Is this the ultimate combination for indie movie-making? The Panasonic GH4 records 4k, the Speedbooster “expands” your sensor and give your more light, and together with the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 you are able to shoot video with aperture F1.2.
The downside with the Panasonic GH4 compared too 5D mark iii and Sony A7S, is the poor video quality when shooting in high ISO. So using a fast lens is necessary when shooting in low light with the GH4. Last year, Metabone released the Speedooster, which is an adapter for Canon EF lenses and micro four third cameras like the GH4. It is not just an adapter. Inside the speedbooster, it’s a special glass that increases your lenses maximum aperture by one stop and also makes lenses o,7x wider. That means it would not only give you more light, but also decrease the cropping inside the camera.
So after some research, I found out that the best and most practical setup I could get, for the cheapest amount of money, would be too buy the Gh4, the Metabone Speedbooster and the Sigma lens.
Many people think that 4k itself is what creates sharp and good looking video, but the video codec is as important, as well as the lens. The Panasonic GH4 has the possibility to record 4K video in 100 Megabit per second, Full HD in 200 Mbps and even 96fps FULL HD 100 Mbps. The Canon 5D mark ii, which was my latest camera, captures video in 42mbps, and compared to the Canon 5D mark iii which captures video in 92 mbps, you can really see the difference. With FULL HD 200mbit in the GH4 the 5d mark iii footage is twice as compressed and that makes a difference.
You can modify the picture profiles in the GH4, and you also have presets like Cinelike D, which makes your image flat and easier to color grade in post production. It has focus peeking and zebra stripes, which helps a lot during shooting.
The flip screen is genius, and the viewfinder is a must if you are shooting in bright sunlight and don’t have any external viewfinders.
On the LCD screen you can see the sound level, which is great. The camera has a microphone input, a headphone output, a HDMI output and an AV output. The camera is small and has a lot of buttons which you can customize as you want. It even has a genius built in time-lapse function.
Back to the speedbooster: A small sensor, like the micro four third sensor inside the GH4, gives you a long depth of field, and that is not great for us film-makers. A short depth of field is one of the factors that create the film-look.
On most of the inexpensive cameras like the Canon 550D or the new 750D, you got an APS-C sensor, which is a bit bigger and gives you shorter depth of field then the GH4 sensor. On a full frame sensor you get even shorter depth of field, so it’s great for film-making. So is there any chance for the micro four third sensor to get short enough depth of field so we can achieve the film-look? Yes, and that is one of the benefits with the Speedbooster. The Metabones Speedbooster concentrates the light entering the lens into a smaller area, which decreases the focal length and increases the aperture on the smaller sensor. It’s like increasing the sensor to an APS-C size. That means if you are using a lens designed for APS-C sensors, like the sensor inside the Canon 750D, it would not crop. So a 50mm APS-C lens would therefore be a 50mm lens on the GH4 with the speedbooster, and still you would get the extra stop of aperture. So after I did some research I went for the APS-C lens Sigma 18-35mm with aperture F1.8. That means, when I’m using it with the speedbooster and the gh4, I can film with aperture 1.2. So the low light problem is no longer a big issue.
So as a conclusion, I think this setup is exactly what I need. The Sony A7s is a really good competitor, but it doesn’t have the 4k recording inside the camera and it doesn’t have the same slow motion functions. You are able to shoot 4k with the Sony, but then you need an external recorder which is really expensive.
I can’t wait to test the camera even more. There will be a bunch of new videos coming up really soon and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them below, or at my Facebook-page.
So stay tuned, subscribe, and thanks for watching.