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Observations on my GH2

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by meyerweb, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I just got back from an extended vacation, during which I shot probably a couple of thousand exposures (not really sure exactly how many), and used the camera more extensively than I've done previously. A lot of lens changes, and lot more changing of settings (aspect ratio, ISO, exposure bracketing, program shift, exposure compensation, etc.) than I've done previously.

    Overall, I'm still very pleased with the camera, but there are a few things that are, to me, significant issues and that I hope Panasonic addresses on the GH3.

    My biggest gripe, by far, is that it's too easy to inadvertently change settings with the directional buttons on the back. This hadn't been much of an issue for me prior to this trip, but with the frequent lens changes, and lots of moving around and shooting from various angle, it happened too often. Mostly white balance (thank goodness I shoot raw), but I found myself changing ISO and aspect ratio by accident, too. If Panasonic really wants to aim the GH3 at action photographers (a rumor I've heard), they need to make it much harder to change settings unintentionally. Actually, they need to solve this for all types of photographers.

    Next gripe: The EVF isn't bright enough. In really bright daylight, it can be hard to clearly see details. It's serviceable, but to compete with optical finders in this light it needs to be better. The LCD is nearly useless in bright light, but that's true of all LCDs, and not a surprise. That doesn't mean I wouldn't like a brighter one, though.

    Any other gripes are minor. Battery life kind of sucks, but the batteries are small enough that carrying a spare isn't a big deal. I do wish that Panasonic batteries were cheaper, or 3rd party batteries would display battery level correctly and let the camera go into sleep mode.

    C-AF and tracking subjects in burst mode are issues, but right now that's a trade-off of mirrorless. Fortunately, most of my shooting doesn't require that.

    Also minor, but I wish there were two control dials instead of one. Sometimes, I didn't realize I was in exposure compensation mode, tried to change the aperture, and changed exposure instead. Fortunately, the EVF gets brighter or darker as you do this, so I generally caught myself, but it would be nice to have a separate control for each. Not a must have, but a nice to have.

    I wish I could customize the use of the video record button, since I rarely shoot video. Failing that, reverse the locations of the video and top mount Fn button. The video button is easier to reach, and I found myself hitting video instead of the Fn button on several occasions. And I wish the Fn buttons could be set to a wider variety of functions.

    On the flip side, I really like the dedicated controls for shooting mode (single, burst, bracketing) and focus mode (S, C, or MF and single or multi-point) as opposed to the modal dials of some cameras. The instant visual and tactile feedback as you change settings beats the heck out of watching the LCD or EVF to see what you're actually changing when you turn a dial.

    This is true of all current cameras, I think, to a greater or lesser extent, but there needs to be a major innovation in how the functions now accessed through menus work. I don't know what the answer is, but it takes way too long to navigate through the menus to change shooting options, custom functions, etc. The menus are too long (7 pages in the record menu!), and take too long to scroll through, some shooting functions are in the record menu, but others are in the custom menu. Panasonic isn't the worst, by far, but there's got to be a better way.

    But, in general, I was very pleased with the camera.

    The multi-aspect sensor is really nice. Switching to 16:9 really does increase the width of the area captured, and is especially nice when using wide-angles.

    The grip is excellent. I much prefer it to the smaller "griplet" on my wife's G3.

    The 7-14 and 14-140 make a heck of a travel kit. Ultra wide to telephoto in 2 compact (compared to DSLR) packages, and both are very sharp and contrasty. The 14-140 is kind of heavy, but not compared to an APS-C zoom of similar range or the 14-45 and 45-200 combined.

    If Panasonic addresses the inadvertent button press problem, and improves the EVF, I'll almost certainly bite the bullet and spring for the GH3. If not, the GH2 will continue to serve me well, although the EOS gear will still come out for action photography. No system does everything well.
    • Like Like x 5
  2. sty

    sty New to Mu-43

    Nov 21, 2011
    Vienna, Austria
    You can deactivate the video button in the setup menu

    Greeting from Vienna

  3. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    Did you try increasing the viewfinder brightness? It helps somewhat and gives more realistic representation of the final exposure, although I still need to shield the viewfinder with my hand when the sun is on my left-hand side.

    You can disable the video button in the Custom menu.

    I agree that the directional buttons on the back are cramped, but, frankly speaking, on my previous Pentax DSLR they were hardly any better.
  4. kanasgowatom

    kanasgowatom Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 11, 2011
    I am very enthusiastic about my Pl 3. I find it's results every bit as satisfying as my D200's were. It is very cool to be up on the Blue Ridge Parkway ( North Carolina) on an overlook, waiting for Sun rise, surrounded by all these Nikon and Canon behemoths, and know my images are on an equal plain with theirs. After the Sunrise. I can pack all my gear in a small Tamrac Bag, and not be burdened with all that weight, walking on mountain trails.
    My only complaint is, due to the Pl-3's size, I have a bit of trouble holding it steady, at slower shutter speeds.

    Kanasgowa Tom
  5. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    I have the G2 and the button press thing is certainly annoying. I have a larger nose than the average person so I'm always tapping the damn white balance on mine with my nose... I feel your pain. Hopefully Panasonic is listening, because I'm still patiently waiting to see the GH3 and I like your suggestions.

    My situation isn't gas, it's a camera meets pavement at 45mph and I'm lucky the G2 still works. Dear Panasonic I need a new cam. Sooner than later please.
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