Question about GH2 and lenses

Started Sep 26, 2012 | Discussions
gmoniey New Member • Posts: 10
Question about GH2 and lenses

Hi,

I posted something similar in another forum, but was it was suggested to post here to get better feedback, so apologies if this seems like a repost.

A friend of mine offered up a used GH2 and Lumix 14-42mm & Lumix 45-200mm lenses for about $900-1000 and I was wondering if its a good deal. He also offered his Lumix 20mm & Olympus 9-18mm lenses for significantly more.

The feedback I got was that its probably not the best of deals given the lenses, but unfortunately, I don't quite understand why. I've tried reading up on lenses and how they vary, but everything I have found has went right over my head. For example, I've been told (several times actually) that the 14-45 is much better than the 14-42, but I don't understand why.

I'd like to stay in the micro 4/3 range, as I like the compact size. I currently have a Olympus EP-2, and I thought I wouldn't be bothered by the lack of viewfinder and the lack of flash, but it turns out it bugs me quick a bit. I played with my cousin's GH1 and liked it a lot. I'm also aware that the GH3 will be available very soon, but from what I've read, the improvements it offers wont be of much benefit to me, given that I'm very much a novice when it comes to cameras and photography in general.

Appreciate any responses...

Thanks

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
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pundit Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses
Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,802
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

The most recent of a plethora of "LGV 14-45mm compared to LGV 14-42mm" threads:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1041&thread=42568553

1,590 "hits" on Google from entering the search-phrase:

site:forums.dpreview.com "45-200mm" and "softness"

Chez Wimpy
Chez Wimpy Veteran Member • Posts: 8,943
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

Detail Man wrote:

site:forums.dpreview.com "45-200mm" and "softness"

It gives me amazingly sharp results at 200mm... some of the time.

What I have discovered with this lens is that sometimes "in focus" is not really "in focus" at all. Dropping to magnified MF mode to touch-up will get things right in critical shots, and more often than not, very, very sharp.

To the OP: doesn't sound like a good deal. In fact, for $900-$1000, I would look to get the GH2 new, lensless, and pick up the 14- 45 + 45-175 (or new 45-150) for a great matched kit. Though the 45-200 is no slouch, it is a lot larger.

-- hide signature --

-CW

 Chez Wimpy's gear list:Chez Wimpy's gear list
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Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,802
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

Chez Wimpy wrote:

It gives me amazingly sharp results at 200mm... some of the time.

What I have discovered with this lens is that sometimes "in focus" is not really "in focus" at all. Dropping to magnified MF mode to touch-up will get things right in critical shots, and more often than not, very, very sharp.

If lens cannot manage to auto-focus at what looks like infinity in your shot, that seems unfortunate

OP gmoniey New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

Thanks...I suppose what I was getting at is that my lack of knowledge of cameras and zooms in general was hindering my ability to fully understand the comments/reviews I've found.

I've been reading more and more about general concepts (i.e. focal length, aperature, iso), but I can't help but feel I'm still a long ways out from fully understanding things. I suppose that with more practice, things will fall into place (that, and maybe I should get a "dummies" book). It also doesn't help that I'm generally frustrated with my EP-2 & 14-42 lens...especially when it comes to focus.

I suppose the next step is trying to find the right lenses for me. I don't intend on doing anything crazy, just wanted a good camera and lenses for various types of family shots (indoor/outdoor, action/stationary, etc).

Based on what I've gathered, I should get the following types of lenses (in order)

1. wide angle
2. telephoto
3. prime

The next big question is which lenses I should go for...which I suppose is better suited for another thread (after I've done more research).

Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,802
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

gmoniey wrote:

Thanks...I suppose what I was getting at is that my lack of knowledge of cameras and zooms in general was hindering my ability to fully understand the comments/reviews I've found.

I've been reading more and more about general concepts (i.e. focal length, aperature, iso), but I can't help but feel I'm still a long ways out from fully understanding things. I suppose that with more practice, things will fall into place (that, and maybe I should get a "dummies" book). It also doesn't help that I'm generally frustrated with my EP-2 & 14-42 lens...especially when it comes to focus.

I suppose the next step is trying to find the right lenses for me. I don't intend on doing anything crazy, just wanted a good camera and lenses for various types of family shots (indoor/outdoor, action/stationary, etc).

Based on what I've gathered, I should get the following types of lenses (in order)

1. wide angle
2. telephoto
3. prime

The next big question is which lenses I should go for...which I suppose is better suited for another thread (after I've done more research).

