4k UltraHD Video Camera Showdown: a7S, GH4 and NX1 Compared

Apr 11, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

4k UltraHD Video Camera Showdown: a7S, GH4 and NX1 Compared

Apr 11, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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We recently did a quick poll here on the blog and if our audience is any indication shooting 4K video is not there yet. But early adopters (manufacturer and shooters alike) are starting to use 4K capable cameras and it is time to start comparing some of the consumer/prosumer models out there.

In this showdown Tony Northrup compares three models: Panasonic’s GH4Samsung’s NX1 and Sony’s a7S connected to an Atomos Shogun (to draw full 4K out). The team compared Dynamic range, focus tracking, high iso, impact on computer performance and more. (As a side note, price for 4K is quite difference as well: $1,500 for the GH4, $1,300 for the NX1 and $4,500 for the a7S and shotgun combined)

There are three main tests in the video (and a ton of other useful info, so head over and watch it) which we summarize below:

Dynamic Range

a7s-gh4-nx1-compared-dynamic-range

Sony is the clear winner when it comes to dynamic range, though it comes with a price. The extra $$$ are obvious but since it uses an Atomos Shogun for actually recording 4K, there is a cumbersomeness factor, you’d have to mount the Shogun, as well as its batteries, cables and so on…

Actually that kinda rules out the a7S for casual usage.

Focus Tracking

a7s-gh4-nx1-compared-focs-tracking

The NX1 nails it here due to its awesome track focus. Both the NX1 and the GH4 use phase detection and it is clearly apparent on the comparison. But between the NX1 and the GH4 the NX1 track focus better.

Even if not using the focus tracking, both the NX1 and GH4 have a touchscreen that helps focusing if you don’t have a dedicated focus puller.

Of course, the need for a good focus tracking system really depends on what you plan to shoot.

High ISO

a7s-gh4-nx1-compared-high-iso

Again the Sony a7S is a clear winner here, but as we mentioned before, you would need the additional Shogun. This was kinda surprising as the a7S is only outputting 8bits of color vs. 10bits of color from the other two.


Of course, those are not the only things that matter when picking a camera and even if you are only considering those three, your needs may vary. Tony makes a great overview and looking into different use-cases and the ecosystem surrounding the cameras which are all important factors when committing to a system.

[a7S vs GH4 vs NX1: 4k UltraHD Video Camera Comparison via iso1200]

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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4 responses to “4k UltraHD Video Camera Showdown: a7S, GH4 and NX1 Compared”

  1. JW Avatar
    JW

    You definitvely should go for far more smaller sensors. Like the iPhones, Androids etc. The smaller the better. Less weight, less price, less possibilities, less image quality, less depth of field.
    YOU CAN’T CHEAT PHYSICS!!!!

    1. rafaelinux Avatar
      rafaelinux

      Less depth of field?

  2. IJS Avatar
    IJS

    Your prices are off. The GH4 and NX1 are both $1500 body only (currently $1299 for NX1). $2800 for NX1 is for the kit with the 16-50 f2-2.8, battery grip and extra battery.

    1. udi tirosh Avatar
      udi tirosh

      you are right, the text was fixed.