As I detailed in the first part of this series, I have had a slow and meandering relationship with video for a number of years. It’s a medium that I love and hate with equal measure. Part of me wants to say to hell with it all, but as we all know, video is becoming more and more important these days and I have to figure out what I’m doing with, and in, the medium. Aside from creating content for DEDPXL I am getting asked about video from my photography clients.

We are currently talking to one regular client of mine about creating a series of fifteen second spots for Instagram. Instagram videos! It’s a real job paying real money and requires a solid video skill set! Who would have ever thought? Some people laugh and say that shooting for Instagram is stupid. Advertising is about getting your brand / product / message out to people. Twenty years ago it was the 8pm – 11pm slot on NBC. Now it’s on Instagram 24 hours a day.

If you are just joining this discussion please see the first part so you know where I’m coming from and what I am looking for when shopping for video gear. This post is about which camera I chose and why I chose it.


I ended up going with the Panasonic GH4 camera with a small assortment of Panasonic lenses and one Voigtlander that I’ve owned for awhile. My video kit consists of two GH4 camera bodies, the Lumix 7-14mm f4, 12-35mm f2.8, 35-100mm f2.8, and the Panasonic/Leica 42.5mm f1.2. The Voigtlander is the 28mm f2 that I use a generic M mount adapter to mount to the GH4. I bought all of this from the good folks at Midwest Photo Exchange. As I say in the video above, I cannot be more happy with my purchase of the GH4 system.

Here’s the process I went through to decide on this camera:

My three main considerations for choosing a video kit were features, price, and size. For features I wanted 4k, built-in time lapse (intervalometer), image stabilization, industry standard ports, auto focus, and good third party support from accessories to tutorials. For price I had a total budget of about $10k to $12k to build an entire system along with a solid set of accessories like monitors, mics, cables, a bag to hold it all in, etc, etc, etc. The third part of this series will cover those accessories.

Why 4k? The number one reason I wanted 4k in a camera was for editing options. I do not foresee moving to editing and delivering in 4k any time soon, but having that much video real estate to work with in a 1080 window is a wonderful thing. Shooting in 4k and editing in 1080 gives you a number of advantages while you are editing. Let’s say you’re working with some interview footage that is a 3/4 body shot. If you are editing in 1080 with 4k footage you can punch in to a head and shoulders composition of that shot and then cut to a scaled down shot of that scene. You effectively get two shots from one piece of footage. Take a look at the size of a 4k frame (4096×2160) compared to a 1080 (1920×1080) frame below.


When you have that much resolution to work with you have more options in editing. While I am not a proponent of cropping to your shot in still photography, I realize that video is a different ball game and having options to cut to is important in the editing process. As I said above, I don’t foresee shooting, editing, and delivering in 4k in the near future but it is nice to know that if that is requested of me I can do it with this camera. For now we are shooting everything in 4k and editing in 1080 and it’s going pretty well.

I honestly looked at going back to a DSLR for video and I looked at the Canon 5D3, the 7D, and similar offerings from Nikon. I know that there are ways of getting 4k footage from 1080 cameras. Magic Lantern has a hack that can open up a number of options on something like the 5D3. I have ZERO desire to hack my work cameras. I don’t want a system that I have to jump through a hoop or two to get what I want out of it. I’ve heard enough stories of something going wrong at a crucial point in a shoot to make me just stay out of that business all together. I know others that swear by the hack and that’s great. I just don’t want to get into that. I want to pull a camera out of a bag and it just works. You know how I shoot 4k with a GH4? I turn it on. How would I shoot 4k on a Canon? I’d start with this…

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 3.36.29 PM

Other options are capturing RAW video from other cameras by recording the HDMI signal coming out of the camera and into an external video recorder. Guess what? I give not two shits** about RAW 14bit video footage. Look — I’m not shooting my cinematic opus right now. I’m not grading footage to hell and back. I’m shooting tutorials, reviews, and various small things for clients that aren’t going any further than 1080 on Youtube. Why the f*ck would I need 14bit RAW 4k footage? Why? Why bother with any of that for what I’m doing? In addition, in order to get that footage, I have to always capture to an external recorder. That’s at least another $700 per camera rig.

If Levi’s or some other international brand called me tomorrow and said they wanted me to create a series of commercials for them the last thing I’d be worried about is 14bit RAW 4k footage. Concept. Story. Audience. Schedule. Budgets. Locations. SO much to think about. Oh. You need it for broadcast and you want it in 4k? At that point I’m going to hire someone to deal with that. For us running around shooting whatever? 14bit RAW footage is one hundred kinds of overkill.

Moving on… A built in intervalometer for time lapse was something I wanted in a camera and the GH4 handles that beautifully. It’s as simple as can be to shoot a time lapse and then have the camera compile those stills into a video file up to 4k within a few menu selections. You choose the resolution and frame rate you want and it writes it to the card and you’re done! Nice! The rest of the features I wanted are simple and straightforward. ISO up to 3200 is great as are the built in color profiles. We started shooting the flatter CINE D that can handle more in the grading process but have since moved to CINE V since that gives me the look I like straight from camera and it takes a step out of the editing process. B&W in camera is really nice as well.

panasonic lumix GH4 02

The buttons, dials, and ergonomics are all fine. What’s interesting to note is how much I really don’t care about buttons, and dials, and ergonomics when looking at a camera for video. For a still camera I think about these things a lot because when I’m shooting stills the tactile feel of the camera I’m using is part of the picture making process. I find this isn’t the case when shooting video. Typically I’m setting up the camera the way I want it for a particular shot and then I’m doing everything I can to NOT push a button or turn a dial while I’m shooting. Stills is not such a “set and forget” process so the ergonomics of the GH4 is fine for me. If I was shooting it as a stills camera I might have a completely different opinion on the matter. The GH4 body is packed with controls and customizable function buttons so you can set it up however you desire.

