Showing posts with label GH2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GH2. Show all posts


Nikon 1 V1-Good Enough to be the A Cam?

Next time you're in Barnes & Noble, saunter (or sashay, your choice) over to the magazine rack and pick up a copy of the Feb '14 issue of RoadRUNNER Magazine. My Vermont dual purpose story, "One if by Land, Two if by Sea, Three if by KLR" is in there, and it's one of the first real tests of the Nikon V1 as my A camera. It's been on several trip now as my B cam, and it's done well enough. Well enough to be given a chance as the A cam. The B cam on this trip was that venerable Panasonic GH2 with the versatile 12-35 F2.8. And the C cam was the tiny Pentax Q. It's hard to leave the Q behind because it's so tiny, and with the fisheye and the Q mounted on a monopod I can get some neat POV shots.


Razor Thin Depth of Field is a Harsh Mistress

Still from PBS Frontline Documentary "League of Denial"
Still from PBS Frontline Documentary "League of Denial"
I recently participated in a discussion on PentaxForums where members noted Canon's apparent dominance in DSLR video. The premise was that while Panasonic gets a lot of attention online for their GH line of cameras, most people encountered in the real world are shooting with Canon DSLRs at the center of their rigs. It's something that I've noticed as well; I don't recall ever seeing someone shooting video with a GH1, GH2, or GH3 out in the wild. It must be, among other things, the allure of the larger sensor available in Canon DSLRs, from APS-C to 35mm full frame.


Cracks in the Facade

Cracks in the Facade

And so a scant few days after posting the rumored Pentax K-3, I find myself wondering it it's time to move away from the Pentax K-mount. A number of things have happened in the last six months to bring me to this point. One, I've really grown to like the Nikon V1 and am considering further investment in the Nikon 1 system. At first, I bought it as a rig camera, taking some nice intervalometer photos in Maine. Then I promoted it to second camera on my trip to Ontario. And it did well. I shoot with a very flat picture profile, which makes out of the camera RAW files looks kind of "meh", but the files handle pretty aggressive post processing without falling to pieces.

And then the big test came; I brought it on my last VT dual sport trip as the first camera (I also had a Panasonic GH2 along for video and backup). And the V1 did great. No, the image quality isn't at the level of the Pentax K-5, particularly when you push even a smidge beyond ISO400. And it doesn't have much DOF. And the zooms are on the slow end. And so on and so on. But I know that I can get magazine worthy files from this little machines, and I know that the platform will only improve as sensor technology improves and Nikon sees fit to develop more interesting lenses. To that end I've looked at second bodies and just purchased the SB-N7 Speedlight. If I just add the 6.7-13mm wide angle zoom, I'll have the ultimate small camera motorcycle travel kit.

So where does that leave the Pentax K-5 or the upcoming K-3? I'm not shooting events as much as I used to, so a DSLR is not high on my priority list. I'm using smaller sensor cameras to give me telephoto reach, and as I wrote recently, I'm enjoying the small zooms of the smaller formats. I don't think that I'll ever give up having a DSLR completely as they are such good workhorses, but they seem to be moving to the back of the shelf in terms of getting used.

And if I'm going to keep one, maybe I should get one whose lenses can be shared. Maybe I should go back to....Nikon. I started shooting more seriously with a D70 back in 2004 after all. And if I choose my lenses well, I can use them on a Nikon DSLR and on the Nikon 1 with the adapter and also on the GH2 with another adapter. A tri-fecta if there ever was one.

In a perfect, rational world, that is what I should do. Then why do I hesitate?



The slow, inexorable decay
The slow, inexorable decay

Just took delivery of a used Panasonic GH2 from fellow photog John Griggs, aka Entropic Remnants. He's moving away from Micro Four Thirds to Fuji X, so I took the GH2 off of his hands for a fair price. I now have two GH2s and will use them primarily for video. I thought a lot about getting a G6 or GH3 instead, as they both offer arguably better video quality, particularly in low light and even when compared to a hacked GH2. I even thought about a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera with what many are saying is game-changing IQ.


Roadtrip with a 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid at the Seaside Inn, Hatteras NC I'm currently down in Hatteras NC (OBX) with a 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Hyundai was kind enough to loan us the car for a one week review, and our first thought was, "let's put some miles on this puppy." So we filled the tank in NJ and 13 hours and 481 miles later we were at the Seaside Inn. And the tank wasn't empty! We averaged nearly 42MPG and stopped for everything but gas - food, ice cream, bathrooms, photo ops. I don't think I've ever driven a car with that much range.

