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Panasonic GH4 vs Sony A7S


The Panasonic Lumix GH4 is a direct successor of the Lumix GH3 that has appeared on the market in May 2014, and within a couple of weeks, it has become one of the most heavily praised mirrorless, micro four thirds digital camera because of its strong build and numerous features of which the most notable is its ability to record 4K videos!

On the other side, the Sony A7s is a fantastic mirrorless camera with a full-frame image sensor that was released a month after, in April 2014, and it is oriented towards customers who love recording videos aside from the camera’s primary job which is to capture photos!

Now, let’s get started right away and reveal what are these cameras capable of, and which one may offer you the better user experience in case you decide to make an actual purchase!

Head To Head Comparison

Panasonic GH4

The Lumix GH4 measures 3.68 x 5.23 x 3.30″ (HWD), weighs around 16.93 ounces without a lens, and features a sleek, all-black body that is made of a tough magnesium-alloy material which promises a higher level of durability, while on the other side, Panasonic has also implemented a weather-sealing with the intention to maximize the camera’s durability, and allow the photographer to have a freedom in shooting under a variety of different environments and weather conditions.

Moreover, if you view from the front, you’ll notice the presence of the deep handgrip which is covered in a textured coating that will aid a lot on the convenience you’ll feel once you have this camera in your hands, and of course, on the stability which is essential for photographers.

I’d also like to mention that the GH4 holds numerous buttons that are spread across its body, some will find this difficult, others, including me, would like it because it won’t take much until you learn all of them and understand what they do in practice, and once you do, you will always be able to tailor the settings to suit your desires.

Namely, on the top plate, there are twin dials, one sits on the left the other on the right, a hot shoe on the center, whereas, also on the right, there are 4 dedicated buttons including a White Balance button, ISO, Exposure compensation button, a customizable Fn1 button along with a shutter release button located right on the grip!

On the rear, all of the buttons are spread on the top and right-handed side of the body, leaving enough space for the LCD screen to flip out. I like the way of how Panasonic managed to design the rear controls because they aren’t many and they are easily accessible.

In addition, there’s one more thing I particularly like regarding this camera, and that’s the 2.359k-dot electronic viewfinder that provides the user an exceptionally vivid view filled with strong details, and when we add the fact that the viewfinder covers up to 100% of the field, without a doubt I can say that you will never miss a target!

Also, the 3″, 1036k-dot LCD screen is extremely clear to shoot with and to preview your images, and what’s even better is that it is touch-enabled which will help you tremendously as you’re navigating between menus, as well as it is mounted on a vari-angle hinge that will guarantee you a convenient shooting experience from a variety of different angles!

Furthermore, the GH4 packs a decent number of connection ports, such as a single USB 2.0 port, micro HDMI port, single memory card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, 3.5mm headphone output, 3.5mm external mic, 2.5mm remote input and has a built-in support for Wi-Fi and NFC, hence, you’ll have multiple options to transfer your content! Great job, Panasonic!

In terms of the performance, the GH4 employs a 16.1MP Digital Live MOS sensor, a -CPU Venus Engine that boosts the camera’s ability to produce JPEG and RAW images with minimal noise, 49-point AF, an impressively fast burst shooting speed of 12 fps, and an ISO sensitivity range of 200-25,600 which is expandable up to 100-25,600!

For your information, if you opt to shoot JPGs at ISO 3200, they look wonderful, the color accuracy is excellent and the detail level is indeed great, whereas, noise can’t be detected until you zoom 100%. Relatively the same can be said regarding ISO 800, while if you reach ISO 12,800, keep in mind that the noise will appear more but still, images are usable. At the highest level – ISO 25,600, although images may still be usable, I’d recommend you keeping them for emergency situations because noise becomes indeed prominent.

RAW images shot at 100 do not look good at all, while starting from ISO 3200, 12,800 and even ISO 25,600, details are preserved, so, the overall image quality remains strong although I wouldn’t push as far as ISO 25,600.

Finally, the GH4 let’ you record 4k videos at 24 fps, UHD videos up to 30fps, and 1080p videos at 60fps, hence, the footage does not only look pleasing for the viewer, but users can also opt to use this camera for professional purposes, and gain more skills in the field of videography! This makes it a popular camera amongst documentary filmmakers. It’s affordable, has a lot to offer and it’s great for video. What more could you ask for?

If you decide to go with the GH4, i would also recommend you check out our L-mount lens roundup so you can get a lens to go with your camera.

Panasonic GH4 Sample Images:

Similar Comparison: Panasonic Lumix GX85 vs Sony A6000

Sony A7s

The Sony A7s in comparison to the GH4 is more compact, because it measures 3.75 x 5 x 1.9″ (HWD), weighs around a pound without a lens and features an elegant, glossy matte-black body that is made of a combination of magnesium alloy and polycarbonate, which is furtherly strengthened by a weather sealing. Hence, both cameras are strong enough to withstand years of use and durable enough to offer the photographers worry-free shooting experience in a dusty and rainy environment!

Aside from being a durable camera, the A7S does also sit steadily and feel comfortable once you have it in your hands, the reason behind this is its deep, textured grip that let’s you place your hand naturally and achieve excellent results regardless of the time you’ve spent on shooting!