One thing we utilize a lot are the three custom settings on the top control dial that are labeled C1, C2, and C3. Since there are sooooooo many functions on this camera from resolution to frame rate to color profile to focusing modes to display settings to white balance to everything else it is nice to have your preferred settings saved. If we turn both cameras to C2, for instance, then the camera is set up in 4k, 24fps, Cine V color mode, custom WB, ISO 400, f4, 50th of a second shutter, Single AF mode, etc. It’s great to have each camera turn on to one base setting. We then get each camera to the proper exposure and set a custom WB off of the same target; those settings are then saved to C1 on each camera. If a battery dies on one of the cameras, or we turn them off for a break, when turning them back on with C1 selected we know they both start up on equal settings. C3 is typically set for 1080 at 96 FPS. The next consideration was the size of the system I was going to buy into.


At no time in my life do I ever want to deal with a beast like that thing above. I don’t want to own it. I don’t want to put it together. I don’t want to operate it. Screw that camera and all that stuff. No desire. Hire someone to deal with that? Yes. There are people who love that sort of thing. Me personally? I’d rather eat hot death. Yes, yes, yes. I know that it has a purpose in this world. I know that the quality is great. I know that each and every little thing bolted on to that monster is there for a reason. I’m just trying to say that the monster pictured above, for me, is not something I ever want to personally deal with.

After moving from DSLRs to my Fuji kit I’ve loved working with a small and lightweight kit and I wanted the same for my video kit. Here’s a screen grab from the video above showing two GH4 rigs next to two Canon 5D3 rigs along with the new prices for each body and lens combination shown.

Sequence 02.00_05_21_07.Still002

I know full well that comparing a GH4 to a 5D3 is not an apples to apples comparison. I’m not saying they are completely equal on all fronts but the physical size and the price points were of great consideration and, when you get down to it, for what I need video for right now in my life, either system would work. I just found the GH4 to work better for me in a smaller kit of gear for far less money. The 5D3 has nothing going for it that is worth the extra money for me.

Sequence 02.00_04_43_11.Still001

The last major consideration for me was my budget. I had a huge spring cleaning sale on eBay of gear that I no longer use or rarely use. It’s amazing how many odd ball things you can have sitting on shelves and stuck in boxes that have no use left in your life but someone else out there could use it. When it was all said and done, my eBay sales just about purchased my entire video kit. I knew going into this that I’d have somewhere between $10k and $12k to invest in video gear and I couldn’t go any further than that. As nice as the 5D3 is you can see that my whole budget would have been blown had I built a similar kit to the one I built around the GH4.

Other cameras I thoughtfully considered were offerings from Nikon, Black Magic, Sony, and Olympus. I made a chart and listed model numbers, features I wanted, prices, and other considerations. While the Panasonic led the pack in pretty much every category there’s one thing the GH4 had that every other camera, especially Sony, was lacking.

That key factor was the zeal of GH users.

The words “cult following” are often said when people start talking about the GH series from Panasonic. When people talk about GH cameras there’s a spark in their eye and a quickening of their pulse. People genuinely love these cameras despite the many shortcomings GH cameras have had in the past. Entire lines of accessories, forums, user guides, and tutorials have popped up around the GH series and a vast number of people have created some remarkable content with these little cameras.

I have never seen excitement and zeal around Sony products; I promise I’m not being hyperbolic here. People talk about Sony cameras but usually with the same zest that someone has when reading an insurance policy. There’s “This is a really nice camera. I really like it.” Then there is “OMG I f*cking love this camera!” When you are researching new gear and you aren’t particularly loyal to one brand over another then pay attention to how much excitement people put into the current product line or an expected new release. If people are genuinely excited about a brand there’s a reason for that.

There is a lot of buzz and excitement around Olympus M43 cameras and that did make me look further into those cameras. I especially liked the in-camera image stabilization as opposed to lens based stabilization. I read somewhere, though, that one reason the GH4 is great at high ISOs is that the sensor is stuck to a large heat sink to keep it from running too hot. If they had done in-camera stabilization at the sensor level then the heat sink would have been diminished thus creating more heat at the sensor level and thus creating more noise. I’m not an engineer but that sort of makes sense to me. Could be a load of shit for all I know. At the end of the day GH4 shooters reminded me a lot of Apple users or Fuji shooters. Talk all the shit you want about Apple fan boys but Apple just posted the largest single quarter profit of any company in history. How you like them Apples?

Having now owned the GH4 for a number of months I can see why people love these cameras so much and I’m happy to report that I finally found my video camera. The build quality is great. The lenses are superb. The image quality is fantastic. The cameras are easy to use and customize. There’s a ton of third party accessories and support. As my nephew Grayson said so well, “You can put these cameras in just about any situation and they kick ass.” Talking head interview? Kicks ass. Run and gun shooting? Kicks ass. Low light? Kicks ass. Affordable and easy to transport? Kicks ass. Need to build a full rig with rails and a cage and monitors and all that? Still kicks ass. Of all the cameras in this segment of video production that are out there I honestly can’t think of one that beats the GH4.

Here are some stills pulled from 4k footage. Click on them for larger views. These are straight from camera.

