GH1 owners opinion request

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by CalBoy87, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. CalBoy87

    CalBoy87 New to Mu-43

    9
    Jan 9, 2010
    Hi. I am on fence now and would like to hear your opinion. First, as I live in Korea, I have no access to GH1 (for some strange reason they import G1 and GF1 but skip GH1). I had Canon 40D, 5D, shooting mostly daylight landscapes, portraits, using tripod, MLU, occasional some indoor event pictures. As I got fed up with carrying all these gear I sold all of it and now I am in virgin stage, can go either way. I narrow my choices to either Canon 550D or GH1. Both are size and price similar and acceptable by me. My only concern is about IQ coming from them. I know what to expect from 550D, I assume it will be very similar to 7D, a bit better from 500D (which I saw and took few shots I liked). I never had a chance to handle GH1, Samsung NX is too small for me (doesn't have any grip) and I think GH1 would be a bit but better to hold. I like smaller DOF in APS-C sensor, like bright screen and bigger sensor of 550D. I like swiveling, 100% view LCD, aperture and shutter preview, AF during video, no need for MLU, lens adjustment and so on. On features GH1 is better to me, but how about IQ? My main concern is:

    1) can I get similar shallow DOF? I will be using Olympus 50/1.4, 35/2.0 and Canon 28,35/2.8 and 35/2.0.

    2) sharpness and color, can I get similar colors from GH1 as warm tones of Canon? I am shooting RAW only, using C1 for PP

    3) how about DR and noise, comparing to APS-C sensor? I rarely shoot over 800 ISO, but would like to have this option if needed, I am not expecting to be even close to 5D, but 40D level would be good enough for me.

    So, to all of you who were using APS-C or FF before - how do you compare them to your GH1. Sorry for so many questions but as I said, I have no chance to get my hands on any GH1 and you are my only (very appreciated source of information - web reviewsl are very inconsistent). Thank you for valuable advice.

    P.S. I KNOW there won't be GH2 until late this summer so waiting is not an option
     
  2. slau

    slau Mu-43 Regular

    79
    Jan 26, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I have bought into G1 & GH1 myself, beside still holding on all my other photographic gears, including my favorite Canon 1DMk3 and Canon lenses. I have been on a few photographic trips with my Canon and Panasonic gears, almost shooting side-by-side (not in purpose though) and have made some 13X19 prints from the G1/GH1. I believe that I may be able to help answering your questions.

    (1) I feel that I usually get more DOF with my G1/GH1. But you can still get very shallow DOP with the M43.

    (2) With my current Canon gears, I usually get better sharpness, contrast and tone. But, the M43 is not that far behind especially with a bit post processing. I shoot only raw myself and process everything through LR2.

    (3) DR & Noise are the areas that my Canon gears have noticeably advantage. I routinely shoot around ISO 2000 with my Canon but have been very hesitant to shoot beyond ISO 400 with my M43. With proper exposure and subject, an ISO800 image can print very well from M43 gears.

    With all I know about the M43 today, I will not hesitate to recommend the GH1 to anyone, as long as you are not planning to use the camera for fast moving subject or very wet environment. No, the GH1 is not equal to my Canon gears, but its images are quite respectful and I have prints to prove that. Good luck.

    If you like, you can take a look the images from my recent trip that I shot with both camera systems:
    http://www.pbase.com/stephenl/vancouver_island_2009

    Btw, I just came back from a trip with my G1/GH1 ONLY!!! I have no regret about my decision from looking at the images.
    http://www.pbase.com/stephenl/cuba_2009
     
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I have a lot of experience with Canon and Nikon DSLRs, especially Canon, prior to coming to MFT. My path was Canon 300D-10D/350D-30D-5D -> Nikon D700/D5000 combo, and now GH1/G1. Unlike Stephen, I sold all my DSLR stuff after buying into MFT.

