Wouldn’t it be nice if you had more ISO options on your Panasonic GH4, especially when shooting in low light? By default when you toggle between the different ISO levels in video mode you’ve probably noticed the available options are limited in a way. For instance, if you need to shoot above ISO 800 the closest possible setting you can pick is ISO 1600. In reality, the lack of other increments between those two values limits your options to nail down the perfect exposure, particularly in low light conditions. And, the biggest tradeoff is the level of noise introduced in your images.
For most professional shooting scenarios, this might be a serious challenge. Fortunately, a Simon Barr from Liquid Media Video Production has accidentally found a simple workaround. In the next video, he’ll explain how to set up your Panasonic GH4 (or GH4R) to get better ISO settings for low light, thus giving you more freedom when filming in highly-dimmed conditions, especially when you have to go above ISO 800, but when 1600 produces too much noise.
So, here are the exact steps you should follow.
First power on your GH4, and turn the dial to Photo mode. Go to the menu and the top submenu, find where it says ISO increments, and change the setting from 1 EV to 1/3 EV. Then exit the menu screen and return to Movie Mode. Now, you should be able to select from different ISO levels such as ISO 250, 320, 640, 1000, 1250, etc.
As Simon points out, having the option to choose 1,000 or 1,250 ISO, for instance, even with a low light lens depending on how dark it is in the room where you are filming, means you still have better control over the noise that would come with 1,600. The low light footage that you can get this way will look a lot cleaner.
Further, if you have to bump up the ISO during recording, the increments shouldn’t jump to a noticeable brighter setting anymore, plus you get a way better control over ISO. Simon Barr also did another test showing that the 1/3 stops ISO increments don’t introduce more noise than the ISO default settings in Movie mode as some GH4 shooters suggested. Moreover, the test clearly unveils that ISO 1,600 is noisier than ISO 1,000 and ISO 1,250.
Considering the fact that the GH4 is not the best low-light performer compared to other mirrorless cameras available out there, having the ability to have greater control over ISO settings is undoubtedly quite powerful.