Those are 4k stills from 24p video. Jeebus. That ain’t bad from a small camera with a small sensor with some small lenses. You could go to print with a frame if you had to. Not a huge print but they can print. And for images for the web? It’s more than you need. It’s crazy the world we live in. Dirk Halstead, Brian Storm, and David Leeson were all saying back in the late 90s and early 2000s that this would be a reality and here we are living in it. With one rig you can capture professional video, audio, and stills and build three products out of it: video for broadcast, audio for radio, and stills for web and print in an affordable easy to use package. We live in the future.

While researching these cameras I watched countless videos comparing footage from one camera to that of another. I read all the blogs. I talked to lots of people. I searched through social media posts. It was enough to drive me just a little bit crazy and at one point I could have listed six different cameras on the wall, thrown a dart, and made my purchase. I really appreciated the time many folks put into reviews from people like Griffin HammondBlunty, Dave Dugdale, Eduardo Angel, and of course, those wild and crazy guys at DigitalRev. The one video that really did me in though was this 57 second GH4 promotional video called Light.


And it was this one scene in that video that really grabbed me and solidified the deal. I don’t know what it is about this shot or this little short promo video but I guess it showed me that you could put the GH4 in any situation and it would kick ass.


Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 1.31.02 PM

It’s interesting to note that everyone reviewing this camera spent about five seconds talking about shooting stills with the GH4 and then the rest of the time talking about the video capabilities. I am not going to be an exception to this rule unless you consider that I’m not even going to take the time to review the stills from this camera at all.

I have shot stills on this camera. Do they meet or exceed the quality of stills I get from my Fuji cameras? They do not. They really don’t even get close. To be honest, I’m just as happy with the 4k stills above as any still I’ve shot with the GH4 in stills mode. Video quality? Awesome. Time lapse? Awesome. Each individual frame of those time lapse videos? Not bad. Pretty good really. Great like my Fuji or a Canon or a Nikon? Nope. Good? Yes. They are good stills. For some folks this is a perfectly fine still camera.

Some of you might be wondering why I bother with this whole two camera system. Shouldn’t I just commit to something like a Canon or Nikon and have one system to rule them all? It would make sense to do that in some regard. I stewed over that idea for a few weeks. Here’s why I didn’t go that way. I honestly and truly and deeply love my Fuji cameras and I really wanted them to work for my video rig but the video capabilities of Fuji X cameras just aren’t there yet. I think, for them to be on par with something like the GH4, it will take a lot of development and tons and tons of R&D. God knows I’ve been asking for more video capabilities and I think the folks at Fuji get that but they are patient people so I think it will be some time until we see Fuji X cameras going head to head with cameras like the GH4 and others.

panasonic lumix GH4 01

The second consideration to this was the amount of gear I need for stills and video. Let’s say I built up a Canon or Nikon system again and I head out on a shoot where I’m doing stills and video. Well, I need a certain amount of bodies and glass for the stills part of the shoot and then more bodies and glass for the video. From educational videos to client videos I can easily have two bodies on hand with lenses for the stills and two bodies with lenses rolling for video. Four bodies. Duplicates of lenses. It’s not so simple to just sell everything off and go $30k and up into one homogenous system. Also, if I did that I still wouldn’t have 4k and I wouldn’t have my beloved Fuji system.

No. I’m good with my two systems. I have my stills. I have my video. When I’m shooting stills I’m in one mindset. That mindset changes when I move to shooting video so my brain easily compartmentalizes the switch in the tools I use for each task. I’m sure in five years I’ll have it all in one system and it will be called the iPhone 10. 🙂

Having used this gear for a number of months now I can report that I have one item of buyer’s remorse regarding this kit and that is the Panasonic/Leica 42.5mm lens. I love this lens. LOVE this lens. It is a gorgeous piece of glass that I am happy I own but I should have skipped that one and put the money toward a second 12-35mm f2.8 lens. That’s based solely on the needs we have run into while using two cameras on shoots. The 12-35 f2.8 has become our most versatile lens and we are always bemoaning the fact that we don’t have a second one. We end up using the Voigtlander 28mm or the 7-14mm f4 instead. While the Leica 42.5mm has seen plenty of use we’d most likely be using a second 12-35 more. Two cameras have worked well so far but I can see where we will be adding a third this year as we have run into that need enough to justify the purchase of one more body. I’ll probably pick up that second 12-35 as well.

You might ask why not pick up a less expensive GH3 for the third body? When it comes to video I want every camera body on set to be the common denominator. Same sensor. Same controls. Same buttons. Same programmed custom functions. Same capabilities. Same resolution. Same WB from the same target. I want every bit of footage to be as close as we can possibly get them to be so we aren’t spending a ton of time in post trying to get things to match up. The GH3 and GH4 do seem to mix well from what I’ve seen but I’d rather have every camera be exactly the same.

For those of you who are really interested in this camera here are some more resources to help you in your research that I found informative during my research.

Griffin Hammond’s guide to setting up your GH4.

World of DSLR’s side by side of GH4 & 5D3 footage.

Tony Northrup’s comprehensive review and walk through of the GH4.

A big thank you goes out to the good folks at Aperturent for pulling all that Canon gear in the side by side comparison.

Thanks for checking out this post on the Panasonic GH4 and for all the great discussion that is happening on the first post. If you have any questions or comments about this system please hit me up in the comments below. Part three will cover the accessories that we’ve purchased so far and what we like and what we don’t like about those.


