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Old April 11th, 2011, 02:38 AM   #1
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Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

I don't think camera engineers actually shoot video because of the boneheaded screwups they make. I just made a nasty discovery. If a GH2 is recording video, you CAN'T change the ISO value. If an engineer actually shot video, he would never release a product with a major deficiency like this! If I need to change the gain on my EX1R while it's recording, all I have to do is flip the gain switch. I can even go into the menu and change the gain value assigned to the switch while it's recording. I think a big part of the problem is that the GH2 was designed by photo cameras guys so they are video ignorant in some ways.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 02:59 AM   #2
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

Isn't there a setting though wherein the iso is automatically adjusted on the fly as you shoot?

Not the same I know, but I always cut my gh2 slack because it was so cheap.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 07:09 AM   #3
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

I know Jim. That's why I feel it's necessary to run in auto iso at weddings, no choice. At least in many scenarios. When things are stable, etc, fine, but otherwise, we get blindsided and we're screwed. It happened to me when they turned the sanctuary lights off a second before the bride appeared Saturday. I was told the lights were set the way they we're going to stay, but that's not what happened. I had an extensive, amicable, conversation with the guy who was running the music and lighting beforehand, but the information didn't match what happened.

I had intended to run in auto iso, but I don't know if I stuck with that or not.

The GH2 is very difficult to shoot with for run and gun. Very tough, but I'm slowly learning it. I have a couple of dozen weddings scheduled so far, and I normally shoot alone, but I'm getting an intern from the local video school to monitor cameras, I can't handle this at my age.

I shot with up to four cameras alone using Sony's, but the GH2/GH1 has me whipped!
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Old April 11th, 2011, 07:23 AM   #4
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

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Originally Posted by Jim Snow View Post
... I think a big part of the problem is that the GH2 was designed by photo cameras guys so they are video ignorant in some ways.
This is pretty funny when you think about it. It IS a photo camera after all and I'm not sure how good a photo camera would be when designed by video engineers. No wait. There IS that button on my video camera....hmmmmm

Joking aside, it is a deficiency for video... not unlike no ND filters, 12 minute record times, noisy aperture rings...small batteries....bottom loading media slots.... oh and MOIRE
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Old April 11th, 2011, 07:54 AM   #5
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

Les, you are mistaken. With the GH2 and GH1 recording time is limited by battery only, and the moire issue is a non-issue. With a power pack I can shoot up to 8 hours non-stop. But with multiple cameras the battery thing sucks.

I've shot with the cameras over thirty hours and have yet to see any issue with moire. It is head and shoulders above my old FX1000 in this department, as are the images. I started a thread complaining about moire, and the issue was with transcoding the footage properly, not the camera. The issue was with operator error, not the camera.

Regarding ND filters, the ND filters offered on video cameras is usually 1 or 2 choices, often with less than stellar results. With my new Genus variable ND filter that I tested yesterday, I get much more pleasing footage, and if you know you are shooting outdoors it takes all of 30 second or less to attach it, and the same amount of time to remove.

The moire issue is normally brought up when someone who is new to HD hasn't learned how to process the footage. It has happened to me, and I've seen it happen to others.

There are also those who thinks the GH2 is immune to moire, and they create riduculous tests, and when they find out it is still a CMOS sensor, they want to sell their cameras.

The GH2 is not immune to moire, but it is incredibly good in that department, and much betrter than anything I've shot with. I've not seen a single instance yet with mine.

$250,000 cameras have issues with judder, which is one of the reasons they have DPs. These cameras are not bullet proof miracle cameras, though sometimes we expect them to be.

I find they are challenging to use for wedding work, but the results are very promising.

For the typical small time event guy like me, it requires more engergy than most are willing to expend. Videographers often talk about how much easier photography is than videography. That never fails to make me laugh. These cameras are forcing video people to learn photography, and it can get pretty ugly to see. The first place we will place the blame is on the camera.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #6
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

Also can't change ETC or White Balance. Shrug. Way back when I was trying to shoot events with 16mm film, it was also mighty difficult to change ISO in the middle of a take, so I easily overlook that. The other two problems are slightly more bothersome.

Personally, I'm still infatuated with the small form factor plus quality plus flexibility. No camera is perfect for everything.

As they say, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have - the facts of life.

The facts of life.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 08:14 AM   #7
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

Nice website Kevin. Complete focus on the video. Nice approach. Great work. Moving stories.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 09:30 AM   #8
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

I have been doing more real world tests with the GH2. This weekend was a run and gun situation and a performance situation in a gymnasium. After a mediocre results with hand holding the camera last weekend I mounted the GH2 with the 14/140 lens on a Spiderbrace. The job was to go around a martial arts seminar and get shots of teachers and students interacting plus record a competition and demonstration. The camera was set to 720p.

The gym was a horrific lighting mixture of mercury vapor lamps and overcast grey sunlight coming from all sides. After seeing color shift between shots, I put the white balance on "shade" and left it there, easy enough to adjust later. Due to the large windows and the shiny floor, I set every function to manual to prevent the camera from adjusting when the background was very different from the subject. Even with all the light coming in the windows I found the floor to be dark and had the camera from 2000 to 3200 ISO depending on the time of day although I could have had a lower ISO but I'll explain later.

