On the verge of ditching u43s

Started Dec 27, 2011 | Discussions
warrj
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On the verge of ditching u43s
Dec 27, 2011

Hi,

Just thought that I'd share my impressions of u4/3s with you all. Prior to buying a GH2 my equipment was a Canon 40D + 17-55 f2.8 + Speedlite 580EX for stills and a Canon HV20 for video. I mostly take family photos (mostly indoors both with and without flash), macro photos of flowers (with a 60mm macro) and video of my kids.

The GH2 + 14-140 was an attempt to simplify my gear by merging my stills and video equipment. I also purchased the 20mm f.17 lens and the Olympus FL36R flash. After six months, for my needs, it has not met my expectations.

Firstly the positives:
1. It's small and light.
2. The videos it produces can be wonderful

Secondly the negatives:

1. I'm used to just mashing the big red button on my HV20 and video being captured flawlessly. This doesn't happen on the GH2. I suspect that this is due to the shallower depth of field inherent in u43s. Most videos end up with obvious hunting and refocusing. Whilst the GH2 may be capable of great quality video due to its great (for video) sensor this is of merely academic interest when the camera struggles to maintain focus. I've tried the focus lock trick and it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. So (for my needs) this is a fail.

2. The sensor seems much poorer (i.e. noisier) than that of my 40D. My rationale for the purchase of the GH2 for stills was that although the sensor was smaller than a 1.6 crop it was also a few years newer than that in the 40D and hence should be roughly on a par performance-wise. This doesn't seem to be the case - IMO.

3. Perceived image quality. With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective. I realise that this is (at least) partially down to the 17-55 f2.8 lens. However, I understand that the Panasonic 20mm is also highly regarded and I've never really been blown away by any images produced with that lens.

4. Flash - The Olympus FL36R is ludicrously underpowered. I realise that it only has two AA batteries but it a) struggles to illuminate a small room with bounced flash and b) takes an unacceptable length of time to recharge. Also, there seems to be no reliable indication of when the flash is ready to fire again. I'm returning this flash as it's unacceptable for my needs. I could have gone with a 4AA flash unit. However this would have been as big as my Canon speedlite and would therefore have added no value to me.

So, the flash is definitely going back. I'm now trying to decide whether the GH2 is able to function as a family camcorder for travel - i.e. in outdoors situations is there enough light to ameliorate the depth-of-field (and hence focussing) issues with the camera?

I strongly believe that the future is mirrorless. However, for me, the cameras are just not good enough yet - either as stills cameras or as family camcorder replacements. I hope that this post does not come across as being overly negative - I bought into u43s with high (yet I hoped realistic) hopes and these have not been met.

Best Regards,

Julian.

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Jorginho
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

warrj wrote:

Hi,

Just thought that I'd share my impressions of u4/3s with you all. Prior to buying a GH2 my equipment was a Canon 40D + 17-55 f2.8 + Speedlite 580EX for stills and a Canon HV20 for video. I mostly take family photos (mostly indoors both with and without flash), macro photos of flowers (with a 60mm macro) and video of my kids.

The GH2 + 14-140 was an attempt to simplify my gear by merging my stills and video equipment. I also purchased the 20mm f.17 lens and the Olympus FL36R flash. After six months, for my needs, it has not met my expectations.

Firstly the positives:
1. It's small and light.
2. The videos it produces can be wonderful

Secondly the negatives:

2. The sensor seems much poorer (i.e. noisier) than that of my 40D. My rationale for the purchase of the GH2 for stills was that although the sensor was smaller than a 1.6 crop it was also a few years newer than that in the 40D and hence should be roughly on a par performance-wise. This doesn't seem to be the case - IMO.

Yes, I have that problem too and it is not mentioned frequently in any review. I have this with the 45-200 in particular, but it is not a videolens of course. I use manual focussing.

3. Perceived image quality. With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective. I realise that this is (at least) partially down to the 17-55 f2.8 lens. However, I understand that the Panasonic 20mm is also highly regarded and I've never really been blown away by any images produced with that lens.

I have to say that I also feel that Sony NEX5n pics simply seem to be better. But I have seen some m43 shots that were fantastic as well. May be your Canon lens indeed is still of another category. Could be.

I showed some of my pics to my family in law and they could not believe I shot these pics. They thought they belonged in a magazine. So it depends on what you are used to and these were macro's mostly, shot we a 90 mm Tokina f2.8 macro lens. So may be it is the lens (too).
Based on DxO, the sensors are virtually identical on every parameter....

