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Old April 24th, 2011, 10:18 AM   #1
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Focusing with GH2

OK, this camera is driving me crazy. I was, at one time, able to touch f2 button, and then hit the menu button, and then I got the blow up shot on the LCD to focus with.

That is not working any longer. I can do it when I touch the screen, then hit the menu button.

Someone please tell what that feature is called, and how it is accessed in the menu, disable, etc. and if it works while in AFS and manual. I thought I used it in AFS mode, but I guess I only can use that feature in MF. Can it be assigned to an F button?

I know I need to practice with this camera more, but I cannot even turn to the manual for help, it is such garbage.

Thanks in advance.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 11:16 AM   #2
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Re: Focusing with GH2

[AF+MF] must be on in the Custom Menu.

In MF, turn focus ring or press and hold the Q-Menu button then press Set.

In AFS, lock focus with AF Lock or press and hold shutter button, turn focus ring or press and hold the Q-Menu button then press Set.

Good luck
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Old April 24th, 2011, 02:02 PM   #3
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Re: Focusing with GH2

Thanks Dan, very helpful and invaluable.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 09:11 PM   #4
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Re: Focusing with GH2

Dan, thanks again, didn't know you could hold shutter while in AFS and then rotate lens for Focus Assist.

For some reason, I can't access the feature by pushing Q-menu button then set button when camera is in AFS mode. Turning the dial when holding shutter halfway works, but not the first method.

In manual mode it works as it should. I might do a reset, which I've already tried, but I might need to do a complete reset, not sure how to do it, but I'm looking into that now.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 09:45 PM   #5
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Re: Focusing with GH2

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
For some reason, I can't access the feature by pushing Q-menu button then set button when camera is in AFS mode. Turning the dial when holding shutter halfway works, but not the first method .
Option 1) Set Custom Menu [AF/AE Lock] to either AF, AE or AF/AE. Now press and hold the AF/AE Lock button while pressing and holding the Q-Menu then Set.

Option 2) Also set Custom Menu [AF/AE Lock Hold] to On. Now a single press of the AF/AE Lock button will lock AF and/or AE (depending on your setting in Option 1) until the AF/AE Lock button is pressed again. Now press and hold the Q-Menu then Set.

This [AF/AE Lock Hold] can also eliminate ALL focus hunt issues. One press of the AF/AE Lock button will lock AF and/or AE until pressed again. If you're doing any type of pan or tilt, this feature is your friend.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 10:06 PM   #6
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Re: Focusing with GH2

Dan will try these methods, thanks much for the detailed explanation. The AE/AF lock sounds perfect for panning!

I'm still trying to deternine best mode for shooting various wedding scenarios. Can you offer any suggestions?

It seems sometimes Shutter Priority is best with auto ISO, because I want to run my shutter speed at a constant 1/60, but then it doesn't always work best as it seems I need to close down my aperture at times more than will happen in this mode. What to do?

I have scenarios where the brides dress is overexposed, but everything else on the altar is perfect, or even a bit dark. I just read about he IDynamic feature, that might be helpful, haven't tried it yet.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 12:31 AM   #7
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Re: Focusing with GH2

Not sure I can help much with wedding shoots. My projects are almost entirely outdoors, bright sun, landscape and animals. Where you're probably rushed for shots, I just have to wait for the right light.

For what it's worth, here are some of my basic practices.

Bright sun = ND filter or polarizer.
1080/60i or 720/60p for 125+ shutter speeds and smaller aperture (shallow DOF).
Take a test photo (or half press shutter) in A or S mode to determine camera choice of S or A.
For shallow DOF, allow shutter to exceed 180 degree rule within limits.

I.Dynamic may be helpful for you, however, when set to any strength, the GH2 makes the decision to use it or not. If the I.Dynamic icon on the LCD or EVF turns yellow, the function is being used, if white, it is not. To test this, turn I.Dynamic on and point the camera at a high contrast scene, if the GH2 determines it is high contrast enough, the icon turns yellow and you'll see the result in the LCD or EVF.

I'm fairly sure your mileage will vary..

Last edited by Dan Carter; April 25th, 2011 at 02:59 AM.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 08:00 AM   #8
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Re: Focusing with GH2

You should expose for the highlights - not the shadows or even the midtones.