In any case, one of the bags was filled with camera gear, a rolling case from jLab (no, I've never heard of them either) that I poached from Groupon for like $30. Score! The bag's got the following:

  • Panasonic GH2 with 12-35 F2.8
  • Nikon 1 V1 with 10-30, 30-110, 10/28, and 18/1.8 lenses
  • Panasonic LX-7
  • Pentax Q with 5-15 and 01 Standard Prime
  • Pentax K-01 with FA43
  • Merlin Steadicam 2
  • Switronix TorchLED light
  • small reflector
  • chargers, batteries, memory cards
  • Apple Macbook Pro
  • Apple iPad
  • the kitchen sink

The Panasonic LX7 and Nikon 1 have gotten the most use so far; they are just so small and convenient that they always end up in our backpack. The review is for NewMotor, a digital publication, so the highest resolution that we're going to need is for an iPad with Retina Display, 2048 by 1536 pixels. The LX7 and Nikon 1 will be able to handle that no problem; heck nearly all digital cams will be able to handle that.

I feel a bit guilty about bringing the Pentaxes along, or to be more precise, about leaving them behind. They're both great cameras but a luxury for this project. I guess that it's one of those things where if you've got a big bag you'll be sure to fill it. I think I'll bring out the FA43 today; that lens needs a workout...


Confessional (Hacking the Panasonic GH2)

You know that copy of Epyx's Summer Games for the Apple II?

I'm here to confess that the game that kept me up late way past my bedtime in 1982 was a pirated copy. That's right, I somehow got a hold of the tools to unlock the awesomeness of the game (and the superlative graphics) and I did. I think that the statute of limitations has run out, right?


The Case Against Micro Four-Thirds

In two previous posts (“The Case Against Full Frame” and “The Case Against APS-C”) I opined on why the leading professional and amateur sensor sizes are doomed to the scrapheap of history. Where does that leave the upstart Micro Four-Thirds?


One Man's Quest for a Low Noise Camera

Like many other photographers, I’m on a quest for less noise, particularly in quiet, intimate, low light settings. But it’s not the ISO and the shadows that I’m concerned about, it’s the racket that a camera makes when shooting. You don’t notice that cameras can be loud, attention-drawing things until you get to a situation where discretion is advised and expected. Like a baptism or wedding or some other ceremony. If you take a picture with a loud camera in those situations, be prepared for a bunch of swivelheads to look at you disapprovingly. My style tends towards the looser candid/street/decisive moment, so noise is important to me, and I’ve got strong opinions on the cameras that I’ve used these last couple of years.


Getting ready for winter (Pentax FA31 f1.8 and the Panasonic GH2)

Rear upper a-arm, 2005 Honda S2000
While swapping out the summer tires for winter snows on the Honda S2000, I took a moment to appreciate the engineering of the car as well as the wonderful patina left by 7 years in the Northeast. The FA31 f1.8 mounted to the Panasonic GH2 feels like a really nice match. The combo feels good in the hand and it's easy to toggle viewfinder zoom for sharp manual focus. The 31mm becomes 62mm FOV of course, making for a moderately long normal lens. My primary use for this combo will be video of course, but it really is quite nice for stills as well. I can also shoot square format and compose for the square too with the EVF, which is quite nice.


Logan playing soccer

Logan playing soccer by john m flores
Logan playing soccer, a photo by john m flores on Flickr.
Oh, Panasonic 100-300mm f/4.0-5.6! You are such a zoomy lens yet no bigger than a can of soda. You reach across the soccer pitch so easily and throw the background mildly out of focus. And you lend a hand in holding steady. So nice, so nice. But slow to focus. You miss a lot of the action. Or should I blame your partner, the GH2?


Tiger, take 2 (Nikon v. Panasonic)

Tiger, take 2

Here are two tigers for you investigation. Actually, it's one tiger, photographed twice, to compare two camera systems. My photo above was taken with the Nikon 1 V1 with the 30-110mm zoom @ 110mm (297mm eq), 1/125s, F6.3, ISO640. And here's my wife's photo with the Panasonic GH2 with 100-300mm zoo @ 100mm (200mm eq), 1/640, F5.6, ISO1600.


fluffy, a photo by indri500 on Flickr.
So my wife used the Panasonic GH2 with the 100-300 lens for most of our time at the Bronx Zoo, and looking at her photos now she got some real gems. The Panasonic kit was significantly larger and more expensive than the Nikon 1 V1 kit I had but still much smaller than an APS-C dSLR with 600mm reach. And the results show.


Ringtail Lemur Stares at His Own Tail

Ringtail Lemur Stares at His Own Tail

Seriously, if you had a tail like that, wouldn't you stare at it too?

While I spent _most_ of the day shooting the Nikon 1 V1 with the 30-110 zoom, I did play with the Panasonic GH2 paired with the 100-300 zoom. Looking at the pictures now, it's obvious that the Panasonic is doing much better than the Nikon at the zoo. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed in the Nikon as most of the shots weren't particularly sharp. I think that I've isolated the issue - the long end of the 30-110 zoom isn't that great. It's better at the shorter end but at the end of the day it's still a kittish type zoom. The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300/F4.0-5.6 in comparison is a step above and it's working with a larger sensor. And it's twice as expensive. So I shouldn't be surprised.

I am going to give the Nikon 30-110 another chance though. It was after all my first time shooting with it, and I've always said that you need to take 1,000 shots with a lens to become familiar with it. So the test will continue.


