GH2 for amateur (hobbyist) wildlife?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by Bluefrog, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. Bluefrog

    Bluefrog Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 28, 2012

    I'm hoping to garner some opinions before making a leap.....

    Bit of background: I've been a keen amateur photographer for about 18 years now and got my first DLSR in 2005 (K-M 7D). Currently I have a Canon 7D, 50D and a range of lenses, mainly using a 400mm f5.6 L for wildlife. I also recently discovered that my phone (Sony Xperia S) can produce excellent close-ups and am really enjoying the process - far more than faffing about with the SLR!

    Now, whilst the 7D and 400 5.6 are an excellent combination, it's also a bit of a pain to carry around, needing a tripod and high ISO (1600+) for a lot of the stuff I do in the UK (Derbyshire is NOT known for sunshine! :) ). I get quite a lot of shots I'm happy with but also miss out on a lot of stuff due to lack of mobility with this setup and the inability to change framing, plus a 3.5m minimum focus....

    I've got a taste for video too after trying the 7D's out, but that can be a bit tricky with the 400 as well!

    I've been considering downsizing for versatility and initially looked at a Fuji X-S1, but then stumbled across some good deals on the GH2. Certainly the handling and controls look very promising, possibly better than the 7D, even!

    My current "reach" is effectively 640mm and the 100-300 would of course get me to 600mm WITH stabilisation. I have a pretty steady hand anyway and of course DO realise that shutter speed is still critical for wildlife, although I used to get away with much lower speeds with a 300 f/4 IS I used to own.

    I'm not a hide/blind (depending where you're from!) photographer, preferring to walk around and use natural cover where possible. I can't help thinking a change to GH2 + 100-300 would let me get closer to things due to it not getting in the way so much? Birds in flight aren't something I really do as a rule and I don't have all that many pics of things in motion - i guess that's where the AF might struggle by comparison, but believe me the 7D is no paragon where it comes to tracking!

    Now, this would also need to be self-funding and I can generate enough for a GH2 + 14-140 + 100-300 + spare battery by selling some of my canon gear, keeping the 7D and some other kit for wedding and interior work. This is mainly about portability, capability and maybe some video for wildlife. A slight drop in image quality wouldn't be too much of an issue - i'm not printing or selling my pics (so far!)

    So, before I fill a page with my thoughts :) , is it a move worth making do you think?

    If it helps give an idea of my usual subjects, my typical pics are here: Wildlife Photos - a set on Flickr

    Any input would be a big help right now - I've taken the pics of my stuff for ebay but am unsure as to whether I go for it!

    best regards

  2. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Real Name:
    Dave, you are a perfect candidate for a GH2. You will really appreciate how much lighter your kit is when out in the field and I'm sure you've seen the photos that people get. The drop in IQ is (I think ) negligible compared to the difference in size and weight.
  3. dagaleaa

    dagaleaa Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 4, 2011
    Naples, Fl
    Real Name:
    A taste for video might just turn into a passion, and the GH2 lets you totally experience it! The small size is wonderful....I shoot in raw, and have never had a problem. Let us know what you decide, and share some photos and footage!
  4. elle s'ennuie

    elle s'ennuie Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2012
    Your wildlife photos are stunning! I really enjoyed looking through them, thank you for linking! :smile:
  5. daimos

    daimos Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 23, 2010
    Real Name:
    in video, the GH2 has an extra-tele conversion(ETC) that can magnify 2.4x, 3.6x or 4.8x without loss of resolution.
    so the panasonic 20mm lens can be 96mm (192mm equivalent).
    somebody correct me if i`m wrong.

    in photos, there is a loss of resolution (a crop). but it will meter based on the crop.
    this is the 45mm pana-leica in ETC.
    P1040200 by daimosz, on Flickr
  6. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    The 100-300 is nowhere near the same league as the Canon L (the 100-400 zoom is better than the 100-300 as well, for that matter), and the 7D is slightly better in high ISO than the GH2. Two things to consider.
  7. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Real Name:

    please look at this post

    This pictures where taken with the G5 which have a slightly modified sensor of the GH2.
    I think you will be happy with the GH2 and the 100-300.

    For walk around I suggest that you get a smaller zoom then the P14-140, a P14-45 or P12-35 if you have the funds.
    Both lens are lighter and sharper then the 14-140 and the long telephoto is already covered by the 100-300.

    Last note I have looked at your gallery and you got amazing shots. One small thing distracted me, instead of the subject, my eyes were dragged to the water mark in the middle. I suggest that you will omit it and put a smaller water mark at one of the corners.

    Best Regards and keep on posting pictures.
  8. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    I have the 7D, EF 400/5.6, 300/4IS, GH2, 100-300 and my main focus is wildlife as well. It's hard to replace a 7D with the GH2, the buffer is way bigger, shooting RAW on the GH2 for wildlife is just way too slow. Fast scene changes from light to dark or vice-versa doesn't work well when tracking with the EVF.

    With all that, do I still use my GH2 + 100-300 for birds and wildlife? Yes. I only shoot in jpeg, and when weight and size are an issue.

    As for video, you'll need a tripod more than ever, and a good solid one at that. Video requires smooth motion, and no amount of steady hand holding will do. About the only time I hand hold video, is when the subject is in constant motion.
  9. Bluefrog

    Bluefrog Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 28, 2012
    Thanks for all the input everybody! (and for the feedback on my pics - wasn't expecting that! I'll look at the watermarking suggestion too - I was just trying to stop them being used elsewhere really...).

    The shots from the G5 look fantastic. If I get anywhere close to that quality (and I know it's not just the camera :D ) I'll be perfectly happy.

    I'll be keeping the 7D for other things of course, and still have a Tamron 70-300VC I can mount on it when necessary (if my son isn't hogging it - it's a great lens for the money)

    Image quality and performance I can afford to take a drop in tbh. I'm not the next Andy Rouse / Franz Lanting and just want to enjoy myself. I don't shoot in burst either - it's usually one shot at a time with VERY occasional burst shooting (I've a shot of a Swift leaving the eaves of a house - that was in burst mode). I think the kit I've been using has been perhaps a bit too "serious" for my needs. We'll see!

    I think I'm "decision made". Stuff has gone on ebay tonight (including the 400mm) and I'm aiming to have a GH2, 14-42 and 100-300 on order pretty soon. Possibly an Oly 45mm as well if funds permit, for occasional grabs when I'm doing weddings (which the 7D will remain the "workhorse" for). Tripod I've got covered if I need it - you need a mega steady one for the 400 L, especially when the converter's on it! :) Not bothered about the lack of reach vs 400 + 1.4x btw - I don't use the combo much now.

    If it all comes to pass I'll certainly come back and join in. The input from you guys has been much appreciated at this end, thank you all!

  10. Bluefrog

    Bluefrog Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 28, 2012
    Just following up to say the credit card got quite a bashing today!

    GH2 + 14-140, 100-300, 2 x Sandisk 30mb/s SD cards, a spare genuine battery and a Manfrotto 234 tilting head for my monopod.

    Once I've got my head around using it I'll report back on whether I think it was the right move for me! With pics of course :-D

    Thanks again to all who put their views forward, it was a big help.