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Red Epic and the Panasonic GH4. How do they compare?

written by James Drake

A (now) $20,000ish Red body against a $1700 newly released Panasonic mirrorless camera that fits in your hand…

Dave Dugdale over at learningdslrvideo.com posted a comparison he was doing with the GH4 and my thought was, “is this a good B-camera for the Red.” So, with my simple “real world run and gun” methodology, we tested. (In case you’re wondering, Dave and I have done a few other Red camera tests together)

Before we jump into some tests I think it’s worth mentioning that the Mysterium-X sensor is 3 or 4 years old now, which is ANCIENT in technology and computer terms (which sadly cameras basically are wrapped into now).

Look

Now, onto a pseudo run and gun interview setup to see how they’d match color and look wise. For these tests, the Red was matched to the GH4 look out of camera. We tried 2 looks out of the GH4, the CineD look and the Natural look.

GH4 cineD interview look

GH4 cineD interview look straight out of camera

GH4 Natural Look

GH4 Natural Look straight out of camera

Between the two, the best looking option is definitely the natural setting. The cineD setting makes skin look plastic, and the color shifts seems unnatural. With limited knowledge on setting up the profiles of this camera, there could be a setting we missed but it seems like Dave really covered his bases when looking into the profiles. His intent all along was to shoot natural, but I wanted to test the cineD profile in tandem to double check.

Below is the two cameras stacked next to each other in “A” and B” setups. The tonality differences of the camera come out mildly, but straight out of camera it isn’t a huge leap between the two. Notice the depth of field difference on the “b-setup” with same aperture and focal length.

Red and Gh4 interview setup

Red and Gh4 interview setup

B camera Gh4 Red Epic depth of field look

Gh4 and Epic B camera angle. notice the depth of field

Takeaways

From our basic tests, I think it’s pretty conclusive… as a general B-camera, the GH4 can really step in as a nice sub-$2000 addition to a Red users kit, under a few conditions. It seemed from our tests very easy to match the Red to the GH4, but there are looks that you can pull in the Redcode that are difficult to match exactly on the GH4. Don’t go out shooting without testing… as always. But it seems the natural profile on the GH4 is a good “HD” look match to the Red Epic. The GH4 wins in that it is a tiny tiny camera. For covert or ultra-light shoots, it wins. For big travel, it wins for sure. On top of that, with the myriad of cheap handheld gimbal systems coming to market, the lightweight GH4 will take great advantage of these. I’d say, if you’re in need of a B-Cam, this is a great system.

However…. it’s probably worth waiting to see the Sony A7S in action. That comparison will be coming very soon. Stay tuned!

Dave Dugdale will be posting his extensive review of the GH4 soon, keep your eyes out for it!

A huge special thank you to Caleb Kohl of chlorofil.biz and Ian Chisolm for helping us with these tests!

Update: Dave and I tested the GH4 with a metabones speedbooster, which essentially transforms the micro 4/3 sensor into the size of a s35 sensor. There’s an EF version of this speedbooster coming out soon, so it looks like we will be able to easily swap EF glass on shoots with Red’s and GH4, yet another factor to consider for those mini 2nd unit pieces!

 

Behind the Scenes

 

Dave Dugdale, Gh4 tests Red Epic stacked Gh4 photo 3

As originally published here:
http://www.jdfnet.com/2014/06/09/red-epic-vs-gh4-camera-comparisons/