Panasonic's GH4 was the first consumer mirrorless camera to bring pro quality 4K capture to the masses at a reasonable price-point. Since its release, critics have praised this model for its incredible internal 4K and 96fps slow-motion capabilities, but much has been said about its lack of a dedicated log profile (like Sony's sLog2 found in their a7S and a7RII).
Panasonic had first confirmed the idea of a new V-Log profile that harnessed this flat, log-like design over six months ago yet they kept the lid on its progress all the way up until this morning when it was officially announced. As of today, GH4 owners can pre-order the V-Log update for a $99 fee (per camera body) and in the next few weeks, will be able to register and install the profile to their camera.
Now $99 seems like a hefty price for a picture profile, but you need to keep in mind a few things. First off, this is considered a major upgrade developed to resemble that of a Cineon curve. Panasonic is advertising the V-Log as being able to up the overall dynamic range for video from 10 to 12 stops, which is no easy feat and will provide a noticeable different when executed correctly. Secondly, this is common practice from Panasonic, Sony, Canon, or RED for their higher-end, cinema-level cameras as they will often charge an additional fee for significant firmware updates that allow users to reap the benefits of added performance.
Should you buy V-Log if you own a GH4? That is an excellent question as truthfully V-Log and its potential benefits aren't for everyone. The reason for this is that the flat picture profile can complicate things as monitoring your video during production is more difficult with a flat profile due to the unsaturated, washed out look (hence why so may are now using field monitors with 3D LUTs). Of course, your footage will look pretty awful straight out of camera meaning you'll need to correct for this in post, something some prospective buyers likely shy away from.
While the benefits of V-Log are substantial to the right user, you need to ask yourself if you are ready to take on the challenge of working with V-Log in both the production and post-production realm. I know some of you would rather use a built-in profile that looks reasonably good straight out of the camera and if that is the case then I'd say in your case, V-Log isn't worth the $99 upgrade. If you think you fall into the target market, you can head over to B&H Photo and pre-order your V-Log update, today.
Source: Panasonic (Online Store)
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.