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GH2: Parting Thoughts

My testing moved a bit quicker than expected due to getting some projects out the door early this morning and setting up a shoot this afternoon. And I’m testing this for me, nobody else. I have some parting thoughts here because I don’t have much more to say about the GH2 after this. I do plan to take a bunch of still with it over the weekend (hopefully with a friend) and move on with work. But likely move on with a GH2 in hand.

I love this little camera, it’s cheap, functional, sensor’s not horribly crippled, it’s got a workable (so far) uncompressed out that looks amazing and the AVCHD codec when finished well, is passable. It’s doesn’t meet BBC specs, but nothing under about $15K right now does. Hook up a Cindeck and you should be good to go though (hit “record” on the GH2 first though so that stream flips to 23.98 before it hits your external device).

AVCHD is kind of a pain. So far, it appears the only tool I have that’ll read it is an NLE, which blows for sorting and dumping prior to moving everything over to the HDDs. Take good notes going through clips in your NLE and you won’t deal with wasted space though. You have you standard way of working through post- all online in Premiere or Avid then out, or you use your AVCHD as offline and move to a better codec when your done editing. Naturally, I moved everything to Cineform. And let me tell you, it cleans up screen-salivating nice!

Probably the best “finished’ image out of a camera I’ve seen yet in the last 6 months (save for maybe Red). I say “finished” because while you want all the detail you can get up front, it’s what’s at the end that people are left with. I’m sure the F3, AF100 and even the 5D (if you’re Hurlbut) clean up just as nice, but no matter what I did, I could not get my Canon footage to look as clean, defined, and appropriately soft when I was done with it.

Sensor capture is just going to get way better as time goes by. In all honestly, this satisfies me and my pickiness. No moire- at least no more than our average video cameras. And even at 1:1 crop (teleconverter mode), it looks awesome. What also helps this cam is auto-zooming touchscreen to check focus, overexposure indicator and live historgram. It does not look awesome out of the box though. I purposely shot this short doc this afternoon kind of crappy. Not too crappy, but crappy enough for it to be a challenge to finish. I didn’t WB and I shot a stop or two underexposed. That means detail-less blacks and inaccurate whites. I turned all my cam settings all the way down or off and used the “cinema” mode. So without finishing, the image is so unimpressive that it turned me off. But finished and it was gorgeous.

I’m sold. It’s a camera I can shoot normal deep DOF with (my doc work), shallow DOF with and it (intereviews), and looks salivatingly good to boot. Oh, and the adjustable audio input is great as well. I can’t complain. It is in desperate need of a battery grip though as I can barely hold on to the thing with 2/12 fingers. I’m very pleased with it. It’s not a video cam for sure, and lacking a lot of stuff likewise, but it’s not a DSLR either. It’s a mirrorless hybrid stills/video cam that puts out wonderfully workable images. And that makes a cheapo-doc producer like me who likes to travel as a tourist very happy.

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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