back to article Panasonic DMC-GH1 Micro Four-Thirds camera

Are we at the point where people will only buy one product to film and take great stills? Instead of camcorders that can take the odd sub-10Mp image, camera manufacturers are coming at it from the other side and offering HD video on models previously only equipped for stills. The Lumix DMC-GH1 is the camera that Panasonic left …

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FAIL

Fail.

No 3rd party batteries and a £120 for a u4/3rds to a normal 4/3rds adapter.

Sort of cant really see the point. Barely smaller than a pro-sumer dslr.

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Alert

Never heard of HDR?

"Exposure too, has similar fine-tuning and bracketing that can be applied over three, five or seven frames. Good to see, but this is maybe a hang over from the days of film, as it’s unlikely 1/3 EV difference either side could be detected on most people’s dusty monitors."

I'd like to see you try and get some good HDR images without using 3/5/7 AEB!!!

Very useful feature and not a hang-over!! good to see 5&7 aswell!

Seems a good spec but for this price I'd be looking at a 7D.

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Coat

Bah

Wot no HD-SDI out?

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Fantastic camera for the money

I've had mine for a few months now. It takes great photos and video out of the box but works best when you tweak the settings a little. dvxuser has a great sub forum with very useful information.

You can buy adapters to use canon fd/eos, nikon, c-mount lenses and many more for around the £40 - £50 mark on ebay and a basic prime lens for around the same money. Great!

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Just got one of these

Just got one of these, and love it.

One point wirth mentioning is that the sensor is not the same as the G1 -- it's actually a 14.something sensor that generates 12.1MPx in the various aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1). Most reviewers seem to think that the GH1 takes slightly better stills than the G1. So, this means that the selection of aspect ratio isn't just down to artistic choice -- cropping a 4:3 image to 3:2 will result in a lower resolution image (though not by much).

The only slightly annoying thing I've found so far is that you have to take 7 shots to get +/- 2EV bracketing. No big deal, but a bit of an extra pain for HDR shots in trying to keep the camera steady!

I bought mine from Campkins in Cambridge for just over a grand. They threw in the mic (£120 on its own) and a Class 10 8GB SD card (lightning fast for pulling video off), and a mini HDMI to HDMI cable. Not a bad deal.

All told, if you're interested in a hybrid camera, and sway more towards video, get the GH1. If you're more interested in stills, the EOS 7D might be the better bet (noisey lens, manual refocussing, no constant aperture and, I think, as 12min recording limit -- though that may just be the 5D mkII).

FYI the AVCHD import into iMovie (current version) works fine. If I get the hang of this video lark, I may splash out on Final Cut Studio, or similar.

All told, a great camera and essentially unique at the moment.

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Pint

Nice Camera

But I just looked on amazon for a price - and correspondingly fell off my chair.

I'll wait a while (10 years) until I can afford such a beauty...

Drink icon, because I need one now...

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£999

Thanks for the review, I'm so tempted by this camera.

I've seen it for £999 in a store outside of London (Oct 2009). No online store though.

Store website here: http://www.reflexcameras.co.uk

Pic proof here: http://twitpic.com/rfpri

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Cropping and aspect ratios

Following on from what RichyS said the review is wrong with respect to cropping.

For most cameras using 16:9 means that the pictures are the same width as the normal mode but the height is reduced. Using this mode would just mean throwing away the top and bottom of the image, something which could be achieved by editting it later.

This one however uses a trick that Panasonic introduced with the LX3. The retangular sensor is bigger than the circular area that the lens projects the image onto, so the corners of the sensor never see anything. This means wasted pixels and so it is a 12MP camera despite having a 14MP sensor, but the user can choose which pair of edges to ignore. Sure 16:9 has less height than the other modes, but unlike most cameras it makes up for that with greater width.

4:3 uses the full height of the sensor but not all of the width, ie 4000*3000. 16:9 uses the full width but not all the height, ie 4352*2448. 3:2 takes a little off each edge, 4128*2752. 1:1 is the sort or crop the review author had in mind when he talked about cropping. Getting an uncropped image complete with missing corners (!) isn't possible.

For comparison the Panasonic G1 at 4:3 has the same 4000*3000. Switch this to 16:9 though and it drops to 4000*2248.

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high iso banding?

whats with the banding the iso 1600 and higher pics? grainyness is to be expected but the lines are odd.

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Yes, but is it any good as a stills camera?

El Reg seems to be reviewing this mainly as a video camera rather than for stills. OK fair enough but you're claiming it's stolen a march on the Canon's 7D and Nikon's D300s both very, very good stills cameras.

How does the GH1 compare to these two in handling and at high ISO?

Also, as a system how does it compare to offerings from Nikon and Canon? Nikon's CLS, for example, is great for is great for off camera flash.

I'm guessing that how you want to use your camera is going to be more of a deciding factor than which lenses you already own. I.e. Do you want a small, compact and versatile all rounder or do you want something to shoot indoor sports in low light, etc.

These little micro 4/3rds cameras look like a great, very flexible compromise but personally I'd still primarily be interested in using it as still camera.

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Four Thirds isn't for everyone

The ability to add an external mike to me would be the biggest selling point in this camera, the turnoffs are the noise at high ISO's and the Four Thirds mount.

Considering how small the sensor is I'm surprised the pictures have as low noise as they do, however my Nikon D700 has a full frame sensor and doesn't start showing any noise until ISO 5000. Unless people are buying new into the system the Four Thirds mount is a pricey proposition for what you actually get, and there's not a huge choice of lenses. Also, LCD displays still haven't caught up to a simple reflex mirror.

However, zip over to Youtube and the video quality is actually pretty good. An external mike takes away all the problems with hearing the focus motor or your hands as you move or adjust anything on the camera. And manual controls? ooooohh.....by comparison my Nikon D90 backup camera literally just captures the live view, and has a well known problem with the video wobbling or jiggling if you pan too fast or don't hold it steady.

So one of these would be nice to get, but not for the price.

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Paris Hilton

an £800 premium over the G1 for hd video?

I paid less for my D90 a year ago. The G1 is a lovely piece of kit, but why almost a triple hike in price on the GH1 just for adding the ability to take movies?

Paris, because she knows all about being overpriced and pointless.

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Anonymous Coward

1080p 50i into 25p? No EU HD time limit? Why not 24p for direct-to-Blu ray?

On Panasonics's site, the spec says that the sensor captures at 50i but outputs at 25p. Is this worth being concerned about? do other cameras capture purely at 25p with no such conversion?

No mention of a maximum time limit per continuous recording. Some digital stills cameras have this limit to avoid the EU camcorder tax. Which might explain a previous poster's comments about why the price increase compared to a stills-only camera. So it appears that the recording limit is only limited by the memory capacity of the card recorded onto. Great.

Why 25p and not 24p? 24p is possibly the most common frame rate for Blu-ray. Recording at 24p would mean less or no reprocessing or re-encoding if you want to record your footage onto Blu-ray. Blu-ray provides a reasonably robust and permanent medium for achiving and sharing. Thinking about the whole solution chain from capture to archiving is missing from a lot of manufacturer's minds it seems. Though Panasonic's dedicated standlone Blu-ray recorders likely support recordings from SD from this camera also made by them.

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