Let people know what kind of subject-matter you have (or will) want to photograph, at what distance from the camera will that subject-matter be, in what kind of light (i.e., indoors, outdoors in low light, outdoors in bright light, etc.). Do you want to primarily record images with deep (or shallow) Depth of Field ? What are your priorities for fine-detail resolution within the focused area ?

You could spend a fortune on prime lenses - but having some zooms can cover a lot more in the way of possible situations (as one cannot always "zoom with their feet"). The downside of zooms can be that they have higher minimum F-Number than primes (meaning slower Shutter Speeds, and/or higher ISO Gains may be necessary). "Faster" zoom lenses are going to be more expensive.

What are your priorities for physical size/weight (this can vary somewhat depending on cam body)?

This thread would be fine to explore such things. The more you define, the more people can assist

ryan2007 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,001
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

Not to steer you away from MFT's and I am a Panasonic GX-1 user and actually sold my DSLR gear about two years ago because I wanted a lighter and compact way to duplicate what I had with my DSLR stuff.

I do my best to look at the big picture. First, once you decide on a camera it will be very helpful to get a text book or something that explains the basics. Composition, the relationship of F-stop & shutter speeds, ISO or "film speed". You can have $2,000 of camera gear and still get bad pictures. The camera can be in auto exposure mode and you can still take an out of focus image. The great thing is it costs nothing to do unlike film where you do not see the results till much later. You go on vacation and hope you got good pictures when you shot film for the most part.

Now for pricing B&H photo is one of if not the largest photo supply store I would check their deals first because some of the gear mentioned like the GH-2 can still be had and even if its $100 more new it may be worth it, I think it is. You can also save and wait for the GH-3 the replacement.

Now to camera type for interchangeable lens. Micro Four Thirds and your DSLR. For the same $1,000 or so you could get a DSLR. Nikon & Canon are the big two and I can speak for Nikon better being a Nikon user for a long time. Both are good cameras once you decide you usually stick to the manufacture because you have invested money and it costs to switch since you never get back your initial investment with camera gear.

The best thing you can do even if you did not buy it is go in person and try a Nikon, Canon, Panasonic & Olympus. Micro Four Thirds cameras are small like large P&S camera small for the most part with out a lens attached. Pictures are very hard to tell via the internet.

At a point get the photography basics and it will help. I can look at a room or location, know what I want to shoot, visualize composition, choose a lens and know that available light is not great and if I do not have a fast lens, I'll need a tripod because I need a slower shutter speed to get the same result. Just an arbitrary example.

Last, until you know what your doing only shoot JPEG and buy Photoshop Elements as a basic editing program unless you intend to have someplace else print your pictures. Learning basic editing your self like cropping and adjusting levels and contrast gives even more knowledge since you know where you are taking the photo what you can do.

gmoniey wrote:

Thanks...I suppose what I was getting at is that my lack of knowledge of cameras and zooms in general was hindering my ability to fully understand the comments/reviews I've found.

I've been reading more and more about general concepts (i.e. focal length, aperature, iso), but I can't help but feel I'm still a long ways out from fully understanding things. I suppose that with more practice, things will fall into place (that, and maybe I should get a "dummies" book). It also doesn't help that I'm generally frustrated with my EP-2 & 14-42 lens...especially when it comes to focus.

I suppose the next step is trying to find the right lenses for me. I don't intend on doing anything crazy, just wanted a good camera and lenses for various types of family shots (indoor/outdoor, action/stationary, etc).

Based on what I've gathered, I should get the following types of lenses (in order)

1. wide angle
2. telephoto
3. prime

The next big question is which lenses I should go for...which I suppose is better suited for another thread (after I've done more research).

OP gmoniey New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

Thanks Ryan and Detail Man...

I'll try and answer both of your questions here are there is some overlap.

I agree, I should definitely get a book, as I could use the help.

As for the type of camera, I have been leaning towards a micro 4/3 as opposed to a traditional DSLR because I want

a) portability, and smaller size

b) After playing around with my friends' DSLRs, I can't help but feel that there is a lot of bells & whistles I'll never take advantage of.

I've went into a camera shop (Samy's Camera in Los Angeles) before to test things out, but I always seem to feel overwhelmed. Maybe I'm not asking the right questions, and deep down, I can't help but feel that the sales guys is just trying to make a sale.

Also, as Ryan mentioned, I do very little post-editing (often because of a lack of time), so my hope is that the pictures I get from the camera (and I understand, this is of course assuming I am using it correctly), require little effort after the fact.

As far as subject matter, I have a 1 year old son, so he is my most common subject =]. But more generally, most of my pictures are around people. I seldom do scenic/nature shots, but that doesn't mean I wont shoot I nice sunset if I see it, just that my focus is usually on people rather than places. Similarly, I'd use a telephoto lens to zoom in on a face rather than a bird in the distance. In regards to lighting, its pretty all over the place (sorry, I can't be more specific), as I'll use the camera to take random shots in doors, but also take it on vacations and take outdoor pictures.

jafa1970 New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

Based on the OPs intended use, I would consider a cheaper model than the GH2 (which I own). You are paying for the bells and whistles you mentioned you do not need.

If you are really feeling your way into the interchangeable Lens worls, perhaps getting a second hand Olympus or Panasonic mid-range model is a better option, or one of the good deals for a new one currently out there.

Use whatever lens comes with the camera you buy for a while, and then add lens as you determine where your needs are. I would suggest a fast prime, 20mm Panasonis or 45mm Olympus (which I have) are good for indoor, lower light usage, compared to most of the zoom lens.

Upgrading a body (if you determine bells and whistler are needed) in the future is made easier by any lens you get now being compatible.

Cheers

alendrake Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

I agree with jafa1970. It's generally just a waste of money for a novice to go get a camera with most bells and whistles.

A very reasonable choice would be Lumix G3 for $430, and it's has all the features needed for a starter.

Olympus hasn't an alternative in same price league. And the craziest thing with E-P1 and E-P2 is that they lacked both viewfinder and a flash. So if you add a flash, you can't have a viewfinder and vice versa. This is the worst design which Olympus could think of for their top PEN model!

jafa1970 wrote
Based on the OPs intended use, I would consider a cheaper model than the GH2

(which I own). You are paying for the bells and whistles you mentioned you do not > need.

Mingjai
Mingjai Senior Member • Posts: 1,400
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

Chez Wimpy wrote:

To the OP: doesn't sound like a good deal. In fact, for $900-$1000, I would look to get the GH2 new, lensless, and pick up the 14- 45 + 45-175 (or new 45-150) for a great matched kit. Though the 45-200 is no slouch, it is a lot larger.

A lot of good advice has been offered here--I just wanted to emphasize this point--for $900-1000, you should be able to get the GH2 plus two lenses new. Since we're talking used, I wouldn't pay more than $750 for the whole kit.

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Panasonic G85 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Leica Nocticron 42.5mm Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH +18 more
Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,398
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

The lenses are fine, but the price seems high.

There is nothing really wrong with either of the lenses you list. Both are very good kit lenses. However, neither is an expensive lens and the price you quote sounds high to me - check the B&H prices linked in the earlier post.

As to the 14-45 vs 14-42, the conventional wisdom ranks the 14-45 a little higher. Both are good lenses and the difference is not a big thing so long as the prices are right.

Gato

Portrait, figure and fantasy photography at:
Silver Mirage Gallery:
http://www.silvermirage.com

Bob Meyer Veteran Member • Posts: 5,375
What you need to know about forums....

You need to understand something about forums like this. They tend to be populated by hardware geeks for whom even little differences loom large.

Take the 14-42 vs. 14-45 question. There's little doubt that the 14-45 is sharper at the edges and corners of the frame. But this isn't something you're likely to notice unless (1), there's a lot of detail in at least one edge of the frame, (2) that detail is in focus, and (3) you're blowing the image up on your monitor (search for the term pixel peeping). In the center, I think you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference without very careful examination. The 14-42 is capable of taking very good pictures, if that's your goal.

Same with the 45-200. Is it the sharpest lens you can buy? No, especially at the long end. Is the 100-300 sharper? Yes, but it's also much more expensive and much heavier. Is the 45-200 capable of making very nice photographs? Absolutely.

I don't know if what he's offering is a good price or not. Look at prices on ebay to get some comparison values. But unless you're looking for perfection, I think these lenses and camera will serve you well.

gmoniey wrote:

Hi,

I posted something similar in another forum, but was it was suggested to post here to get better feedback, so apologies if this seems like a repost.

A friend of mine offered up a used GH2 and Lumix 14-42mm & Lumix 45-200mm lenses for about $900-1000 and I was wondering if its a good deal. He also offered his Lumix 20mm & Olympus 9-18mm lenses for significantly more.

