Panasonic GH2 test shoot

I was one of the lucky enough to grab one of the very few GH2’s on Amazon a few days ago. They sold out in a matter of minutes!
I took it out yesterday, shooting some regular family stuff, since I was too sick to go skydiving. I tried to get a wide variety of colors and dynamic range, just to see its capability. The little camera did not disappoint! Wow.. Looks like I will be mounting it on my helmet next week.

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8 comments on “Panasonic GH2 test shoot

  1. Bill,

    just found your site. Thanks so much for sharing. How are you liking the GH2 overall? Any things that concern you?

    I’m struggling between choosing the Canon 60D and Panasonic GH2. It would become my one good camera (i have GoPro HD, iPhone 4, and a few month old Casio FH20–superzoom, does slow mo, continuous AF, ~$450). I want good video but i’d also want a really nice still camera.

    I am strictly amateur videographer shooting home movies and lots of road races (5K, 10K, half marathon, etc). I like the quick and continuous AF of the Panasonic (14-140mm kit lens), as i think that will help me in shooting video of the road races (help me do tracking shots of runners coming towards me then passing me while keeping them in focus). But everywhere i look i see comments that Panasonic’s color is uninspiring and dull and still and requires post-processing to be pleasing. Even the site that says they love it says they wish it output colors like Canon’s.

    On the Canon side i love the easier to get shallow DOF (due to larger sensor) and overall pleasing in-camera produced images (better default sharpness and color). OTOH, on the Canon side i’m worried about the lack of continuous focus for video (which i’m thinking might bite me in shooting runners). Not sure if i need to worry about moire, aliasing, and jello, though they are always written about for Canon (GH2 supposed to be better). If you have any insight/opinions here, would be much appreciated. I think overall the Canon will produce better images and video but be harder to use for sports and more spontaneous shooting (because of focus).

    oh, and how are you coping with un-powered zoom? or does that not impact the kind of shooting you do?

    oh, I’m on vimeo too. My home videos aren’t public but running videos are all here:

    http://vimeo.com/benjaminko/videos

    This video

    starting at 1:29 is a good example of a typical shot where i pan to follow a fast moving runner from a distance to passing me to going into distance again (shot on iphone, stills in the vid are from friend’s nikon and canon)

    The clip at 1:36

    forward is also good example of typical shots i would take.

    and here is my first attempt at twixtor (trial version, haven’t bought it yet).

    Thanks again for sharing your work and enjoy your new purchase!

    Ben

    • Hi Ben,
      The only reason I ‘upgraded’ to GH2 is because it has better resolution than my t2i. As you can see on my blog, GH2 does not look rich like Canon. I am, however, going to continue experimenting to see if I can achieve that holy grail film look.
      I spend a lot of time color grading, which is not for everybody.
      I guess it all depends on how important ‘the look’ is to you. I am sure you have seen enough footage from both cameras on Vimeo. Try to narrow the viewing down to the lens you are going to use. If you are satisfied with what you see for GH2 with 14-140mm, I would get that. If you can not live with the “Panasonic” look vs. “Canon”, then 60D.
      Focusing on the move manually with Canon sucks. It’s almost impossible. GH’2 auto focusing in video mode isn’t perfect either. It hunts a lot. Take a look at my California Yo-Yo contest video. I used auto focus for first couple of minutes, but turned it off because it kept hunting.
      I will continue posting GH2 footage to see if I can emulate the Canon look.
      Good luck.

  2. interesting. if panasonic’s autofocus is not that great, and you like canon 60D’s color better, why get the panny? or is GH2’s autofocus not that great but still enough better than 60D’s to sway the choice. or was it other 60D issues (moire, aliasing, mono sound, etc) that pushed you to the GH2? or oher GH2 benefits? thanks for the good luck wishes! I’ll need it. and thanks for your advice.

    • Autofocus was not a factor for me because I use manual focus for all my footage.
      I only used the feature once for that yo-yo footage and was not impressed, but you might want to do your own research and see what others say. I have a feeling that my setting was off and it can do much better job in proper setting. Just a few minutes of search on Youtube and Vimeo will probably reveal its true potential.
      My purchasing decision of GH2 is purely based on its higher resolution than Canon, especially since I zoom in during post to utilize the digital smooothing feature. My T2i just didn’t have enough resolution for me to work with. Just check out my mini movies. T2i looks mushy compared to GH2’s.
      Most viewers, however, don’t care about higher resolution.
      Color and dynamic range plays bigger part than resolution when it comes to pleasing the eyes that are used to seeing movies in theatres.
      If I had to do it all over again, I would get Canon 5D Mark II, purely from the ‘looks’ department, but that’s just me.
      I think I will get the color stuff licked on GH2 soon. THEN it will almost be a perfect camera.
      For your purpose, however, I think GH2 suits you better. You just have to decide if you are willing to accept the Panasonic look vs. Canon. I have seen a lot of GH2’s 24p cinema clips that look really good on Youtube and Vimeo. Make sure they are using the lens you are going to use for fair comparison though.

  3. Thanks for the reassurance. Interesting comment re:GH2’s 24p cinema clips because i planned to shoot the road races at 720p60 so i have flexibility of retiming the video to slomo via Twixtor…

    • GH2’s 24p would NOT be good for Twixtor. Both cameras can shoot 720p 60fps. GH2’s 720p is much sharper than T2’s, but not as ‘rich’ as Canon’s. I wish I can get both in one camera. 😦

  4. Interesting comments on here. I understand that the Panasonic cameras dont have the “Canon” look, but it seems like Canon really only has slightly higher default saturation. I’ve seen some footage on the net of the Panasonic and while you might have to color correct a bit, the footage is cleaner, the movement has less jello and moire is cut in half in comparison to the 7D. I’ve also seen some great autofocus videos with the GH2, it’s pretty impressive. Too me, the GH2 has more realistic tones and colours, the Canon just defaults to higher saturation. Thoughts?

    Oh, here’s a really nice video of the GH2 footage thats been CCed. This camera is definitely worth the price.

    • Matthew, I have gotten better with GH2 since this particular test shoot. GH2, however, does take more grading work with make it look warm, for indoors. I was pretty pleased with “Herb, the Pin Striping Master” I shot in April. http://wp.me/p1gR39-5b
      It took a lot of work during post though, experimenting with many different settings of Magic Bullet Looks and Colorista II.
      I then shot this, http://wp.me/p1gR39-5y , a couple of weeks ago, and found Canon did a much better job for relatively low light indoor shoot. I only CC’ed slightly. GH2 used for the interview part, and I had to do some heavy duty CC to match the Canon’s.
      So.. for now, my conclusion is; Canon is better out of the box and it’s much easier to color grade. GH2 footage look sharp and decent, but takes good knowledge of color grading to take to the next level. Ultimately, if I could choose just one camera, I would choose Canon 5D Mark II (Mark III when it comes out), but it’s just too expensive. I happen to have both GH2 and T2i. I will continue experimenting with GH2, but I get better indoor results with Canon, for now.

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