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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 July 21st, 2010, 12:57 PM   #1
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Anyone using the GH1 for News/Docs?

Am wondering how suitable this camera would be for broadcast news feature/doc work.

Firmware hack seems to clear up some of the image quality issues, low light with lens kit has been compared with EX1, kit lens has functioning AF, no record limit, no overheating issues, extendable viewfinder, variety of frame rates, lens has IS, audio can be recorded separately ...

50% plus of shots on legs, 50% handheld, some walking shots needed - a bit of run and gun shooting style.

$1200 for body with lens kit, $300 for audio recorder, $50 for a Class 10 card, $?? for a rig. Already have tripod, shotgun mic, wired and wireless lav mics ... so pretty cheap set up.

Want to get away from my old HDV cam and thought I might give it a try while I wait for more reports on the Canon XF300, introduction of new camcorders, etc. Might become a better cameraman as a result ...

Or am I nuts?

Many thanks.
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Old July 21st, 2010, 03:10 PM   #2
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Footage from my GH1 is on the air all the time. Although in the form of commercials and not news.
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Old July 21st, 2010, 11:41 PM   #3
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I forgot to add that it would be for HD broadcast - final delivery in 50i.

Also, shooting is in uncontrolled environments.

Cheers for any/all input!
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Old July 25th, 2010, 03:41 PM   #4
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Good Camera.. Works Well For Pro Work

Dave, I shoot with my GH1 professionally. You can see work updated here as I finish it:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasoni...roduction.html

As far as Documentary, I think it'd do well, though the key concerns I'd have about long takes is SDHC Card size (for recording length), battery capacity and Audio. I do-take based promotional videos, so I always have the chance to stop, and do the 10-second swap out of SDHC cards and Battery. The GH13 hack is worth investigating if you're in a country where recording time is limited. Also, the GH13 hack is absolutely worth it for the ability to use 3rd party batteries - I bought 2 for less than the price of one Panasonic brand battery!

The auto-focus ability of the stock lens will work great outside and well lit situations - nice to have autofocus as an option! It's not a very fast lens, so inside it may not do so well unless you have a well lit location. Good news is the GH13 hack has opened up the bitrate, so low-light colour correction should look even better than it has.

Audio is the final concern - I shoot with a dual-recording setup: audio comes both into the GH1 and a Zoom H4n when I'm shooting. Safe, reliable, though cumbersome. If you get a nice shoulder-mount rig from Zacuto, Cinevate or Redrock, you'll be set. I shoot tripod most of the time, but I have my GH1 on a Carbon Fibre rail setup - still haven't found a decent mount for the H4n yet though!

In short: great camera, and if you're willing to DIY your setup, you'll do just fine! As the GH1 has inspired Panasonic to create a new camera based off the micro4-thirds setup, it's proven (no doubt the new camera will use the super-high tech new sensor the GH2 will be using). Let us know how your project turns out!
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Old July 26th, 2010, 03:28 PM   #5
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Thanks Christopher. That was exactly the info I was looking for.

Will let you know how it goes - will have to wait till I get back to Calgary before getting my hands on one ...
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Old July 30th, 2010, 03:30 PM   #6
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I love the GH1 for doc style stuff. Some of my footage has been used by local newsrooms, though downconverted to SD.
Here's a short doc style web video I shot recently, shot mostly on a monopod, a few different lenses, with a Zoom H4n for the interviews:


Changing lenses is the only thing that really slows me up and can cause me to miss some shots, but I'm planning on getting a second body soon so hopefully that will help.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 06:12 AM   #7
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Nicely done.
Looks like the GH1 can be used for docs and news pieces along with all the other ways the tool can be used when in the right hands.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 09:16 AM   #8
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Thanks John. I enjoyed your video!

I bit the bullet and bought the GH1 with kit lens for $950 from Amazon yesterday. Now I need to start thinking about an additional lens or two.

I'll need something that can be used in low-light - both indoors and out.

I've heard about the Pana 20mm pancake lens but some say they prefer a MF as the AF on the pancake is both slow and noisy (and difficult to use on MF). I presume the AF on the pancake will hunt in lowlight as well??

Anyway, any suggestions for a few lenses for news/doc work appreciated. Would be great if I only had to buy one adaptor ... and great if I'll have the possibility of using with AF100 down the line (which I presume I would).

Many thanks all!
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Old August 1st, 2010, 09:42 AM   #9
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Thanks for checking it out Dave, and congrats on your new camera. I have the Panasonic 20mm lens, but I'm not crazy about it because I find it really cumbersome to focus manually and the auto focus is slow. I've got a couple of Sigma 4/3rds lenses - the 24mm 1.8 and the 50 mm 1.4, with the 4/3 adapter. Both are great in lowlight. The great thing about 4/3 is that the lens can communicate with the camera, so you can monitor and control your aperture. I have to focus manually, but it's so much more responsive that the manual focus on the 20mm pancake lens. I'm looking into a few more sigma/olympus lenses, and I really like the kit lens too.

