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Old December 23rd, 2011, 02:56 AM   #31
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
It is frustrating I had to use an entire wedding season to settle on lenses, I went through about 12 of them. It also took me almost the whole season to realize I couldn't survive another season without a videocamera, and late in the game I got the XA10.
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Interesting.............
to me is the reason for adding the videocamera. I assume it's because of the motorized zoom to capture the "alter action" without having to get in their faces. Is there another reason?
If you had to do it over, and had the budget, would you have opted for more XA10s and less GH2s?

Waiting for Santa,
Jeff
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 06:51 AM   #32
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Well Jeff, my case is a bit complicated, but I'll give you my perspective. Everyone's way of doing this thing is different.

Which route you go should really depend on your goals. That is the main thing. If you do not have a goal or style of shooting, then it's a crapshoot. Regarding DSLR style cameras, a lack of knowledge about lenses will can also cost you a lot of money, unless you choose exceedingly carefully. I know this from painful and costly mistakes I've made.

I got into the DSLR thing strictly for financial reasons. I had sold off all of my gear during the winter two years ago due to personal issues two years ago. But, I had bookings to fulfill the next spring. So I had to buy cheap cameras and rent gear for a year. It was like I started all over again, it was a very difficult period on every level, personally and professionally.

This past January, I was facing another season with junk equipment, and knew I had to do something. At that time the forums here were buzzing about the Canon t2i and GH1/GH2. The GH2 had just been released.

I saved my money and bought the GH2 with the 14-140mm kit lens. The lens was useless in poor lighting. I sold that lens within a week and bought a Canon FD 50mm F/1.4 and a 85mm F/1.2, and eventually bought over a dozen lenses, and a second GH2 and two GH1s.

It was pure hell shooting most of the season with the GH2s, as I was new to the whole thing. I didn't know about the P setting, and I screwed up a lot of shots unnecessarily. With the P setting you truly do not need anything more to get good solid footage, but I didn't know that then. I have since learned to control the camera manually pretty well, but when I get in a jam, I just flip it to P mode and all is well. For starting out, it is truly all you need. Eventually you will learn more as you go, so no need to rush that.

Anyway, the Olympus 12mm F/2.0 came out, and it was the beginning of a whole new day. That lens was a life saver. Easy to focus, stunning images, etc. I also bought an Olymput 12-60mm which was gorgeous for outdoor work, but not so good indoors.

But yes, to answer your question, try this: focus on a bride as she comes down the aisle with the GH2. You can do it. I learned how. But what a mess it can be.

Video cameras with proper zooms are absolutely essential for my work, no question.

There are those who shoot with ONLY DSLR cameras, and some of these guys get over $5K per wedding. But I don't shoot cinematic style. I shoot documentary style, basic weddings. I give my customers an uninterrupted long form wedding video, and I take a lot of pride in that, I don't miss much if anything, and they get a complete doc of the day. This is difficult to do with DSLR style cameras. It can be done, I have done it, but it's not my idea of fun. This past season was the single biggest challenge I have ever faced, and I'm not exaggerating.

So long story short, yes, this year I will shoot with two video cameras, probably two XA10s and then two GH2s. All problems will pretty much be over at that point, aside from matching up cameras in post.

Jeff, if you shoot basic weddings you do not need the GH2. BUT, if you buy the right lenses at the beginning, you will obtain some stunning footage. LENS CHOICE IS THE KEY. Chant that over and over, do not forget it.

I am an videocamera operator who happens to use the GH2. I am not a DSLR shooter. If this is you, then keep your lens choices basic. No single lens is the perfect solution, you must build a kit of lenses that cover all focal lengths. That is why I recommend the 25mm F/1.4, and the 12mm F/2.0 so highly, they are both amazing, easy to use, and will enable you to do what you need to do.

If I were you, I would start with either a GH2 with a 12mm or 25mm lens, then get a Canon XA10 or AG130. I would forget the 2nd GH2. Get it later if you still want it. The XA10 will blow your old videocamera away, and your life will be much easier, and you can focus on shooting, instead of fiddling with your camera.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; December 23rd, 2011 at 08:08 AM.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 08:07 AM   #33
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Jeff, listen to Jeff. he knows what he's talking about.

I come from a professional videographer background as well and you can't beat a good video camera to get the shot. Certainly the GH2 and other DSLRs are unbelievable values and I really like working with mine but there's a point where they are still really still cameras and not up to the rigors of event filming with a single camera. You usually need multiple cameras to cover the limitations of a DSLR as they are sold right now. I just did a successful three camera interview for broadcast with two pro video cameras for close-ups (JVC three CCD camera) and the GH2 fitted with the 20mm lens as a wide shot. Looked fantastic and the DOF of the 20mm made the wide shot that much nicer. But the video camera lens allowed us to smoothly zoom in and out during the interviews and hold the focus which DSLR lenses can't do. Yes, some people don't like zooms during the shots but I find them useful to highlight the subjects as they speak.

