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Thoughts on GH1 as a first MFT?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by f8andbethere, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. f8andbethere

    f8andbethere Mu-43 Regular

    While I am going to buy an :43: I am hesitant to spend a lot of money on my first purchase. My thinking is to buy one of the older bodies and two, or three, good lenses. If I like the concept then I could upgrade at a later date.

    I can buy a GH1 with a 14-140 for just under $700 compared to a used GH2 with a 14-140 for about $1,000.00. I looked at the older Oly (PEN models) cameras but they don't appear to have an EVF.

    How capable of a camera is the GH1?
  2. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Amazon has GH2 body for $699, G3 body for $469.
  3. The GH1 is a couple of years old but it still feels quick enough and up-to-date. I'm still using my GH1 just as much as I was before I got the E-M5. Where it lacks compares to the latest bodies is in it's high ISO performance. It's okay, and still better than other 12MP Micro 4/3 models, but where it starts to fall down for me is it's reproduction of colours at ISO 1600 and above.

    Until the E-M5 came along the GH1 boasted the highest dynamic range of all of the Micro 4/3 cameras, albeit marginally over the GH2. Compared to the E-M5 however the DR is not so in-your-face because the GH1 doesn't have the same kind of jpeg settings as the Olympus. The "smooth" film mode comes closest but the colours are quite muted in this mode. The other film modes apply too much contrast and don't do the sensor justice even if their colours are brighter and bolder. My advice is to shoot and process in raw.

    Having never used the GH2, I can't really say whether the GH2 is worth $300 more than the GH1, except that I have so far chosen to not upgrade based on what I know about both cameras.
  4. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Sometimes the first thing you buy just teaches you what you really wanted. So don't view this as getting married. If might just be a temporary shack-up.

    M43? Check.

    EVF? Check

    Articulated LCD? Check

    Easy to sell if I don't like it or want to upgrade? Check

    Does my ego make me want to display only the latest model regardless of cost, even if it is only marginally better? **your answer here**

    Actually, if you don't want the video, a G1 is even cheaper and it is an entirely adequate camera. You will find either a G1 or a GH1 with the 140-140mm to be a marvelous and versatile tool.

    To frost the cake, consider an Oly 9-18mm. For a walking around lens complementary to the 9-18mm, consider the original Oly 14-42mm. They are very cheap, very compact, and entirely adequate for taking good photographs, even though the pixel-peepers and lens-test junkies disapprove.

    Re the GH2, use caution around the touch screen. I shacked up briefly with a GF2 & EVF and found that my nose often relocated the focus rectangle (or was it the metering rectangle?) Very annoying.
  5. ChipThome

    ChipThome Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 8, 2011
    Both my daughter and I have GH1s and find them very capable bodies. We have the 14-140 which she prefers while I prefer the primes. The 14-140 is tack sharp and a great lens as long as you have sufficient light. When light falls off later in the evening or indoors, it doesn't fair well at all. The other quirk to watch for, especially indoors, is a poor auto white balance. Plan on using a gray card or some other form of correction. The GH1 bodies right now appear to be in the + or - $300 range. That 14-140 has been selling in the $400-ish range. If you go GH1, any OIS on Oly lenses will not function AFIK. I have found for my hands, OIS is almost mandatory, YMMV.

    If you buy the GH1 and use it as your intro into M4/3 lens buying, you will be able to grow your kit while not having a ton invested in the most depreciating portion of it.
  6. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    I purchased a G1 Body for my 1st Digital camera over 2 years ago; along with a Cheep adapter for all my legacy Glass. I thought I would save money and get a pre video µ4/3 Body then upgrade later. But i found that I never wished I had video. Only a better flash. Later last year I purchased an M.Zuiko 14-42 MkII lens to go with it because it's so dam compact and lighter compared to the Panna Kit lens. And it was nice to have fast auto-focus for walking around when I didn't feel like using my manual primes.

    I still love it and use it all the time. With the going rate of used G1 bodies, you would save at-least a hundred dollars over the GH1 if you do not need video recording. Only upgrading I did was getting a Metz flash with HHS..
    But if your not worried about the extra money its not a bad choice but since they seem to be selling for about the same price as a G2, and if your not getting it to do serious Videography work you'd be better off getting a G2 for it's better features and more compatibility with lenses, as it also can record video when you need it.
  7. f8andbethere

    f8andbethere Mu-43 Regular

    I decided to go with a G3 and 14-45 lens. They arrived today and so I am wading my way through the manual and on-board menus. Ergonomically I wish it had a better grip. I shot a few seconds of video and it looked fine to me. I got the camera mostly for stills and not video. Once I have made a decision as to whether or not this is a system I can work with then my next step woill be to buy one or two more lenses and perhaps a Nikon adapter.
  8. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Well I hope you have been enjoying your purchase.
    Have you posted any photos from it yet?
  9. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 14, 2010
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    14-45 on a G1 is a dandy starter.. I ran one for two years, then went to G2 and then GH2 and a pocket Oly EPL-2

    This one image above demonstrates how the combination performs while responding to a variety of light conditions within the same frame.....
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