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QTI
05-22-2009, 10:28 AM
Just to say I bought this today at HK$11600 (about US$1496).

According to various sources (including philip bloom's website) its supposed to be available on 26 May but when I was at the shop at lunch time today, ONE was just delivered to the shop, and it ended up with me now. Guess I am lucky. :)

My background:
- I feel very comfortable with SLRs and DSLRs and basically know about most if not all the settings of a DSLR. I own a Nikon D200 with a few lenses, take RAW only.
- I have only bought one camcorder in my life - the TRV900E which has been with me for 9 years now, and probably about time to retire.
- I have been in the market looking for a tapeless camcorder for a long time, mainly to take HD video of my 2 year old and 4 month old. I would have bought a D700 if it could take video like the GH-1 (and will probably sell the GH-1 when Nikon catches up). I would probably have bought the 5D MkII if I were in the Canon camp.
- I have had my eyes on the Canon HF S10 for quite a while. Have no doubts about its video quality, but would prefer more control over DOF etc. I sort of expect that the video quality of GH-1 may not be as good as HF S10, but I hope it will not be too far away, and believe that the other advantages of GH-1 over HF S10 would make me feel happier than owning a HF S10 despite possibly inferior video quality.
- I have basically no video editing knowledge other than iMovie (and I am not even a proficient user of it). I think I have read rather extensively (on forums) about GH-1, and I have absolutely no idea about the technical terms people have been arguing about over this machine, like grading, pull down, b frame, etc etc. (my head is spinning just thinking about those).
- I will order a Nikon -> micro 4/3 adapter to try my Nikkors on this machine.
- I have no intention to spend too much time to learn about video editing in depth, so I will not have the time or money to spend on improving video quality in post editing.

So, if I can find the time to do this, I would like to share my experience which hopefully would be useful to people having a similar background like me, and see how much I could get out of this little camera, whether I am happy with the quality of the video (basically using only iMovie) and whether it is actually suitable for my purposes practically (take good looking video of the kids, mostly handheld, probably quite a lot of time indoors).

I have only managed to spent like 15 minutes on the machine and its way too dark now. However, initial impressions:

- Camera appears to be well built overall
- Video looks pretty good in iMovie (the setting is to "FHD" - 1080 I guess) - definitely MUCH MUCH better than the TRV900E (ok I know its an old machine, but its 3CCD and had a good reputation ok :)).
- Image stabilisation is reasonably good - seems not bad compared with the TRV900E.
- low night focusing appears problematic, not sure whether its because I was too close to the baby and the distance was shorter than the minimum distance, but it couldn't correctly focus on my sleeping 4 month old in the crib when I was standing next to him. Better when I turned it to the wide end.
- Sound quality appears to be ok too. Stereo is "obvious" if you know what I mean. Will try some more, but I think I will order the external mic anyway.
- Zoom ring is a bit tight - nice as it reminds you that its a new lens, but definitely no good if you handhold the camera and zoom - really shaky.
- the thought of having only to bring only this camera and lens instead of lugging my D200 + 17-55mm + TRV900E to the beach just brings a big smile to my face.
- one big problem - iMovie crashed a few times when I tried to import the clips. After a few attempts, it appears that one of the clips is the cause (and I don't know why). Whenever iMovie attempts to download that clip, it crashes. No good and don't know how to resolve this yet.

Will try some more tomorrow and hopefully report back some more. Time to study the manual.

:beer:

Isaac_Brody
05-22-2009, 10:43 AM
Congrats, did you pickup the PAL or NTSC version? And does your camera have Chinese or English menus?

QTI
05-22-2009, 10:48 AM
Congrats, did you pickup the PAL or NTSC version? And does your camera have Chinese or English menus?

Thanks.

By PAL / NTSC, is it only about output to TV (sorry if this question is really dumb - told you I am totally blank about video)? If yes its got both choices. If you are asking about something else - I need to check but HK is on PAL so I think its likely to be PAL. :)

Two choices of language in camera - both Chinese and English. Default is English.

