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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
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Old July 4th, 2012, 05:38 PM   #1
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Considering buying a GH1

Hey guys, I found a Lumix GH1 with a Lumix 14-42mm on craigslist for $300, and was considering adding it to my arsenal. I currently own a Canon t3i, which I love, but $300 seems hards to beat for a b-cam.

Things to consider? I dont know much about M43 cams, so not sure if there would be issues mixing footage or anything. Could I adapt EF lenses to work on the GH1? I kind of like the idea of having an autofocus cam just in case too, would I be better going with a GH2 though?

My main concern is having to seperately buy stuff for the GH1 and the t3i, would almost rather have another t3i so I could interchange all lenses, batteries, etc, but if it's relatively easy to adapt or just use what I have as a b-cam then it might be worth it.

Thanks,
Evan
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Old July 4th, 2012, 11:04 PM   #2
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Re: Considering buying a GH1

Thats a tough one. I personally have a GH1 and I love it. You will find that it actually produces a more detailed video then your Canon. The GH1 is a killer video camera once you hack it. Without the hack it is still nice but not great. Hacked and the GH1 is phenomenal. It does have it's quirks however compared to the GH2 but they are few and if you know what you are doing the GH1 can be a weapon of precision.

EF lenses can be adapted to the GH! very easily but you basically loose all digital control. This means no auto focus and most importantly no aperture control. That means the lens is locked into a f stop rating. If you will mostly be using the camera in low light situations then maybe that isn't a big deal since you will most likely want your lenses opened up all the way anyway. What you can do however is put the lens on your t3i set the aperture and then move the lens to the GH1. The lens will keep the aperture setting from the Canon and stay there until you change it again on the Canon. Clearly not a perfect situation but it can be done.

The battery situation there are not really any options. Batteries for the GH1 are fairly cheap however. You can get them for about $50.00 and they charge pretty fast. I have three and never have a problem if I keep the charger always charging one of them. You may even be able to get by with two this way but three will really cover you. If this is a B cam you may just want to see how 1 battery works out for you for now.

Cost wise $300.00 is a killer price for a killer video camera with lens. About the best $300.00 or even $3000.00 camera you will find. We use a Red camera and a Sony F3 at work and in certain situations my GH1 can hold it's own against those cameras. We also have an older Sony F900 HDCAM and my GH1 kicked the crap out of that camera on a particular shoot we did. So yes $300.00 is a great deal for the camera. Is the GH2 better? yes it is but mostly for low light.

I plan on buying a GH2 very soon to compliment my GH1. I will still keep the Gh1 because honestly it is the best video camera I have ever used and I have used a lot. My GH1 will become my backup camera since I know except for the ugliest of dark light situations it will look very close to the GH2.

If buying lenses are a concern keep in mind older manual lenses are very easy to adapt to the GH1. I use a few older Canon FD lenses that you can usually find for $30.00 that look amazing on this camera. Yeah they are harder to use but if you have a film background and don't mind learning how to use a manual lens then you may start to prefer them. For scripted shooting I actually prefer them because they look more organic and manual focusing it great.

The last thing I can say is how badly do you need a B cam? I think the price is worth it but it all depends on if you really need another camera sitting around.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 12:04 AM   #3
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Re: Considering buying a GH1

Hmm, good info. Mind linking to the adapter you use?
Ive started doing weddings recently and stuff, and have to borrow a friends t3i whenever I do 2 camera stuff. Having autofocus id love to be able to use the gh1 as a set and forget camera somewhere during the ceremony. What's the recording time limit?
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Old July 5th, 2012, 01:17 AM   #4
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Re: Considering buying a GH1

My biggest concern would be buying ANYTHING on Craigslist. I've seen so many reports of folks who bought something only to find it had hidden problems, or just flat was not as advertised. Latest was a young lady who purchased a T2i that had problems and estimates for repairs are so high she is now trying to sell it for parts.

Watch the "Private Classifieds" on this site for occasional GH1s and GH2s that crop up. Not as low as $300 but you stand a MUCH better chance of getting something that works.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 01:51 AM   #5
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Re: Considering buying a GH1

Hi Evan

The non-hacked GH series sometimes have a 30 minute limit in PAL format. However any hacked GH1 has no limit to the record length (apart from card size) It's well worth doing the firmware hack as that lifts the bitrate and also allows you to use generic batteries. It also allows PAL/NTSC switching so you can record and 25P or 30P but not on the same card.

I don't think I would even use mine as a main camera for weddings (I prefer a real camera with decent XLR audio) but it does an awesome job as a 3rd camera at weddings either behind the altar or up on the balcony. Rather look for just a body and then get the lens you require...for weddings as you do, I find the 14-42 is more than enough ..cams with the 14-140 kit lens with lift the price quite a lot!!

Chris
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Old July 5th, 2012, 07:47 AM   #6
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Re: Considering buying a GH1

I disliked my two GH1s for several reasons. First, in low light, they do not compare well to the GH2s, huge difference. I ran both simultaneously for weddings and in low light situations the GH1 just wasn't as good.

Secondly, the GH1 has continuous auto focus that to my knowledge cannot be turned off unless you go to MF. I tried and I could not make it happen. As a wedding videographer this was a distraction, as I like to be able to use auto focus without having the distraction of the continuous auto focus.

Third, the 24p comes out at 60i, which is not a huge deal, but I found it irritating. I like having all matching footage.

GH1 is great, but used GH2s are available used for under $700, and to me are worth every penny. Also, the 14-42 lens is a nice lens, but not useful for me as a wedding shooter.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 06:57 AM   #7
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Re: Considering buying a GH1

Yes the low light isn't as good on the GH1 but that may or may not be a deal breaker for some people. In good to decent lighting the GH1 still looks awesome. I still think the GH1 with a good lens looks better then any 1/4" video camera and most 1/3" video cameras.

I find no problem switching from AF mode to M mode for focusing on the GH1. In fact when I use older Canon lenses I cannot use AF anyway. So if the OP plans on using some vintage glass autofocus really isn't a concern.

The GH1 has had native 24p for a long time now with very simple hacking. Hacking is not hard and does not hurt the camera unless you pull the battery out during the hack or try to use cheap 3rd party batteries that die during a hack. The quality of the GH1 is much higher with hacking and is widely considered the norm for getting good results with the GH1. If somebody is thinking of using a GH1 without hacking it then forget about it. The quality will be so so and it will be a pain to work with. Where the GH1 really started to shine in the industry is when it was hacked. All of a sudden the camera went from "ugh almost there, what the heck did they do to cripple the quality" to "holy cow that is stunning" The GH1 really looks that much better when it is hacked. In fact when the GH2 first came out a lot of people were able to get better looking video from a hacked GH1 then an unhacked GH2. Now that the GH2 can also be hacked it can look better then the GH1. The GH1 also has the option of hacking to have 4:2:2 in mjpeg mode. This is limited to 1280x720p but I know a lot of people who still like this mode for more accurate color. The GH2 cannot do 4:2:2 at all in this mode. Panasonic crippled it in the newer model.

Without a doubt the GH2 is a better camera but the GH1 is not dead yet. When hacked the GH1 can compete very well with the GH2 except for the darkest situations.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 07:42 AM   #8
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Re: Considering buying a GH1

$ for $ you cannot beat a GH1, for sure.
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