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Old September 27th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #1
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Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

I'm new to DSLRs. I shot 35mm film years ago with a Yashica fully manual cam. I've had a number of digital point and shoots over the years. For video, I have an old Panasonic DV953 SD cam. I want to move up to HD video but feel like a good DSLR with video capabilities might let me serve two functions with one cam.

I've been looking at various DSLRs and the Panasonic Lumix GH2 appears to be the best at video at the $1000 price point at least according to the reviews I've read. I know there are some Nikons and Canons DSLRs that do better at video but at a much higher price. Higher than I want to go right now.

So, I'm looking for opinions on the GH2 and suggestions for a better DSLR for video at the $1000 price if there are any.

Also, the GH2, if I'm correct, came out a year ago. Does anyone have any ideas about a replacement for it (GH3) any time soon?

Thanks.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #2
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

I'd look at the Canon t3i.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 10:14 PM   #3
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

I vaguely remember reading that the GH3 is likely to come out spring of next year, but my memory may be wrong.

Regarding which camera, it depends on the features you need, as they are all different. The two best choices, IMO would be the Canon 60D and the GH2. T3i is very nice as suggested, but most professional reviews that I've read give the edge to the GH2. In fact most all of them. That's just what I read when I spent months researching this same thing.

You must look at the available lenses available to the cameras to make the best decision. Canon lenses are very nice, and are favorites of mine. I used the 30D for photography with some very nice Canon lenses, and the results were excellent.

If I had known how limited lenses were for the GH2 at the time I purchased it, I would not have bought it. Fortunately, that has changed, at least for my purposes (wedding video).

The GH2 is fully compatible with Olympus micro four thirds lens, and I am absolutely crazy about the new 14mm F/2.0, it is my favorite lens, and I've gone through about 12 lenses or so for the damned camera.

Panasonic also makes a M4/3 lens (20mm F/1.7) that has to be, IMO one of the best values in any lens today. They are about to release a two new M/4/3 lenses, the 45mm F/1.8, and a 25mm F/1.4 Summilux. These lenses are both under or around $500 and are looking to be outstanding lenses with great image quality.

You must also look at what you are going to do with the camera. If you will need a fast zoom lens, you are looking at a very expensive investment. For the GH2 there are the two fastest zoom lenses available by any manufacturer, the Olympus ones, and they are F/2.0 all the way through, but they are around $2500K each.

You almost have to get into it to figure out how your going to utilize the camera. If you start with a GH2, you might get a body only and the 20mm F/1.7, or an Olympus 4/3 lens, the 14-54 F/2.8-3.5 I think to start out that might be the lens I'd get, as you'd have a high quality zoom.

The single biggest gripe I have about the GH2 is the size of it. It is very small, and the buttons are very fidgety. Until you get proficient with it, it is quite easy to hit buttons accidentally. Because of the size factor, many prefer the larger T3i, and 60D. True, the GH2 captures amazing video, and now there are great lenses available for it, but it is so damned small, it's sometimes embarrassing to use professionally.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 11:14 PM   #4
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

I'm sure you don't want to hear the old "depends on what you need" answer, but obviously I have to begin with that. For my particular needs, price is consideration numero uno, so that's definitely a plus in the GH2's direction over the 60D. I also don't like interlacing, but still have a regular need for smooth slow motion without twixtor. I've found the 720-60p mode on the Canon SLR's to have so much aliasing (due to more lines being skipped) as to be useless for my projects. Score one for the GH2. According to my understanding, it's the only DSLR-style camera out there that actually downsamples the sensor output to video-size rather than skipping lines. Hence, Aliasing and Moire are much better than on any current Canon model. Overall Picture quality probably goes to the GH2 as well. The only thing really lacking is that you can't get your Depth of Field as shallow on equivalent focal lengths due to the Micro 4/3 sensor being smaller than either the 60D/T3i's APS-C sized sensor, or the 5D MkII's full-frame one. However, you can still get it pretty shallow. Finally, the hacked firmware available for the GH2 allows video bitrates that are MUCH higher than the Canons and seem to allow much more detail to be preserved in video. That's why I just bought the GH2.

Oh, one more thing: The lenses. I've found that with a $24 Fotodiox adapter, you can use old Nikon lenses on either system that are both superb optically, and allow adjustment of the iris on the lens barrel. Just like I'm used to. Not bad. Makes the GH2 even more appealing to me.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 09:07 AM   #5
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

I have the GH1 + hack, GH2, 7D and T3i.

I would say that the GH2 is the best video DSLR as long as you're okay with not having a short f2.8 zoom. I have the Tokina 11-16/2.8 and Sigma 18-50/2.8 in EOS mount, and that covers a lot of situations.

There's some really nice glass like the 12/2, 25/0.95 and many other adapted lenses available, but if your concern is not low-light, then the 14-140 or the new Lumix X lenses will be fine.

I love the EVF on the GH1 and GH2, something I wish was available for the 7D or T3i - I use the Hoodman LCD loupe, but being able to just pull the camera out and just start shooting is great. The crop mode on the GH2 is also a quite a bit better than the one on the T3i. Working AF in video mode is also great.