Joe Shaw
05-22-2009, 10:50 AM
Hong Kong should be PAL... Very interested in this. Have folks in Hong Kong... And the price is way down on the £ price...

Emanuel
05-22-2009, 11:16 AM
If it's not grey market, it's PAL indeed. A good comparison between both versions (as far as the PAL lack of pulldown is concerned) should be interesting to see.

Emanuel
05-22-2009, 11:26 AM
Another interesting note is about the price. Once the dollar falls, here's an add-on to the PAL purchase from Hong Kong. Especially for european customers. The price in Europe will be higher, the stock not so immediate, I'm afraid. Except the warranty. ;-)

Ian-T
05-22-2009, 11:58 AM
Wait a minute...less than $1,500 for a PAL version? Isn't that the price for US models?

squig
05-22-2009, 03:46 PM
Cool that's $1900+190 GST in Australian dollars. Beats the RRP here of $3300. Half the family is in HK so I'll get one sent next week.

btw you know it's a pal model if it's 50i 25p AVCHD.

QTI
05-22-2009, 07:13 PM
Thanks its got local warranty and is not grey import.

Its 50i in AVCHD.

I was told the "RRP" is HK$12999. The shops normally sell at a small discount to that.

Big bummer - iMovie crashes whenever it tries to import 720 @ 50p (the mode I intended to be the default). Will do some research on this but ignorant users like me please be warned. I reckon I can use Handbrake to convert to mp4, but I don't know about whether there is any quality issue/degradation (I guess most likely). Anyone know of a good solution please let me know - much appreciated.

Joe Shaw
05-22-2009, 11:16 PM
QTI, how are you working with the files from the camera? Are you converting them to anything first? You will find that the files direct from the camera are not easy to work with. You should convert them first for editing. Something like Cineform Neo Scene seems to be the choice at the moment.

There are others out there - I know Canopus make a free converter for Edius - but I think for use in iMovie, you probably want to look at Cineform.

Any suggestions for shops in HK to pick the camera up from? I have family there. :beer:

Nighthawk
05-22-2009, 11:24 PM
Big bummer - iMovie crashes whenever it tries to import 720 @ 50p (the mode I intended to be the default). Will do some research on this but ignorant users like me please be warned. I reckon I can use Handbrake to convert to mp4, but I don't know about whether there is any quality issue/degradation (I guess most likely). Anyone know of a good solution please let me know - much appreciated.

QTI, there is lots of great information on the GH1 Workflow portion of this forum. You should be able to find an answer to your problems there.

squig
05-23-2009, 12:05 AM
are you running the latest imovie and OS updates?

Martti Ekstrand
05-23-2009, 12:14 AM
I got Voltaic to convert AVCHD files from the Panasonic TZ7 but I guess I'll go for NeoScene/Cineform once I get my GH-1. Voltaic works ok but is rather slow and has some quirks. There are some bugs in the OSX version of Cineform but don't know if they only occur when handling pulldown in 1080/24P files which in that case may not be a issue with 1080/25P.

http://www.shedworx.com/voltaichd

http://www.cineform.com/neoscene/

Both have demo versions to try out before buy.

QTI
05-23-2009, 02:06 AM
QTI, how are you working with the files from the camera? Are you converting them to anything first? You will find that the files direct from the camera are not easy to work with. You should convert them first for editing. Something like Cineform Neo Scene seems to be the choice at the moment.

There are others out there - I know Canopus make a free converter for Edius - but I think for use in iMovie, you probably want to look at Cineform.

Any suggestions for shops in HK to pick the camera up from? I have family there

I only have iMovie, so its all I got. :) Thanks to you, Nighthawk and Martti for the suggestions. I will check them out and workflow suggestions on this forum. In the mean time I am only viewing the video using VLC and have not done any editing yet.

I will PM you about the shop I bought it from.

Yes squig, I do have the latest OS and iMovie. After some Googling I found a page on Panasonic's website, confirming that iMovie 08 and 09 does not support 720 50p or 60p.