**Meg here. While editing this post I asked Zack, “Did you mean to write ‘I give not two shits’?” And yes, yes he did. He responded in a rather Shakespearean fashion, “I give not two shits! Two shits I give not!”

ETA – Just got a chance to test the weather resistance of the camera. So far so good. Leica lens held up as well even though it’s not weather resistant. Might stick it in a bag of rice just to be safe.


Zack Arias

A full time commercial and editorial photographer, Zack shoots everything from bands to CEOs to ad campaigns. A gifted teacher and communicator, he has an uncanny ability to meet and connect with all types of people.

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  1. Pedro

    Have you tested X-T1 footage with the new firmware?
    Why? Excellent glass!


    • Zack Arias

      Have you tried to plug a normal microphone into an X-T1? You can’t! Not without an adapter. I had two of them. Somehow I have lost both of them. Besides overall image quality and the lack of 4k… that stupid, stupid, stupid micro micro mic jack is infuriating. Seriously. Who thought that was a great idea?


      • Greg_E

        Yup, the 2.5mm jack was a huge mistake. The other was not having live video out of the HDMI jack for those people who wanted to make a decently ergonomic shoulder rig. They have so many of the correct pieces already in place that it is easy for me to see an Xtrans 4k cinema system that is cheaper than a Sony… But I’m not sure they are ready to take that step. If only I had the resources they possess to throw at a project like this, I certainly could make a GH4 slayer.

    • Jessie

      That’s a subtle way of thniking about it.


      Hi, i feel that i saw you visited my website so i got here to “go back the choose”.I’m attempting to find things to improve my site!I guess its ok to make use of some of your concepts!!


      Many thanks for creating the effort to talk about this, I feel strongly about this and like learning a great deal more on this subject. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your weblog with a great deal more details? It’s extremely beneficial for me.


      Milikito8 abril, 2009Como siempre ante la nueva legada de un nuevo dispositivo de apple pues hay rumores a mansalva. Espero que se lo curren mucho si sacan un nuevo iphone ya que ahora la competencia no es como al principio y las marcas de móviles se estan empleando para de una vez por todas quitar la hegemonía que tiene apple en todo lo que saca. Por cierto hay algo nuevo de que en la version 3.0 en los itouch desbloquea el bluetooth?. Saludos.


      Als ik niet oppas maak je een pessimist van me. Het leven is volgens mij een aaneenschakeling van trucjes. Elke kunstenaar is nmm bezig zijn of haar trucje(s) steeds verder te verfijnen en verbeteren. De ultieme truc is natuurlijk – weer volgens mij – om de passie levend te houden. En dat is tegelijkertijd ook de makkelijkste truc. Niet al te hard proberen : -). Je ziet, ik blijf een optimist. Go with the flow : -)))) Het weer is schitterend het Belgisch bier koel en mijn kleinzoon heeft me net onder gespuugd en grijnst naar me. Het leven kan niet beter worden.


      Jeg markerer teksten der hvor jeg redigerer mine indlæg og sÃ¥ opretter jeg et link og sætter sÃ¥ linket pÃ¥ den pÃ¥gældende opskrift ind. Det er den ‘knap’ der ligner et 8-tal, der ligger ned du skal have fat i 🙂

    • http://www./

      I really dig your your take on this. I’m just me with a lot of responsibilities and I do the best I can. Isn’t that all we are trying to do as working moms? Thanks for your thoughts. Twitter:

  2. Frank in Wisconsin..

    Bearded one:
    Thanks for getting this out there; I’ve been stopping by almost daily for months (since reading part 1); just to jump on this article when it came out.

    I sold my 1ds mk2 and “L’s” to get into fuji and Lumix (x100s, xpro-1,and the gh-3) early last year. Not really a video guy. I find the micro four thirds gh-3 with the 12-35 2.8 more than “adequate” for web stills work. The Fuji’s are my photo geek (purist) cameras (weddings and people). Funds are always limited ; so I am torn between the XF 56 1.2 and the Lumix 35-100 f2.8 . the Oly OMD em-1 and the xt-1 body also tempts me for stills.

    I gave up pig headed full frames snobbishness a long time ago. Hey; Technology just flat out works. Subject, expression; lighting ;and moment will trump sensor size any day.

    Great job! enjoyed part 2! I think the 4k black and whites look great on my 15″ macbook.

  3. Jim Shaw

    Good to see you and your input. I just want you to know watching this , “you” have helped me make up my mind on the next camera , Thanks for the help . Jim

    • Jim Shaw

      Has helped me ….. I need to proof read LOL Thanks again. Jim

  4. Frank Grygier

    Great post as always. I have both the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and a GH4. You picked the right M43 camera for video. There is something about the Blackmagic though. I am crazy. I am thinking of Rokinon EF mount primes and a SpeedBooster! Caleb’s work is amazing!

  5. Gerald Gonzales

    Have to say though, BlackMagic Design has a Fuji-ish approach. Seems to listen to their users and the camera firmware gets updated regularly. My Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is miles better than when I purchased it.

    • Frank Grygier

      Gerald. Couldn’t agree more. Blackmagic heard the deafening roar from users. Fuji just kinda knew it was the right thing to do. I do like the Pocket Camera now that it can record audio!

  6. Dave

    Zack. How does the Nocticron 42.5 compare to the Fuji 56 for portraits??
    Ps. Nice jacket – greetings from Manchester!

  7. Connor

    Nice article Zack, interesting to read your thoughts on the GH4. I shoot with a couple Panasonic cameras at work (corporate video and photography):

    HPX-300 broadcast camera and “kit lens”.

