Why The GH4 is Still a Great First Camera in 2020

Look there are a lot of fantastic camera options out there to choose from when considering a first camera. This post I'm sharing why I think the GH4 is a stellar choice and how you can even level it up.

Look there are a lot of fantastic camera options out there to choose from when considering a first camera. This post I’m sharing why I think the GH4 is a stellar choice and how you can even level it up.

Why The GH4?

Okay look the Panasonic GH4 is a 6-year-old camera and that’s great!

Allow me to explain. When you’re first starting out one of the biggest struggles that most creators face is deciding what camera too get? This ends up leading people through a endless amount of YouTube rabbit holes that leaves them in two places. Either never getting a camera or spending WAY too much for your first camera that you’re not even remotely sure how to use as effectively as you could.

Instead of spending 90% of your budget on a camera you could spend more of your money on things that will last you a lot longer than that one camera. Which brings me to why the GH4 is worth it.

Price

Let’s assume your budget is $2k. Which is solid budget for some cameras out on the market right now but that’s usually for just the camera body. You can find a good used GH4 from anywhere around $400 to $600 dollars on eBay, and sometimes even cheaper.

Hear me out. You might be thinking you want to get a Canon or Sony camera. That’s understandable but right now don’t worry about the camera focus on more important stuff, like the camera lenses, the audio gear, and lights. Let’s say you find a deal with the GH4 and it comes with a Panasonic 25mm, and some kit lens they never used for $550. You’re now left with $1450 on other things. Things that will last much longer than your camera.

Pros and Cons of The Camera

Look it’s a 6-year-old camera but Lumix did a fantastic job with it because it was one of the first, if not the first camera to introduce 4k recording. As well as some great slow-mo options. Let’s break down some of the things the GH4 shines in.

PROS:

  • Small and Compact
  • Great Audio pre-amps
  • 16MP – Four Thirds CMOS Sensor
  • ISO 200 – 25600
  • Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • 3″ Fully Articulated Screen
  • 2359k dot Electronic viewfinder
  • 12 fps continuous shooting
  • 4096 x 2160 video resolution
  • Built-in Wireless
  • Light weight
  • Weather Sealed Body
  • Focus peaking
  • headphone jack
  • great battery
  • Pretty decent dynamic range

CONS:

  • micro four thirds (I’m putting this on here for all the haters out there)
  • No In-Body-Image-Stabilization
  • No support of UHS-2 memory cards
  • One card slot (for some this is a deal breaker but for beginners I don’t think it should be)
  • No support for the Lumix XLR adapter

🤷🏽‍♂️ I don’t know about you but that looks like a great pros list…

Leveling Up

The following suggestions are for any base camera. Because really any camera if used properly with lighting and audio equipment, which are more important than the actual camera you’re using will always outperform a better camera used poorly.

The MFT system does struggle in low light but if you got a prime lens like a 25mm, 14mm, that are usually f1.5 to f2.5 you’re going to have a better image. You could alternatively get a used speed booster adapter and a sigma or Canon EF lens.

The other place you’d want to put your money is in lights and audio. You could purchase the Godox SL60w or a newer 2-point LED light kit on amazon. Anything is better than no light. The audio options I’d suggest would either be the rode video micro because it provides great audio quality for a small and affordable price or the zoom f1 field recorder because it’s a super versatile audio recorder. You can use it as a lavalier or a shotgun microphone. But it suffers from good battery performance, but it’s small tradeoff for all the great audio features you get out of it.

Conclusion

The amount of gear that was once top of the line is now even more accessible than ever. Taking the time to look back and learn to use these tools including their limitations will inevitably make you a better creator and storyteller.

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