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Old May 20th, 2014, 12:07 AM   #1
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G6 Viewfinder problem

Hi all, hoping someone can throw light on this...

I recently took possession of a G6 after 2 years of shooting with a hacked GH2. The G6 flip-out screen is superb, definitely looks sharper and brighter than the GH2 one. But the image in the EVF is terrible - soft, grainy, dark. No way I could rely on it for focus (I manually focus all my wedding videography).

I had it checked by the camera store here in Melbourne, Australia, and the technicians report it's 'within technical specifications'. But one online review I read says this:

"The stunning improvement for the G6 is with the LVF or Live View Finder - the part you put your eye right up to to take photos instead of using the display screen. In the past, what’s seen down the LVF has been rather grainy but Panasonic has upped the mini view to OLED technology with an equivalent 1.4 million dots of information. Put together, that makes it as vibrant display of what you’re looking at as if using the monitor on the rear. Think LVF HD."
Panasonic Lumix G6 review

I checked a friend's camera and the same thing, so it's not just my unit.

Has anyone else had this issue? Is it something particular to Australian models?

And, any suggestions how I might photograph what I'm seeing in the EVF so I can send it to Panasonic with a 'please explain'?

Many thanks,

Langdon
Life in Motion video production

PS Used it on one wedding so far - highlights here if anyone's interested

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Old May 20th, 2014, 01:57 AM   #2
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Re: G6 Viewfinder problem

I haven't seen a G6 so I have no idea what the EVF is like, but going from GH2s to a pair of GH3s it looks like Panasonic made the optics in the EVF smaller. Focus is harder to see even if you get your eye right "in the channel" and it's more problematic for eyeglass wearers.

After cataract surgery (with astigmatism correcting lens implants) late last year focusing the GH3 using the EVF got some better but still...Not what I was used to with the GH2. The EVF in the GX7 is a bit of an improvement over the GH3.

If the G6 EVF is similar, that's likely what you're seeing.

Here's my workaround and it works well for me in addition to being fast.

I have MF+ASSIST set to ON
Focus mode S-AF +MF
AE/AF button set to AF LOCK

Autofocus is available with a half press of the shutter button as normal. UNTIL...

...The AE/AF button on the back is pressed, on Single AF actuation occurs and the focus is "locked" in manual mode...

...UNTIL the AE/AF button is pressed a second time, but until that happens...

...Anytime the manual focus ring on the lens is turned the magnified assist "kicks in" allowing focus to be seen and "nailed" quickly, a light touch on the shutter button clears the EVF back to normal view. You can either take the picture with the shutter button or do a manual refocus. At this point you still "locked" in manual focus mode.

Even after taking a picture you are still in MF+ASSIST mode. To go back to default autofocus mode press the AE/AF button. I like this because it gives me the best of both autofocus and manual focus with one button. And the focus is easy to see with the MF+ASSIST.

The "lock" also clears when you power down the camera.

On my GH3s and GX7 it works almost the same way in video mode except once you start the recording the ASSIST doesn't "kick in" so you can't lose your framing.

Try it and post here whether or not it helps.
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Old May 20th, 2014, 02:16 AM   #3
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Re: G6 Viewfinder problem

Thanks so much Bruce - this forum really is amazing. I'll play around with your settings and report back. Like you I wear glasses and so I wonder if this is part of the problem... still it's hard to believe Panasonic would take such a huge backwards step in the quality of their EVF, even going from the GH to the G line. There's not a lot of difference in the number of dots (G6 1.4 million vs GH2 1.5 million), and the GH2 viewfinder is great.

I may have to resign myself to using the flip-out screen much more, perhaps with some sort of loupe (would the Varavon Loupe EX GH3 for Panasonic GH3 fit the G6..? anyone..?)

If anyone else has direct experience with the G6 it'd be great to get any feedback.