Some more thoughts on the camera:

I took my 2 year old to take the ferry earlier today, and took some 720 50p and 1080 50i. As expected 1080 looks great when things are mostly static but artifacts quite obvious when there are e.g. sudden movements and when you pan around. Do not expect fluid video from panning.

720 50p looks great even if I deliberately pan around quickly. There will still be artifacts occasionally for whatever reasons but they are totally acceptable to me.

Video quality is great, and so far I am satisfied. Still learning how to work with the autofocus (or do people generally use manual focus?) as it is not slow but not very fast either. It is visible that the autofocus is "working on it" trying to find/finetune the focus when my kid moves around. But isn't that what I wanted - narrow DOF? So if you are wondering this is probably not an everyday consumer product as easy to use as the Canon/Sony HD camcorders and I think my wife will probably find it challenging (probably too challenging) to use. :)

Have focused on video and only taken a few photos. My Nikon is still way better all around, and probably because I am more familiar with Nikons generally. Hopefully I will be able to take better photos when I get more familiar with GH1.

squig
05-23-2009, 02:46 AM
can you pm me that shop too :lipsrseal

good luck ever keeping a 2yr old in focus.....shooting wide with the iris stopped down is the best option

commanderspike
05-23-2009, 03:27 AM
Thinking a HK release would be ages away, I opted for the Japanese model last week, will arrive next week.

However, it was cheaper - arond £860.

Differences are:

24p instead of 25p. But 24p is a internationally recognised standard, 25p isn't
50i goes better into 25p (Philip Bloom's slow mo effect is easy to implement)
Japanese menus cannot be changed on Japanese version. No english.

Bare in mind that the GH1 records at 50i / 60i in 1080 mode and deinterlaces to 25p/24p on chip, isn't true native 24p, so actually the Japanese / US NTSC GH1 has 5fps in the bag over the PAL version.

Is red version available in HK?

dcloud
05-23-2009, 03:36 AM
i think kholi said something about english menu in japan now exist? didnt get a response on that question yet though :)

Joe Shaw
05-23-2009, 04:44 AM
24p instead of 25p. But 24p is a internationally recognised standard, 25p isn't



Think you might find a few people who would argue that point!

AdrianF
05-23-2009, 05:19 AM
Think you might find a few people who would argue that point!

I might be one of them!:)


50i goes better into 25p (Philip Bloom's slow mo effect is easy to implement)

60p will go into 24 or 25p just as easily, I already tried it, and you would have the benefit of a extra few fps ( not a huge difference though ). If you're in PAL land and need a compact slow mo camera then the U.S/Japanese GH1 could be a possible solution.

ydgmdlu
05-23-2009, 05:38 AM
Bare in mind that the GH1 records at 50i / 60i in 1080 mode and deinterlaces to 25p/24p on chip, isn't true native 24p, so actually the Japanese / US NTSC GH1 has 5fps in the bag over the PAL version.
That is not true. You've got it backwards. In 24p mode, the read-out from the chip is at true 24p. It goes through pull down to get 60i. No post-deinterlacing is done. Where did you get your information?

Martti Ekstrand
05-23-2009, 07:25 AM
24p is a internationally recognised standard, 25p isn't

Errmmm... nearly all TV productions originating on film in PAL/SECAM countries are 25p making it a pretty widely accepted international standard.

pix2pixels
05-23-2009, 07:40 AM
QTI,
Another aussie battler here....
Can you PM me as well the address or contact of the shop or another HK on-line seller. A PAL version is more than welcomed down under for this price
Thank you

QTI
05-23-2009, 08:21 AM
Thinking a HK release would be ages away, I opted for the Japanese model last week, will arrive next week.

However, it was cheaper - arond £860.

Is red version available in HK?

I think I read from somewhere online that they sell two versions in Japan, one with Japanese menu only and one with English and they are marking up the English one quite substantially.

I don't know if its available in red - there was only one delivered to the shop and its in black which is what I want and I didn't ask about the other colours.

commanderspike
05-23-2009, 09:00 AM
That is not true. You've got it backwards. In 24p mode, the read-out from the chip is at true 24p. It goes through pull down to get 60i. No post-deinterlacing is done. Where did you get your information?