4. Flash - The Olympus FL36R is ludicrously underpowered. I realise that it only has two AA batteries but it a) struggles to illuminate a small room with bounced flash and b) takes an unacceptable length of time to recharge. Also, there seems to be no reliable indication of when the flash is ready to fire again. I'm returning this flash as it's unacceptable for my needs. I could have gone with a 4AA flash unit. However this would have been as big as my Canon speedlite and would therefore have added no value to me.

I use a Nissim 466 flash. It is good enough and cheaper and uses 4 batteries.

So, the flash is definitely going back. I'm now trying to decide whether the GH2 is able to function as a family camcorder for travel - i.e. in outdoors situations is there enough light to ameliorate the depth-of-field (and hence focussing) issues with the camera?

I see no DOF issues. What do you mean?

I strongly believe that the future is mirrorless. However, for me, the cameras are just not good enough yet - either as stills cameras or as family camcorder replacements. I hope that this post does not come across as being overly negative - I bought into u43s with high (yet I hoped realistic) hopes and these have not been met.

I think it is fair and a forum is only balanced if we can deal with both sides of the experience. I like the Gh2 and think what holds is back is me, the photographer and occasionally the lenses. I would like the new 12-35 and 35-100 if they deliver somehting like the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 IQ and speed...

To me I realise that GH2 and m43s is a smaller cam and I can't compare with good APS-c sensors, most of all NEX7, D7000 and Pentax K5 (all Sony sensors of course).

They cannot compete on lenssize and system size (or do not have enough lenses). So it depends. I used a Canon Rebel 1000D for a short while and thought it was big, clumsy and lacked a quality feel (which is understandable at the price).

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rhlpetrus
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

I have been waiting for a ML system for some time that could replace the dslr system I use (similar to your, only Nikon). But I think it's still a generation away and I think it'll come from Canon or Nikon, when they replace their APS-C dslrs with ML versions. Until then, smaller ML are a compromise for lighter shooting. And the GH2 just isn't in the "small" category IMO.

Nex are better IQ-wise, but AF and larger lenses are minuses.
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Alexsfo
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to Jorginho, Dec 27, 2011

For the 1000000th time, GH2 is NOT a camcorder, nor is it a substitute for one. There is a difference between videography and video recording.

As for IQ, m43 is a compromise format where the size/ weight of the system (bodies + lens collection) is substantially smaller and lighter than any comparable DSLR kit yet the IQ is simply good enough for 99%.

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PC Wheeler
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

warrj wrote:

2. The sensor seems much poorer (i.e. noisier) than that of my 40D. My rationale for the purchase of the GH2 for stills was that although the sensor was smaller than a 1.6 crop it was also a few years newer than that in the 40D and hence should be roughly on a par performance-wise. This doesn't seem to be the case - IMO.

3. Perceived image quality. With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective. I realise that this is (at least) partially down to the 17-55 f2.8 lens.

Surprising, to say the least. My 7D is definitely superior to my 40D. And I prefer my GH2 to my 7D and L lenses except for extensive action shooting. Something is amiss with your GH2 perhaps.

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weesam
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

warrj wrote:

With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective.

for example?

However, I understand that the Panasonic 20mm is also highly regarded and I've never really been blown away by any images produced with that lens.

for example?

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J R R S
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

seems to me your biggest grumble is the Af video issue...

Apparently this is vastly improved with the new FW and hunting is much reduced.... worth a try!

With regards to IQ - how much better was the D40.... realy does it change the images you capture? and enough to give up the convinence?

Also the 20mm is not realy the same as the 17-55.... it should give very good results tho - I would guess comparible to the 17-55... of course being fixed it will be used diffrently. Maybe hold out untill panasonic relese the new 12-35mm F2.X... that will give you somthing a bit more flexible....

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LincolnB
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In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

You replaced two cameras (a dedicated still camera and a dedicated video camera) and associated gear with a one-camera setup that cost about half as much. Now you're unhappy with the results. Okay, then maybe you should stick with the original two-camera setup. Nothing wrong with that. You get what you pay for.

warrj wrote:

Hi,

Just thought that I'd share my impressions of u4/3s with you all. Prior to buying a GH2 my equipment was a Canon 40D + 17-55 f2.8 + Speedlite 580EX for stills and a Canon HV20 for video. I mostly take family photos (mostly indoors both with and without flash), macro photos of flowers (with a 60mm macro) and video of my kids.

The GH2 + 14-140 was an attempt to simplify my gear by merging my stills and video equipment. I also purchased the 20mm f.17 lens and the Olympus FL36R flash. After six months, for my needs, it has not met my expectations.

Firstly the positives:
1. It's small and light.
2. The videos it produces can be wonderful

Secondly the negatives:

1. I'm used to just mashing the big red button on my HV20 and video being captured flawlessly. This doesn't happen on the GH2. I suspect that this is due to the shallower depth of field inherent in u43s. Most videos end up with obvious hunting and refocusing. Whilst the GH2 may be capable of great quality video due to its great (for video) sensor this is of merely academic interest when the camera struggles to maintain focus. I've tried the focus lock trick and it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. So (for my needs) this is a fail.

2. The sensor seems much poorer (i.e. noisier) than that of my 40D. My rationale for the purchase of the GH2 for stills was that although the sensor was smaller than a 1.6 crop it was also a few years newer than that in the 40D and hence should be roughly on a par performance-wise. This doesn't seem to be the case - IMO.

3. Perceived image quality. With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective. I realise that this is (at least) partially down to the 17-55 f2.8 lens. However, I understand that the Panasonic 20mm is also highly regarded and I've never really been blown away by any images produced with that lens.

4. Flash - The Olympus FL36R is ludicrously underpowered. I realise that it only has two AA batteries but it a) struggles to illuminate a small room with bounced flash and b) takes an unacceptable length of time to recharge. Also, there seems to be no reliable indication of when the flash is ready to fire again. I'm returning this flash as it's unacceptable for my needs. I could have gone with a 4AA flash unit. However this would have been as big as my Canon speedlite and would therefore have added no value to me.

So, the flash is definitely going back. I'm now trying to decide whether the GH2 is able to function as a family camcorder for travel - i.e. in outdoors situations is there enough light to ameliorate the depth-of-field (and hence focussing) issues with the camera?

I strongly believe that the future is mirrorless. However, for me, the cameras are just not good enough yet - either as stills cameras or as family camcorder replacements. I hope that this post does not come across as being overly negative - I bought into u43s with high (yet I hoped realistic) hopes and these have not been met.

Best Regards,

Julian.

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CDMc
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

Hi,

Here's my view from 9 months ago (40D owner as well)

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1041&message=38069226

All I have left to sell now is the 40D, 430EX, Sigma 50 1.4 and the 70-200 F4 L IS. I took some pictures 2 weeks ago at my sisters wedding - GH2, 20mm, and the 430EX - it did so much better than the 40D I can't get over it. The detail at high ISO was just super, as was CDAF.

Have you got lightroom? it makes all the difference - the 40D is not in the same league for me (and if you tend to agree with DPR then the GH2 is par with 7D/D7000 upto 3200, and then it's splitting hairs after. If you've not got it - download the trail, i did, and there's no turning back.

I hear what you're saying about the focus breathing on video - it's the 20mm right? It's not so good for video - but don't be put off, the canon video focussing is terrifying - just watch youtube. Have you updated the firmware on everything BTW? it has improved.

I'm just looking at the 25mm 1.4 PL, it's supposed to be superb for stills and good at video as well, as is the Oly 45mm 1.8

I had the 40D and a Panny HDC SD200 at the same time, and there's no way I'm going back to lugging all that around. And now even if video didn't exist, I had so much trouble with PDAF on Canon that I'd never go back.

Good luck with your deliberations. Let us know what you decide.

Best regards

Carl

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MrTaikitso
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As a GH2 14-140 owner...
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

...who is happy with the camera because I knew what I was getting into, my comments:

1. I actually agree with you. My brother's ageing but hunky Nikon D200 takes clean soft lovely stills that I have to work much harder to obtain with the GH2 - and only in very good light. However...

2. The versatility, speed and (despite it's light weight), build quality of the GH2 does make it a superb all in one camera, ideal for pro-sumers like me.

3. If you're making money from your work, and the client expects pro level results, of course, dedicated gear is best, although from the early reviews, the NX5/7 (I know, not 4/3rds, but kudos where it is due), take cleaner images and I imagine the video is better - but then, as per another commenter above, the sensor is larger on the Sony's - and the NX7 is pricier than the GH2.

4. All said, I imagine that thanks to the NX7 and 1080P video capabilities of the new Canon, Nikon and Pentax DSLRs, that Panny will ensure the GH3 improves on the GH2 in the same way the GH2 did over the GH1.

And looking at my calendar, the GH3 is a tad overdue!

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RickPick
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

3. Perceived image quality. With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective. I realise that this is (at least) partially down to the 17-55 f2.8 lens. However, I understand that the Panasonic 20mm is also highly regarded and I've never really been blown away by any images produced with that lens.

There is a group on Flickr dedicated to this lens, have you looked there (or on DP Review) to see what an m4/3 with this lens can do? It can take a long time (maybe longer than your 6 months) to really get to know a new camera system. Of course only you can know whether it is right for you or not and whether you have given it a fair chance or not. If you do think you have, then ditch it and get something you will be happy with. I think maybe, since you have posted here with this question, you are still not quite sure....

For video, you cannot rely on continuous auto focus with any large sensor camera at this point in time. Anyone doing any serious shooting uses manual focus or else zone focusing. The GH2's 24 m/bit video modes are still probably the best out there (in the DSLR class), beating some much more expensive cameras for resolution and lack of visual artifacts. It takes some effort though to learn to shoot properly with it.
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exdeejjjaaaa
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

warrj wrote:

4. Flash - The Olympus FL36R is ludicrously underpowered. I realise that it only has two AA batteries but it a) struggles to illuminate a small room with bounced flash and b) takes an unacceptable length of time to recharge. Also, there seems to be no reliable indication of when the flash is ready to fire again. I'm returning this flash as it's unacceptable for my needs. I could have gone with a 4AA flash unit. However this would have been as big as my Canon speedlite and would therefore have added no value to me.

dear, you shoot "mostly indoors" - how does the flash size really matters once you have one on your camera anyways ? the likes of Oly FL50(R) or Metz 58 AF2 are not in another league size wise or weight wise versus FL36(R)... plus you can always put 1-2 extra flashes around the room in some corners and get extra light to eliminate unwanted shadows (even when bouncing the main one) and just fill w/ extra light...

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papillon_65
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

warrj wrote:

Hi,

Just thought that I'd share my impressions of u4/3s with you all. Prior to buying a GH2 my equipment was a Canon 40D + 17-55 f2.8 + Speedlite 580EX for stills and a Canon HV20 for video. I mostly take family photos (mostly indoors both with and without flash), macro photos of flowers (with a 60mm macro) and video of my kids.

The GH2 + 14-140 was an attempt to simplify my gear by merging my stills and video equipment. I also purchased the 20mm f.17 lens and the Olympus FL36R flash. After six months, for my needs, it has not met my expectations.

Firstly the positives:
1. It's small and light.
2. The videos it produces can be wonderful

Secondly the negatives:

1. I'm used to just mashing the big red button on my HV20 and video being captured flawlessly. This doesn't happen on the GH2. I suspect that this is due to the shallower depth of field inherent in u43s. Most videos end up with obvious hunting and refocusing. Whilst the GH2 may be capable of great quality video due to its great (for video) sensor this is of merely academic interest when the camera struggles to maintain focus. I've tried the focus lock trick and it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. So (for my needs) this is a fail.

2. The sensor seems much poorer (i.e. noisier) than that of my 40D. My rationale for the purchase of the GH2 for stills was that although the sensor was smaller than a 1.6 crop it was also a few years newer than that in the 40D and hence should be roughly on a par performance-wise. This doesn't seem to be the case - IMO.

DXOmark seems to think it is and DPR say it is even better and on parity with most current APS sensors up to ISO 3200

3. Perceived image quality. With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective. I realise that this is (at least) partially down to the 17-55 f2.8 lens. However, I understand that the Panasonic 20mm is also highly regarded and I've never really been blown away by any images produced with that lens.

You must have a different 20mm to the one I use, I don't think Canon even has a comparable lens at anywhere near the price.

4. Flash - The Olympus FL36R is ludicrously underpowered. I realise that it only has two AA batteries but it a) struggles to illuminate a small room with bounced flash and b) takes an unacceptable length of time to recharge. Also, there seems to be no reliable indication of when the flash is ready to fire again. I'm returning this flash as it's unacceptable for my needs. I could have gone with a 4AA flash unit. However this would have been as big as my Canon speedlite and would therefore have added no value to me.

I've shot weddings with the FL36R, it has plenty of power and the test light illuminates when it is ready to fire again. The recycle time depends on the power you are using it at.

So, the flash is definitely going back. I'm now trying to decide whether the GH2 is able to function as a family camcorder for travel - i.e. in outdoors situations is there enough light to ameliorate the depth-of-field (and hence focussing) issues with the camera?

I strongly believe that the future is mirrorless. However, for me, the cameras are just not good enough yet - either as stills cameras or as family camcorder replacements. I hope that this post does not come across as being overly negative - I bought into u43s with high (yet I hoped realistic) hopes and these have not been met.

Best Regards,

Julian.

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WT21
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In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

So many people have to chime in and say "I'm leaving."

That's OK -- you'll be back. There is no nirvana camera. m43 is a great balance.

Sooooooo many people have done this announcement on this forum, then in 3-6 months or so, they are back with their "revelation" that m43 actually works for them.

Good luck in whatever you shoot with next. We'll see you when you get back.
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warrj
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to weesam, Dec 27, 2011

weesam wrote:

warrj wrote:

With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective.

for example?

However, I understand that the Panasonic 20mm is also highly regarded and I've never really been blown away by any images produced with that lens.

for example?

My post was subjective. I'm not happy with the GH2's image quality. Whether others agree or whether the GH2 measures as well as the 40D is irrelevant to me.

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exdeejjjaaaa
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

warrj wrote:

2. The sensor seems much poorer (i.e. noisier) than that of my 40D.\

40D sensor was indeed a very good one at the time of its introduction, 40D was a king of APS-C realm (high ISO specifically), and still is no worse than Panasonic GH2, even better... but if you will deliver a good deal of light and stay at base ISO you still shall get quite identical results (using similar lenses FOV, DOF, etc - wise).

3. Perceived image quality. With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective. I realise that this is (at least) partially down to the 17-55 f2.8 lens. However, I understand that the Panasonic 20mm is also highly regarded and I've never really been blown away by any images produced with that lens.

what about your raw conversion/post processing - did you try to think about that in addition to equipment - what are your raw converters in both cases (I'd assume you do not use in camera JPG) and if you can share 2 raw files (one from 40D where you are blown away and another from GH2 where you expected to be blown away but that did not happen) and your conversion results - that might help to understand

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papillon_65
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to warrj, Dec 27, 2011

warrj wrote:

weesam wrote:

warrj wrote:

With my 40D I regularly get images that blow me away from a quality perspective.

for example?

However, I understand that the Panasonic 20mm is also highly regarded and I've never really been blown away by any images produced with that lens.

for example?

My post was subjective. I'm not happy with the GH2's image quality. Whether others agree or whether the GH2 measures as well as the 40D is irrelevant to me.

If other peoples opinions are irrelevant then why bother posting in the first place? you're clearly in the minority either way.
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http://the-random-photographer.blogspot.com/

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warrj
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to J R R S, Dec 28, 2011

J R R S wrote:

seems to me your biggest grumble is the Af video issue...

Apparently this is vastly improved with the new FW and hunting is much reduced.... worth a try!

I still experience the same issues with the new firmware and the 14-140 zoom

With regards to IQ - how much better was the D40.... realy does it change the images you capture? and enough to give up the convinence?

The GH2 pics don't put a smile on my face whereas the 40D often do. Horribly subjective I know...

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warrj
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Re: On the verge of ditching u43s
In reply to exdeejjjaaaa, Dec 28, 2011

exdeejjjaaaa wrote:

what about your raw conversion/post processing - did you try to think about that in addition to equipment - what are your raw converters in both cases (I'd assume you do not use in camera JPG) and if you can share 2 raw files (one from 40D where you are blown away and another from GH2 where you expected to be blown away but that did not happen) and your conversion results - that might help to understand

Lightroom RAW conversion for both. The GH2 files seem to need more luminance noise reduction to look acceptable - to me.

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warrj
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In reply to warrj, Dec 28, 2011

Hi,

To clarify. It seems that the consensus here seems to be that a GH2 + 14-140 cannot replace a DSLR + camcorder combo. Leaving aside still image quality which, I maintain, is a subjective judgement it seems that the GH2 cannot replace a camcorder due to its inability to keep moving subjects in focus.

Is it really such an outrageous expectation that a 'hybrid' stills/video camera could replace a camcorder?

One of the much trumpeted benefits of the GH2 over video-capable DSLRs is the GH2's ability to quickly refocus during video recording. If this isn't good enough to replace a camcorder then, frankly, what's the big deal?

Best Regards,

Julian.

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