So expose for the brides dress by simply checking your histogram (which should always be on in the display anyway). You should never allow highlights to blow out, ever. If needed pull the midtones up in post.

Are you shooting video? I ask because some of your terminology is for stills ... shutter priority... what has this got to do with video? If you are shooting 24p your shutter should be constant at 1/50. If you get fluorescents causing flicker this is neutralized by moving to 1/60. Never use auto ISO - allowing the camera to change gain is unheard of - even for stills but especially in video. Same with the dynamic feature which is rubbish and should not be used. There should be no moment during shooting where the camera can decide something - this applies to focus and exposure (which involve ISO-Shutter-Apertures). There are always exceptions and in rare instances of run and gun verite style auto pilot could get you a useable shot where one may not exist ... maybe.

Use a variable ND filter if you are moving through extreme lighting conditions. The shutter speed should not be use for exposure compensation.

Wedding are in a controlled environment, so you should have full control of the camera. I shoot docs in full manual mode comfortably moving from daylight to interiors with no set ups.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 09:42 AM   #9
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Re: Focusing with GH2

Thanks Jon. I appreciate your advice. Your advice exposing for highlights is sound.

There is clearly a lot I have to learn. I also note you are not familiar with the GH2 or with Catholic weddings, which are hour long collections of rituals during which the subjects and lighting conditions on the altar is quite different from one part of the altar to the other.

John, when you move from from indoors to outdoors, etc when making documentaries do you leave your camera running non-stop and adjust on the fly? That would be amazing If I could do that with the GH2 while running with a set ISO and white balance.

Shutter priority, etc are video modes on the GH2 as well as for photos. I shoot at 720 60p and want to keep my shutter speed to 60 or faster, I think, but maybe I'm wrong. The variety of modes to shoot in with the GH2 is many, Shutter Priority, Full Manual, Aperture Priority, etc. These modes and more are all available when shooting in "Movie Mode" setting. The only thing not adjustable on the fly is ISO and WB.

The wedding scenario is not quite as simple as you might think. I have never thought of a wedding ceremony as a controlled enviromment, but technically it could be viewed that way. But having shot hundreds of them with videocameras, even then issues arise, as the subjects change, the locations change, and the lighting condtions change constantly and often dramatically.

For example during the Devotion to Mary, the couple arises from their well lit seats on the altar, then walk to statue of Mary which is usually a very dark area, but Mary is well lit. I absolutely cannot turn the camera off at this point. And the decision to do this ritual is often last minute, not that if I knew it would help much.

As mentioned I cannot adjust ISO or white balance on the fly on the GH2, and do not wish to turn off the camera to adjust during the processional, it is unthinkable. The lighting during the processional, tecnically stays static, until the door is closed, (most of the time) but there is a significant difference when pointing at the door vs pointing at the altar, which I must do in a single continous shot as I follow the bride to the altar who is about to be given away. Rarely is it the same. Even the white balance is affected, usually varying from a mixture of outdoor and indoor light sources when aimed at door, to completely indoor lighting at the altar.

Hence auto while balance (no choice). Now I can stop at an opportune moment to adjust AFTER she has been given away, but not before. Another challenge, is the bride and groom are seated on the right hand side of an altar that is 30' or more across in width, but the readers who come later are on the left hand side of the altar at a podium in relative darkness. (I do tons of catholic weddings). then the priest is often standing under bright overhead lights, in the center. I must pan across the altar from time to time. From a dark spot, to bright spot, and vice versa.

The vows are again, under different lighting conditions, and this happens quickly. I can, and might need to stop prior to the actual vows as there is a minute where the priest is talking where I could adjust ISO, but immediately after the vows they all move again and sit back down for 20 more minutes of ritual.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 11:42 AM   #10
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Re: Focusing with GH2

I meant that shutter priority is not used in video - in stills yes, but no professional I know would use this mode in video. I do own a GH2 and recently shot B-roll in a doc with it - not once did I ever come out of total manual operation.

The scenario you are talking about occurs all the time in documentaries .... and I do not usually have the benefit of visiting the location before I shoot - which you can by going to the church before hand and taking test exposures and color temps, etc.

