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Thread: Need auto focus so which is best the GH2 or ....

  1. #1
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    Default Need auto focus so which is best the GH2 or ....

    Hi guys and girls,

    I try to keep up with things but am finding it difficult to choose a new camera and need some help, especially from any users with first hand experience.

    I currently have a HV30 and 5d Mark II. Its time to retire the HV30, its been a trusty workhorse but I would like some thing which is better quality, has a higher dynamic range especially.

    I have the 5D so what I need from another camera particularly is autofocus for a particular gun and run style of shoot I do hand held quite often. I would love to get a Black Magic Cinema Camera but no autofocus. It seems the only chooses I have that are in my ball park are the hf-g10, XA10, XF100 and the Panasonic GH2 with a 14 -140mm.

    For me my priority are image quality, looking pretty, the more filmic the better, and auto focus. I grade everything I do by the way, record basic sound and do not shoot in low light, rather high light dynamic range is a much bigger concern as I often shoot in bright light.

    Any thoughts from any users of any of the above or alternatives greatly appreciated, particularly with reference to the HV30 and 5D Mark II, as those are my references.

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    The continuous autofocus on the GH2 might be a partial solution. My testing hasn't been extensive yet but with certain lenses and with touchscreen enabled "tapping" the desired subject on the LCD after a recording is started causes the GH2 to ATTEMPT to keep that subject in focus. I've tested so far with the Lumix 20mm f1.7 and the Olympus Zuiko 45mm f1.8 lenses.

    It seems to work better and with more certainty outdoors in brighter light than in ordinary room lighting indoors.

    While it doesn't work like continuous following autofocus does on camcorders, it is more flexible an option than having no continuous autofocus on other DSLR type cameras.

    Where I'll get most use out of it is when working by myself where I have to step out in front of the camera to demonstrate something while making training/instructional videos.

    Bruce Foreman
    Last edited by Bif; 2012 May 10th at 15:29.

    I am a reforming videomaking addict

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    Thanks for the reply Bruce.

    I was hoping the GH2 auto focus would be good enough. I understand it won't be as good as a camcorder but had hoped that in a high contrast situation ie where the subject is well lit that it would work ?

    I shoot run and gun in my little studio set up, record as live, mostly arms length hand held on a support arm, impossible to do that any other way than with auto focus, by your self :-(

    One think to note I was only aiming to use the LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S. LENS‎ from what I have read that is optimized fr video and so I assume for auto focus. I was thinking about the Lumix 20mm f1.7 as well and thought that should have worked for auto focus, from what I have read.

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    Seriously, that's quite a list of options. For sure you'll have other criteria too. In your list the HF-G10 is already a worthy replacement to the HV30 (I have one and it did replace my HV20 and I also hava a GH2). The XA10 is an upgrade, primarily in the audio department. The XF100 is really the one which is in a different range I'd say. With that one on the list you'd have to consider other cameras too.
    But really, you should ask yourself why you'd want a GH2 in the first place. Especially if you have a 5d Mark II I'd get a video camera. The advantage of the GH2 would be details. The depth of field is nowhere near of the 5D Mark II. And the auto focus of the GH2 is behind those on video cameras. And finally you'd have to consider the two together. If you would pick the GH2 because of the in between DOF possibility and you're dealing with tricky scenes, the GH2 will start to hunt for a target more aggressive and will show it more. To counter this, you'll increase the DOF...so why the GH2?

    And do also consider the strenghts of the video cameras. For starters dual slot and internal memory on the HF-G10. That's a big one to me. But also the fact you can change settings whilst recording, the ergonomics, ... Don't get me wrong, the GH2 is a good camera, but if you are looking for a different camera, get a different camera.

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    Hi BarteS

    Why the GH2...

    Well I like my 5D Mark II and I use, will continue to use, that for arty narrow DOF stuff I use that but I have seen some really nice looking videos shot on the GH2 (hacked), not with especially narrow DOF, in fact quite the opposite, but it just looked nice, good detail and resolution but in a way that doesn't look as stark as camcorders can look. The run and gun stuff I shoot I can shoot in 15-20 mins with auto focus (thats if there are no retakes) if I shoot the same thing shot by shot, manual focus on my 5d it would take 3/4 hours (I tried it once) BUT I would still like it to look as nice, filmic, as I can make it after grading. Put another way if my 5D (with magic lantern hack) had auto focus for video I wouldn't need another camera.

    As to tricky scenes and focus hunting I light everything so I was hoping that would not be an issue. I guess I should go and look for more graded footage shot on the camcorders. I have looked already but some of it wasn't that great, just not as nice looking as the GH2 with high bit rate hack (though that can be down to filming, at least to a degree).

    The XF100 would be a stretch for me and is only really on the list because its 4:2:2 sampling and one day in the future I could shoot chroma key with that. If the Black Magic Cinema Camera had auto focus I would get that, when its out, but it doesn't.

    BarteS can you please tell me how does the overall look and dynamic range of the HF-G10 compare to the GH2 and is the GH2 auto focus just rubbish by comparison, in your opinion ? Also how does the HF-G10 compare to your HV20, image wise in terms of filmic look / aesthetics ?
    Last edited by Marcus42; 2012 May 10th at 17:52.

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    Actually you still haven't mentioned why the GH2...
    The hunting is also the result of your subjects, which might require intelligence of the system. But as Bruce said, the primary reason is light, it should have sufficient contrast.

    To be honest I haven't put the GH2 and the HF-G10 side by side as they are different tools to me. And the 'stark' look is a thing you can of course tweak a bit. To me it is more important to have a camera which allows me to get the shot. People don't care if it looks 'video', but they do care if that one shot is missing. However, I did use them only once yet in the same location as I wanted to test the GH2 when I could have little break. But I must admit, I'm currently still primarily trying things with the GH2. The menu and ergonomics...argh!! This includes finding the patch which works out best for me. So far my eyes are on Sanity. It's too bad the hack is not like the one of Canon, that way you could use different patches more easily.
    I did use the HF-G10 and the HV20 in the same location, just at a slightly different angle and totally different focal length. I can put in all kinds of terminology and tell what I like best, but you'd have to judge by yourself.

    When do you want to pull the trigger? I could try to do some fast side by side tests in a few days. Are you looking for any particular footage? I'll test the dynamic range (was on the to-do list anyway) and add the autofocus. Regarding the GH2, unfortunately I do not have the 140, I have the 14-42mm and typically use Nikon lenses.
    Last edited by BarteS; 2012 May 10th at 19:57.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus42 View Post
    Thanks for the reply Bruce.

    I was hoping the GH2 auto focus would be good enough. I understand it won't be as good as a camcorder but had hoped that in a high contrast situation ie where the subject is well lit that it would work ?
    It was raining today and I couldn't get out and do more testing. Yesterday, with the Lumix 20mm f1.7, out in good daylight and sun it actually seemed to track and follow me as I turned my back and walked away from the camera. When I stopped and turned around I was in focus. No ND filters, I ordered adapter rings for the ones I have just today, so the aperture was f16 and I had to bump the shutter speed up to about 1/160th if I remember. The starting distance where I "tapped" the LCD on part of my face was just short of 3 feet and the location I walked to was slightly out of focus.

    It seemed to track me and keep me in focus all the way. Did the same as I walked back to the camera.

    Inside at night in ordinary room lighting, CFL with "frosted" glass cover on the ceiling it seemed to do fairly well. With the 45mm f1.8 it "lost" me once and kind of had to hunt but found and locked focus pretty quickly.

    I also tried the 14mm f2.5 outdoors but the DOF was so deep everything looked in focus so I couldn't really tell much. I'll have to do more as evening falls or when I can put 4-6 stop reduction in ND on the lens.

    I liked the results enough to order a new GH2 with 14-42mm "kit" lens. The one I've been testing with is a used body.

    Wish I had more extensive testing results to pass on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus42 View Post

    I shoot run and gun in my little studio set up, record as live, mostly arms length hand held on a support arm, impossible to do that any other way than with auto focus, by your self :-(

    One think to note I was only aiming to use the LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S. LENS‎ from what I have read that is optimized fr video and so I assume for auto focus. I was thinking about the Lumix 20mm f1.7 as well and thought that should have worked for auto focus, from what I have read.
    I am more than happy with the Lumix 20mm. So far it almost "lives" on my GH2 body. The 14-140 has an excellent reputation but my choice for the new one was with the 14-42. That kit is actually less than body only!

    I have the Olympus version of the 14-42 and I think it is a lot better lens than most give it credit for.

    Bruce Foreman
    Last edited by Bif; 2012 May 10th at 22:01.

    I am a reforming videomaking addict

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    marcus - don't know if you've made your choice yet, but since you started this thread, a new option has emerged on the scene, the T4i. I just did a side-by-side autofocus test of the T4i and the GH2 for my blog, which I will post soon.

    Bottom line - both cameras do a great job of nailing autofocus (with good light) with minimal hunting. The Panasonic's 14mm pancake and 14-140mm autofocus lenses are absolutely silent, though. The Canon STM lenses (at least the 40mm pancake, which I tested), sound like a cement mixer by comparison.

    If you want autofocus and shallow depth of field, these are the only two cameras less than $3000 that can give it to you. Of the two, I'd personally recommend the GH2, but because you already shoot with the 5D, I thought you might want to consider the T4i.

    Hope this is helpful,

    Bill
    Hybrid Camera Revolution
    Last edited by brunerww; 2012 July 12th at 05:02.

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