From Panasonic's spec sheet on their website. (http://www.panasonic.co.uk/html/en_GB/2129937/index.html)

"Full-HD (1920 × 1080) movies are output by the image sensor at 24p (NTSC)/25p (PAL), and recorded at 60i (NTSC)/50i (PAL)."

I may be wrong, but I read this as the chip records in 60i and outputs at 24p.

ydgmdlu
05-23-2009, 09:20 AM
From Panasonic's spec sheet on their website. (http://www.panasonic.co.uk/html/en_GB/2129937/index.html)

"Full-HD (1920 × 1080) movies are output by the image sensor at 24p (NTSC)/25p (PAL), and recorded at 60i (NTSC)/50i (PAL)."

I may be wrong, but I read this as the chip records in 60i and outputs at 24p.
You read it wrong. Where have you been in the last month? Don't you understand what the whole "pulldown removal" fuss is all about?

The video files that we get in the 24p mode are 60i. In other words, they are interlaced. If the camera behaved as you believe, then the clips would not be interlaced. That's the definition of deinterlacing. By "removing pulldown" we get the original 24p signal. Please read Panasonic's words carefully. It says that "movies are output by the image sensor at 24p." That means that the video stream straight off of the chip (the "output") is 24p. Then that stream gets recorded (i.e. processed and compressed) at 60i.

By the way, if the camera behaved as you believe, then there's no way that the NTSC version gets "5 fps extra." Once the 1080i is deinterlaced, then it's stuck 24p, even if it's fake 24p. There would be no way to get the original 60i signal back.

Finally, there's no engineering sense in making the camera behave as you believe. Keep in mind that the camera records 30p and 60p as well. This means that the sensor should be necessarily progressive. There's an added layer of complexity in making a sensor both progressive and interlaced, if it's even possible at all. Remember that "progressive" and "interlaced" refer to the image scanning scheme. A progressive sensor can be easily made to scan at different frame rates by speeding up the clock, but to make it also scan using the odd-even interlaced scheme would seem to be superfluous, especially for a consumer/prosumer camera.

commanderspike
05-23-2009, 09:30 AM
I accept what you're saying, I am new and haven't even got the GH1 in my hands yet (until next week). But if the chip records a native 24p signal, why does it store it in 60i? Wouldn't it be better to store the native 24p signal, or can't the codec handle it?

How does your video editing software recognise that the output is 24p when it's stored as 60i?

ydgmdlu
05-23-2009, 09:37 AM
I accept what you're saying, I am new and haven't even got the GH1 in my hands yet (until next week). But if the chip records a native 24p signal, why does it store it in 60i? Wouldn't it be better to store the native 24p signal, or can't the codec handle it?

How does your video editing software recognise that the output is 24p when it's stored as 60i?
When Panasonic says that movies are being "recorded at 60i," ask yourself: What's being recorded? Answer: the "output" from the chip, which is 24p.

The reason why the camera does this is the same reason why 24p HDV camcorders, and other 24p AVCHD camcorders (such as Canon's VIXIA series), do this. It's because the camcorder is aimed at consumers, who will be most interested in plugging their gear into older televisions that can't read 24p signals. This issue has been debated a lot around here and elsewhere. Yes, everybody here thinks it's an incredibly stupid encoding scheme. But that's just the reality, and we have to deal with it.

ydgmdlu
05-23-2009, 09:39 AM
Also, editing applications DON'T recognize the 60i footage as 24p. In order to use a true 24p workflow, you have to remove pulldown first. Please read the stuff in the Workflow forum for how to do this.

Nighthawk
05-23-2009, 10:02 AM
I accept what you're saying, I am new and haven't even got the GH1 in my hands yet (until next week). But if the chip records a native 24p signal, why does it store it in 60i? Wouldn't it be better to store the native 24p signal, or can't the codec handle it?

How does your video editing software recognise that the output is 24p when it's stored as 60i?