While I shoot, I think of the final edit ... trying to shoot this continously is the wrong way. In the final edit, you can give the impression that the walk from the alter to Mary is continous by cutting to another angle. This requires moving the camera or using a second camera in a fixed position - in the final edit you cut away for 3 or 4 seconds to get to the new angle. This is very common and I do this throughout my docs - often using one camera and adjusting aperture on the fly while I move. This should be easier for you as you know the path the couple take - I do this not even knowing where everyone will go!
If I shot weddings I would overcome all problems with a second fixed camera running free to use for jump-cuts. Its inexpensive with GH2's and I do this all the time with mine on a lightweight Gitzo mountaineer tripod.
I white balance for the majority - daylight or tungsten or whatever and leave it - unless there is a clear demarcation like going through a door, then I switch - again usually just thumbing the dial to a higher or lower temp - not auto WB or even a preset - its not the way. I can always nudge the color temp in post - in fact, this is the easiest fix.

By the way do you have a reason for shooting everything at 720p? Do you not deliver 1080HD to the client?
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Old April 25th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #11
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Re: Focusing with GH2

Jon I deliver SD 16:9 to my clients. I do shoot 4 cameras, alone. The rear cameras cannot be depending upon for many critical shots. I am usually in front of the altar. I cannot get closeups with my lenses from the rear that can be depended upon. I need to be able to catch a shot of the brides's face and then the couples hands.

I may have to turn the primary camera off on occasion as you suggest, but during the processional and vows that is not an option. Those are the moments I need closeups, and I cannot turn the camera off.

I will probably have to plan to turn the camera off and change settings when she's being handed off, but the settings at that point will have to be changed 5 minutes later again.

While in theory turning off the camera and changing ISO sounds good, in practice I would need to do it so often, hell, I can't even imagine. What do I do when the congregation is standing and there is no balcony to shoot from? All I have then is the backs of heads if no front shot. It's going to be a long year.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 02:36 PM   #12
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Re: Focusing with GH2

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Originally Posted by Jon Braeley View Post
Never use auto ISO - allowing the camera to change gain is unheard of - even for stills but especially in video. .
I never say never. I've found a good time to use auto ISO is when you pan from an interior space to an open window. The iso will give a much smoother graceful adjustment of exposure than any method I've tried.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 03:12 PM   #13
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Re: Focusing with GH2

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Originally Posted by Jon Braeley View Post
You should expose for the highlights - not the shadows or even the midtones.

So expose for the brides dress by simply checking your histogram (which should always be on in the display anyway). You should never allow highlights to blow out, ever. If needed pull the midtones up in post.
Subjectively disagreeing with you here.

Most of the time, probably... but "ever?" Some of the best shots I've seen or taken have a few purposefully blown highlights, silhouetting, lens flares, and other light play. And maybe I'm doing it wrong, but most times I try to lift brightness in midtones, it turns muddy, noisy, and ugly - fast.

I try to expose for the subject, and yes, in that, attempt to avoid blown highlights... but then that's just my take.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 03:32 PM   #14
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Re: Focusing with GH2

Yes, Kevin, I agree. Jon's advice is fine sometimes, but not all the time. For example at weddings it is common for the area behind the altar to be brighter than where my subjects are located. If my settings were to be based on avoiding overblown highlights there, the bride and groom would be too dark.

I would also submit many professional wedding videographers often use auto settings, including ISO, auto focus and more. I would bet money the majority do, though with DSLR type cameras this percentage would be less.

There are a few very vocal folks who pretty much say that anyone that uses manual focus is a hack, which is hilarious.

When panning across an unevenly lit area numerous times, I cannot shut my primary camera down every time I need to adjust ISO and exposure.

On the other hand, Jon is correct, my bride's dress should not have been overexposed, but I had left the camera unattended, and the lighting had been adjusted while I was attending another camera, so I got screwed. By the time I returned to my camera, it had been running overexposed for 5 minutes or so, if not longer. If I had been in auto ISO I would think the issue would have at the least been lessened.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 03:33 PM   #15
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Re: Focusing with GH2

Jeff,

Have you experimented with turning [Rec Highlight] On in the Montion Picture menu? When recording in Motion Picture mode this provides live, blinking blown highlights, much like Zebras of camcorders you may have used.

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