Pixol Media: Video Production | My take on the C100 v GH4
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My take on the C100 v GH4

C100 and GH4
As an owner of both the Canon C100 and Panasonic GH4, I have come to see strengths and weaknesses in both cameras. I have also come to prefer one over the other. This surprised me greatly. Here’s why…

I’ve used the C100 for over a year and it’s ease of use and picture quality was a revolution to me. My professional video career started with a JVC HD100 and progressed to a Canon 550D DSLR. In between times I’ve used a 5D Mk2 and a Red Scarlet as part of my freelance work. All were amazing cameras with their own merits. All brought their own work flows with the well documented work-arounds and weaknesses. My C100 overcame a lot of these. It took the DSLR to the next level for me. Built in ND filters and XLR audio negated the use of external filters and audio recorders. It’s image quality is a massive jump. Dynamic Range is much better than my DSLRs. Image detail is greater. Sharpness took a vast jump. Battery life is excellent. Ergonomics and handling are exemplary in my opinion as it’s just a big DSLR. It uses cheap SD cards, even 2 at a time.

Here comes the but. The C100 lacked one major feature that I felt was important to my workflow – true slomo. I used 720 50p on the DSLRs a lot to produce slomo in my videos. Ok it was soft but it worked. This really niggles me a lot as I spent £4000 on a camera that only shoots 1080 24/25/30p. I watched others work produced with FS700’s and was envious to say the least.

On a more positive note the C100 produces amazing images at 1080p and it can see in the dark! I love C-log and use it extensively. Did I mention the images are amazing?

What about the GH4? I wanted a second camera mainly for recording interviews. I had been using my old 550d but it just wasn’t cutting well with the C100. It was soft and the baked in low DR / video look just didn’t help matters. I purchased the GH4 in June 2014 and immediately put it to work as a second camera recording interviews in 4K. The 2 cameras cut very well together I terms of sharpness and DR. It shoots 1080p 96fps slomo. I love it. I use it all the time. People say its soft. I don’t mind it. It’s not that bad. Did I say I love it? Battery life is brilliant, it’s light and works well on my jib, Glidecam and slider.

Here comes but number 2. The GH4 skin tones were awful in my eyes even in CineD mode so colour balancing with C100 footage in post required a bit of work. The C100 skin tones looked so natural to my eyes but the GH4’s rendition looked a little plasticky.

Another few buts – my lovely Zeiss EF mount lenses don’t work properly – particularly the 50/f1.4 Planar T*. This lens is really soft at f1.4 so I have to keep my 550d close by to set the lens to around f2.8 where it’s as sharp as a really sharp knife. I can’t change the aperture when it’s on the GH4 as I currently don’t own the new Metabones EF to M43 Speedbooster adaptor with electronic control. The EVF LCD have peaking but it’s useless most of the time. I had to invest in faster SD cards for 4K shooting. It has no built in sound recording in the shape of XLR without that expensive WAG thingy or whatever it’s called. And finally for me it has no built in ND filters.

So there you have it. It’s obvious what camera I prefer. It’s the GH4. Obviously. Duh!

Here’s why.

1. It shoots amazing slomo. 96 frames per second.
2. It shots amazing 4K. Forkay. Reframing in post.
3. It shoots timelapses. It’s built in.
4. I can take it on holiday and my family don’t mind. I shot lots of slomo of my 2 kids playing in the sand for use in those embarrassing situations when they are teenagers.
5. The skin tones are great. Well they are after tweaking and help from Mr Erik Naso. They are so close the C100 now editing is a breeze.
6. It’s light and versatile.
C100 / GH4 Skin tone comparison graded
GH4 Skin tone graded
GH4 Skin tone settings
Would the GH4 ever fully take over as number one. Possibly yes. Depending on the project.

This is my opinion so don’t get all antsy on me: the C100 is looking very dated in terms of features as of today. The Gh4 has all the features I need in one little camera. I love it’s lightness and versatility. I’m waiting to see if rumours about updates for the GH4 happen or not – these range from a new LOG profile to 8k recording!! Ok that second one is definitely made up! Canon have other cameras in the Cinema Line to protect so I’m not hopeful of seeing any great new features on the C100. I not even optimistic anymore that the 7D Mk2 will match or beat the GH4 in terms of features.

I’ve read about others who have travelled down the road of completely abandoning Canon ownership to embrace the GH4. I’m not on that road. I’m not even on the slip road or on ramp. I mean the C100 is more than a £4000 audio recorder… Isn’t it?

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Drew Curran

Director at Pixol
Drew is a filmmaker and designer and the founder of Pixol. Pixol produces corporate and commercial promotional films as well as graphic design and print for clients across the UK and Ireland. Drew is also a freelance cameraman and video editor for other production companies as well as a self-confessed camera nerd.

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  • Mohamed I. Chahdi

    September 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm Reply

    It looks like the GH4 matches the C100’s picture very well, I was surprised at how good the 4K was coming out of that very small camera. I guess the C100 still has its place, I have one and I love it, but sometimes it’s hard to shoot with it in the streets (I live in the middle east) as it attracts attention a lot. A smaller camera like the GH4 would be much better in those situations, if someone’s work was all about street shooting and moving quickly, do you think the GH4 can be a replacement for the C100?

    • Drew

      September 3, 2014 at 4:36 pm Reply

      Hi Mohamed,
      The GH4 won’t be completely replacing my C100 anytime soon but for use in street situations like you describe it would be perfect. The GH4 looks like a small DSLR so no one pays attention to me when I’m out and about, unlike the C100 which draws a lot of attention sometimes. I carry the GH4 in a small bag and use a monopod to keep things agile and light. In terms of picture quality, with a change to the default picture settings its on a par with the C100. Add the new Metabones Speedbooster and you will obtain a similar S35 sensor image and DoF and allow you to use your EF lenses.

      • Mohamed I. Chahdi

        September 3, 2014 at 11:51 pm Reply

        Thanks Drew, I guess it’s good enough that a camera as cheap as the GH4 at least matches visually to the C100 (with some work in post). I don’t know what will come up during NAB 2015, there are rumours of new cameras in the Canon EOS Cinema line, who knows what else will come from Sony and Blackmagic. I don’t think the 4K revolution is over, we’ll just wait and see. Thanks again for writing a really good post about these two cameras!

        • Drew

          September 4, 2014 at 8:47 am Reply

          Yes we live in a time of fast changing camera tech!

  • Kazu

    January 13, 2015 at 5:20 am Reply

    With the new c100 mark ii, will you change your mind between gh4 and c100 mark II?

    • Drew

      January 18, 2015 at 11:11 pm Reply

      To be honest the Mk2 is too little too late for me. It’s what the Mk1 should have been. I’ve sold the C100 and solely use the GH4 and a Pocket Camera as a B Camera.

  • Carter Knight

    February 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm Reply

    What do you use for audio recording now since you have sold the c100?

    • Drew

      February 18, 2015 at 9:26 am Reply

      I have found recording directly in to the GH4 to be very good and no longer use my Tascam DR60 recorder. In order to control levels while the GH4 is recording I recently purchased a Beachtek MCC-2 passive adaptor that provides basic volume control for 2 channels of audio that feed directly in to the camera. Here is a link to the BeachTek MCC-2 page.

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