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Old July 18th, 2012, 04:04 PM   #1
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GH2: Help me with my shopping list

Hi. Let me start by explaining that I have absolutely no experience with DSLRs for either film or photography. I've only ever used camcorders up until now. Basically, I want to make a shopping list. I'm going to the UK next week and I'm planning on buying all of my kit in the 2 weeks I'm there (actually get it sent to my mum). They don't sell this camera in Vietnam, so that suggests that the accessories would also be pretty hard to come by. So I'm hoping that some of the more experienced users here could help me choose my kit. I will mainly be shooting short films.

My first question is about what combination of lenses would be best.

Camera + 14-140mm lens (950)
20mm Pancake lens (270)
1220

or

Camera Body (560)
20mm Pancake (270)
Panasonic H-FS014045 14-45mm (240)
Panasonic H-fs045200e Lumix G Vario 45-200mm (220)
1290

My next question is about filters. I know very little about filters, but I understand that an ND filter is pretty essential for shooting video outdoors and a UV filter is a good idea too. As I don't know a lot, I figured a variable filter would be the best option so that I can experiment. What price should I be paying for a good one? They start at about 25, but I found one by Light Craft Workshop for 57. Is that a good brand? Also, would I need one for the 20mm lens, because I understand that this is often used as an indoor lens. And finally, how do I know what size to buy? Amazon has links to two different sizes on most of the lenses.

And finally, there's the power issue. Since I'm shooting short films, the lack of display data on third party batteries isn't a massive problem to me. It's not perfect, but it's also not the end of the world if the camera dies halfway through a shot because I only really shoot things that I can always shoot again. So I think I'm going to save money and go for the generics. But I would like to be able to use the camera from the mains. What do I need to buy to be able to do that?

Other than that, I'm gonna get a Lowepro backpack, a few 16GB Sandisk high speed SD cards (How much footage can that fit on? And does this change if you hack the camera?), and a generic charger. Am I missing anything?

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old July 18th, 2012, 04:51 PM   #2
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

Hey Joe,

I'll try to answer your questions in order:

- Regarding lenses, my concern would be that out of those lists, only the 20mm is fast. (by fast, I mean anything with an aperture 2.8 or wider). If I were you, I'd forget about those zoom lenses, and stick with fast primes (non zooms). The Olympus 12mm & 45mm should cover a decent range for short films - assuming you use ex-tele mode.

- Regarding filters, I'd definitely get a vari ND filter. Once you determine which lenses you are going to get, choose a filter that is the closest fit for your filter threads. Any lens will benefit from an ND filter. The typical goal with an ND is to be able to shoot with a wide aperture in bright conditions to achieve shallow depth of field. The size is listed as "front" or "filter" thread size.

- Please do not buy generic batteries. They are junk. Stick with Panasonic DMW-BLC12 and you will be much happier. If you want to power it off AC power, you need 2 items: DMW-DCC8 + DMW-AC8.

- A 16GB card (I suggest Sandisk Extreme) will hold 90 minutes at the cameras highest 24mbps bitrate. Yes, if you hack it, increasing the bit rate will affect how much you can hold on the card.

Good luck!
Angelo
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Old July 18th, 2012, 05:48 PM   #3
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

I'd be surprised if stuff is cheaper in the UK - don't know if you're going via HK, but it would be much cheaper there and I suspect the warranty might be better for you. I don't know. If you are buying here, check out Amazon.co.uk and Park Cameras - I've found they often have the best UK deals.

However, I just got an email from Panasonic today talking about a new G5 camera, launched today:

Lumix G5 - Lumix Lifestyle - Share the experience

1080/50P? Sounds interesting in a small body camera - might be a better bet than a GH2?

Have fun in London - me, I'm escaping to Washington DC and heading down to them thar Blue Ridge Mountains...

Ben.
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Old July 18th, 2012, 07:13 PM   #4
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

Joe - one caveat on buying your GH2 in the EU. EU cameras are limited to 30 minute long video clips - while cameras from other regions (Americas, Asia) have no such limit.

Safe travels.

Bill
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Old July 18th, 2012, 11:21 PM   #5
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelo Ucciferri View Post
- Regarding lenses, my concern would be that out of those lists, only the 20mm is fast. (by fast, I mean anything with an aperture 2.8 or wider). If I were you, I'd forget about those zoom lenses, and stick with fast primes (non zooms). The Olympus 12mm & 45mm should cover a decent range for short films - assuming you use ex-tele mode.
My problem with that is that it would seem to lack flexibility. I want good image quality, sure, but far more important is being able to get the exact shot I want. Imagine a situation, for example, where I have to shoot from a distance (across the road or from a building). With a non-zoom lens I would (presumably) then have very little control over the framing other than physically moving the camera, which isn't always possible. What does "fast" mean in practical terms? How will it affect my shot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelo Ucciferri View Post
- Please do not buy generic batteries. They are junk. Stick with Panasonic DMW-BLC12 and you will be much happier. If you want to power it off AC power, you need 2 items: DMW-DCC8 + DMW-AC8.
What's junk about them, other than the lack of on-screen display? Because 50 for a battery is a rip off and the display isn't a massive issue to me.
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Old July 18th, 2012, 11:28 PM   #6
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

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Originally Posted by Bill Bruner View Post
Joe - one caveat on buying your GH2 in the EU. EU cameras are limited to 30 minute long video clips - while cameras from other regions (Americas, Asia) have no such limit.
Yeah I heard about that. It's not a big issue for the sort of work I'd be doing, but I'd be interested to know if you can override that with a software update.
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Old July 19th, 2012, 01:02 AM   #7
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

