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Old March 2nd, 2011, 10:58 AM   #1
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Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

I own the Sony NX5U but am thinking of the GH2 as a possible "unmanned locked off" wideshot camera for event video: which could encompass talking head press panels, plays, musicals. I would use Sony other camera for closer coverage, pans, zooms, etc.

For those that already are owners of the GH2, could you pass along any advice regarding that possible usage of the GH2....could I possibly lock off video gain/ISO, shutter, and let the iris float under auto exposure?...(and if there is a viable AE shift control or "Spotlight" control, perhaps they could be activated to help control the fluctuations in lighting to some degree and minimize blown out highlights).

I'm looking at the GH2 or the Sony CX550 camcorder (which is much less precise in its manual controls)...as a lower cost alternative second camera for these wider unmanned shots.

Thanks for any help you can offer...

John
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 12:09 PM   #2
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

It would work perfectly, but you really would need the 20mm panasonic lens, it's not an option for wedding work, it is a requirement. The kit lenses with the GH2 I find are generally too poor in low light to be effective wor wedding work, at leas that was my experience last week. The 14-140 is way too poor in low light to be useful in a less then great lighting situation.

I strongly urge you to consider the GH1 for this purpose also. They are available for $400-$500, shoot essentially the same quality, and you'd save a BUNDLE.

Here's what you need:

GH1 $500 + 20mm lens $350 + 2 batteries $60 + 1 class 10 16GB $30 and you'd be ready to go, nothing else needed. Prices are guesstimates, but close enough. Don't skimp on the card, get a class 10, 16gb is good for over an hour.

$1k and you are in business. If you like it enough then you could get a GH2 for run and gun later, they are hard to find now anyway.

I have footage on my PC right now from a wedding using both the GH2 and GH1, and there is no significant difference in the footage.

If I had to do it over again, I would have bought two GH1s Body ONLY and then bought 1 20mm lens, then another lens for use with the DMW-MA1 adapter for using another lens, though I still haven't decided which one I would use, likely a sigma or Rikono 85mm, at least that is what I'm looking at now.

You need to stick with fast lenses for weddings.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 02:29 PM   #3
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

I don't think the Sony CX550 is going to give you the control over the image as the GH1 or GH2 will.
Both GH's would be excellent as lock down cameras.
GH2 will give you a little higher resolution but as Jeff says, there are great deals on the GH1 and it should cut just fine with your Sony NX5U. You would just have to match the 2 on color/user profiles.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 06:51 AM   #4
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

I would not use the GH2 for this. Very limited choices for very fast wide angles.

I would get the lower range Canons - 60D-2Ti ..... far better for wide angle shots - you have a great choice of some of the best lenses available. I use the Tokina 11-16 on a 7D for the shot you are talking about - superb lens and what a bargain.

I am disapointed in the W/A lens choice for GH2 right now unless you go with adapters and wrestle with shooting wide open and stopping the lens down using the adapter. For room shots you need to be wider than 20mm on a GH2 or use this as a max. If you do not mind playing around with adapters and searching for cheaper lenses (ie, less than $2k) then go for the GH2.... or wait until it gets better which it will.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 07:13 AM   #5
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

Actually, Jon is correct on the lack of wide angle lenses for the GH2, which I have been struggling with. However I found the Tokina for Canon below, which I would expect to work well with the GH2, using the Panasonic adapter. I have read that there is no loss of light using the adapter ring, but I have no idea if that is or could be true.

Anyway, the lens look promising, but is expensive.

http://www.amazon.com/Tokina-11-16MM-ATX-Canon-Digital/dp/B0014Z3XMC/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 08:53 AM   #6
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

Trouble with the Canons is if it is a lock down camera you would want it to go more than 12 or 20 minutes.
With the GH1 or GH2 you can leave it rolling.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:04 AM   #7
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

Jim, good point, pretty useless as an unattended camera. Jim, do you know (I don't) if the 600d (T3i) has done away with that issue of limited time?
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:10 AM   #8
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

Hey jeff, I know that they have not changed it on the t3i... it still uses the fat32 file system and thats the reason for the file limit
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:17 AM   #9
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

How did Panasonic GH2 get around this problem of limited shooting times?
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:18 AM   #10
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

David, that's too bad. I had thought for a minute of considering a Canon as my third cam for ease of lens selection and not having to use an adapter.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:37 AM   #11
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

Just about any lens every made can fit on a GH2. Is it the crop factor you're talking about?
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:38 AM   #12
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Forrest View Post
How did Panasonic GH2 get around this problem of limited shooting times?
Well they did and didnt, SDCH has to be fat32 its the only way your camera will work with them... And the fat32 still has a file size limit.

So I ran a test using 1080p/24 (highest bit rate) The GH2 started a second file at 33:39:01 (33 minutes, 30 seconds, + one frame) according to Vegas. The second file picked up the same clip with no break and proceeded for another 19 minutes

it appears there is no break in the clip. In your video editor, you just add the second file to your sequence timeline and butt it up to the first file. You can do this with the canon cameras but they will have a few seconds between the clips that didnt get recorded

so it still has the fat32 to work with, but unlike the canon cameras it doesnt stop recording
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:44 AM   #13
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Grinnell View Post
So I ran a test using 1080p/24 (highest bit rate) The GH2 started a second file at 33:39:01 (33 minutes, 30 seconds, + one frame) according to Vegas. The second file picked up the same clip with no break and proceeded for another 19 minutes
This is true, I've filmed a lot of long lectures and the fat32 (4gig?) limit is no issue, it starts a new file seamlessly.

However, on PAL models I think there's a 30 minute limit -- having something to do with import duties/EU classifications.

The record limitation on the Canon 7d was truly annoying. As was the overheating, as was the moire, the aliasing, the lousy audio...
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 01:24 PM   #14
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

No, not crop factor, but wide lenses that I can slap on a camera that are made for it. But in retrospect, it probably is unnecessary with adapters to buy a Rebel. It was an impulsive thought, haven't seriously considered it yet.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 08:48 PM   #15
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Re: Advice on using GH2 as a locked off wideshot video camera?

Thanks everyone for sharing your comments. They are extremely helpful and I'm carefully considering all of your thoughts.

One further question...on the GH2, whether you are recording 24p or 1080i, can you invoke an AE shift command...which would could force the auto exposure level up or down depending on where you set it? This can be helpful if you are doing a high contrast situation on stage where you have locked off the video gain/ISO, locked off the shutter, and are leaving the iris floating (on auto)....and you want to minimize blownout highlights.

Or, alternatively, would there be a SPOTLIGHT function that may have a similar effect?

If you can't use AE shift or Spotlight while recording, that would be helpful to know.

Again, the suggestion here is that this camera is a locked off wideshot cam, no panning, tilting, zooming, etc.

Thanks,

John
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