GH3 for video, what gear and lenses?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by thercman, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. thercman

    thercman Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2013
    So I have decided to order a GH3 and need lenses and some support gear.

    First its main uses:
    1. documentary work (images, and video of subject matter)
    2. on location interviews

    So my budget is pretty small (relatively speaking) somewhere in the neighborhood of $1300-$1400 after the body.

    Trying to find a lens/lenses to start with is the most problematic for me. I was looking at the Panasonic 18-35 f2.8. All the videos shot with this look great but seem to be a little on the dark side. I have also looked into cine lenses which don't seem to be any better than say the Oly primes which I am seriously considering at this point. I have been considering the Pany 20mm 1.7 but many have been saying they are slow to focus and noisy. So back to Oly 17mm 1.8.

    When off tripod using un-stabilized lenses means I need a glidecam.

    Audio. I already have a Tascam DR100mkii to record on so I am planning on a shotgun mic and wind jammer.

    Here is my purchase list so far:
    Oly 17mm
    Oly 45mm
    Glidecam XR1000
    Audio-Technica AT875r Short shotgun mic

    Total $2400

    On my future purchase list:
    Fhugen cage
    LED lighting
  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    unless you are going for shallow depth of field, then worry less about fast lenses and more about stabilisation.... budget for a tripod and a good fluid head.

  3. thercman

    thercman Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2013
    Kevin are you recommending the 12-35 f2.8 and not to worry about the Glidecam?
  4. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Unless you are going to be moving while shooting then lock it on a tripod. You list your genre as documentary and interviews so you shouldn't be holding the camera. Stedycams are great for action shooting but are hard to use and get tiring fairly quickly. If you do want to hold the camera{or can't use a tripod for some reason} then get an ENG style rig - something like the one below{note I simply used the first good picture I found and I am not suggesting a certain brand}.


    I have that same audio recorder and love it except for the file naming system. Do make sure that you set it to record at 48khz{sample rate} so it syncs to your video easily. I forgot the first time I used mine for video and it like to drove me nuts until I figured it out.

    I think a zoom lens would fit your needs better than a prime. You can easily and quickly adjust the focal length and for your style of work that would be important. Pros who shoot with primes either know they only want certain focal lengths OR they have{rent} a full set of them, from wide to tele.

    Be sure to shoot in manual focus because photography camera AF does not work as well as camcorder AF does for video. Even then nothing will ruin a shot faster then having the AF shift when it decides to. I have seen $10K camcorders have AF hunting issues at times!
  5. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Hold off on the Glidecam for now and get a good video tripod. I've heard good things about this one:

    Fluid pan head of course, but video tripods also have the head mounted in a "bowl" so that you can easily level your shots.

    I have the Panny 12-35 F2.8 with my GH2 and it's a great interview setup. I actually turn face detect AF on and the camera does a decent job of tracking a subject if they lean forward or back.

    I'm trying to shoot two cameras now so that I have a safety/B-roll.

    As I said in the other thread, it's hard to conduct a good interview AND operate a camera AND monitor audio AND pull focus AND so on.
  6. thercman

    thercman Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2013
    John, I am also looking at the Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod & 502HD Flat Base Head Kit from B&H So what is your thought on the 12-35mm f2.8? Most of the videos I see filmed with this lens seem a bit under exposed especially in low light. For the same price I can pick up almost three Oly prime lenses. Of course I loose the IS but gain a full stop. I appreciated the help this is a learning curve for me and I really want to invest right the first time. Thanks!
  7. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    I'd highly recommend a video tripod with a leveling bowl. Without it, you struggle to get a level shot by adjusting one leg after another by 2mm. With a bowl, you loosen, level, and tighten. Much easier and faster, critical for single shooters.

    The one you asked about has a video head but it doesn't have a bowl.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. thercman

    thercman Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2013
  9. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would agree with John here - a bowl making things easier and quicker. The Manfrotto 500 series heads are very good however. Manfrotto sells several tripods with bowls and there is an adapter for heads that don't have them built in.

    I have the setup I just linked and it easily supports a Panasonic AF100 with the 100-300mm lens attached.
  10. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    I'm very happy with the 12-35 F2.8. I actually try to avoid shooting wide open so that my DoF is not too thin. Make sure that you have an LED of CF light as part of your kit.
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