Panasonic needs to release the V-Log profile for the GH4, and most people need to not use it
For several months now, Panasonic has been demonstrating, leaking and (presumably) tweaking two logarithmic picture profiles, VLOG, for the GH4. Two new firmware releases have come and gone since VLOG was first spotted in the field, and still nothing in our hands. Recently, the rumors have veered towards the upgrade either being delayed until the GH5, or becoming a paid upgrade ($100, $200?) Say it ain’t so.
There’s no way for us in the unwashed masses to know what Panasonic is actually planning, but since we know this sucker actually exists, I think it’s worth proffering-up an opinion on what they should do. And what that is, is release VLOG as soon as they can. Why? Because Panny got so many things right with the GH4, but they really blew it with the picture profiles.
The GH4’s RAW photos tease the color that the sensor is capable of, but none of the video profiles come close to delivering. The “Cine-D” and “Cine-V” profiles were supposed to provide gradable, “flat” images, but instead yield clips that are near impossible to properly resurrect in post. Let’s call the Cine profiles what they really are…half-baked. They’re no good to the casual shooter because they need to be post processed, but they’re no good to pro’s because they can’t be post processed.
VLOG promises to correct this misstep. Early reports are that it is a true logarithmic gamma curve, squeezing an extra 2 stops of dynamic range into the recorded image. It’s not RAW, but if VLOG can yield gradable files, Panasonic will not only inject new life into the GH4, but also go a long way towards ensuring serious shooters wait around for the GH5 instead of jumping ship for something with more workable color science.
Rumor has it that Panasonic is worried that the average user won’t understand what to do with VLOG. Rightly so. But if that’s the only reason Panny’s holding it back, then by all means, make it a paid aftermarket upgrade. The GH4 is a bargain compared to it’s competitors…nobody who has any business working with VLOG should balk at a few bucks to unlock its sensor’s potential.
June 11, 2015: Jordan Drake from The Camera Store has confirmed receiving a new firmware for testing that includes VLOG. We may be inching closer to a public release.