Red Ruffed Lemur Contemplates

He's probably thinking, "I wish someone would come over and groom me, as this black fur is a PITA to keep clean."

Taken with the Panasonic GH2 mated to the Lumix G Vario 100-300/F4.0-5.6 @ 300mm, 1/40s, f7.1, ISO1600. The in-lens image stabilization is earning its keep here, making a 1/40s exposure at 600mm EQ pretty darn sharp. The camera is handling ISO1600 quite well too. Overall, it's a pretty potent and fairly compact long-lens setup.

Over the course of the day at The Bronx Zoo, I saw a couple of guys with serious Nikon and Canon kit. They could have ended up with better shots, but that's ok. My wife shot with the GH2 most of the day and she seems pleased with what she got, and didn't hurt her back or neck in the process. Afterwards, we met up with a friend in Manhattan, and I had both the GH2 and the Nikon V1 in my little Timbuktu Snoop Messenger (small), along with a total of 4 zooms and a prime, and an iPad. I would have stood out like a sore thumb if I had a big Nikon or Canon kit with me.

But my favorite story is the guy with the monster Nikon lens (looked like an F2.8 mega zoom for sure). The thing had a lens hood longer than my arm, and he stops to take a snapshot of what I presume is his wife and toddler sitting on the bench beside us. He's standing up, pointing down with this monster zoom and he flips up the tiny on-camera flash, which by the looks of it is going to totally be blocked by the honking lens hood. He probably could have taken a better shot with an iPhone. But I digress...


Sixteen going on 26

Sixteen going on 26
So I live in this small town that's just a slice of America, with a Main Street chockfull of restaurants and small shops. And an honest to goodness record store. On a recent Saturday night, a crowd of teens overflowed onto the sidewalk as a band was thrashing away inside the shop window.

June 2012 Postscript. The record store is gone now. And the space is still empty. There are a number of empty retail spaces downtown - a sign of the times - but the neighborhood is still vibrant.


Olympus OM-D EM-5 vs. Pentax K-05 in 3D

Via Flickr:
Cross your eyes to see this in 3d. Click on the photo for a larger version on Flickr

Photo taken with the Panasonic GH2 with the 12.5mm F12 3D lens


It's in the Bag - Vintage Pentax Glass on Modern Panasonic Electronics.

It's in the Bag - 2012/05/30
So I'm heading out to shoot an interview today. Just me and the subject, a Platinum Minds scholar and high-school senior. I wanted to travel light because I wasn't sure of the setting. Initially, I mounted the Pentax DA*16-50mm F2.8 to the Panasonic GH2, thinking that I'd need the versatility of the zoom. I was also thinking about a monopod. But then I thought, "Keep it simple. Put the camera on a tripod, hit record, and talk. Having a good interaction with the subject will be more important than anything else."


In Defense of dSLRs (Kind of)

The release of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is being touted by bloggers, tumblers, tweeters, and word pressers as A VERY BIG DEAL. The online hyperbole store is actually running low on stock of Gushing Praises (available in limited quantities), Prophetic Proclamations (due next week) and Bold Predictions (now taking pre-orders) while Humble Opinions and Reality Checks are being deeply discounted due to slow sales. Last week’s flavor of the month - the Fuji X Pro 1 - is struggling to catch a ray of the klieg lights, and even poor Leica has to resort to parlor tricks to remind people that they had a red dot long before Target did. I’ve actually held one of these Olympus talisman’s in my hands, and with Pinterest as my witness, I thought I heard a choir of angels singing softly and sweetly upon my left shoulder while a unicorn danced a jig on my right shoulder. I would have taken a picture - if only the OM-D E-M5 had a flip-twist screen.


Still from the Panasonic GH2 + Super Takumar 50mm F1.4

Via Flickr:
A fellow photographer and I are interviewing veterans for the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project ( My friend is shooting stills and I'm shooting video with the GH2. This is my first use of the Super Takumar 50mm F1.4. I had it stopped down a couple of clicks and had 1 CFL softbox to the camera left, and 1 CFL softbox and CFL reflector on camera right. I was shooting from a  Vanguard CF monopod with a Manfrotto 701HD fluid pan head. I also had Express35 15mm rods supporting the D|Focus follow focus and smallHD DP4 EVF.

This is a shot straight from the camera, before any color correction (grading in videospeak). I'm frankly blown away by the sharpness of this cheap consumer camera when combined with this 40+ year old lens.


Samples: K-01 Shoots Events

Following up on some earlier posts, here are samples of the K-01 at work at a couple of non-profit events. Click here to read some of my observations.

Platinum Minds 
Forgot to bring my flash gels to balance ambient and flash light, and I wasn't shooting RAW because it's only 1FPS on the K-01, so I spent a fair amount of time in Lightroom tweaking colors. As I've mentioned, AF is the biggest bugbear. Ultimately, the shots came out ok - it just took extra effort to get there.