Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it? at DVinfo.net

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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:38 AM   #1
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Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

I suggest when considering the GH2 to keep in mind it is not a videocamera. It is a consumer-level photo camera that shoots great video. It is not point and shoot for our purposes. We are adapting the camera for use in ways it was not intended, so it is tricky at times. But it is workable.

Owners of the GH2 and GH1 love the camera, based on postings around the web. The camera is excellent. Produces great footage. Period.

On the other hand we all have seen complaints (mine and other's) about "issues" with the camera, particularly in this forum. This forum has more critical posts of the cam than any I've seen. But we are almost all owners of the camera. We own it and are using it, with great results. We criticize the camera because we are learning how to use it. We become frustrated. Happens with ANY camera.

The GH2 is a new camera, and is unchartered territory for many of us as we discover limitations, quirks, and more. Some of us freak out over what may actually be small things, but some of us make a living doing this, and we (I) get hyper at times in the discussion.

The GH2 is not "easy" to use effectively in all situations, but it will work given practice.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 10:15 AM   #2
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

I honestly don't think the GH2 is difficult to operate at all. Most of the functions you need are on the camera or just one menu level deep. It's easy to get smooth footage with my Merlin, Glidetrack, and Jag35 shoulder rig. Even handheld I do okay with a wide to medium lens. If not, shake can be corrected in After Effects with the stabilize motion function. The GH2 isn't as popular as the Canon models, which is why our forum doesn't see much traffic. This is unfortunate because the GH2 functions a lot more like a video camera than the Canons do. I use my GH2 more than my XHA1 because it has a much better picture, shallow depth of field, histogram, and shoots to SD cards rather than tape. For audio I just record to a Zoom H4n and sync with PluralEyes. As long as you have all your bases covered, it's a great system. As far as photography, sure it's not the best, but it's really up to the photographer. If you have a good lens on there, and a good knowledge of lighting and composition you can get amazing pictures from it. It's the operator, not the equipment.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 11:12 AM   #3
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

I can't really think of a huge complaint. Here's my semi-complaint list:
1) Probably the irkiest thing is that the VF isn't quite wysiwyg.
2) That hdmi disables at 720p isn't a huge issue with me.
3) I agree that cam isn't hard to use, but the controls and menus are nonetheless poorly engineered.
4) How I'd love full manual auto...having said that, the onboard audio is surprisingly good.
5) battery life not so great.
6) styling, I think it's crummy looking -- what's with that chrome stripe down the front of it? This is an ugly little sucker.

The real story to my mind though is that this is an incredibly powerful filmmaking tool at an unheard of price. A better image than an AF100? a better image than an EX3? I think I can live without built in ND filters and two zebra settings.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 11:36 AM   #4
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

Seriously, not too long ago (in the grand scheme of things) independent shooters had to fight with something like a Bolex. We've got it waaaaaaay too easy to complain.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 05:03 PM   #5
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

A better image than the AF100 or EX3? Hmm I wish. My GH2 is no match for my EX3.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 06:02 PM   #6
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

I agree that the GH2 is a great camera. I think the two biggest reasons for the complaints are primarily two things. For those who haven't used a photo camera for video, it involves a learning curve which can be frustrating. The other reason is the poorly written manual leaves a lot to be desired. A lot things that should be explained and clarified aren't.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 08:14 PM   #7
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

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Originally Posted by Jim Forrest View Post
A better image than the AF100 or EX3? Hmm I wish. My GH2 is no match for my EX3.
Well it's already proved itself against the AF100 through numerous res chart tests, and though I no longer own my EX3, I've compared footage shot at the same location with both cams and the GH2 looks better -- the EX3 is the same as an EX1 and that technology has become long in the tooth, so we shouldn't be surprised that the GH2 looks better, and I'm discounting the GH2's superior shallow focus shooting and far better low light capability, mix those in the match and it's a good ole fashioned butt whippin'.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:00 PM   #8
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

Hi Jim

On the button. I think there are a huge number of video enthusiasts out there that have never had the pleasure (or frustration) of using a manual still camera. I was brought up and also went pro with medium format film cameras. There was no such thing as "auto" ..You had to learn about light, composition and most importantly how to set shutter speed and aperture to achieve the DOF you required and THEN you still had to focus...manually!!! The modern video and still guys can often get away with snapping the camcorder or digital camera into P or full auto and then point and shoot!!

You would understand the GH1/2 a lot better and manage it if you have a basic understanding of photography ..it is after all, a still camera with video .... My biggest mistake (I haven't got a GH yet) was to assume it would work like a camcorder which is doesn't. It certainly shoots awesome footage but you really need to handle it like a manual still camera rather than a point and shoot camcorder. Be prepared to expose and focus it like a still camera and you will get really good results.

These are certainly very usable cameras but don't expect them to work like a point and shoot camcorder.

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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:10 PM   #9
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
1) Probably the irkiest thing is that the VF isn't quite wysiwyg.
2) That hdmi disables at 720p isn't a huge issue with me.
1.) Not just the VF but the LCD, as well. It's irritating that after you set everything when you hit record it all changes.

2.) That's by far my biggest complaint.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 10:20 PM   #10
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

Hi guys,

What do you mean the VF and LCD are not wysiwyg? Would it be wysiwyg via an HDMI cable outputting 1080p to an external monitor? If it's not wysiwyg, then what is it? What changes after you hit the record button?

Thanks!
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 11:10 AM   #11
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

The GH2 EVF is light years ahead of any VF on Canon or Nikon DSLR in video mode.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 11:23 AM   #12
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

Patrick, I have found if you are within range of what the camera judges to be acceptable settings, the issue you described does not occur.

Since learning to set the camera properly I have never once experienced the change thing happening. This is also documented in the manual, but I cannot find it.

If you use any mode where the exposure compensation setting feature shows, you will see as long as you are close or spot on with aperture and shutter, etc your LCD will match the image recorded.

Of course if you over expose deliberately, etc. then it would be an issue for me, but that is not something I will do much of so I don't care.

I found the exposure compensation feature absolutely indespensible for shooting at correct settings, and I absolutely could not operate without it.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 12:20 PM   #13
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

Another thing I've noticed is when taking pictures any shutter speed between 1500-4000 is not reflected in the lcd/vf. There's a slight change between 1500-2000, but pretty much in that high range the preview stops adjusting exposure, so the preview will look bright, but then the picture comes out dark. Highly frustrating.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 12:35 PM   #14
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

If you ready thru to bottom of my post, and really pay attention, you will no longer have the issue you described. Your problem is not the camera, it is you are not using the EC meter.

You must use the Exposure Compensation meter indicator at the bottom of the screen to ensure proper exposure.

The LCD, etc is only accurate when your exposure is close to correct.

Your photo came out dark because your shutter speed was too high or your aperture and/or ISO was too low.

When a photo comes out dark, that is an indication your exposure, etc. is off, and if you were to pay attention at ALL times to that meter, then you would be adusting things to make it right.

If you do not use the meter, you will never get properly only when you are lucky.

Now if I'm missing something and not understanding, my mistake. But I can reproduce your problem, so I'm sure it's the same thing you are talking about.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 02:15 PM   #15
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Re: Is the GH2 usable? Should I buy it?

Jeff, I have the EV meter on AND the histogram, that's not the problem.
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