Say goodbye to 2k? TEST: GH4 4k at 2k VERSUS Canon 5D Mark III/ ML RAW

by fletch murray6 Comments

SITUATION: I don't want to sell my 2k camera yet because cable won't be ready for it for years. Still, I always want the sharpest picture in the 2k world we live in now. So, I need two answers before converting to 4k.

QUESTION ONE: In the 2k world does is the Panasonic GH4 (4k downsized to 2k) as good as or better than my Canon 5D Mark III with Magic Lantern?

QUESTION TWO: Does Premiere Pro struggle with Panasonic's 4k downsizing it to 2k?

Luke Neumann* shot a similar test but he compared the two cameras at 4k (he expanded the 5D M3's RAW video to 4k). I wanted the opposite.

So I downloaded Luke's uncompressed footage and laid it up on a 2k timeline in Adobe Premiere Pro.

See the amazing results. Can a 4/3 sensor beat the pants off the 5D M3 running Magic Lantern?


Panasonic GH4 vs Canon 5D Mark III (with Magic Lantern RAW video) – 3S4C6997 GH4 4kto2k Neumann FM150713

4K Camera Showdown: Is the Under $2K Panasonic GH4 Sharper Than a $20K+ RED EPIC?

Via No Film School:

Luke also did an additional test with the GH4 and EPIC which you can download here. As I mentioned below, the Panasonic is doing a lot of processing internally, even if you turn down sharpness, which he did with the second test. The EPIC, on the other hand, does essentially nothing to the image, meaning there is no additional sharpening going on in the hardware. You can always add sharpening in post to the EPIC, which should bring it closer to the GH4, but the images still speak for themselves.


Nikkor Ai-s 50mm f 1.2 @ f 5.6

Shutter at 180

CineLikeD: Contrast and Saturation to -5, Sharpness to -2

RED Epic

Nikkor Ai-s 50mm f 1.2 @ f 5.6


RedLogFilm: Contrast and white balance adjusted to match GH4 as close as possible.

Read full article at No Film School “4K Camera Showdown: Is the Under $2K Panasonic GH4 Sharper Than a $20K+ RED EPIC?”

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Hi Fletch, The video linked above is from Luke’s original posting back in May of 2014. Where is the one you ” laid on a 2k timeline in Premiere”?

  2. DSLR Solutions hey – sorry! We’ve got the right video now… have a new look – thanks for letting us know we messed up. 🙂

  3. HI,

    Sorry about the link mixup.  The correct link to the test I did is

    I don’t know how the wrong link got in the blog.  My test compares Luke’s footage downsized to 2k to see how much better/worse the GH4 performs against the Canon 5D M3 with Magic Lantern.  The Magic Lantern-adapted 5D M3 had been my ultimate benchmark for quality at 2k up til the test.

  4. I’m surprised. When reviewing the 5D MK III Phil
    Bloom said he was disappointed in the 5D MK III until he tried adding
    sharpening in post and then was amazed. If this test was done just to show
    results of each camera with no post processing done at all then I’m not surprised
    at the results. However, post processing of the footage from the 5D should
    yield much better results. Perhaps you or others can clarify.
    Peter Szewczyk’s talk on equipment during a Cine
    Summit webinar mentions 3 of the preferred cameras he uses on his projects, an
    Arri, Red and Canon.However, he says he
    prefers (not the C300) but the 5DMKIII with Magic Lantern. He shot a full commercial
    in 12 minutes in RAW, graded it and he says it looks (in his opinion) better
    than the Arri or Red. He was blown away.

  5. IndieP
    I agree that post processing could have tweaked the perceived sharpness.  I tend to try to stay with baseline tests where no corrections are done.  You could probably make the case that any camera can be tweaked in post to improve results.  

    Like Peter, I am still very impressed by what the 5D M3’s sensor can do when unleashed by Magic Lantern.  Check out these tests we did on our Vimeo site:

    The first test is ML Raw vs h.264 in daylight, a low ISO. h.264 looks like smudged crayons.

    The second is a dark room with a blonde in a black silk robe, Hi ISO.

    The third comparison test is ML Raw vs RED One MX.  ML held it’s own with just a little moire keeping it from being a victory.

    No blondes were harmed during the filming.
    If Canon adopted ML it could breakthrough to a whole new tier of camera – an ULTRA 2k, targeted to vastly improve 2k video, while we wait for 4k to become the must have format. 

    I’ve always been amazed how quickly tech breakthroughs, like ML, are forgotten.  The marketing millions quickly push our attention to the next big thing.  4k, in my type of filming, isn’t mainstream yet.  Being pushed by marketing dollars to buy something that doesn’t equal my 5D M3 with ML and can’t perform as well in low light doesn’t mean I have to buy a new camera platform.  

    I’m pencilling in Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, for a Symposium on Magic Lantern for So Cal filmmakers. If you’re interested you can register on the cinebootcamps page.

    or email me at fletch at

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