I am experimenting with the new Panasonic power zoom lenses for the GH2 which seems promising but they are not built like a decent video camera zoom which has years of design into ease of use for the operator.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 09:24 AM   #34
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Jeff P. and William,

I figured this all along. My venture into DSLR shooting was basically for music video shooting and the DOF effects interchangeable lenses can provide.

Weddings are a very stressful shoot, and a true camcorder can cut the stress down over using DSLRs ....I can see that now from my limited experience using the G2. As both of you say, the GH2 has is place, for both extended video shooting, as well as stills. Used correctly it adds additional clips to help make a wedding video interesting.

My initial equipment list for this season will "have" to be the GH2 w/25mm lens, the XHA1 and hopefully a XA10(lights,uhf xmtr/rcvr/couple of small audio recorders)....that's it until I make some money.

Thanks for all of your help...
Jeff
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 01:49 PM   #35
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Harper, I would probably suggest the Panny 14mm f/2.5 over the Oly 12mm f/2. There's only minor difference in focal length and light gathering ability, but a huge difference in price.

You 3 essential lenses should be along the lines of:

Panny 14mm f/2.5
Panny 25mm f/1.4 or Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 (no autofocus, though)
Canon FDn 50mm f/1.4
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 02:59 PM   #36
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

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Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
Harper, I would probably suggest the Panny 14mm f/2.5 over the Oly 12mm f/2. There's only minor difference in focal length and light gathering ability, but a huge difference in price.

You 3 essential lenses should be along the lines of:

Panny 14mm f/2.5
Panny 25mm f/1.4 or Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 (no autofocus, though)
Canon FDn 50mm f/1.4
Like Patrick, I highly recommend the Lumix 14mm f2.5, and use it more often than the Lumix 20mm f1.7 for indoor/outdoor low-light.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 03:15 PM   #37
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Patrick, you are right, those lenses would work, sometimes.

F/2.0 and F/2.5 don't seem that much different unless you shoot a lot of weddings. But even f/2.0 is marginal at times in low light.

If we're talking optimum choices, the 12mm is a superior lens in every way, and extremely sharp. It is a Zuiko. Yes it costs more, but you get more, a lot more. You can switch to manual focus on the barrel of the lens by pulling on the shaft, and not even switch it on camera, because it communicates with the camera. It is an amazing lens.

The Canon is not a bad choice, I had one and got rid of it, it's color rendition was unreliable when coupled with the GH2 in low light. The Panasonic 45mm F/1.8 is a better choice, in my opinion, because it's made for the camera. Jeff H has said he doesn't want to use adapters, for which I don't blame him. The Panasonic 45mm F/1.8 has a blindingly quick auto focus and is really well suited to the Panasonic. In fact it's made for it.

Jeff, Patrick is right you could get by with those lenses, but F/2.5 is too slow for weddings, IMO. It will work in church, but in a reception it will be harder to work with unless you have plenty of light. At F/2.0 you can shoot getting ready footage without additional light, most times, but at F2.5 you would need another lens. I have never needed additional light with the 12mm for bridal prep, which is really nice. I hate running around a bride's house with a light when I don't need it.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 03:26 PM   #38
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Jeff, here's the XA10 GH2 sample for you. The cams don't match perfectly, but they're pretty close. The 12mm is the low shot from down front. It's on a tiny tripod.

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Old December 23rd, 2011, 05:08 PM   #39
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

For wedding videos that are mainly put on 480 line DVD and even if we talk full HD the difference in sharpness between 2 pancake lenses is something i would like to see, video resolution is vastly different from stills where two closely matching lenses may show in the sharpness dept.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 06:33 PM   #40
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

re: f/2 vs f/2.5. Bump up your ISO one notch, problem solved. I don't have a link, but I looked up a review between the two lenses, and the 14mm came out ahead in a few categories. The 45mm is definitely a good alternative to the FDn. I actually meant to post that lens instead of the FDn.
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Old December 24th, 2011, 12:27 AM   #41
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Patrick, I did not say the 14mm is a bad lens, and I did not say it would not work. But these are not the same lenses in low light, and that is what I'm talking about. Bumping up the ISO can be done with any lens, so why don't we just use kit lenses and save even more money? Because when you increase ISO you lose sharpness, add noise. With a F/2.0 you already are using a lot of gain in a lowlight situation. This also means color rendition changes, and the cameras will be harder to match in post.

Reviewers are not typically running video and matching cameras, and the 14mm used in low light will look a lot different than the 12mm when used in low light. Outdoors the lenses are similar, but in low light, not even close.

Take for example the images below from a review that claims that there is little difference between lenses. The reviewer shot every single test shot outdoors on a sunny day. This is not how you test a lens for wedding video or low light use.

Look at these images below. This is the single shot the reviewer shot in the shade, and the differences are striking, at least to me.