    I agree with Stephen that, in terms of sensor image quality, the APS-C cameras have the edge. I wouldn't claim that my GH1 can match my brother's 40D in terms of sensor image quality (and I'd rate his 40D sensor image quality a notch below my D5000), but it's close enough for me.

    I feel that ISO 800 is very usable, and overall I am very satisfied with the sensor image quality of MFT. I am even more satisfied with the lens image quality of MFT. More importantly though, as Kevin said in this thread, "The quality of the image is much more important than image quality". I feel that the GH1 is more than up to the task when I'm up to the task.
     
  4. CalBoy87

    CalBoy87 New to Mu-43

    9
    Jan 9, 2010
    Thank you for your advise. I believe you confirm that I was expecting, that in similar setup APS-C will still have visible advantage in DR, ISO areas. Canon 550D with some primes (I am not getting any lens heavier than 450g) will offer some advantage of the shallower DOF and easier to PP. Since I am not looking for baby Micro 4/3 like GF1 or EP-2, Canon will probably be a better choice at this time, especially considering premium prices on the best M4/3 lenses like 7-14 ( compared to 10-22) and 45 Macro (compared to EF-S 60). As I am almost sure I will move to 4/3 eventually I might keep 550D over the summer and consider next Panasonic when GH2 will show up. Since you are both familiar with DSLR cameras, couple more questions:
    1) how do you compare EVF vs OVF? I am concern about shooting in darkness
    2) how difficult is MF on GH1? I could be using 4-5 Olympus OM and Canon FD lenses on it and was wondering how do you compare that to MF on Canon EOS
    Stephen: Great gallery, very nice colors, also shows limitation of GH1 in low light and moving objects, unavoidable even with very fast lens
    Thanks again for your valuable advice.
     
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thank you for your advise. I believe you confirm that I was expecting, that in similar setup APS-C will still have visible advantage in DR, ISO areas. Canon 550D with some primes (I am not getting any lens heavier than 450g) will offer some advantage of the shallower DOF and easier to PP. Since I am not looking for baby Micro 4/3 like GF1 or EP-2, Canon will probably be a better choice at this time, especially considering premium prices on the best M4/3 lenses like 7-14 ( compared to 10-22) and 45 Macro (compared to EF-S 60).

    Sounds reasonable.


    1) how do you compare EVF vs OVF? I am concern about shooting in darkness

    In darkness, both are poor, but I would give the advantage to OVF if there is any action involved since EVF lag becomes more of an issue in the dark. However, the G1/GH1 OVF is larger than that of the Canon 550D and has several other advantages, including the ability to preview exactly what you'll be capturing, magnify the view for manual focus, etc.


    2) how difficult is MF on GH1? I could be using 4-5 Olympus OM and Canon FD lenses on it and was wondering how do you compare that to MF on Canon EOS

    I find it easier to MF on GH1 than on my Canon 5D (even with Ee-S screen) and way easier than with any APS-C Canon I have used. This is especially the case with static subjects, in which case the magnified view makes precise MF a breeze.

    If you have access to a G1 where you are in Korea, give it a try. Compared with the GH1, the G1 EVF is identical, and so is the MF experience.
     
  6. slau

    slau Mu-43 Regular

    79
    Jan 26, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    1) how do you compare EVF vs OVF? I am concern about shooting in darkness

    Since I have been using the 1DMk3 and other pro bodies for years, I am a lot more comfortable with the OVF of the 1DMK3 which has also pretty bright VF and provides very decent coverage. The 'streaking' or 'ghosting' of the EVF under poor lighting still drives me nuts, even I have used one camera like that before years ago (Minolta Dimage 7). The auto focusing becomes more an issue for M43 under poor lighting and I tended to switch to MF to avoid frustration. The available of histogram before pressing the shutter helps a lot to get proper exposure. I love that feature on M43 or my old Minolta Dimage 7, and it is one of the main reasons why I bought into M43 system.