    Af100a body with a redrock micro m43 to Canon EF lens adapter (means 2x crop factor)

    And an older Canon 5D mkII body and a nice kit of lenses

    I have to say, I still prefer the look and quality of the video coming out of the MkII then I do the footage from the Af100a. But it probably has more to do with using Canon lenses + adapter instead of using Panasonic m43 lenses on the Af100a.

    I think if I had to buy a similar kit again, I’d go for the C100/C300 s35mm body.

    It’s interesting how you look at / treat the GH4 as primarily a video camera, I’m the same with the 5DII. I look at it and want to shoot video, then I look at my D800 and want to only shoot stills…Courses for horses as they say.

    I’ll be fwding your review to a few folks I know who are looking at investing in a nice, affordable and compact video camera system. This may help them in their decision.

  8. cf.t

    Camera sensor might have a heatsink, to heat sync the sensor with ambient air.
    I apologize for that.

  9. Ansell Tan

    Hi guys,

    I’m a documentary producer for 3 years based in Singapore, having worked on infotainment travelogue types and current affairs documentary.

    For the entire workflow, from conceptualising to being broadcasted in an international news channel, this is what works for me in post production. My colleagues jokingly call it ” Kitchen Post ” as its literally set up in my kitchen.

    – Late 2012 MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch
    – 27 inch Thunderbolt Display
    – Stardom Storage Solutions, ST2-WB3
    – Cooler Master Rack
    – USB 3.0 Extension Ports

    As far as post is concerned, not much hardware is needed. The speakers from the Thunderbolt display is ok for audio mixing, though its recommended to leave that work to dedicated audio professionals. What I find crucial for good documentaries is actually…

    – An OK printer, EPSON L555

    For times of re-writing, printing, and using scissors to cut up drafts scripts and putting it together again.

    In terms of hardware, ultra high spec computers aren’t needed produce for international networks including Discovery and Nat Geo. With the right script doctors who knows “story structure” inside out, this set up would do! To conform the audio specs we send .OMF files to audio post anyways!

    Just for those people who may fall for G.A.S. when you plan to dive into video. Honestly. This is good enough. At least for post. In my opinion, the black cylinder MacPro is for the 3D and SFX guys. For the story-tellers, a laptop is enough.

    But… my struggle is this. Should I buy a Fuji? Or Panasonic? I dearly love Fujifilm, my first camera back in college was a Fujifilm zoom camera (S5700) that sucks by today’s standards, but i’ve had much more fun with it than the supposed upgrade Canon 550D that didn’t see much action.

    Damn… I’m lusting for an X-100T (and X-T1), but I know the GH4 is more related to video work…

    I don’t have enough cash, but I really want both T_T

    • Connor

      Hi Ansell,

      I guess the first questions that needs to be asked is:

      What is the primary purpose of the camera? Work, pleasure, both?

      Based on the answer to the last question, the next question is:

      How important is the video component?

      If it’s important that you have top notch video quality, then you might have your answer right there.

      Another question you might ask yourself is: What’s the smart buy? What option will do the most for you?

      Anyway, just my 0.2 cents.


      P.S. When I edit video, I’ll often do a quick assemble with speakers and focus on the visuals and flow of the video and, as I go on to the fine cut, I’ll put headphones on and make sure the main audio + M&E tracks are spot on before client review and approval stages.

      • Ansell Tan

        Hi Connor,

        Thanks for your 0.2 cents. Sometimes we struggle with questions that we already have the answers to. Having pre-owned a X100S for 8 months, I think I’m going for the X100T again.

        I’ll be in it for pleasure 🙂

        If I only have one place for one camera, it’s going to be one that can bring me joy and pleasure. I can always grab a 5DIII at the office to shoot video.

        By the way, do you have a website for your video work?



        • Connor

          Hey Ansell,

          I’m afraid there really isn’t a website for my work as I shoot videos & photography for the Canadian government. I’m one of a small number of people who are ex-freelancers that joined the public service to help make better video content… and, of course, keep food on the table.

          The video and photography work that I do is mostly inward facing to employees, or used in service centres to help promote an initiative or provide info to the public.

          Sadly, nothing as fancy as work produced for Nat Geo. 🙁


    • Zack Arias

      Hey Ansell,

      Part of me thinks you should split the difference between the x100T and the GH4 and take a serious look at the Panasonic LX100. Nice little still camera AND beautiful 4k video, intervalometer, etc. The massive Achilles heel for the LX100 though is the lack of a mic input. Great for b-roll and visual masturbation pieces but otherwise you’d need to run around with an external recorder all the time. But… it’s small. Has a nice fast zoom. I don’t know. Maybe take a look at that?


      • Ansell Tan

        Hi Zack,

        Thanks for the tip! But it’s actually more of an emotional decision than a logical one.

        The first camera I considered to replace my bulky Canon 550D was something LUMIX similar to LX100 that I can’t remember. For personal use it seemed much more affordable than collecting Canon lenses.

        Then I bought a X100S after reading countless of blogs and drooling over it whenever I’d pass by a camera store. It also led me to your blog. Owned it for 8 months and followed your advice in your book Photography Q&A ( a Christmas gift from my girlfriend ) distilling thousands of the pictures I took with the camera to a Top 20. A theme popped out. That’s when I felt certain, that a fixed lens may not be a restriction after all.

        Then I sold it. At times I do regret.