The brace made things very easy for steady, comfortable hand held shooting. The 14/140 lens is very stiff compared to typical video lens but Panasonic makes a lens clamp that supposedly gives the user more leverage for live zooming. This was the first time I was able to test the accessory in the real world. I can say that the lens is still stiff with the attachment but after two days of shooting I can now perform some smooth fast zooms when the need arises.

As the day progressed I found the focus situation the most troubling as the LCD isn't sharp enough and using the viewfinder isn't comfortable with the particular camera brace I am using although I did use it frequently. If the subject was something more sedentary like pottery I would have had an easier time but the martial arts move all over the place with people getting thrown around the room and such. I decided to go for a high f-stop and get the widest focal field. The focal assist on the camera is great but it's very hard to use in action situations, I would prefer peaking focal assist like the JVC HD cameras have. Shooting on the tripod was easier and I could relax a little with DOF.

Yes, it's annoying when I can't adjust certain functions while shooting as I can with my video camera, but it can be worked with. Maybe I haven't translated the manual yet but how can I turn off the white level peak warning? It was driving me crazy and I couldn't find anything about it in the menus. I plan to use the GH2 to shoot a music video in a studio next week but the dance concert this week, not so sure. Probably will use my trusty old JVC HD100 although it's a backbreaker compared to the convenient GH2.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #9
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

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Maybe I haven't translated the manual yet but how can I turn off the white level peak warning? It was driving me crazy and I couldn't find anything about it in the menus
It's not on by default so you must have been fiddling about:-) It's on the first page of the CUSTOM MENU - HIGHLIGHT OFF/ON described on page 130 of my PAL version manual. I like having this switched on as well as the histogram as it helps me make sure that I don't over-expose too much. It will only flash when highlights are really blown. It's not like adjustable zebras on a proper video camera.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 10:34 AM   #10
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

Nigle is right, I've never experienced it on my camera, and it is turned off by default.

The menu, IMO, is overly rich with features. But my last photo camera was a Canon 40D, and seemed to be a walk in the park compared to this thing.

The GH2 is really a gadget, more than anything else. It is not even close to a serious video camera, but then again it wasn't supposed to be.

I learned my lesson after the monitor debacle. I have to realize this is a camera whose target audience are amateurs, hobbyists. Most advanced pros seem to use it as a adjunct to a Canon Mark series, or other camera.

We can get some great footage with it, but learning it's limitations is not fun.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #11
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

Don't take me wrong, I really like my GH2. I always chuckle when the apologists sidestep design shortcomings by the coverall excuse, "After all, it's just a photo camera." My perspective is; if you decided to put some serious video features in the camera, bring a couple of real video camera engineers over from the video camera division and have them do a through design review - AND, listen to them. The shortcoming that some have mentioned aren't because of inherent limitations of the camera's form factor. They are limitations of the design engineers and their lack of video camera design experience. In Panasonic's defense, they did a vastly better job incorporating video functionality that the Canon engineers did.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 12:06 PM   #12
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

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The menu, IMO, is overly rich with features.
Ain't that the truth! There is lot of useless stuff that I cannot see even regular amateurs wanting to use like being able to enter the name of your pet or baby or the date of the first day of your vacation. Then there is frankly bizarre stuff like being able to produce bracketed photos with different aspect ratios!

Last edited by Nigel Barker; April 11th, 2011 at 12:52 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #13
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

Yes Jim it could have been better, with a few tweaks, but my point is that it is not supposed to be better, it is not even serious stills camera.

I suspect the engineers are bossed around and not calling the shots on what can be included anyway. They are probably given marching orders, or they come up with innovations, and those that are ultimately included are not their call in the end anyway. Who knows, but that is how I envision it.

For example, the GH1 comes with a cord to run the camera with an ac cord, the GH2 doesn't. Pure greed, or at least it would seem that way. Or they felt so few people use that accesorie that they might have felt the cord and adapter was a waste to include with the new version.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 04:01 PM   #14
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
It's not on by default so you must have been fiddling about:-) It's on the first page of the CUSTOM MENU - HIGHLIGHT OFF/ON described on page 130 of my PAL version manual. I like having this switched on as well as the histogram as it helps me make sure that I don't over-expose too much. It will only flash when highlights are really blown. It's not like adjustable zebras on a proper video camera.
That was on but when I turned it off on Saturday as an experiment, nothing changed at all. The blinking on the overexposed windows continued. Anyway I didn't associate "Highlight" with overexposure although "High Light" would have clued me. Thanks for the tip but I have to figure out why it doesn't turn off,

The camera isn't pro, that's for sure, but like many non-pro cameras, it's "pro capable". Some of the footage from this weekend is better than anything a comparable priced pro video camera can do.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 04:11 PM   #15
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Re: Serious, MAJOR GH2 Shortcoming

I'm having trouble assigning buttons via the menu. I've done it before, but now it is not working properly. I spent about 30 minute repeatedly assigning button functions and they took in the menu, but they don't work. Seems camera is glitchy in this regard.
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; April 11th, 2011 at 05:41 PM.
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