Thanks all,

Langdon
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Old May 20th, 2014, 02:58 AM   #4
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Re: G6 Viewfinder problem

Just checked my G6 evf (actually never used it as the camera is only used on a steadicam) and it's bright and quite detailed though appears to be somewhat soft, without the focus aids it's hard to tell if I"m exactly in focus, when I half press my shutterbutton for autofocus while the screen magnifies I do get a pretty sharp display to confirm my focus so that works well.
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Old May 20th, 2014, 03:19 AM   #5
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Re: G6 Viewfinder problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Langdon Rodda View Post
would the Varavon Loupe EX GH3 for Panasonic GH3 fit the G6..?
Yes that is possible but the baseplate is not straight on the camera, it is usable however.
Attached Thumbnails
G6 Viewfinder problem-g601.jpg   G6 Viewfinder problem-g602.jpg  

G6 Viewfinder problem-g603.jpg  
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Old May 20th, 2014, 03:34 AM   #6
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Re: G6 Viewfinder problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Langdon Rodda View Post
Like you I wear glasses and so I wonder if this is part of the problem...
You do know the g6 has a diopter dial on the side of the evf?
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Old May 20th, 2014, 06:14 AM   #7
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Re: G6 Viewfinder problem

Thanks Noa - the loupe images are especially helpful. I'll check the local shops to try one on my camera asap. I'd have to remove my glasses every time I use it I suppose (park them on top of my head) and hope the loupe image is within my focus range (I'm quite shortsighted but close-up is fine).

Sorry, I should have mentioned I'd adjusted the diopter as it's probably a common oversight - the best image I can get is still unusably soft for manual focus. The focus aid (enlarged section) is very helpful for preparing shots, but a lot of the time I'm changing focus while filming - eg the shot at 36 seconds in the highlights video I included. No problem doing this with the GH2 viewfinder, but there's no way I'd attempt it with the G6 EVF.

Seems like it's not just the Aussie version that has this weakness, it's the same all over. I'm confused by the review that rated it so highly.

If anyone else has any tips or workarounds it'd be great to hear them

Cheers,

Langdon
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Old May 20th, 2014, 06:47 PM   #8
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Re: G6 Viewfinder problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Yes that is possible but the baseplate is not straight on the camera, it is usable however.
Thanks again for taking the time to take and post these images Noa.

Just a quick question, if you (or anyone else) has time:

I haven't used a loupe before - I think they'd be great for eye-level shots but I'm often shooting from closer to hip height, especially for wide shots (I like my verticals to be nice and straight, been watching too much Ozu and Wes Anderson). Is that still possible with the loupe attached if I flip up the attachment on its hinge? This is one situation I use the focus assist for, but I don't know if I'd be able to see the screen at that distance with the loupe attached.

(I'd have to order one of the Varavon Loupes in, they're out of stock - don't want to spend the money if it's not going to work for me)

Many thanks,

Langdon
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Old May 21st, 2014, 01:38 AM   #9
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Re: G6 Viewfinder problem

The varavon can be placed in a 45 deg angle, shooting at a lower angle does work but is a bit limited in use as with the hood flipped open there is still a piece on the lcd that is a excellent sun protection but makes seeing the lcd more difficult. Holding the camera higher prevents looking on the screen as you can't fold it down. I think this is not that suitable for shooting at hip height.

I have a mini shoulder rig so the position of the loupe is perfect for that, I also only use it to shoot from a tripod so then it's at eye height, I do use lower angle shots as well but then it can be somewhat limited meaning I do have to look further down to see all of the screen due to the limited angle.

Here is my setup:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...ms-varavon.jpg
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Old May 21st, 2014, 02:59 AM   #10
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Re: G6 Viewfinder problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
Here's my workaround and it works well for me in addition to being fast.

I have MF+ASSIST set to ON
Focus mode S-AF +MF
AE/AF button set to AF LOCK
Just realised your system works with Panasonic lenses - but I'm filming with a Speedbooster + Tamron 17-50mm combination (24-70mm constant f2 equivalent). And my next lens is going to be the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 (24-50mm constant f1.2) which won't work with autofocus either.

So, I guess it's back to where I started... I'll just have to get used to shooting mostly with the flip-out screen, without a loupe so I can drop the camera to hip height when needed. Disappointing that Panasonic put such a crappy viewfinder on the G6, otherwise it has so much going for it (focus peaking, unlimited shooting time on the Aussie version, no vignetting with the lens combinations above unlike the GH2 etc).

Thanks to both Bruce and Noa for your input. Your generosity is inspiring.

Langdon
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