Low Light Tricks for the GH2 by Ralph B

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by dagaleaa, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. dagaleaa

    dagaleaa Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 4, 2011
    Naples, Fl
    Real Name:
    I came across this list on another forum ( dvxuser) and Ralph B authored it. I copied it and saved it for my own use!

    Low Light Tricks for the GH2

    Here are some techniques to use with the GH2 when the sun goes down.

    Low Light Trick #1 - 1/25 shutter

    Use 1/25 second shutter speed (when shooting 24P). Some people fear the god of filmmaking will strike them dead if they use a shutter speed other than 1/48 or 1/50. This is silly. By dropping down to 1/25 you gain a full f stop of light for free. It is advisable however, to use a tripod.

    Low Light Trick #2 - ISO settings

    *ISO 3200 is the highest it appears you can go when shooting movies, but in fact you can go to 6400 and 12800. Here's how. First, do not use Manual mode. Use Shutter priority and set ISO to Auto. This will enable the ISO to glide up to 6400. You won't see a number that says 6400, but be assured, it really is working at that speed. If you're using a third party manual lens, this is as far as you can go. But if you're using any of the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenses, you can go up to ISO 12800 by turning the exposure compensation all the way to the right.

    Low Light Trick #3 - Indoor white balance

    Use indoor white balance, even if you're shooting outdoors. At high ISO's, the GH2 obviously has noise, but the worst noise is in the red channel. Indoor white balance, by it's very nature, supresses the output of the red channel, resulting in significantly less noise. You can always do color correction in post, but usually you'll find it isn't necessary - most light sources you encounter at night are warmer than daylight anyway.

    Low Light Trick #4 - Fast lenses

    It goes without saying (but, I'll say it anyway) that you need fast lenses. I only mention it because if all you have are lenses that top out at f4 or f3.5, you're at a severe disadvantage when shooting in low light. Get yourself some fast glass - f1.7 or lower.

    Low Light Trick #5 - Variable movie mode

    This is my favorite GH2 low light trick. By using variable movie mode in conjunction with slow shutter speeds, you can really peer into the darkness. Set variable movie mode to 200% and the shutter speed to 1/13. The resulting movie will playback at twice the speed, but each frame will be unique - no duplicates. Take it a step further - set variable movie mode to 300% and shutter speed to 1/8. Now you're letting in 3 times more light than a 1/25 shutter and 6 times more light than a 1/50 shutter. Since the movie will play back at 3 times normal speed, obviously this technique is only suitable for certain types of subject material. A tripod is mandatory for shutter speeds this slow.

    When you combine all these techniques together, the results can be jaw-dropping, see-into-the-dark movies.
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  2. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Low shutter speed, high iso, and wide open aperture? Why didn't I think of that? Revolutionary!
  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Interesting, but are there any samples? (especially of trick #5)
  4. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Real Name:
    I think you may have mistaken this forum for DPReview's forums. ;) I think it was pretty clear that the OP was trying to add a little more value than that.
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