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Old June 15th, 2012, 07:55 AM   #1
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Upgrading from the GH2 - your views

Hi All.

I've been looking casually at new camera options for a BBC Academy contract we've just been awarded. It's non-broadcast, so I've got free reign on what we go for (ie sub 50Mbps is OK.) However, I'm struggling to work out what there is out there (Blackmagic camera due out in August notwithstanding) that gives significantly more bang for one's buck below the $15K mark than the GH2s we've already got.

I'd like to improve on dynamic range and the blocky AVCHD compression artefacts - and it's a good opportunity to have something else in our armory that offers a more up-market image, with balanced audio inputs.

The whole market seems a bit arse about tit at the moment - big sensors hobbled by crap codecs or smaller sensors with decent codecs that lean aesthetically more towards news gathering.

Obviously, I should do the right thing and hire an FS100 and C300 etc and do a proper test, but I thought I'd just ask if any of you have done any meaningful evaluation (ie, not just looking at highly compressed web stuff!) of large sensor cams? How do they compare, in your opinion, to your GH2 results?

We did a shoot a couple of weeks back and the camera op supplied his own AF101 - but I was left with the impression that it offers nothing more than the GH2 besides proper audio.

Otherwise, has anyone made the move back to smaller chip video camcorders, such as the Canon 305 etc?

I can't be the only one wasting far too much of their life pontificating about this stuff...

Ben.
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Old June 15th, 2012, 10:02 AM   #2
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Re: Upgrading from the GH2 - your views

Ben - it seems to me that you've already identified the best bang-for-the-buck large sensor upgrade over the GH2 - the FS100.

I miss the large sensor "look" whenever I shoot with a traditional camcorder - but you may feel differently.

Bill
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Old June 15th, 2012, 01:47 PM   #3
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Re: Upgrading from the GH2 - your views

You can wait for the BlackMagic camera (which records to an internal, swappable hard drive) to show up or test the AF101 with an external ProRes recorder hooked up to the SDI output. I am not sure which will end up being the more expensive option. Either will eliminate the AVCHD issues which are also present in low end prosumer video cameras anyway.

For pay work, I switch between JVC pro cameras (which shoot XDCam files with low artifacts) and the GH2 depending on the shoot. Just recently I had GH2 non-essential b-roll footage rejected due to artifacts in a couple of shots.
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Old June 15th, 2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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Re: Upgrading from the GH2 - your views

William,
That's interesting about the rejecting.
Unless you feel it's hijacking this thread, would you be willing to show us the offending artifacts?
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Old June 15th, 2012, 06:01 PM   #5
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Re: Upgrading from the GH2 - your views

I'd stay away from the Black Magic this season Ben.
It looks like it'll be buggier than an old stump but the next model will be something to set the industry on it's ear.
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Old June 16th, 2012, 01:50 AM   #6
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Re: Upgrading from the GH2 - your views

I think the FS700 body for 8K plus lenses is worth thinking about - depends on the budget, but a great camera with that unbelievable slo-mo capacity.
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Old June 16th, 2012, 02:39 AM   #7
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Re: Upgrading from the GH2 - your views

Thanks for your thoughts, chaps.

Ben.
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Old June 16th, 2012, 06:15 AM   #8
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Re: Upgrading from the GH2 - your views

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Roddy View Post
William,
That's interesting about the rejecting.
Unless you feel it's hijacking this thread, would you be willing to show us the offending artifacts?
I can describe it since I can't post it as it's client's property. Most of the footage was fine but I had scenes that had lots of shadows in the background cast with multicolor lights. The codec sort of broke down on that and it was enough for the client's editor to get nervous and reject all the GH2 footage even though most of it was, in my opinion, fine. Their call as it was only backup footage and the GH2 is so easy to bring along, unlike the broadcast cameras, that I use it on many shoots just for safety sake. Last year I used it as a throwaway wide shot third camera in a two camera shoot for broadcast and the image was so good, even though the background was dark, that we used it for broadcast. The AVCHD codec is tricky and while obvious things like water and trees on a windy day overtax it, sometimes it comes through with careful exposure and choice of ISO on stabile shots indoors that you wouldn't expect to work.

The codec hacks are a tricky lot as they tamper with the recording safeties imposed by Panasonic but some people have been able to get footage on the level of XDCam and better out of the camera in situations that you wouldn't expect. But, the question begs, is that trouble worth it for everyone? For me, trying to fudge broadcast quality out of a consumer camera for certain jobs, the answer is yes. Especially after finding that the HDMI out recording options were limited due to technical and physical limitations. But for many people the camera is great out of the box and doesn't need tampering.
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Old June 20th, 2012, 07:11 PM   #9
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Re: Upgrading from the GH2 - your views

I've been mining for information regarding the Canon XF100 and 300. Their 50mbps and 4.2.2 color are appealing, but good video samples are hard to find.

Good luck with your search.
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