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Whats currently the smallest/best external recorder for GH4
  • I have a Samurai Blade which is great with my AF101/161 but would need a SDI>HDMI convertor, which costs almost as much as a cheap recorder. So I need a small recorder to capture 1080p 10 bit 422 from the GH4, any suggestions with/without monitor are appreciated. Is it true 10 bit 422 from the GH4 ? I only ask because the 10 bit output from the AF101 was bollocks - 8 bit with dithering. *The Ninja Star is looking like the best option right now at £200 plus cost of Cfast cards

  • 6 Replies sorted by
  • somebody must be using external recorder with their GH4?! Any recommendations other than the Ninja Star?

  • Responding to the question of the "best" external recorder, it is the Atomos Shogun Blade or Inferno. Why?

    First, you can take advantage of the best the GH4 has to offer - 4K, high dynamic range using Vlog L (12 stops), better color - 4:2:2 10bit. Second, you can monitor the log output in real colors using built-in LUTs specifically for Panasonic Vlog L - so you can know what your video looks like while shooting (shooting using any log profile in the field is like shooting blind unless you have proper waveforms and you can see the color and contrast of a possible grade). Third, you can also shoot for HDR video and see the video in real HDR in the field if you want! Bonuses are a really bright screen (1500 nits) for daylight shooting that you can actually monitor (see), focus aids (moveable and adjustable magnification, peaking), waveforms, etc. You asked for the best, you pay for it.

    Am I recommending this to you - no, I have no idea what you need or aspire to. I am just telling you what I think based on my experience in the field is the "best" and why.

  • You can't shoot HDR on the GH4 unless you want to put up with very noisy shadows. The GH4 has poor dynamic range. Look for a different camera if you care about HDR.

    Personally I think a used Shogun is the best deal going now for a monitor and recorder. Atomos has been good about bringing new firmware features to their older models. Sure, the Inferno is nice, but it costs a lot more just to gain a brighter screen and 4k/60p. The Shogun is not small, but I really think you want 7 inches or larger to be able to focus. And SSDs are cheap now.

  • Well, here is a true HDR video from the 10bit 4:2:2 output of the GH4 to the Shogun Inferno:

    You will see it in SDR if you only have an SDR viewer, and in HDR if your viewer can do it - REC2020 DR and color gamut, 10bit, 4:2:2.

    Cheapest method of getting true HDR, and seeing it in the field. Noisy shadows, pfft.

  • If size is a key consideration, here are the dimensions of various ProRes video recorders (from small to large):

    • Atomos Ninja Star - Dimensions: 95 x 60 x 25mm / 3.7 x 2.4 x 1.0 in - Weight: 130g / 4.6oz
    • Atomos Ninja 2 - Dimensions: 115 x 87 x 41mm / 4.5 x 3.4 x 1.6 in - Weight: 300g / 11oz
    • Video Devices PIX-E5H - Dimensions: 137 x 86 x 41mm / 5.4 x 3.4 x 1.6 in - Weight: 434g / 15.3oz
    • Video Devices PIX-E5 - Dimensions: 137 x 86 x 41mm / 5.4 x 3.4 x 1.6 in - Weight: 454g / 16oz
    • Atomos Ninja Blade - Dimensions: 136 x 87 x 48mm / 5.4 x 3.4 x 1.9 in - Weight: 311g / 11oz
    • AJA KiPro Mini - Dimensions: 140 x 89 x 46mm / 5.4 x 3.5 x 1.8 in - Weight: 572g / 20.2oz
    • Blackmagic Design Video Assist - Dimensions: 143 x 90 x 31mm / 5.6 x 3.5 x 1.2 in - Weight: 362g / 12.8oz
    • Atomos Samurai Blade - Dimensions: 153 x 87 x 48mm / 6.0 x 3.4 x 1.9 in - Weight: 345g / 12oz
    • Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Shuttle - Dimensions: 155 x 117 x 25 mm / 6.1 x 4.6 x 1 in - Weight: 506g / 17.85 oz
    • Video Devices PIX-E7 - Dimensions: 185 x 125 x 38mm / 7.3 x 4.9 x 1.5 in - Weight: 635g / 22.4 oz
    • Blackmagic Design Video Assist 4K - Dimensions: 189 x 131 x 33mm / 7.5 x 5.1 x 1.3 in - Weight: 789g / 27.8oz
    • Atomos Shogun - Dimensions: 196 x 110 x 47mm / 7.7 x 4.3 x 1.85 in - Weight: 460g / 16oz
    • Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q/7Q+ - Dimensions: 200 x 155 x 25mm / 7.9 x 6.1 x 1.0 in - Weight: 560g / 19.8oz
    • Atomos Ninja Flame - Dimensions: 214 x 127 x 45mm / 8.4 x 5 x 1.8 in - Weight: 620g / 21.9oz
    • Atomos Shogun Inferno - Dimensions: 214 x 127 x 45mm / 8.4 x 5 x 1.8 in - Weight: 709g / 25.0oz

    Now obviously these don't all have identical capabilities, some have SDI inputs, some HDMI only. Some have screens, some don't. Some can record 4K some only HD. Some record to SD cards, some CFast, others SSDs.

    But it does give a decent idea of what's out there.

  • I don't really need HDR video - just better colour info from the 422 10 bit signal - does the GH4 output true 10 bit 422? The 7 inch monitor/recorders are too unwieldy for the sort of shooting i do, from @davedv list its looking like the Ninja Star does have the smaller footprint and it's also a very reasonable price - I'm fairly comfortable getting focus using B+W with peaking so probably gonna go with this or a 2nd hand Ninja Blade.