Also, we should keep in mind the 14mm is a pancake lens, which are hopelessly difficult to manually focus while recording. The 12mm is a professional quality lens, the 14mm is not.

I have a 20mm F/1.7 pancake and and the 25mm F/1.4, and trust me the differences between the two lenses are striking.

My friend Johnny is the type of person who will save a dollar by always buying the cheapest, and he always claims the cheaper product he buys is as good or better then something more expensive. What he is really doing is justifying his purchase and being cheap. I can see the differences, he cannot.

When we are talking tools for pro use, yes you can find ways too save a dollar, and if you cut enough corners you can save a lot of money. The route we choose to go is a personal decision. I do not argue that F/2.5 is usable for wedding work. But when I'm running a 25mm F1.4 and a 45mm F/1.8, why in the world would I want a 14mm F/2.5? Next to each other the differences become noticeable and almost unworkable.

Patrick, I'm no authority on lenses; however I shot dozens of weddings this past season using over a dozen lenses, and I can say with certainty there is a significant difference between F/2.0 and F/2.5 in any low light situation.

The argument you pose is valid, but it is almost always put forth by people who do not shoot primarily weddings.

Case in point: When I complained about the 14-140mm and sold it, I got criticized and beat up pretty badly by one guy in particular who claimed the problem was me, not the lens. He loved his 14-140mm, and he raved about how you only have to raise the ISO and the lens would work just fine.

Anyway, a month later he was right back here looking for a better low light zoom. When I politely asked him what changed his mind, he admitted he didn't understand low light shooting to begin with.
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; December 24th, 2011 at 01:08 AM.
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Old December 24th, 2011, 02:28 AM   #42
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Not to beat this issue to death, it should be noted that after working with the 20mm F/1.7, and getting the 25mm F/1.4, I hope to never work using a pancake lens again. They just suck eggs.

I got a lot of decent images with my 20mm pancake, but the autofocus constantly hunts. On the other hand, the focus ring is so close to the body it's hopeless in manual. I loved the 20mm for it's low light ability, because there was nothing else to use that was made for the camera.

As one reviewer stated, if you don't know why you would need the 12mm over the 14mm, then you don't. As wedding shooters, however, we should know.

The last nail in the coffin for me is that the pancakes are butt-ugly. The Zuiko 12mm is beautiful and elegant, and it is a joy to handle. I hope to order the stupidly over priced lens hood one day, but at $90 is just chaps my ass that they didn't include a hood with it.
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Old December 24th, 2011, 02:52 AM   #43
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Let me pose TWO equipment scenarios and let me know which you would chose....

The shooter(s)....My wife and I are considering working as a team..."we've done it before and are still together" hah We both have a "good eye" for a shot and work well together. This would allow her to shoot the bride ready stuff while Im off with the guys (usually a much shorter shoot ha)

At this early point I can afford to go the camcorder route OR the GH2 route. Keep in mind I already have one camcorder the XHA1 and have used both the Canon and GH2 together and matched the color fairly well. After watching Jeff Harper's video using multi-cams, Im convinced more cams take a lot of pressure and worry out of shooting a wedding.

Knowing what I have and with two shooters..would you purchase 2 XA10s, OR 1 XA10 and a GH2?

Thanks to all...
Jeff
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Old December 24th, 2011, 03:16 AM   #44
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Jeff I you re-read William's post, he sums it up pretty well. In my opinion, for basic weddings, I wouldn't even use the GH2 at all, if I several nice videocameras.

I happen to have the GH2s already, and they are great for extra angles, etc. but for the ceremony I want at least two videocameras, not just one. You should want a zoom in the back and a zoom in the front. Think about it. From the rear you want a zoom to frame your shots of the altar, etc, and from the front you want to get a closeup of the vows and rings.

Use the GH2 for your balcony shot, or whatever, but use your videocameras as your primaries. That's what I'd do.

Let's put it this way: I have two GH2s and a GH1, and the XA10. I'm getting another XA10. I don't "need" another XA10, technically, but I sure want one real bad. Having only one videocamera with a smooth zoom is still limiting.

And for getting ready, yes the GH2 is nice, but is that the camera you want your wife to use? Give her an XA10 or your other camera, she can focus on getting the shot instead of worrying about the gear and how to use it.

The reason I like the XA10 is that in low light it has almost no noise. It is not as fast (fast means as good in lowlight) as the GH2 with the right lenses, but I love the look of the footage, and in many cases I like it more than the GH2. It depends on what I'm shooting though.
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Old December 24th, 2011, 04:04 AM   #45
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Re: HELP THE NEWBIES THREAD.....please.

Yep....I totally agree.

The XA10 is on order. I could get another XHA1(20x zoom) used, but want to stay tapeless.

Ironically, after months of looking into DSLR shooting vs camcorder, Im right back at what I thought was best initially....camcorders. But, Ive learned a lot along the way, thanks to you and others on this forum.

Now more coffee...Im wired. ha

Jeff
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