        I felt the X100T paired up with the Instax Printer was worth the extra couple hundred bucks. I was also saving money to buy a proposal ring, and I told myself the ring had to be at least more expensive than my camera. I put the X100T purchase plan on hold and restarted the “courting phase” for Fuji all over again.

        But lately I started having doubts on whether I should get the GH4 as it was more work related. After some careful consideration… I don’t think I’m going to fall in love with the GH4’s form factor as an everyday take around camera, haha… And also considering the price, I would probably use that to purchase other lighting equipment when I start watching One Light 2.0.

        I think I’ll buy the one that makes me happy not the one that seems the logical choice 🙂 Better to leave video to video, stills to stills.

        I’m really glad that you saw my post. I read that your son is going into video. As a 27 year old that’s just starting to stand on my feet in the video industry here in Singapore, I’ll be glad to share my experience with him. I don’t have a website to showcase my work, but for some credentials to start with, projects that I’ve participated has won some awards in the New York Festivals.

        All the best to you and your family.


        • Zack Arias

          Thanks Ansell!

          Yeah, the GH4 lacks the emotional romance that the Fuji cameras hold for me. That’s one reason I’m not giving them up any time soon. I just wish they handled video!


  10. Michael Matthews

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts after wading through all this stuff. The conclusion you reached may be the same as many other stills/video guys, but the detail on how you got there should be most helpful.

    The added note on the LX100 is interesting, too. I guess since software can match the internal and external audio tracks achieving sync is no longer a big deal.

  11. Hal Fisher

    Great article/blog on this amazing camera! I have an very cheap Panasonic Z1000 that also does most of the work a GH4 does but comes with a very nice built-in f2.4 Leica lens that goes from 24mm – 400mm and shoots absolutely amazing 4K at 30fps and HD at up to 120fps! I plan on grabbing a GH4 one day and making this little gem my B-cam. By the way, it shoots 20megapixel stills that rival my Pentax, Sony and Nikon DSLRs. yes, Panasonic has made me into a mindless groupie!

  12. Chris

    Outside of adding to the G.A.S and budget problem. Any thoughts on the Sony A7s as an option to possibly bring together the photo and video into one camera?

    • Zack Arias

      I looked at the Sony A7s but a few things kept me from that. First… The price. At $2,500 per body I’d be out $5k, or about half of my budget just for two bodies. Then, you can record 4k but only out of the HDMI port to an external recorder. Now you’re looking at another $600 and up for each camera to have 4k abilities. We’re over $6,000 just to record 4k from two bodies. If you want to shoot 4k for everything and you want to run-n-gun on some things then having to be tethered to an external recorder/monitor makes the rig a pain in the ass. Half my budget for a camera I can’t really run and gun with.

      Second… While Sony makes nice stuff I’ve never liked Sony products. The tech is smart but the design, for me, sucks. Sony cameras never feel right in my hands. I know folks who like Sony cameras but I’ve yet to meet anyone that is heads over heels about them. Image quality is nice. Glass is nice. But they have no romance to them.

      So… No Sony for me.


      • Elisha

        I owned an A7s for about 3 months, and ended up selling it. It was just OK at video, and just OK at stills. I shot a short w/it in S-LOG and the colorist complained about how easily the footage fell apart. At the end of the day I’d rather just rent a C300.

  13. Talia

    Great post, thanks! One system for stills and video… that might be the Samsung NX1!

    • Zack Arias

      I looked at the Samsung and while it is an impressive little camera it’s too new to the market for me to build an entire system around. The GH series has been going for some time now and there’s a ton of support from third party accessories to a large community of people using it and sharing information about using the GH system and all of that. Also, the M43 format is widely supported from rental houses to lens manufactures etc etc. All important stuff to consider when buying into a system.


  14. PK

    Actually the shot from the “Light” video is shot with G6, not GH4. Only 2 shots from this video are GH4.

    • Zack Arias

      Really? WTF!? I went looking and you are correct. Why in the hell did he post it as a GH4 video? Funny how my favorite shot is with a LESSER camera by spec standards than the GH4. Now I have to sell all this gear!!! 🙂


  15. Phil

    Great video, Zack! I got the GH4 a few months ago and love it.

  16. Mark

    What great timing with the blog post and video on your YouTube channel.

    I am in the midst of wanting to ditch my D800 which I have been using to shoot for the past few years for a GH4 / X100T combo. I am more of a video shooter but needed/want a decent camera for any photo opportunities when shooting an event such as a birthday party so considered X100T to be the less in your face camera. Any thoughts on this?

    Glad to hear your views on the separate kit for the specific task on hand as this makes logical sense to have the correct video or photo ‘hat’ on.

    Interested to see how you get on with more posts about the GH4 amongst your Fuji ones form now on!

    • Mark

      I forgot to ask what is the maximum ISO you’ve found to be acceptable in low-light? The D800 with 24-70 2.8 starts to fall apart at ISO 1600/2000 for anything shot in the evening without decent additional light. I hear 5DMK3 can go higher but more interested to know the limitations you’ve found in low-light shooting.

  17. Jarrett Hucks

    As always, I enjoyed this article. I completely agree with a smaller format being the way to go with someone wanting to shoot both stills and video even if they are different setups. I just wrapped up my documentary project where we used a Black Magic Production 4k camera and the Black Magic URSA. The Director and DP both love the work they are able to produce with those cameras and because I was in front of the camera more than I was behind it, I didnt much care but the overall set-up/tear-down time was and enormous part of the process on location.