    2) how difficult is MF on GH1? I could be using 4-5 Olympus OM and Canon FD lenses on it and was wondering how do you compare that to MF on Canon EOS

    With stationary subjects, MF is nice on GH1. I love the MF assistance or magnifying feature to help critical focusing, as with the Live View on my 1DMk3. There is not much difference in MF with landscape type of shots with either system. But if you DSLR does not have the Live View feature, you probably would prefer the M43 for critical focusing for stationary subjects. I have't done much and still not intended to try MF on fast moving subjects, and I cannot comment on this.
     
  7. CalBoy87

    CalBoy87 New to Mu-43

    9
    Jan 9, 2010
    Thanks again, you are both the well of knowledge. I am really pulled by the new features of the micro 4/3 on one hand and good all Canon experience on the other. One last question for you guys: apart from size (is obvious) what are two features you enjoy most on GH1 as oppose to DSLR camera? thank you, promise won't bother you with more (for now :))
     
  8. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Part of what I'm enjoying most is the lens selection. I do prefer the Lumix 20 to any Canon 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, or the Sigma 30. It's partly a size/weight thing and partly an image rendering thing. But, you asked about GH1 features, so I'll pick a couple things related to that. First, I like the fact that it has very fast contrast detection AF. This means that I can switch from EVF to articulated LCD knowing that there won't be an AF speed penalty. Trying to AF using a Canon DSLR LCD isn't in the same category. Second, I like the way the AF zones cover basically the entire frame, and the metering can be done based on detected faces. This means that if I am at an event, whether using a zoom plus external flash or natural light, the camera will pick up faces anywhere in the frame and attempt to meter based on them. The result, for certain situations, is a level of consistency and ease which I didn't have with any DSLR.
     
  9. slau

    slau Mu-43 Regular

    79
    Jan 26, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Size/weight and video are the main reasons why I started another system. I am betting that the ISO & AF performance of the M43 will only get better over time and generations.
     
  10. CalBoy87

    CalBoy87 New to Mu-43

    9
    Jan 9, 2010
    Thank you

    Thank you both for extensive help. I can see that you truly enjoy the GH1. Being in Korea, I have no way of checking it out, there is no support for it either. Because of that, I will stick with Canon for the time being. That said, if GH2 (I was told by Panasonic here they will have it by the end of summer) will be as good or better, I am sure I will get it.Thanks again, if there is anything you want to share with me, go right ahead.
     
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Best wishes CalBoy. Hope to see you back at mu-43 some time :smile:.
     
  12. dcisive

    dcisive Mu-43 Veteran

    460
    Feb 19, 2010
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Lee
    I started with digital when it all pretty much began back in the mid 90's. I've had 5 Canon semi and pro bodies, several Nikon's and even a Olympue E-510 along the way. I currently have a D700 full frame DSLR with several fine lenses. I've pondered over the mFT format a lot and my conclusion is the following.

    If one is not going to be printing much above 13x19 it is doubtful, with proper technique and post processing you will ever have to feel as if you are missing something. The key is knowing the equipment and knowing the subject and scene and how to adjust for the dynamics of the light in the scene. Most definitely it is possible to blow out highlights easier on a 4/3rd system as opposed to a much larger sensor based camera. BUT if you know what you're doing, adjusting the exposure levels, using a GND filter and being patient to wait for the proper balance of light in the scene, you can easily capture just as compelling an image as a much larger format. The real thing I'm saying here is that most people do NOT print that large. In fact so called industry statistics state that on average we print the largest number of prints in under 8x10's. 13x19 is reasonably rare, and larger than that is infinitesimally small in the statistics of worldwide printing for the consumer.

    With that in mind you have little to be concerned about regarding the GH-1 providing stunningly accurate and color rich images suitable for larger home prints anytime. The dynamic range and low light sensitivity of the GH-1 is fairly superior to the other 4/3rd offerings to date, so I say jump right in. I'm pretty sure you'll love it. The movie capability is a bonus, but the single images it produces CAN be superb. It has a LOT more to do with the person behind the camera as THAT will likely be the limiting factor here honestly :tongue: