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GH2 P Mode Weirdness

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by SloppyJoe, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. SloppyJoe

    SloppyJoe New to Mu-43

    Aug 15, 2011
    Greetings all.

    I am enjoying my GH2 very much, however I have recently noticed something strange while shooting with my newly acquired Panasonic f2.5 14mm.

    When I am in P mode, the camera does not automatically select an appropriate f-stop. It almost entirely concentrates on shutter speed, and ISO speed if I have that set on auto. It will close the aperture up only when it becomes ridiculously bright. For example, the camera will sooner pick a shutter speed of 1/1000 then tighten up the aperture. After that point, it will go up to f2.8, f3.2, etc.

    I assume that from an automatic point of view, it would be better to start closing up the aperture at slower shutter speeds, because 1/1000 isn't all that necessary for most shooting. Wouldn't most people would prefer having a sharper overall image from a middle aperture rather than wide open?

    I know I can shift the aperture easily while in P mode to whatever I want it to be, and then have the camera select shutter speed and possibly ISO based on that, so this isn't really a big issue. It's more just a question of why did the camera designers do that, did they mean to do that, and what does everyone else think?
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I don't know why, but they all seem to do this. Fortunately, I like shooting wide open.

    As you point out, this is exactly what program shift is for.
  3. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran


    If you are a serious photographer as opposed to a snapshot photographer, why not shoot in A rather than in P. I truly think the key to using your gear to its best advantage is for you to control the gear as opposed to the gear controlling itself. I am a believer in modes M, A and S and the rest tend to be more problems than these are sollutions.

    Best regards,
  4. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    You know, I haven't used P mode in ages, once I switched to A mode I never looked back. However, when recently showing a recent G2 purchaser how to use their camera I found myself wondering how the camera picked in P mode. I guess this answers it..

    I find it easier to use A mode then always checking what the camera has selected for me. I generally leave it on a sharp aperture for the lens, and then adjust up and down if conditions warrant. I find that most shooting seems to be best done around a stop or two below max aperture, because that's usually enough for most scenes. Most typical photos don't have a big DoF anyways, and if they do, I adjust accordingly.
  5. SloppyJoe

    SloppyJoe New to Mu-43

    Aug 15, 2011
    Hi Tom,

    I am 100% snapshot photographer, and proud. I do not want to be a serious photographer, ever. That said, I'm perfectly comfortable using all manual modes of the camera, depending on what I'm trying to do, and I completely agree with you, that it's best to learn how to control the gear for yourself.

    I was merely pointing out a discrepancy I found compared to what I've experienced on other SLRs and their respective P Modes. It's not a big deal at all, however it does have applications when a sudden image presents itself and I go to take that snapshot, and I'm getting really high shutter speeds, and a short depth of field, instead of moderate shutter speeds and a longer depth of field.

    I was curious if this was a common thing, or perhaps isolated in the GH2, or maybe even just my setup. Thanks for the clarification though ~tc~. And of course, I'm always interested in what other people think, and do. So thanks for the replies.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    There's probably (haven't looked) something buried in the menus that allows to to change the cameras approach to P mode.

    So, you can have it set to DoF - where it will use the smallest aperture possible, or motion - where it will have the fastest shutter possible, or probably a mid-point, where everything is balanced.
  7. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    No, there's not a way to bias it that I'm aware of, however, my GF1 does seem to apply the program shift to subsequent shots so long as you don't change the mode or turn it off.

    Personally, if I'm grabbing the camera for a quick shot, I would probably rather have it defaulting to a faster shutter speed.

    @Tom Swaman - IMHO, the "m mode is for real photographers" come from either people who don't understand how the equipment works, or snobs who think they're better than everyone. Which are you? :) 

    iA and P modes have their places just as much as A, S, and M.
  8. SloppyJoe

    SloppyJoe New to Mu-43

    Aug 15, 2011
    It's probable that the Panasonic engineers did their homework and found that the majority of people agree with you ~tc~, hence it's the way it is.

    I had only noticed this quirk recently because I just got the 14mm, and before when I was using the 14-140mm, it wasn't fast enough to really notice it.
  9. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran


    You are correct. I thik what you wrote is what I said. I agree that iA and P are great for snapshots. By the same token, if you need or want to bias your shutter speed, there is not much wrong and a whole lot right about shooting in S mode. Of course, this is my opinion and need not be that of anyone else.

    TC, I am a strictly serious, still picture photographer.

    Best regards,
  10. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I really like the way Bryan Petersen explains it in "Understanding Exposure", although it is a bit dated IMHO.

    Want to control DOF? A mode

    Want to control motion blur? S mode

    Many times there are "who cares" (his words) exposures where it's not about DOF or motion blur, and P mode (or iA mode) is good for those.
  11. britco

    britco New to Mu-43

    Jun 11, 2011
    The GH2 is too good a camera to use in "p" mode...put it in aperture priority mode & pop some manual lenses on ...i use FD lenses via an adapter on my Vitaly hacked GH2 & it's superb
  12. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 23, 2011
    The P mode is fully explained in the manual, there will be a graph associated with the explanation, showing aperture against shutter speed.
    P mode by default uses the fastest (largest) aperture.
    You use program shift to alter the aperture.
    Personally I have never seen the reason behind P mode, either set it to full auto or use A or S mode as the need arises. For me A mode 90% of the time, I've never seen the need for M mode either, as I use exposure compensation in conjunction with the histogram and whatever mode (A or S) I am in.
    With a relatively slow lens (F3.5) P mode MAY have it's uses for some, but at F1.7 on the 20mm, would you really want to be shooting everything at that aperture???
    In really bright sunshine @ F1.7 you would be struggling at 1/4000 sec shutter speed anyway.
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