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Originally Posted by Dave Mercer View Post
Thanks John. I enjoyed your video!

I bit the bullet and bought the GH1 with kit lens for $950 from Amazon yesterday. Now I need to start thinking about an additional lens or two.

I'll need something that can be used in low-light - both indoors and out.

I've heard about the Pana 20mm pancake lens but some say they prefer a MF as the AF on the pancake is both slow and noisy (and difficult to use on MF). I presume the AF on the pancake will hunt in lowlight as well??

Anyway, any suggestions for a few lenses for news/doc work appreciated. Would be great if I only had to buy one adaptor ... and great if I'll have the possibility of using with AF100 down the line (which I presume I would).

Many thanks all!
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Old August 1st, 2010, 11:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John J. Arnold View Post
Thanks for checking it out Dave, and congrats on your new camera. I have the Panasonic 20mm lens, but I'm not crazy about it because I find it really cumbersome to focus manually and the auto focus is slow. I've got a couple of Sigma 4/3rds lenses - the 24mm 1.8 and the 50 mm 1.4, with the 4/3 adapter. Both are great in lowlight. The great thing about 4/3 is that the lens can communicate with the camera, so you can monitor and control your aperture. I have to focus manually, but it's so much more responsive that the manual focus on the 20mm pancake lens. I'm looking into a few more sigma/olympus lenses, and I really like the kit lens too.
Cheers John.

A lot of people seem to like the panasonic 20mm. I watched a few videos and it looked great - but as you said seems a little slow to focus, especially in low light. However, the Sigma sounds like it's not quite as sharp, doesn't have the AF option, and is $50-100 more expensive (plus the cost of the adaptor).

Opinion?
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 08:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mercer View Post
Cheers John.

A lot of people seem to like the panasonic 20mm. I watched a few videos and it looked great - but as you said seems a little slow to focus, especially in low light. However, the Sigma sounds like it's not quite as sharp, doesn't have the AF option, and is $50-100 more expensive (plus the cost of the adaptor).

Opinion?
No doubt, the 20mm makes for some great sharp images, and I use it a lot for around the house casual use. My gripe is more with usability in run and gun situations, and it's just a personal thing. I don't use auto focus alot, even if I have the option. And the 20mm to me is just a pain to focus manually - seems like I have to turn the mushy ring forever to find focus. The Sigma just seems more solid and easier to use. It's just as good in lowlight and I think produces a great image. It is a good bit heavier though. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I have the 20mm in my bag but find myself using the Sigma more. I don't think you'd go wrong with either.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 03:00 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by John J. Arnold View Post
No doubt, the 20mm makes for some great sharp images, and I use it a lot for around the house casual use. My gripe is more with usability in run and gun situations, and it's just a personal thing. I don't use auto focus alot, even if I have the option. And the 20mm to me is just a pain to focus manually - seems like I have to turn the mushy ring forever to find focus. The Sigma just seems more solid and easier to use. It's just as good in lowlight and I think produces a great image. It is a good bit heavier though. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I have the 20mm in my bag but find myself using the Sigma more. I don't think you'd go wrong with either.
Cheers John. Good to hear your opinion. I suppose a lot comes down to personal preference as others have said they prefer the feel of the Panasonic 20mm zoom to the Sigma.

How do you compare them trying to focus in low-light, especially in run and gun situations.

Also, any indication - from what you've gleaned - that the Sigma might have functional AF on the AF100?

Many thanks.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 03:37 PM   #13
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Low light focusing is a big reason I use the Sigma - the focus ring just feels more responsive and predictable. Don't know about AF on the AF100... would be nice though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mercer View Post
Cheers John. Good to hear your opinion. I suppose a lot comes down to personal preference as others have said they prefer the feel of the Panasonic 20mm zoom to the Sigma.

How do you compare them trying to focus in low-light, especially in run and gun situations.

Also, any indication - from what you've gleaned - that the Sigma might have functional AF on the AF100?

Many thanks.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 01:37 AM   #14
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How do you like shooting with your monopod John? I'm in the market for some kind of handheld stabilizer ...
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Old August 4th, 2010, 08:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dave Mercer View Post
How do you like shooting with your monopod John? I'm in the market for some kind of handheld stabilizer ...
Absolutely love it:
Manfrotto 561BHDV Video Monopod with Fluid Head (Black) 561BHDV

I only wish I had discovered it sooner. I rarely use any other stabilizer with the GH1.
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