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Old January 31st, 2014, 05:42 PM   #1
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Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

A short sample of wild birds I captured with the Panasonic GH3 during the last 9 months of 2013 and January 2014. All video was shot FHD 1920x1080 .mov 30p @50Mbps.
Lenses used were:
Panasonic 45-200mm
Panasonic 100-300mm
Nikon 28-80mm
Nikon 80-400mm
Nikon 400mm

Locations:
Ventura County, California
Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, Imperial County, California

https://vimeo.com/85406272
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Old January 31st, 2014, 06:46 PM   #2
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Beautiful images Don, do you also use the cropmode of the camera? I have seen a few images done with Nikon tele lenses and it always looked very sharp, even in crop mode, are your nikons sharper then the panasonics?
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Old January 31st, 2014, 08:17 PM   #3
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Very impressive!

I'd love to know how long it took to get some of those shots. How many good shots did you miss because you weren't focused properly or couldn't get framed and focused quick enough before the subject was gone.

I've never even considered using a large sensor camera for birds as I felt it would be impossible to get any usable footage, considering how fast things change in the wild.
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Old January 31st, 2014, 11:40 PM   #4
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Hello Noa,
If you mean the internal crop mode (Panasonic's ETC), yes I use it all the time when I'm shooting birds or any general wildlife. There is absolutely no loss in resolution the ETC. Do I see any sharpness differences between Panasonic and Nikon, not really, but I have to believe that my 400mm prime has to be sharper than the Panasonic 100-300mm. I have made Blu-ray discs of GH3 footage shot with all the lenses I listed, and played back on a good HDTV it all looks good, if it's in good focus.
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Old January 31st, 2014, 11:58 PM   #5
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Hello Michael,
I went out this morning for 5 hours and came back home with 3 minutes of roll of a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree. Last Sunday I went out for 5 hours and shot 45 minutes of quality video of 11 different species of birds, so it all depends on if the moon is the right phase or something like that. I can't explain it, you either have good day or a bad one. Yes, I have missed some shots, but it's mainly due to not finding a small bird in the view finder, so I have to go wide, find the bird, zoom in and watch it fly away. Larger birds are sometimes easier to approach and stick around longer, especially if they are feeding. I don't have the reach with the GH3 that I had with my XL H1, but that means I just have to work smarter to get a little closer.
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Old March 2nd, 2014, 02:35 PM   #6
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Don,

You have a terrific collection of clips of an amazing variety of birds. I was most impressed with the grey hawk. You have spent a huge amount of time and travel and work to get them!!!! I even saw two species I have never seen before, the yellow jay type of bird and the purplish one on the barbed wire fence.
It is funny how some days you spend all day for almost nothing and the next its like a majic carpet ride and almost every thing works!!!

thank you so much for sharing.

dale guthormsen
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Old March 4th, 2014, 07:22 PM   #7
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Hello Dale,
Thanks for your compliments. Time and travel is a big part of it, but the birds have to cooperate to make it a total sucess. The yellow jay type bird is a Cassin's Kingbird and the bird on the barbed wire is a male Blue Grosbeak. Again, thanks...Don
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Old March 5th, 2014, 04:39 PM   #8
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Don, beautiful clips. Very impressive. You are so right about never knowing what you will get into on a given day. And, being patient and knowing your subject. Again, great job. Bob
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Old March 7th, 2014, 01:07 AM   #9
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Thanks Bob. Yes, patience and definitely knowing your subject helps......Don
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Old March 8th, 2014, 11:02 PM   #10
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Very, very nice work!
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Old March 10th, 2014, 12:46 PM   #11
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Thanks Woody......Don
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Old March 31st, 2014, 09:05 PM   #12
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Very nicely done.

Since you've shot with both the XLH1 and GH3, what are the pro's and con's of each?

Do you still do some shooting with the XLH1?
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Old March 31st, 2014, 10:11 PM   #13
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

I'm a bit late to this thread, but what beautiful work Don! Makes me wonder why i am lugging an EX-3 around for!
Thanks for posting this.
Regards,
Bryce
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Old March 31st, 2014, 11:23 PM   #14
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Hello Kin,
The only 2 pros about the XL H1 is that tape was a very good and convenient back up and the 7.2x magnification was great for wildlife, other than that, it's an obsolete camera. It was great for its time, but not for 2014. Also, it was heavy with my Nikon 80-400mm lens and required a heavy tripod and fluid head, 22+ pounds to lug around.

PROS:
The GH3 is very light, even with the Panasonic 100-300mm lens. I can use a much lighter tripod and fluid head (~10 pounds with tripod, fluid head and camera). There are so many shooting options and settings, it's hard to list them all. I shoot FHD 1080 30p .mov at 50Mbps to a SD card. The XL H1 is HDV 1080 60i MPEG-2 to tape at 25Mbps, so the quality of the recorded video is so much better. In fact it was hard for me to look at the XL H1 footage after seeing the GH3 footage. The LCD screen is also so much better than the XL H1's screen.The GH3 has an automatic 2x magnification factor when you attach any lens, so the Panasonic 100-300mm becomes a 200-600mm. Use the internal cropping (ETC) of 2.4x with no loss in resolution and the lens becomes a 1440mm. If I use my Nikon 400mm, it gives me a 1920mm. My Nikon 400mm used with the XL H1 gave me a 2880mm, so it one of the down sides, but it just requires me to be a little smarter in getting closer to my subject.

CONS:
No zebras is probably the big thing plus archiving your footage. I know that everyone has their own way of doing it, but I use Blu-ray media to archive my footage. I'm sure if you monitor the GH3 forums, there will be more cons, but nothing that are show stoppers.

I last used my XL H1 in May 2013 for some talking heads work, and I sold it in January 2014 and never looked back.

The GH4 has been announced and will be available around May 2014, so it's going to cost a little more, but supposedly Panasonic has made some significant improvements to it besides being able to shoot 4K video. I hope this helps.
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Last edited by Don DesJardin; April 1st, 2014 at 04:46 PM.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 12:08 PM   #15
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Re: Wild Birds with the Panasonic GH3

Thanks Don.

I actually have the GH2 and GH3, and in my search for better reach, I've been looking into the XL series but this is good info. I know now where to better focus my efforts.
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