Friday 24 October 2014

GH4 with Speed booster - our thoughts

The Panasonic GH4 is one of a few new cameras that has got a lot of people very excited. Along with the Sony A7s they promise amazing features, that only a few years back where reserved for serious video cameras, small size, light weigh and cheap price. Whats not to like right ?

My GH4 fully rigged up with SmallHD screen and Rode Mic

So looking to upgrade the 5D3 for video ( as looking back at its footage, it really isn't that great is it ?! ) I got a GH4 pretty soon. I had always though the crop factor and fact it was never marketed as a low light camera to be some pretty big downsides, but was confident that the Metabones speed booster was just round the corner.

I waited a good 4 months till anything concrete came up online but it did, and again I ordered one of the very first batch of speed boosters that would let me get all my Canon glass on the GH4, with all the smart adapter goodness, wider, brighter blah blah.
Shooting some time lapse with the built in under crank setting.
Being small and light makes it ideal for use on the travel jib.

Without the speed booster, and using Panasonics glass this camera gave a very video style look to the footage, I didn't really like the camera. What it promised and what I thought, and hoped would make it shine though... really does. In my opinion of course. Enter the Speed booster.

Off the camera. CineD and everything off. Sharp and Sat down fully.
With a bit of a grade. Lot of play here which is great.
The Metabones EF-M43 Speed booster is well made, not to bad price wise, makes all your glass a good stop or two brighter, ( makes my 24-105 F4 more like a 35-150ish F2.8 ) wider and softens the footage just a hair, which it needed. Before it was a touch clinical, now its sweet.

Don't push the ISO past 800 if you can help it, never ever past 1600. Accept that 96p while amazing, and at full HD, is a touch softer than 60p or 4K, so learn when to use it.

Look at how sharp and crisp it is in 4K
Picture profiles are something that can make or break this camera. I did the normal thing of trying to get the absolute flattest image I could out the box, and it doesn't work like that. I read up a bit and have now got it pretty dialed. I use CineD ( the flat one ) but then I back off sharpening and saturation fully, leave NR at 0 and leave everything else off and at 0. This gives me nice DR, and no noise to speak of till ISO 800. Its when the camera is trying to adjust the image lots digitally in camera all the noise you may have seen comes in, so leave most stuff as it is and all's well.

Another off the camera shot

And a bit of a grade.
Embrace the post flexibility 4K gives you, and the fact one battery can last a full days shooting, have 96p at full HD, and 4K internally, and if you use fast glass and a speed booster you can still get nice shallow DOF, I now have a camera I am really happy with.

Few little Instagram videos shot with the GH4/Speed booster from the last few weeks.

All this is just my personal opinion, and try not to compare it to closely with an FS700, FS7 or even a C100 or C300 as what you need to remember is this camera body only is £1200! That's insane value.  Yes they will be better than the GH4 in some ways, but they cost lots more, and are all bigger, havier and some arnt as good ... food for thought.

Cheers Jacob


  1. Which lenses would you pair with speedbooster>?

    1. I use the 11-16 tokina, 24-105 canon, 100 canon macro , 70-200 2.8 canon and 50 1.8 canon and all work great.

  2. Can you use autofocus when taking still photos with Canon lenses on a GH4 with Speedbooster?

    1. No sadly not its still manual focus only, but for video it's not an issue. Sensor size holds it back for photos imo