Around the top, you can notice that the left-side remains neat, no controls, whereas, at the center, there’s a hot shoe, and two dials sitting next to each other to the right. Between them, there’s a shutter release button with an On/Off switch and a customizable C1 button. A bit of compressed fashion, but considering its compactness, you will unlikely face problems.

On the rear, to the left of the viewfinder that sits on the top, there’s a Menu button, yet another customizable C2 button located to the right, and multiple buttons which can be found on the right-handed side.

I’d like to mention that the OLED electronic viewfinder has a resolution of 2,359k-dots, covers up to 100% of the frame and outputs plenty of details and exceptionally vibrant colors with the intention to maximize your view so that your sight would not be affected by anything once you lock onto a specific target.

Slightly below, there’s a a tilting, 3″ 921,600-dot LCD screen that is very bright and produces strong visuals which will definitely aid your shooting experience even under a bright daylight, however, in comparison to the GH4, the A7s` screen isn’t vari-angle nor it is touch-enabled, and therefore, the GH4 receives more credits here!

Moreover, the connection options of this camera consist of an HDMI-micro port, built-in stereo microphone, 1/8 microphone stereo minijack, 1/8 stereo headphone minijack, USB port, multi-card reader for Memory Stick DUO/SD memory cards, and as was the case with the GH4, this camera also supports Wi-Fi and NFC, so, the result is a tie, because both cameras are excellent in this point.

Speaking of the performance, the A7s runs on a powerful BIONZ X image processor which ensures fast processing speeds, low occurrences of noise, and well defined images and videos, has a 12.2MP image sensor, ISO range of 100-102,400 which is expandable up to 100-409,600, a continuous shooting speed of 5 fps, and a 25-point AF, which combined simply guarantee the photographer excellent performance and result!

In addition, the Sony A7s does also capture JPG and RAW format images, and what’s even cooler is that it controls the noise really well!

Namely, the Sony A7s brings top-notch results, especially for high ISO shooting. At ISO 1600, images look crisp and the level of noise is virtually non-existent, and if we compare the GH4 and the A7s in this area, thanks to its full-frame sensor, the GH4 outperforms its opponent.

At ISO 3200, although the noise reduction starts doing its job a bit more aggressively, the details are incredibly preserved, hence, once again, the A7s outperforms the GH4 at this point!

At the highest levels, noise becomes more prominent, but what got my attention is that even at ISO 102,400 images may still be usable!

RAW images look even better at the highest settings, because although the noise is there, most of the details are preserved, however, I wouldn’t recommend you to push the camera to its boundaries because, naturally, the more you push the ISO sensitivity the more the noise becomes pronounced.

In the end, the A7s records 1080p videos at 24p/30p/60i/60p, 720p videos at up to 120fps, and although it can’t record 4K videos internally, it can output uncompressed 3840 x 2160p 4K video through the dedicated HDMI port that allows you to record on an external devices. In comparison to the GH4, the A7s can’t compete at this point, although the footage is unbelievably sharp! The reason is simple, the GH4 is a way better option for recording professional videos than the A7s who lack built-in 4K recording.

Sony A7s Sample Images:

Similar Comparison: Panasonic Lumix G7 vs Sony A6000

Panasonic GH4 vs Sony A7s Feature Comparison

  Panasonic GH4 Sony A7s
Camera Type Mirrorless Mirrorless
Megapixels 16.1 12.0
ISO Range 200-25,600;100-25,600 100-102,400;100-409,600
Flip-Out Screen Yes Yes
AF Points 49 AF Points 25 AF Points
Viewfinder Yes Yes
Touchscreen Yes No
Video Recording Yes Yes
Sensor Size Micro Four Thirds Full-Frame

Similar Comparison: Panasonic Lumix FZ80 vs Canon SX60 HS


Since we reached this far, I’m more than sure that you’ve seen that both cameras are incredibly similar to each other, in fact, there are only a few things that make them different and usually, this kind of overview is always entertaining! Prior to announcing the winner, let’s go through their key aspects and bring the final decision regarding who wins the battle!

For Portrait photography, the A7S performs better thanks to its full-frame sensor, although it has a weaker resolution than the GH4, whereas for Street photography, the results of the A7S are better, but the GH4 offers a better convenience for shooting.

For Sports photography, even though the A7S has a continuous shooting speed of only 5 fps, still, it achieves better results whereas for Daily and Landscape photography, this happens once again.

The areas where the Lumix GH4 outperforms the A7S is with its built-in flash, the touchscreen that also has 33% more pixels, with its number of focus points ( 49 vs 25), the stronger battery life ( ~500 vs ~360), and its ability to record 4K which make it be more versatile since it can satisfy the needs of a variety of different users.

On the contrary, the A7S has a 1500% higher max ISO ( 409,600 vs 25,600), has a 18% higher resolution screen ( 1,230k vs 1036k-dots), it is lighter, delivers a better low light iso performance, and has a slightly higher color depth.

Overall, I’d go for the Lumix GH4 because it is more affordable and it is perfect especially if you opt to record videos aside from just shooting photos.

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