    I havent decided if I want to put any money in a video kit until I decide what I want to start shooting. Hoping to have my first short film (directing/shooting) of some sort done this year and then I will have a better idea as to what I want to invest in.

  18. Frank in Wisconsin..

    what “LNE” (editor) did you decide on for your video work? I’m looking over the latest version of FCP. Thoughts?

  19. Bill Simmons


    Love your reports. Maybe I missed it somewhere, but I’m curious about you are doing or plan to do for lighting with video.

    Also, curious to hear more about your feelings re the Phottix Indra 500 vs Alien Bees/Einstein 640s for stills. I need to invest in some lighting beyond my speedlights into something I won’t feel like replacing within a couple years.



  20. Paul

    A bit late to the party, but wanted to mention that I love the fact you are driving a manual tranny!


  21. thomas

    If you are serious about 4k video, you shall try Samsung NX1 with crop sensor.

    Have you ever considered the option?

  22. Graham

    Hi Zack,

    Enough of this trivial photography stuff……….I had no idea you supported Man U! Good form!

  23. Ignacio Gonzalez

    man, a MUFC track jacket? im disappointed.

    an Arsenal FC fan.

    • Peter Ort

      I’m just disappointed that it’s not a Bayern Münich jacket.

  24. Gordon Russell

    HI Zack

    Love your blog and articles, started reading them when I got a Fuji X-E2.

    Anyway before I had the Fuji I had a GH1 and I bought it to video gigs etc, and then found I started taking a lot of pictures as really loving the photography side as well which is why when it was stolen I bought the Fuji with the insurance money and boy do I love that camera.

    However seeing you start on your journey into GH land, I have two little thoughts for you.

    1) Try and get hold of the Pan Leica 25mm F1.4, that lens has serious voodoo. I still rate that lens above the 35mm on the Fuji system, and that’s on a GH1 which sucks compared to the X-E2 for stills. I miss it and when I buy a 2nd hand gh1 again for video, even though I now no longer need that lens(for what I video a Samyang 12mm is the ticket) I might buy it again. Its one of those lens you dream about at night and can’t get out of your head.

    2) Try and get hold of a GH1, the GH4 is amazing, I have used a friends and to be honest if I was in your position shooting professionally that’s exactly what I would buy. However the GH1 has a little magic of its own. Its 12MP which is less that the GH2,3, and 4 which are all 16MP and like the GH2 its multiaspect ratio. I don’t know why ( I suspect its the fact that at m4/3 sensor size that 12MP gives a fatter pixel than 16MP ie 12mp is M4/3’s magic spot whereas 16 is APS-C’s) but there is something about GH1 footage, especially in low light that just has a certain something. Again the GH4 smokes it for super clean video look. But if you want something that looks filmic and has atmosphere, the GH1 is a great tool to have in your bag, and it can double up as a back up.

    Just my two pennyworth and I am probably not fit to comment here, so please take this in the way it was meant which was some thoughts shared as if in a bar and shooting the shizzle.

  25. Shawn

    Hi Zack,

    Enjoyed the post. I think this is a smart way to break into video right now at that price point, if for no other reason than having the ability to crop and reframe 4K footage.

    Just want to point out a couple minor, but important corrections:

    1. The Magic Lantern firmware doesn’t bring 4K shooting to Canon cameras. Among a series of feature additions, it allows them to shoot RAW. The actual output is around 2K.

    2. Connecting an external recorder to record an HDMI signal gets you an uncompressed signal, but not RAW. Uncompressed files are significantly smaller than RAW. They’re often mixed up in forums and blogs but there is a distinction.


    • Zack Arias

      Thanks for the clarification Shawn!


  26. Guillem

    Hola Zack, enhorabuena por tu blog. Me he convertido en un seguidor!

    Estoy de acuerdo en todos tus comentarios sobre la GH4 (soy usuario Lumix) pero creo que se podría decir más la respecto: La filosofia de la marca en cuanto a lo que esta dispuesta a ofrecer al cliente, y Panasonic lo ofrece todo. Ellos dicen: todo lo que os puedo dar esta en esta cámara: 4 K, focus peaking, bitrate brutal, etc etc etc. no escatiman y lo escalonan con un ritmo de salida de nuevo producto bastante razonable, con un espacio de tiempo adecuado entre un modelo y el siguiente (al menos en los modelos GH).
    Respecto a esto en otras marcas la filosofia es muy distinta: en Nikon parece como si desayunaran LSD con el café, lanzando camaras a un ritmo frenético y muchas de ellas con defectos constatados, D600, D610, D800, D800E, D810 eso sí, para Nikon el tema del video es secundario, como un añadido que hay que poner a regañadientes, sin mucha convicción y con calidad mediocre, por otra parte (hasta en los modelos muy avanzados no se encuentra configuración manual para video!!)
    Luego está Canon, con buena calidad de video pero muy tacaños a la hora de implementar las camaras adecuadamente. Pueden hacerlo, pero porque en los modelos FF de gama baja no ponen toma de auriculares o focus peaking, por ejemplo. ¿4 K? ¿pantalla articulada? ni pensarlo! espere al siguiente modelo.
    En años trabajando en la producción de video me he dado cuenta de que la cámara perfecta no existe, pero algunas se acercan más, por eso voy a la GH4.

    Me ha hecho gracia, hace tiempo vi el video “Light” y también quedé impresionado por la misma secuencia, la niña andando hacia la casa en llamas. es hipnótica.

    Sigue así!

    • Zack Arias

      Google translate…

      Hi Zack, congratulations on your blog. I have become a follower!

