When shooting all year long with a camera like the C300 you become very choosy about the camera you shoot with: the C300’s EVF is very good, the screen beautiful, the electronic NDs classy…
All of that gives you a certain feeling of luxury. But in the first place I had to reassign a lot of stuff to make it the way I wanted (no ISO button Canon, really?) In comparison, after only few hours with the GH4, I was feeling at home. Just being able to put your eye to your camera, like you would normally do when taking photos, gives you a natural feeling of doing things the right way. From there the WB, ISO and Magnify buttons (assigned in my case to the FN1 button) can be pressed and dialled instinctively. Assigning peaking and zebras to FN buttons 2 and 3 makes it easy to turn them on and off according to your needs. The flip screen is just something you wonder how you lived without.
On the firmware side the GH4 has for me two very important features: The ability to turn each screen display on and off easily, and a to set a free-run timecode. The timecode option alone is a big time-saver in post production.
In the end, using the two cameras side-by-side was painless. Even though I am so used to my C300 buttons layout I could easily switch my mind to using the GH4. And trust me: changing between two different cameras when you are in a rush is usually not that easy.
When you add on top of that the GH4 form factor, size, weight, battery life and media capacity, it’s just the perfect tool for those kind of jobs.
With only a battery grip, a vari ND and a reference mic, I was able to shoot all day in all conditions, even when riding a horse.
The other thing that strikes me is how good is the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 lens is. When I bought the camera I was really hoping for Metabones to release an active EF to MFT adapter. I am not anymore. I wouldn’t add any more weight to my package. The Panasonic 12-35mm and 35-100mm f/2.8 zooms are in my opinion just as good as the equivalent focal range canon zooms are for the C300/C100 cameras, minus the weight and with more depth of field.
Of course, there are some downsides. The EVF is not as good as the one on the C300, the screen is not very bright, the peaking is not the best in the world and you need a vari ND on top of your lens…but who cares? It gets the job done.
And if you want to the truth, the GH4 EVF is still better than the one on the Canon C100 – I just hate the screen on it.
Despite all these virtues, the real test was to see how well I could match the Canon cameras and the GH4. Looking at the images from the two cameras side by side, and especially the interview parts, I think that the C-series and GH4 intercut very nicely, with minimum post-production. And for me this is the most important. I can’t afford to spend hours trying to match color sciences and skin tones from completely different planets.
In the end, the GH4 maybe not be the perfect camera, but the C300 and C100 aren’t either. What matters is how effective it can be in the field. It can help me tell stories, be more responsive and travel lighter.
Panasonic Battery Grip
Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS lens
Schneider True-Match Vari ND 77mm
Cordvision 58mm-77mm setup adapter ring
Canon C300 & C100
Canon 17-55mm f2.8 EFS lens
Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 L lens
Canon 24-105mm f4.0 L lens
C300 & GH4 operated by Nicos Argillet
C100 operated by Manuel Laigre
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