The GH4 (released in 2014) is still a great camera if you need to shoot some quick, stealthy, and down-and-dirty 4k video, but there is a potential problem with the camera’s micro HDMI port if you ever want to use an external monitor or recorder. The port has two pins that are supposed to provide a snug connection so that the HDMI cable is less likely to jiggle or fall out, but in practice the pins are quite susceptible to bending and jamming, thus making the port unusable. Here is what happened to mine the very first time I plugged in a cable for an external monitor.
It’s important to note that the camera itself will still work fine with a jammed port, but you’ll be limited to recording video to the GH4’s SD card at 8-bit 4:2:0. For just about everyone interested in a GH4 and its 10-bit video capabilities, that’s a non-starter. And at the very least, it’s just a major damn bummer.
I purchased my GH4 used, so it was long out of warranty. Because the cost of sending the camera to Panasonic for a replacement port would be north of $200 (or about half of what I paid), I decided to try “fixing” it after watching a video of this fellow who bent back a pin with a dental pick. What did I have to lose after all? The port was already useless. So I bought this inexpensive set of picks (….do people actually use these at home for self-dentistry?…) and gingerly got to work.
Five minutes later, I was able to pop the offending pin out of the way and plug in a cable. External monitor success! And cash saved!
Although everything works fine for the moment with my GH4, I suspect that constantly inserting and removing a cable will eventually cause another jam (probably right in the middle of a paid gig). If you know you are going to be using the port consistently, I’d pick up a LockPort. It’s pricey, but the port is not only protected, it’s converted to a more friendly and robust full HDMI. I had one for a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, and it worked a treat.
If you had the same problem with your GH4 and were able to fix it in a different way, please do share!