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Old July 10th, 2012, 04:04 AM   #1
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I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

Sunday Night I did my first shoot where I used two GH2's (just picked up a second one recently) at a comedy show in Ft. Lauderdale. I put my Canon FDn 100mm f/2.8 on my wide camera, and quickly realized that since I used my only lens adapter on my wide camera I'd have to go native on my other one. I used my Voigtlander 25mm. Problem was I couldn't get close enough to the stage to get good closeup shots. I decide to flip on ETC for the hell of it. As always the picture looks grainy and soft. However, I then hit the record button. Picture cleared right up and looked crisp!! All this time I had avoided the ETC function simply because before you hit record it looks awful. Somebody should have warned me!

In any event, I was on my Jag35 shoulder rig, which I used to shoot with a monitor, which in part, caused my rig to be very front heavy and fatiguing. I ordered new Jag35 rods and a raised offset bar which brings the camera EVF right up to my face, and wow what a difference. I get a much crisper picture vs. the monitor, my rig is much lighter, and now I can shoot in ETC or 720p60 without the hassle of my monitor not accepting those signals. Another advantage of using the EVF over the monitor is that when I'm filming things like comedy shows in the dark I don't have this bright glaring screen annoying the patrons watching the show. I'm going to keep my Jag35 monitor, however for when I get a crane. I have a Panny 12-35mm f/2.8 on the way, and I can't wait to shoot it with my new rig, and can't imagine why I would need the upcoming 35-100 f/2.8 when I can just flip on ETC and get the same thing! I'm currently a very happy GH2 user!
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Old July 10th, 2012, 01:58 PM   #2
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

Thanks, Patrick. This is a great post. I sure hope Panasonic is reading this and is motivated to fix the LCD's color and noise fidelity problems when they design the GH3!

Here's a little side-by-side I shot a few months ago with an unhacked GH2 with the v1.1 firmware upgrade that shows very little difference between standard mode and ETC:

In the meantime, having a viewfinder that actually works in video mode is one of the little-noticed, but very real advantages the GH2 has over antique mirror-box DSLRs.

Cheers,

Bill
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Old July 10th, 2012, 02:15 PM   #3
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Bruner View Post
In the meantime, having a viewfinder that actually works in video mode is one of the little-noticed, but very real advantages the GH2 has over antique mirror-box DSLRs.
Yes, I agree 100%. One other great advantage of ETC is that you can use wider lenses that act like longer lenses without the added instability.
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Old July 10th, 2012, 02:53 PM   #4
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

I have been considering getting a 12mm to 35mm f2.8 for this exact reason. It is pretty exciting that my 50mm f1.8 FD could function as a 130mm f1.8 or that my 20mm f1/7 could act as a really good 52mm.

I could still see a use for the 35mm to 100mm f2.8 when it eventually comes out. That would be a 91mm to 260mm f2.8 lens. Two lenses could cover almost all shooting situations with a constant f2.8. Not bad at all considering the price of both those lenses and GH2 is about the price of a good professional video camera.
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Old July 10th, 2012, 05:00 PM   #5
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

I wouldn't say those two lenses would cover most shooting situations. In low light f/2.8 isn't very good. I was shooting audience reaction shots at the comedy club with the Voigtlander at f/0.95 AND the ISO at 1280 just to get decent exposure. It's too bad they couldn't have made the 12-35mm just a bit faster, like f/2.
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Old July 10th, 2012, 08:44 PM   #6
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

Personally I have always used lights when shooting. I have always found if f2.8 at an iso up to 640 isn't bright enough it is time for a light. f0.95 at an iso of 1280 must have been insanely dark.
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Old July 10th, 2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

You must not do much live event shooting. In a comedy club there is a spotlight on the performer. The audience is mostly pitch black other than the first few tables which get some light bounce from the stage. Unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of it. There is no option in a club to flip on your on camera light and start beaming it at the audience. Everything is situation dependent.
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Old July 11th, 2012, 02:47 AM   #8
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

@ Bill Bruner...

Bill will you post the model number of your cavision lens shade. Id like to get one for my GH2. Does it fit panny lenses I have the 25mmF1.4 and the kit 14-140

Glad to see everyone pleased with ETC operation...Ive yet to try it, but will now.

Jeff
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Old July 11th, 2012, 08:15 AM   #9
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hinson View Post
@ Bill Bruner...

Bill will you post the model number of your cavision lens shade. Id like to get one for my GH2. Does it fit panny lenses I have the 25mmF1.4 and the kit 14-140
Jeff - Yes, it will fit, with the appropriate adapters. The lens shade is the $49.95 Cavision LH100PW. Best price is at Adorama ($3.35 for shipping).

You'll also need a http://www.amazon.com/Cavision-Step-up-Front-100mm-Thread/dp/B001HACOPQ and a http://www.amazon.com/Goja-Accessory-MagicFiber-Microfiber-Cleaning/dp/B00448E2OE for your 14-140. For your 25/1.4, you'll need a http://www.adorama.com/FLU4677.html.

You may also want the $12.85 soft cover that goes with the hood to protect your lenses.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
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Old July 11th, 2012, 01:31 PM   #10
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

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Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
You must not do much live event shooting. In a comedy club there is a spotlight on the performer. The audience is mostly pitch black other than the first few tables which get some light bounce from the stage. Unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of it. There is no option in a club to flip on your on camera light and start beaming it at the audience. Everything is situation dependent.
Yes in certain situations I agree. We mostly do corporate work, TV and high end live productions where we do all the stage, audio and lighting for the event. Sometimes lights are not an option but honestly I don't know very many cameras that would perform any better in that situation you were in. We have a Red Epic, Red one, Sony F3 and a Sony F900 Cinealta at work and every single one of those would hurt bad in that situation. In fact I would go as far as to say a GH2 even at F2.8 may beat them but I have not done a side by side in low light since almost all of our productions live or scripted are lit.

With that said I do know there are shooters who freak out by the concept of lighting period. Even in situations where there is no reason not to there are too many out there that choose not to.
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Old July 12th, 2012, 10:05 PM   #11
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

Finally broke down and upgrade from a GH1 to a GH2. Loving the ETC mode. Your post is what made me finally decide to upgrade. Very glad I did. While ETC has its cons I know I will find it a very valuable tool.

Personally I find it doesn't look any different then a traditional video camera with a native chip of 1920x1080. Same kind of noise size and softness you would expect from a native HD single chip sensor. It is my understanding ETC basically works like a 1/2" traditional video camera sensor.

Compared to my Panasonic HMC40 which I just sold to buy a GH2 even the ETC mode at high gain looks amazing. Now I just need the 35mm to 100mm F2.8 to hurry up and come out.
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Old July 12th, 2012, 11:42 PM   #12
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Re: I was totally wrong about ETC Mode!

Glad to hear my post was beneficial in your decision =)
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