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Greetings from a GH1 user

Discussion in 'Welcomes and introductions' started by ajm80031, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. ajm80031

    ajm80031 Mu-43 Regular

    Greetings and salutations. I just discovered this forum due to an entry on http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/ by Ctein. I've owned a Panasonic Lumix GH-1 for about two months now, and have been looking for a good place to discuss this camera and compatible lenses. Hopefully this is the place.

    In the past, when on trips, I've lugged around both a stills camera and a good video camera. The weight of a DSLR + lenses + camcorder + wide angle camcorder lens is getting less appealing as I get older. The GH-1 was purchased in a bid to combine the stills and video tasks into a single camera.

    I just returned from a trip to the UK (made longer than intended by the British Airways cabin crew strike) where the GH-1 got its first major workout. I'm still working my way through the stills, and have only taken a passing glance at some of the video, but I'm reasonably pleased with the results. What I've learned so far is that:

    - Stills taken in bright light easily meet my requirements.
    - Stills taken in dim light leave a bit to be desired. Part of the problem is that, at the moment, I only have the 14-140 zoom. That lens can only open up to f4, and that only on the wide end. Even so, my impression is that the GH-1's u4/3 sensor is not a standout when it comes to low-light operation.
    - AVCHD video is a pain in the kiester to deal with. I use Final Cut Pro as a video editor, and the need to maintain the original AVCHD directory structure and file names when archiving the video makes it difficult to store the clips in a logical hierarchy with meaningful names. Once transcoded to a different codec the clips are too darned big to keep around on a long-term basis. I'm missing HDV already.
    - This camera just can't maintain a data rate high enough to use 1080i if there's significant movement in the frame. I think I'll be sticking with 720p.
    - Underexposing video slightly to saturate colors seems to work very well with this camera.
    - Some pretty heavy neutral-density filters are necessary if I want to shoot video in bright light at 1/60th of a second (to maintain some motion blur) without having to stop the camera all the way down to f20 or so. This is something that camcorders have built-in that I hadn't really thought through before buying the GH-1.

    Once I sell my old DSLR gear I'm definitely going to need to buy some faster lenses for this thing. Back when I was shooting film a 50mm f1.8 and 28mm f2.8 were my most commonly used lenses. What lenses would people suggest that are reasonable equivalents to these in the u4/3 world without breaking the bank? I know that lenses from various other systems can be used with adapters, but at this time I want to stick with lenses that work with the camera's autofocus.

    Thanks in advance for any tips or suggestions.
  2. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Welcome ajm80031, glad to have you aboard here!

    I hope some members will chime in with their opinions, but you may find more helpful suggestions regarding the lens question if you repost parts of your inquiry in a new thread in the Panasonic Cameras forum - unless you're sure you want to go with a native lens...then you could post in the Native Lens forum. Just a thought, in case you don't get enough relevant replies here.

    Looking forward to your involvement in the discussions.:smile:
  3. Rich M

    Rich M Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2010
    Welcome aboard.....no strikes on the horizon....should be a good trip.

  4. Vic B

    Vic B Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 1, 2010
    St. Paul, Minnesota
  5. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Welcome ! Just take a seat !
  6. slau

    slau Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jan 26, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I have been using the GH1 with the kit lens and other lenses for a few months now. Your experience regarding the low light and video match mine very well.

    I also tend to shoot only 720P to make my life easier. I do carry a ND and a polarizer with me so that I can have a total of 4 stops reduction when I want 1/60 sec shutter speed for my video. One thing I noticed that the GH1 demands a good tripod support to get very nice video. The difference is huge. Probably because of the GH1 is too light to shoot handheld (for me).

    With a bit more post processing work and careful exposure, I can use ISO1600 still shots from my GH1. With EXTRA work (i.e. multiple shots processed with PhotoAcute, Lightroom 3 Beta + Neat Image) and careful exposure, I can use ISO3200 from my GH1 for subjects without too much details. The following is the high ISO3200 example from my GH1:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    For a full size image:

    I have been shooting my GH1 side-by-side with my Canon 1 bodies with satisfactory results.

    Regarding 'alternative' lenses, I have had very good experience with the Contax Planar 50f1.4, Contax G 45f2.0 & Minolta Rokkor 40f2.8 for both stills and video. I have tried my Contax Distagon 28f2.8 but I was not impressed. One lens you should consider seriously is the Panasonic 20f1.7 and I cannot recommend this lens enough.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Welcome to the forum, ajm!

    I second Stephen's recommendation of the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. It falls in between your old 28 and 50mm lenses, acting like a 40mm lens would act in 35mm film terms. A very versatile lens - small, fast, and sharp. This is the lens which made me realize that Micro Four Thirds was for me.
  8. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 14, 2010
  9. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 14, 2010
  10. slau

    slau Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jan 26, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    No, Bokeh I have seen a few stabilizers but not the Hague one. It should work quite well with the lightweight of the GH1. But, I cannot see myself walking around with the Stabilizer :biggrin:. I will stay with my tripod which seems to go wherever I go.
  11. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    welcome and enjoy

    cheers from nyc
  12. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Mu-43 Top Veteran

  13. Enrique

    Enrique Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2010
  14. ajm80031

    ajm80031 Mu-43 Regular

    Regarding stabilization, I accidentally ran across a method while on my recent trip. I'd brought along a Joby Gorillapod to use rather than drag a full-sized tripod around. While I used it as intended (setting it atop conveniently placed objects or wrapping the legs around fences and the like) I also found that it could be used to stabilize handheld shots.

    Basically, I rested two of the legs against my chest while holding the camera up to my face as usual. This really damped out the vast majority of movement, especially when standing still. This method might not be comfortable for those of the female persuasion, but for me it turned out to be a useful trick.
  15. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hi ajm, and welcome to the forum :friends: thanks for the tip - I remember reading Uwe Steinmuller using this technique with some success I think.


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