The only other system that's interesting, is the new Sony SLT-A77 and NEX7. The EVF is suppose to be even better than the GH, aps-c size sensor, active AF, and the NEX7 can be adapted to just about any SLR or RF lens.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 11:43 AM   #6
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

Because I shoot theater productions, I needed a dslr that could shoot continuously for more than 15 minutes at a time. The GH2 was the only choice for me. If I was a photographer occasionally shooting video, the Canons would be a much more likely option.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 02:09 AM   #7
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

I have a Canon 5DII, Canon 600D(T3i) & GH2. Which is the better choice depends on what you are filming. I gave up on the GH2 for weddings alongside my 5DII as I found it so fiddly & irritating to use so I got a 600D instead & it's the perfect match & shares the lenses. However this past week I have been shooting some real estate videos in the South of France & the GH2 has been fantastic. I mostly used the 7-14mm F/4 mostly at 7mm & mostly handheld as with such a wide lens any wobbles can easily be removed in post. I had actually intended to use my AF101 for the shoot but on a whim tried the GH2 instead & it was so much quicker & easier without needing to set up a tripod for every shot. I used 1280x720@50fps as delivery is for the web & having the option of decent slow motion is very useful for this kind of video. All the properties were well lit but I know from previous work with the GH2 that the F4 lens is OK as it's possible to crank up the IOS to 3200 without noticeable grain. There were some shots by the pool of decking & sun loungers that I know would have been shimmering with moire patterns if I had used a Canon DSLR but there wasn't a trace on the GH2 footage.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 05:06 AM   #8
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

GH2 has the most resolution and cleanest image of any DSLR by a long shot.

The only competitor to my mind is the Canon 5d with its huge sensor and wide angle capability. GH2 is still significantly sharper and a lot cheaper.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 09:58 AM   #9
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

Keep in mind that the GH2 is *not* a D-SLR, since it does not have a mirror, a penta-prism or an optical viewfinder... the three physical elements that define a Single Lens Reflex camera.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 10:20 AM   #10
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I love my GH2, the longer I have it, and the better I learn to use it, the more I like it. Nevertheless, the Canon 60D or 600D would easily be a great choice, but I'd miss some of the features on my GH2.

I have gone on a lot about the 12mm F/2.0 lens, but that lens choice alone, with it's instantaneous auto focus and sharp image, make the GH2 worthwhile for me. No matter what cameras in my arsenal, I would buy the GH2 for use with that lens alone, or even the 20mm.

So Brian, what's your first impression of your 45mm F/1.8?
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Old October 8th, 2011, 02:38 AM   #11
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

As has been pretty much determined already, the GH2 is the best DSLR for video. If you dig lots of moire...oh boy you are gonna love them Canons !!! As far as Nikon, and I own a D5100, but sorry Nikon, for video you suck !!!

From here on out...this is all just my gut feelings on a new Panny cam.

With Panasonic having announced their new line of X lenses, I would expect the GH2 to be around a bit but we could very well see a GHX-something here in the near future. I would expect it to be a definite upscale camera, not in that $1000 price point area. Right now in DSLRs, Panny has three models, the G, the GF and the GH. The G and GF are both very close price wise and don't have a ton of differentiation between them. Then we have the GH which is an upgrade from the other two. It would make sense for Panny to drop one of the low end, make the GH the mid grade and bring out and X-something which they can bill as their "pro" level or some such thing, for marketing purposes to match their X lens promotion. That would give them three distinct models covering a larger price range than they do now.

Because Panny has the GH2 discounted on their Facebook Fans Deal page and have had it discounted for a month now, I would expect an announcement on a new camera come the shows after the first of the year. But just because Panny announces one....don't expect to actually get one for many months as Panny's US distribution sucks as bad a Nikons do at shooting video !!!
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Old October 9th, 2011, 10:15 AM   #12
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

"Because Panny has the GH2 discounted on their Facebook Fans Deal page and have had it discounted for a month now..."

I didn't realize the GH2 was being discounted. B&H has it for $999.95 with the 14-42mm lens. Adorama is the same. Newegg doesn't have it in stock. Are these the discounted prices you're refering to? Anybody (reliable) got it cheaper?

D
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Old October 9th, 2011, 10:36 AM   #13
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

According to the 4/3 Rumors site, the GH2 is not being discontinued or upgraded this year.

"Ok, that’s certainly not a surprise but at least it is official. Techaradar (Click here) talked with Mr. Uematsu from Panasonic and confirmed that “there will not be an upgrade to the GH2 by the end of the year“.

For what its worth
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Old October 9th, 2011, 04:24 PM   #14
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Vogel View Post
I didn't realize the GH2 was being discounted. B&H has it for $999.95 with the 14-42mm lens. Adorama is the same. Newegg doesn't have it in stock. Are these the discounted prices you're refering to? Anybody (reliable) got it cheaper?

D
I didn't say the retailers have, I said Panasonic has discounted the GH2.

Go to Facebook and "like" Panasonic. Once you do that, on the left of their page is a link to Fan Only Deals. Click on that and once again on the banner on the next page and you get to the Panasonic deal section where you need to use the navigation to go to interchangeable lens cameras. There the GH2 body in black is $719 give or take some cents as it has been for at least a month. Sound reliable enough ???
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Old October 9th, 2011, 05:29 PM   #15
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Re: Panasonic GH2: Best Video DSLR For The Price?

That is a great deal Chip. That's a lot of video camera for $719.
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