Information from the Cineform thread in the GH1 Workflow section might be a good start but read around you might find something better suited to your needs. It was helpful for me and I'm a techie slackjaw.

commanderspike
05-23-2009, 11:58 AM
Thanks guys, all makes a lot of sense.

Panasonic could at least, however, offer raw 24p output as an option. Philip Bloom asked them for a few things - live HDMI, higher bit rate (24mbps) but not the raw 24p output as far as I'm aware.

The high end options would be great for the likes of us.

But Panasonic understand well, that most consumers don't know the difference and don't have the means... arching footage at 17mbps, in a more compatible format (50i/60i) is just fine for most.

Kholi
05-23-2009, 12:07 PM
I'd wait for a US version. 60P instead of 50P, and 24P.

And the very slight chance that the US Delay means something gets updated, although that's not a promise or was never stated. I'd still hold off.

I was planning on buying a second one myself but decided to hold out til US launch.

commanderspike
05-23-2009, 12:19 PM
My selection of the NTSC Japanese model over the PAL model was brought on by time constraints and a lack of info regarding the release date and availability of the PAL model.

But I have some seriously confused brain cells when it comes to what spec is best, for use in the UK and worldwide.

Whilst HD is supposed to be region agnostic and is the hardware is pretty much the same the world over with 24p support, blu ray, etc. why do we still need PAL and NTSC spec video cameras? What's the point of 25p?

Is there any disadvantage of having a 24p NTSC camera in a PAL region, will I get any problems under 50hz lighting?

My PAL PS3, my PAL plasma and PAL laptop all play 60i and 24p quite happily...50i and 25p - what's the point, what's the advantage??

Barry_Green
05-23-2009, 02:32 PM
HD is not, and never was supposed to be, region agnostic. We all wish it was, but it isn't.

European/Asian/Oceanic HDTV is 50i or 50p. North America/Japan HDTV is 60i or 60p.

They're not the same frame rate, and not all displays handle the other frame rate, nor are they required to. The ATSC television committee standards have no provision for accomodating 50i or 50p, for example, so no HDTV sold in America is required to support those frame rates.

They kept the different frame rates, presumably, to maintain backwards compatibility with the millions of hours of programming already shot under PAL and NTSC.

So, while it would be nice to have one universal worldwide standard, that didn't happen, and probably never will, as the "next big thing" is supposed to be 1080/60p over here, and 1080/50p over there...

Martti Ekstrand
05-23-2009, 02:54 PM
There are a lot of advantages, here are three:

To begin with have a look at this map and you see that 50i is in vast majority in the world.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PAL-NTSC-SECAM.svg

NTSC is often referred to as 30 / 60 but in reality it's 29.97 / 59.94 (actually rounded off from 30/1.001 and 60/1.001) creating some technical hassles and odd workarounds. Hello drop-frames!

Then there are the troubles with pulldown to get 24 frames per second working in 60 fields per second. The 24 to 25 conversions in PAL/SECAM systems is far easier and less trouble when it comes to transfer features shot for cinema.

So all the countries using 50i don't want to move over to a older and from their viewpoint inferior standard and USA / Japan don't want to make all their legacy equipment and consumer sets non-functional. Which is why HD really isn't region agnostic despite the hopes that it would be when the HD standard discussions started.

As for shooting under 50Hz lights with 24 or 60 fps - yes that can give flicker but using a digital camera with manual shutter control you can counter it with longer shutter times which will yield a longer smearier motion blur than film which some people hate, others love and most don't notice the difference. How well that works with GH-1 in specific is a open question - I haven't seen anybody testing that yet.

Myself I opted to wait for the PAL version. In the future I might get a US one to use for slo-mo shots but there will probably be something even better available then :)

killacam
05-24-2009, 12:34 AM
did anyone ever find out for sure whether mjpeg mode in pal for 720p was 30fps or 25fps? I've heard conflicting things.

QTI
05-24-2009, 01:45 AM
did anyone ever find out for sure whether mjpeg mode in pal for 720p was 30fps or 25fps? I've heard conflicting things.

according to the manual its 30fps

tkinin
05-28-2009, 10:49 PM
Just to say I bought this today at HK$11600 (about US$1496).