      I agree to share your comments on GH4 (I’m using Lumix) but I think you could say more about it: The philosophy of the brand in terms of what they are willing to offer the customer, and Panasonic offers it all. They say all that I can give is in this camera: 4 K, focus peaking, brutal bitrate, etc etc etc. do not skimp and staggered out with a rhythm again quite reasonable product with a suitable length of time between a model and the following (at least in the GH models).
      Regarding this in other brands philosophy is very different: in Nikon seems like LSD have breakfast with coffee, launching cameras at a frantic pace and many with defects found, D600, D610, D800, D800E, D810 yes, for Nikon theme of the video is secondary, as an addition to be put reluctantly, without much conviction and mediocre quality, on the other hand (even in very advanced models no manual configuration is video !!)
      Then there is Canon, with good video quality but very stingy when implemented properly cameras. They can, but because in the FF low-end models do not put headphone jack or focus peaking, for example. ¿4 K? ¿Articulated screen? I think not! wait for the next model.
      In years working in video production I realized that the perfect camera does not exist, but some are closer, so I’m going to GH4.

      I found it funny, while I watched the video “Light” and was impressed by the same sequence, the girl walk into the burning house. is hypnotic.

      Keep it up!

      • Zack Arias

        I think I agree with what you are saying!


  27. Jonathan

    I’m asking this rather belatedly, but I was just reading about how many editorial/fashion/commercial photographers have begun using the Red Cinema cameras as a combined video & stills solution. Granted, they are not cheap, but apparently the 6k cameras give much of the same magic of a medium format still camera, with the bonus of luscious video and hundreds of raw still frames to choose from.

    Just curious whether you have given any thought to potentially replacing your Phase One kit with such a rig in the future?

    Personally, the GH4 solution you’ve gone with is more my style – run and gun friendly, compact, light, inexpensive – but I can see the appeal of the Red solution for someone who does the kind of assignments you are often doing.

  28. thomas

    Hi Zack

    I bought LX 100 for 4k video about a week ago and I like it.

    I also consider adding FZ 1000 for 25-400 zoom range.

    FZ 1000 could be useful to take 4k video of wildlife while I visit Fairbanks AK between March 17th and 24th.

    I will appreciate your opinion.



    • Zack Arias

      I’ve looked at that LX100 a lot for a small B-roll camera. Since it doesn’t have a mic input it wouldn’t be much good for us other than B-roll. I don’t have any opinion on the FZ1000. Sorry.


  29. Jay Soriano

    Hey Zack,

    Appreciate the guides you have on moving to motion, as well as the forthcoming guides you’ll have in the future. I’m a photographer who would like to jump into video as well, what learning resources have you found helpful for learning video? Either in print or video – or both.



  30. Frank in Wisconsin

    I know this is an older post ;perhaps you’ll see it..

    I ‘d be interested in your opinion of where the gh-4 comes short for stills;

    I shoot the gh-3 and xpro1/x100S all for stills/video(90/10) and (IMHO) For web work and wedding books. the lumix does a decent job..The gh-3 hits focus more reliably
    than the fujis…

    I’m torn between buying an xt-1 body or gh-4 for 90/10 stills/video (the xpro-1 focusing kills me;seems to take forever in the dim light of indoor weddings/receptions.)The gh-3 is pretty good; I understand the gh-4 is snappier and uses newer tech. Just a thought over morning coffee… 🙂

    • Zack Arias

      Hi Frank,

      The GH4 doesn’t suck in the still department but compared to the Fuji the Fuji shines above quite a bit in sharpness, dynamic range, and noise. If I was shooting for the web mostly than the GH4 is fine for that. Heck, I’d just shoot 4k and grab stills in a lot of cases. The stills from the 4k video are surprisingly good when you are in good light.


  31. Kurt Robinson


    After reading your post, as well as a few others, I decided to purchase a GH4. I have been reading other people’s opinions on necessary accessories and I was wondering when part 3 will be coming out? I’m curious to know what accessories you feel are important vs what’s nice to have.

  32. Dan

    Hey Zack – just came across your site and Youtube channel and enjoy them both.

    Re: not having a second 12-35mm – unless you’re in low light, why not just grab the Panasonic 14-42 – it certainly resolves well enough for video. As with Tony Northrup and David Thorpe have pointed out, even the 14-140mm lens is fine if you’re not doing stills.

    Personally, I use the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8. It’s not stabilised, but I’m usually on sticks, and the form factor of the GH4 even allows you to get decent hand-held on the Olly if you’re not running like a mad thing.

    I too drool over the Panasonic/Leica 42.5mm, but the Olympus 45mm is fulfilling my needs.

  33. Mr. King


    I stop by every few weeks to see if a Part III has appeared.

    Also, am I crazy or have the prices of all the gear mentioned in this kit gone down quite a bit since you posted this? The GH4 at B&H is going for $1300 right now, and those lenses look significantly less expensive, too.

    Did I miss something? Has there been a replacement for the GH4?

    Mr. King

    • bryan james

      would love to see a part 3 as gear is relevant to many different playforms not just the gh4

  34. RiverV

    Hi Zach,

    Came here from youtube, and your desire for a camera with Fuji and gh4 functionality sounded a lot like the just announced Sony a6300, what are your thoughts on it from what you have heard so far, and do you think you might consider it as a new option?

    • bryan james

      looks like a very interesting option. i am going to research it formyself

  35. bryan james

    was almost going to get the GH4 as my needs are 95% similar to yours, but I got lucky and came across the JVC LS300!