Full Frame 4K Review — Sony a7R II with the Sony 28mm f/2 and Panasonic GH5 Thoughts

I prefer shooting stills to video, but video is pretty neat in it’s own right too. I’m constantly reading about new camera gear, reviews, techniques, etc. Before we go any further, let me just preface the rest of this blog entry by stating that my understanding of video is extremely limited. I’m learning. The main reason I blog is to share what I have learned and also learn from knowledgeable others. Now let’s discuss the Panasonic GH5 and Sony a7R II.

Recently, the new Panasonic GH5 was announced and a slew of new lenses. It promises all sorts of amazing things including 10 bit 4:2:2 processing in camera. Also 4K without cropping. I’ve owned the GH4 before as well as the GX8, both of them had problems with continuous autofocus when shooting video. Also, up until the G85, no in camera stabilization for video. Now, let’s assume to video quality of the new GH5 is nothing short of amazing. What about its video autofocusing and stabilization? Nobody knows yet. As of the time of this writing, the latest Panasonic camera in the hands of consumers is the G85. I’ve been reading up on it and watching reviews on YouTube. There are two issues with it that hopefully the GH5 fixes. Those issues are continuous autofocus when shooting video — like previous models, and the in body image stabilization has issues too. Although, the stabilization issues were somewhat mitigated with a new firmware release. Maybe Panasonic has figured this all out for the GH5, but it’ll be months before anyone knows.

In the meantime, I already own a Sony and really don’t want to go back to a Micro 4/3 sensor. For stills, there are so many better cameras with regards to image quality than Micro 4/3 can offer. These cameras all have larger sensors with more megapixels, and offer better low light performance. Also, $2,000 for a Micro 4/3 sensor really seems outrageous to me.

Comparing the GH5 to the a7R II, the Sony offers many of the same benefits including a full frame view of 4K. The only difference to me is that the GH5 has potentially and probably better video quality than the Sony a7R II. I’m sure it’s just a function of time, but the next iteration or two of Sony cameras will probably close that gap.

Regarding the Sony a7R II’s video quality, from everything I read, Super 35mm offers the best video quality. However, there currently aren’t any autofocus primes with large apertures that Sony offers with a wide enough field of view for my liking. Maybe they’ll get on the ball and offer a wide zoom at f/2.8. Until then, I’ll probably shoot full frame 4K. Currently I’m using the 28mm f/2.

Let’s look at some 4k full frame video from yesterday (there’s a few Super 35mm shots there, but few and far between). Now, I actually meant to shoot this video at 1080/60p and then use slow motion, but I didn’t pay close enough attention to the settings in camera and I had it set to 4k, but only 60Mbps. That actually works out great for this blog post because you can see it set to it’s lowest quality setting.

Picture Profile 6 (i.e. PP6) was the color setting I applied in camera. This was per the advice of Jordan Drake from The Camera Store TV:

I asked him for an easy to grade picture profile mode and PP6 was his suggestion. He knows way more about video than me, so I’ll take his advice. Regarding The Camera Store, they have a great channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheCameraStoreTV.

The cutting / editing style I used was an idea I got from watching Mariusz Gajdzik videos. His YouTube channel is https://www.youtube.com/user/mariuszgajdzik. He’s a very talented vlogger / photographer / videographer and also shoots with a Sony a7R II and 28mm f/2 combo. I actually bought the 28mm f/2 because of his vlog on the subject. He’s also very good about answering technical questions too. You can reach him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mariuszgajdzik.

Mariusz also gave me the idea as to where to obtain music for my videos — specifically Soundcloud. Speaking of music, the music I used in the video is Licensed with Creative Commons and is by SANDR & Joey Shigrov. The track is entitled Memories. You can listen to that song and more over on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/Joeyshigrov.

Now I realize it’s not the newest 10 bit 4:2:2 GH5, but for yesteryears model? What do you think?

If you have any tips or recommendations for future videos, please let me know in the comments below or send me a tweet — https://twitter.com/NoahBershatsky.

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