According to various sources (including philip bloom's website) its supposed to be available on 26 May but when I was at the shop at lunch time today, ONE was just delivered to the shop, and it ended up with me now. Guess I am lucky. :)

My background:
- I feel very comfortable with SLRs and DSLRs and basically know about most if not all the settings of a DSLR. I own a Nikon D200 with a few lenses, take RAW only.
- I have only bought one camcorder in my life - the TRV900E which has been with me for 9 years now, and probably about time to retire.
- I have been in the market looking for a tapeless camcorder for a long time, mainly to take HD video of my 2 year old and 4 month old. I would have bought a D700 if it could take video like the GH-1 (and will probably sell the GH-1 when Nikon catches up). I would probably have bought the 5D MkII if I were in the Canon camp.
- I have had my eyes on the Canon HF S10 for quite a while. Have no doubts about its video quality, but would prefer more control over DOF etc. I sort of expect that the video quality of GH-1 may not be as good as HF S10, but I hope it will not be too far away, and believe that the other advantages of GH-1 over HF S10 would make me feel happier than owning a HF S10 despite possibly inferior video quality.
- I have basically no video editing knowledge other than iMovie (and I am not even a proficient user of it). I think I have read rather extensively (on forums) about GH-1, and I have absolutely no idea about the technical terms people have been arguing about over this machine, like grading, pull down, b frame, etc etc. (my head is spinning just thinking about those).
- I will order a Nikon -> micro 4/3 adapter to try my Nikkors on this machine.
- I have no intention to spend too much time to learn about video editing in depth, so I will not have the time or money to spend on improving video quality in post editing.

So, if I can find the time to do this, I would like to share my experience which hopefully would be useful to people having a similar background like me, and see how much I could get out of this little camera, whether I am happy with the quality of the video (basically using only iMovie) and whether it is actually suitable for my purposes practically (take good looking video of the kids, mostly handheld, probably quite a lot of time indoors).

I have only managed to spent like 15 minutes on the machine and its way too dark now. However, initial impressions:

- Camera appears to be well built overall
- Video looks pretty good in iMovie (the setting is to "FHD" - 1080 I guess) - definitely MUCH MUCH better than the TRV900E (ok I know its an old machine, but its 3CCD and had a good reputation ok :)).
- Image stabilisation is reasonably good - seems not bad compared with the TRV900E.
- low night focusing appears problematic, not sure whether its because I was too close to the baby and the distance was shorter than the minimum distance, but it couldn't correctly focus on my sleeping 4 month old in the crib when I was standing next to him. Better when I turned it to the wide end.
- Sound quality appears to be ok too. Stereo is "obvious" if you know what I mean. Will try some more, but I think I will order the external mic anyway.
- Zoom ring is a bit tight - nice as it reminds you that its a new lens, but definitely no good if you handhold the camera and zoom - really shaky.
- the thought of having only to bring only this camera and lens instead of lugging my D200 + 17-55mm + TRV900E to the beach just brings a big smile to my face.
- one big problem - iMovie crashed a few times when I tried to import the clips. After a few attempts, it appears that one of the clips is the cause (and I don't know why). Whenever iMovie attempts to download that clip, it crashes. No good and don't know how to resolve this yet.

Will try some more tomorrow and hopefully report back some more. Time to study the manual.

:beer:

Hello, where did you get it in Hong Kong? I still haven't seen any shop selling it.

Simon Höfer
07-30-2009, 02:31 AM
Hello, where did you get it in Hong Kong? I still haven't seen any shop selling it.

Me neither, but I just started to look for it. I'll tell you when I find some :D

Simon Höfer
08-09-2009, 08:08 PM
I found one :) It was the last the shop had in stock. They are mostly sold out everywhere and the next shipments will arrive in about a month. That's what every shop told me.

But there can always be a shop left that has maybe one in stock. You need to look around alot. But no need to go to Stanley St in Central, been there. Maybe in Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui.