In the world of DSLR video the heavy hitters so far have been the Canon cameras. Even with their faults of moire and aliasing artifacts they have remained on top of the food chain for videographers and filmmakers on a budget. That is until mirror less champion, the Panasonic GH2 stepped into the scene. It sports improved ergonomics, speedy liveview autofocusing, refined image quality, and 1080p AVCHD video recording which can be bumped up to INTRA Avchd quality with the use of patches and ptool. The patches and hack tools by the way can be had right here on OSGFilms along with a detailed video tutorial.
Noise is a non-issue up to about ISO 800 or 1600 but even in higher isos the grain seems far less muddy than in the Canon counter parts. The canons resolvable detail is far inferior to that of the GH2. Even in 1080p mode the details in the canon is as bad as it is in its 720p mode so it looks like a cheap uprezzing. While the full frame look of the canon thanks to its sensor size is desirable. It by no means is the quality akin to that of real film in terms of resolution and grain detial. The GH2 on the other hand can for all purposes just shy of a theater projection holds up in terms of image quality when compared to cameras like the red Scarlet and other contenders that cost as much as ten times what the GH2 does. Assuming you are not challenging the latitude compared to the red, when in capable hands even professional videographers cant tell them apart. This is especially true when your final output is on the internet. I have worked on films that have been project on the big screen in which i shot with the GH2 so i can safely tell you it can and will look GREAT in a movie theater setting. I love the look of the canon’s full frame but i cant justify that when moire and aliasing is especially ugly when projected on a large scale let alone the lack of detail which is even more obvious on the big screen i’n comparison. Will i still shoot with my canon? Yes, especially if we are only talking photography but for feature video and client video work i stick to the higher quality of the GH2’s video.
The GH2 comes in two kit variations but for high quality video i recommend buying it with out a lens and getting the excellent 20mm 1.7 prime lens for low light and general capability. I also recommend vintage glass over the kit lenses because they produce lovely film like results when compared to much sharper sometimes harsh modern glass but that’s more of a preference. My recommended Basic set up is Body only, 20mm 1.7 Lumix lens, 64gig Sandisk 45mbs, & Extra Battery:
If you opt to go with the hack & patches to extend the already great video quality of the GH2 then the 32gig (45mbs) Sandisk card will get the job done but as you use higher quality patches you will notice your recording time is going to go down considerably and sometimes down to even 30min or less. If you need the extra time go for the 64gig (45mbs). I would say just shell out the extra cash for the 64gig because sooner or later you will want to film with the top notch patches since in post production you get a lot more latitude out of your video when hacked. Below are some links that will propel you into a GH2 master, i recommend you read our all in one GH2 quick Guide before jumping in to the advanced stuff like patching.
OSGFilm’s GH2 tutorials & more:
The Panasonic GH2 Guide for Filmmakers
How to hack the Panasonic GH2 (including hack pack)
GH2 Intra-AVCHD Patches (including patch pack)