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Originally Posted by Joe Piechura View Post
My problem with that is that it would seem to lack flexibility. I want good image quality, sure, but far more important is being able to get the exact shot I want. Imagine a situation, for example, where I have to shoot from a distance (across the road or from a building). With a non-zoom lens I would (presumably) then have very little control over the framing other than physically moving the camera, which isn't always possible. What does "fast" mean in practical terms? How will it affect my shot?
In the 1960's before most of us had zooms we dealt with that as best we could. I'm in the process of moving to good primes and leaving the zooms at home. If the lens gear isn't flexible, I'll be flexible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Piechura View Post
What's junk about them, other than the lack of on-screen display? Because 50 for a battery is a rip off and the display isn't a massive issue to me.
It better be. If the camera shuts down on you (and it will without warning) you lose the "take" you are recording. It's also possible to lose the whole card full of data. The third party batteries may seem to give you good performance at first but I had one totally fail on the 4th use. None ever seemed to give me much over 50% of the recording time the OEM batteries did. They can swell, I had one that took me almost two hours to "pry out of" the camera, and an internal short can burn up your camera.

One poor fellow didn't pay attention to the battery he put in to update firmware. Turned out it was a third party battery, no communication with the camera and it "ran down" suddenly without warning and in the process "bricked" his camera (meaning it was now as useful as a brick and will remain that way until serviced by Panasonic.
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Old July 19th, 2012, 01:16 AM   #8
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

"I'd be interested to know if you can override that with a software update."

You can - use any of the hacks and just tick the time limit removal. You don't need to change any other settings.

Ben.
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Old July 19th, 2012, 02:00 AM   #9
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

As a video man, (whose last still camera was a Nikon F4), I'm also into a similar situation to Joe in that I'm serious contemplating a GH2 or GH3. My interest is wildlife so longish zooms are also "on" as is maybe a Kipon adaptor so I can fit my EOS lenses.

Two more, pertinent, comments:

1) Don't buy cheapo ND filters. I did it with my XLH1 and regretted it. Ended up with expensive, but excellent B&W filters. NDX8 if I was forced into choosing a single model.


2) You can claim 20% VAT(sales tax) back if you are a non E.U. resident buying in the UK. That would make me stick to one of the bigger "reputable" dealers, even if a bit more expensive, as they ought to be familiar with the paperwork etc. (You get the rebate sent to you/your bank AFTER you leave the UK).

Ron
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Old July 19th, 2012, 03:08 AM   #10
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

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Originally Posted by Ronald Jackson View Post
1) Don't buy cheapo ND filters. I did it with my XLH1 and regretted it. Ended up with expensive, but excellent B&W filters. NDX8 if I was forced into choosing a single model.
I didn't really want to spend that much. I heard the Hoya Pro-1 series are pretty good. But I think I would like a variable one if it's affordable but not terrible. I was looking that http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0050HZY5Y/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=103612307&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0050HK3BE&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=0Y7V105WTW2PWX99KSSD
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Jackson View Post
2) You can claim 20% VAT(sales tax) back if you are a non E.U. resident buying in the UK. That would make me stick to one of the bigger "reputable" dealers, even if a bit more expensive, as they ought to be familiar with the paperwork etc. (You get the rebate sent to you/your bank AFTER you leave the UK).
That would be great, but unfortunately, they don't so this for internet sales, and I live at the opposite end of the country to Park Cameras. I'll look into it though, because Dixons are currently selling the 14-140mm model for 950 and Panasonic are running a 50 cashback offer this month on all Lumix cameras.
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Old July 19th, 2012, 03:12 AM   #11
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

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Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
It better be. If the camera shuts down on you (and it will without warning) you lose the "take" you are recording. It's also possible to lose the whole card full of data. The third party batteries may seem to give you good performance at first but I had one totally fail on the 4th use. None ever seemed to give me much over 50% of the recording time the OEM batteries did. They can swell, I had one that took me almost two hours to "pry out of" the camera, and an internal short can burn up your camera.

One poor fellow didn't pay attention to the battery he put in to update firmware. Turned out it was a third party battery, no communication with the camera and it "ran down" suddenly without warning and in the process "bricked" his camera (meaning it was now as useful as a brick and will remain that way until serviced by Panasonic.
Okay, that seems like a good enough reason. Would 2 batteries be enough or will I need 3?
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Old July 19th, 2012, 03:18 AM   #12
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

Try a telephone purchase with the kit delivered to your Mum, or get her to do it. 200, almost, worth some effort!


If you get Hoya go for their "pro" line.



Ron
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Old July 19th, 2012, 07:31 AM   #13
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

From what I've read, they generally require proof that you're an overseas resident in the shop, hence why you have to do it in person. It's pretty cheap in Dixons, especially with the rebate, but the nearest one to me is about 40 miles away. Probably still worth the trip, but I wonder if they'd deliver it to Currys for me. I'm guessing not, since Currys also sell the camera (for more money).
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Old July 19th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #14
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelo Ucciferri View Post
- Regarding lenses, my concern would be that out of those lists, only the 20mm is fast. (by fast, I mean anything with an aperture 2.8 or wider). If I were you, I'd forget about those zoom lenses, and stick with fast primes (non zooms). The Olympus 12mm & 45mm should cover a decent range for short films - assuming you use ex-tele mode.
I've just been looking into this a bit more. Are you suggesting that I get just these two lenses, or get them in addition to a basic zoom (like the 14-45)? I've just looked at the ex-tele mode, which I didn't know about until now, and it's very impressive. Just one question though. Is it 2.6x zoom or nothing, or can you choose how far to zoom/crop in?
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Old July 19th, 2012, 11:20 AM   #15
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Re: GH2: Help me with my shopping list

2.6x or nothing.
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