That's why we talk about focal length "equivalence" and not "conversion". Because it's simply a comparison, to help people have an idea of the actual FoV by comparing it to a widely known standard (Full Frame). In the movie industry, it's the opposite: the standard is -usually- considered to be S35, which is much closer to a cropped sensor, so we don't even mention FL equivalence.

    So the correct way to refer to a lens in a definite set of variables should be by its FoV but even that changes depending on the proportion of the picture you're recording, (4/3, 16/9, 2.35/1, etc..)

    Go ahead, register into any photography forum with knowledgeable people -or wait until other users here have read through our endless litany- and ask them.
     
  20. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #21
    I know that.
     
  21. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #22
    And...

    So which one is it?
     
  22. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #23
    And the equivalence applies to the focal length and f-stop as I explained above.
    At this point I will stop explaining, since there is really no point discussing the facts of physics any further.
     
  23. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #24
    We finally agree on something.

    And to the OP: you made the right choice. Save for the form factor, the GH4 is in many aspects a very competent video camera.
     
  24. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #25
    I was talking about the equivalence and I think you understood this.
    This is why I wrote that a 300mm f2.8 works on a m4/3 like a 600mm 5.6. It doesn't magically become a 600mm 5.6 obviously.
     

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