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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
4K and AVCHD on a Micro Four Thirds system camera with interchangeable lenses.


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Old February 27th, 2009, 10:36 AM   #31
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My own 2 cents (and probably worth less) is:

1) The typical prospective u4/3rds customer is probably moving up from a point-n-shoot camera.
For that person comparisons to a Canon 5D Mark II are beside the point.
They were never budgeting close to $3K USD anyhow.
And even if they were, the current economy has probably put the kibosh on that.

2) It has the promise of having ~16mm equivalent size sensor. 17.3 x 13.0mm to quote from Panasonic's product page.
That's a nice improvement right there from 1/3". Me complain? You have got to be kidding.

3) If it has the same range of latitude that we see in the demo stills from the Panasonic G1, and at a small fraction of the price of a Canon 5D Mark II, it is going to take a lot for me NOT to get in line.

4) What will be key are:
a. What controls (full manual?), or not , does it provide.
b. Quality of the output? Latitude? Codec? Bitrate?
c. The TIME LENGTH of a shoot it will handle. To me the Achilles heel of the Canon 5D Mark II is its ~28 minute limit on a recording.

Last edited by Bill Koehler; February 27th, 2009 at 02:01 PM. Reason: Added 'typical prospective...'
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Old February 27th, 2009, 12:10 PM   #32
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About MFT and the 5D not competing...

While that's true when you look at the price range, it wouldn't have been true for me. I really wanted the D90 to be my camera. And it was going to be a hard swallow to spend the $900. However, the pictures just weren't good enough in my book, due to the low bitrate M-JPEG codec, and the rolling shutter is pretty extreme. It was a sad day when I crossed it off my list.

I ended up getting the 5D. And, yes, $2,700 was an even harder swallow. But it was clear that the 5D could make images that you didn't need to make excuses for. Sure, I want manual control and 24p, but making short films for web and disc distribution, I can get Nikon lenses and live with the limitations.

Had an MFT solution been available, I would have considered that just as hard. If the wobble isn't too bad, and if the camera can take stunning shots, I'm all for it.

Keep in mind that I wasn't in the market at all for a still camera. Had I been, my budget would have been under $500.

For me, any DVSLR that can make beauty shots with a relatively large sensor is a contender, regardless of price. That said, I saw the images from the G HD at CES, and they had a consumer-grade look to them. But who knows? Maybe the production cameras will have refined compression and processing - maybe even removing all aliasing and keeping good resolution. And maybe it will have a true uncompressed HDMI output. Now that would be killer!

A cheaper camera with GREAT video can definitely compete with the 5D MkII. The question is, can the 5D MkII compete with a cheaper camera if it has a fast sensor, no aliasing, manual controls, a great codec, and an uncompressed output? Possibly not - in the video market, anyway.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 03:35 PM   #33
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The disadvantage is that you'll have twice the pixel density (in one dimension) of, say, the Canon 5D MkII. On the Canon, you can get great sharpness for HD with a modest lens. Lens sharpness will be twice as critical when you record 1080p with a MFT camera.
In both situations the camera sensor is much higher resolution than the final 1080p image, and so both cameras are downrezzing from the sensor to produce a frame in the HD format. My naive perspective is that this increases sharpness over what you'd get with a full rez still photo, as more sites are used to produce a single pixel in the downrezzed frame. You're right that the focal factor for the MFT is 2:1, while the Canon is full frame.

What I'd like for you to elaborate on, though, is why lens sharpness is twice as critical. Maybe I'm being simplistic but I don't think of lenses as having a "sharpness". I can imagine a lens using plastic rather than glass where the most in-focus you can get is still pretty out of focus-- and I guess quality of glass could cause a similar type issue comparing two glass lenses.

Thus, you would have a less sharp image with a complex super zoom than, say a prime. But its always seemed to me that I could bring whatever subject into sharp focus, and this is using cameras across quality ranges and technology levels. So this quality difference, if I'm understanding you, is something I have difficulty perceiving?