The feedback I got was that its probably not the best of deals given the lenses, but unfortunately, I don't quite understand why. I've tried reading up on lenses and how they vary, but everything I have found has went right over my head. For example, I've been told (several times actually) that the 14-45 is much better than the 14-42, but I don't understand why.

I'd like to stay in the micro 4/3 range, as I like the compact size. I currently have a Olympus EP-2, and I thought I wouldn't be bothered by the lack of viewfinder and the lack of flash, but it turns out it bugs me quick a bit. I played with my cousin's GH1 and liked it a lot. I'm also aware that the GH3 will be available very soon, but from what I've read, the improvements it offers wont be of much benefit to me, given that I'm very much a novice when it comes to cameras and photography in general.

Appreciate any responses...

Thanks

-- hide signature --

I've stopped thinking in terms of "equivalent" focal lengths on m43. 25mm is what it is, and what it might be similar to on some other format doesn't matter to me any more. We need to learn what to expect from our current equipment, not keep mapping it to the old. No one refers to their 50mm FF lens as "equivalent to 80mm on MF."

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Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / Power O.I.S Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 +6 more
ryan2007 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,001
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

What I advise based on the previous response is get the Panasonic GX-1 with a 14-45 zoom. If you want really nice diffused flash buy or look to buy the Metz 50 AF-1 or similar with the gray fong collapsible light sphere.

Regardless of a flash accessory using non direct flash will make loads of difference.

Remember to get eye level with your subject as much as possible. Leave room on all sides of the frame because if you want to make an enlargement everything is automatically cropped. I also advise not to use the date stamp because when you take that great shot those numbers are imbedded unless you crop the bottom part of the image, use the clone tool I photoshop, any version currently.

I understand all you want to do is drop the images off for some else to print which is fine.

VERY IMPORTANT - Do not shoot RAW, you need to my knowledge software to open these files and it usually comes with the camera for you to do yourself.

The short version of RAW is all of the data is taken to give maximum adjustment later and uses up more space being a large file. JPEG does the scene data editing for you and is best for a what you see is what you get result.

This is why I highly suggested an external flash with diffusion. iMO it will be helpful to do everything up front if you cannot rely on any pet editing. Exactly the same if you we're shooting film.

Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,802
Re: Consider a Compact Camera as well ...

gmoniey wrote:

As far as subject matter, I have a 1 year old son, so he is my most common subject =]. But more generally, most of my pictures are around people. I seldom do scenic/nature shots, but that doesn't mean I wont shoot I nice sunset if I see it, just that my focus is usually on people rather than places. Similarly, I'd use a telephoto lens to zoom in on a face rather than a bird in the distance. In regards to lighting, its pretty all over the place (sorry, I can't be more specific), as I'll use the camera to take random shots in doors, but also take it on vacations and take outdoor pictures.

As your son starts to toddle, he will amaze you at the speed that he will vector-off in a split-second (and they always seem to move in the Z-axis, that is, forwards or backwards), confounding the AF system of any camera, and very readily exceeding the Depth of Field of focus around the camera's last best estimate of focus-distance.

I am no schill for M43 format. You might (for your son, particularly indoors in lower light levels) strongly consider a compact camera instead:

(1) Smaller, pocketable, more portable, fits in a jacket-pocket, etc;

(2) Significantly deeper Depth of Field (due to the shorter minimum Focal Length of the Lens Systems, significanly less limited minimum focus-distances (most M43 lens require in the range of 30cm, or 1.0 Foot at a very minumum);

(3) Only moderately lower image-quality (when configured at the same Depth of Field as a larger format camera system, all systems are similar, varying only due to Quantum Efficiency which is quite good in many compacts, and Read Noise, which is also reasonably good in many current compact model image-sensors).

The Panasonic FZ-200 has a constant-aperture F=2.8 lens-system. The DMC-LX7 has a very "fast" (F=1.4) zoom lens (24mm to around 100mm, Zoom Factor = around 4.0).

For photographing a little one, the (in my experience) most important things are portability, quick availablity for shooting at the ready, deep DOF, moderate zoom capability (Zoom Factor=4.0 is good, much more, and you will be losing adequate DOF, anyway), and the ability to shoot in low-light conditions (a "fast" zoom lens of F=2.8 or less, even when zoomed).

The opportune moments will (seemingly) always occur spontaneously in less than ideal environments and lighting conditions, amd it is far more important to have a chance at getting a shot than it is important to uncase a large, fancy camera, fiddle around, and have to "think like a photographer" every time that you shoot. The moments are brief, and will be long over in the latter case - unless you are at the ready within mere seconds. Trust me on that one ...

The FZ200 and LX7 are both less that $500, are self-contained (fixed, in-camera lens) systems, and can record in RAW format if desired.

You could very easily spend as much money (or even far more) on one single M43 lens ...

OP gmoniey New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Question about GH2 and lenses

Thanks...I agree...based on all the feedback, it looks like the offered price is too high.

OP gmoniey New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Consider a Compact Camera as well ...

Thanks for the suggestions...

I suppose I was leaning towards an interchangable lens camera so that I can learn and grow when it comes to photography.

That being said, I see what your saying about the expenses. I suppose my next step would be to go into a camera store and try different models and get a feel for them.

Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,802
Re: Consider a Compact Camera as well ...

gmoniey wrote:

Thanks for the suggestions...

I suppose I was leaning towards an interchangable lens camera so that I can learn and grow when it comes to photography.

Understood. My only point is that your son will only be an infant once - for an all too brief dream-time, free from self-consciousness, and to soon become mobile to the point of flummoxing almost any camera. Something small and easy to have at the ready, perhaps even operate with one hand if necessary, and able to zoom and AF quickly, can (with image-stabilization and a reasonably "fast" lens) deal with indoor and other non-ideal lighting conditions, and having a good and fast burst-mode is your best chance of not missing precious, spontaneous and brief moments.

Apparently a study was once conducted where an olympic-trained athelete tried to mirror every physical motion of a 2-3 year toddler. After some 30 minutes, the athelete experienced cardiac-arrest. They are like little lightning bolts once mobile, and love to move forward or back from you !

That being said, I see what your saying about the expenses. I suppose my next step would be to go into a camera store and try different models and get a feel for them.

A trusty "Mini-Me" camera would run you less than many M43 lenses alone. The FZ200 is too big to be pocketable - but a LX7 around $450 (or ZS15 if you can live a "slower" lens at F=3.3, with JPG only, and lower overall image-quality, around $250) would be my tool of choice. Just for fun, here is a burst-series taken using my first little 6 Mpixel P&S (at around 2 shots per second), demonstrating how quickly an infant changes emotions and expressions (if not position, as well):

Regards,

DM ...

Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,802
Re: Consider a Compact Camera as well ...

Perhaps a venture into child psychology, but I found it to be significant and important in taking thousands of pictures on my little friend in her "dream time". The camera was a mystery and an object of curiosity to her. I avoided showing her what it did, and managed to put that moment off until she was around 2 years old, so as not to end the "dream time" of authenticity, and enter the world of self-consciousness and posing, soon (enough) leading to nothing but goofy faces, etc. ...

Whatever occupies your hands and attention will fill them with curiosity and occupy their attention. Much better to have a small little item that you can keep in your pocket, and deploy with minimal distraction at opportune moments, then return it to the pocket, quickly leaving their attention. If a camera is big and your pull it out of a case and it occupies your hands, they will tend to be distracted by it (as you appear to be), be overcome with curiosity about it, and even perhaps come to be somewhat resentful of it's occupying your energy and attention. They will long to grab it and play with it, too, cover that fancy lens with little fingerprints, and in general come to see it as something that separates you from them, and a mysterious, perhaps unwelcome, distraction ...

Much better (I found, at least) that the "focus" remains on what they are doing, with the camera only a small and briefly seen "little box" that does not detract from their experiencing you and the world around them - as the best perspectives are found when the observer's tools does not overly affect the environment, and the little one, being observed. My little friend had no idea what that small "little box" was that would seem to so often appear in my hands - but it became a familiar and only a minor mystery over time. The same day that I took the previously posted burst-shots, I decided to finally demonstrate some (to her) coherently understandable purpose to the "little box"

Involving the ancient game of "peek-a-boo", I briefly (and unusually for her) hid my eyes behind the camera as a I framed the shot, whispered "peek-a-boo" to her, and at the moment that she finally perceived a practical (and playful) purpose to the "little box", I got my all time favorite shot of her (albeit severely under-exposed, with many iterations at PP rescue attempts following after):

.

6 years later, she is still my very best friend, but getting a non-goofy pose is like "pulling teeth" ...

.

The moral of my story is that the "dream time" free from self-consciousness is brief. An infant is incapable of insincerity, brimming with every emotion possible. Readily capturing "subject quality" for the briefest moments in largely unscriptable/uncontrollable conditions trumps all other things

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