I'm planning on shooting with the 14-140 zoom, and the 20mm f1.8 prime. I've been looking at other lenses, looking for fast primes, knowing that the 2-1 factor essentially makes these telephoto primes. But that's kinda nice. If need be, I can maybe have a normal (the 20mm MFT) and then an effective 70mm with a Leica prime and an effective 100mm with a 35mm normal lens.

But at that point- its quite possible I'm in the price range of the 5D mk II. Though I think of lenses as an investment and camera bodies as something that change every couple of years.

Anyway, I'd appreciate some advice and clarification on the lens sharpness issue.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 04:19 PM   #34
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Hi Liza,

This page gives more details than I could ever type: Optical resolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here's a better resource: http://www.abelcine.com/articles/ima...dtv_camera.pdf

It comes down to this: if a focused lens smears a dot of light much beyond one pixel, then you lose resolution. Since HD cameras often have the same sized sensors as SD cameras, yet more pixels, the pixels get smaller, and the lens resolution becomes more critical. There's been a lot of discussion here at DVinfo and other sites about the need for HD lenses vs. SD lenses.

Anyway, with the 5D, the pixels are relatively large, so even modest 35mm lenses are adequate for video (resolution-wise). Lenses for the 5D are more critical when shooting 21 MP photos, since the pixels are 1/3rd the size. With a Micro 4/3rds camera shooting 1080p, the pixels on the sensor are half the size of 1080p pixels from the 5D, so good glass is important, if you want the best possible resolution.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 07:33 PM   #35
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Thanks, after reading that I think I got it. Interestingly, the Canon has twice the megapixels, but the sensor is 4 times the surface area, giving the ratio of pixel density between the two of 2.4:5.0 MP/cm^2.

This issue may also explain why Panasonic is making special HD lenses for the G1HD, besides just the need for faster auto-focus.

Do I take what you're saying about the importance of good glass as an argument for a regular 35mm Nikon or Canon lens over the smaller M mount Leica lenses? I assume the Leica lenses are higher quality glass, but on the G1, the full sized 35mm lenses will only be using the center of the lens, effectively, which I assume is where image quality is best?

If I get this camera, I'm planning on buying some good lenses, just not sure how to know a good lens from a bad one.

(Interesting, in the thread about the M mount lenses, someone said the "extra resolution you'd get from a good M mount lens won't make a difference on 1080p video". http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photo-hd-...ens-video.html )
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Old February 28th, 2009, 05:06 AM   #36
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I saw this link posted on DP Review.
tu.no - Kompakt speilrefleks med HD-video - Teknisk Ukeblad
Translated version:
Translated version of http://www.tu.no/forbrukerteknologi/article201703.ece

It appears Panasonic must have upgraded the 20mm lens to f1.4 from f1.7. It would be a huge shocker if true.
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Old February 28th, 2009, 06:39 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liza Witz View Post
What I'd like for you to elaborate on, though, is why lens sharpness is twice as critical. Maybe I'm being simplistic but I don't think of lenses as having a "sharpness". I can imagine a lens using plastic rather than glass where the most in-focus you can get is still pretty out of focus-- and I guess quality of glass could cause a similar type issue comparing two glass lenses.
Another place you can look for a simple explanation is here:

http://www.schneideroptics.com/pdfs/Digitar.pdf

In particular, look at page 3.
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Old February 28th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #38
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Ok, I think I got it, and it sounds like the best lenses will be the ones designed for this system, as the 4/3 imager is smaller than FF35, and its reasonable Leica/Panasonic will take this into account. At any rate, it looks like the system lenses will meet my needs at least for awhile.

In other news, I am beginning to believe this camera will be announced at PMA (though who knows if it will be shipping.)

If the Norweigan article is right, then its going to be more expensive than the G1. This makes sense given they have invested a fair amount in lens design (otherwise the G1 would have captured video.)

IF they're going to recoup that investment they have to charge more, but in charging more, they pretty much have to support 1080p capture.

So, if that's the price, I'm expecting 1080p at 24Mbps AVCHD.

I can only hope that its 24fps. (Which would also give the CPU more time to compress the images than 30fps.)
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Old February 28th, 2009, 12:56 PM   #39
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I agree. And assuming that price is correct (a big assumption) street price should be significantly lower. Even still, at that price 720p probably won't cut it for me. I'll have to wait to see for myself. Here's hoping this is an exciting week!
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 01:53 PM   #40
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Ok, its time for an announcement. Panasonic, where are you?

There's rumors of a nikon 7000 (or was it 5000?) to replace the D40 (which it seems has just been discontinued). This uses a CCD sensor, so no rolling shutter, and while a DSLR, is rumored to shoot video as well. If its 1080p, it might just be worth getting-- especially if the G1HD turns out to be delayed. (I'm kinda ready to buy now. I don't think I can wait til summer.)
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 11:09 AM   #41
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And there it is!

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0903/09...umixdmcgh1.asp

Awesome, sounds super super cool!

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Old March 3rd, 2009, 11:19 AM   #42
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Highlights--

Some sort of stereo in, as they are selling an optional stereo mic accessory

1080p @24fp and 720p @60fps. Surprised only two modes but those are the ones I'd have picked.

Comes in Black and Red, but apparently not Blue. :-(

Seems to allow manual control over exposure while shooting.

No limit on how long you can shoot.

Full-HD (1920 1080) movies are output by the image sensor at 24p (NTSC)/25p (PAL), and recorded at 60i (NTSC)/50i (PAL). HD (1280 720) movies are output and recorded by the image sensor at 60p (NTSC)/50p (PAL).

How do you get 24p out of 60i?
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 11:27 AM   #43
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How do you get 24p out of 60i?
Reverse the pulldown. This is how many cameras do it.

24p - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Also, has a stereo mic input- minijack. This really looks to be an indie film maker's dream come true, assuming the footage is good.

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Old March 3rd, 2009, 11:55 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Liza Witz View Post
How do you get 24p out of 60i?
It records "3:2 pulldown", which is something like this:

Field 1 (60) = Frame 1 (odd lines)
Field 2 (60) = Frame 1 (even lines)
Field 3 (60) = Frame 1 (odd lines)
Field 4 (60) = Frame 2 (even lines)
Field 5 (60) = Frame 2 (odd lines)

The NLE or converter program needs to recognize the cadence and jam the fields together to restore the 24p video:

Frame 1 = Field 1 (60) jammed with Field 2 (60)
Frame 2 = Field 5 (60) jammed with Field 4 (60)
and so on...

So... the new GH1 has 1080 24/25p, full control, mic input (hopefully with controllable gain and monitoring.)

Some of the questions that remain:
* How's the codec look?
* Can you control anything before the codec? (Like Canon's Picture Styles)
* How bad is the rolling shutter?
* How much video can we record in one clip?
* What's the data rate?
* How's the low light performance?
* What will the workflow be for the various NLEs?
* What shutter speeds are supported?
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 12:40 PM   #45
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So... the new GH1 has 1080 24/25p, full control, mic input (hopefully with controllable gain and monitoring.)
The panasonic mic they sell as an accessory has several buttons/switches on it. No word on monitoring, there doesn't seem to be a headphone jack.

Quote:
* Can you control anything before the codec? (Like Canon's Picture Styles)
Yes, you can, but its not clear how much.

Quote:
* How bad is the rolling shutter?
We'll see. This camera has a different sensor than the G1, designed for "high output", so I think they have at least attempted to address the rolling shutter.

This camera models sole purpose is video, as the G1 already is out there. So, since it has a new sensor its reasonable to conclude that the point of that new sensor was to better produce video.

Quote:
* How much video can we record in one clip?
No limit but the size of your SDHC card.
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