View Full Version : Questions About Cam and Pre-ordering

Jackson Miller
05-30-2009, 04:19 PM
Hey guys. So I think this camera may be the camera for me after reading a lot of things here. I was going to go with the HMC, but I would rather have a GH1 I think.

So I've got a few questions.

1) for those of you in the US, HOW did you pre-order? With who? B and H? I tried Samy's but they didn't know anything about the camera. It wasn't even in their computer system.

2) Can you change your mind if you are on the pre-order list and decide that you don't want the camera if it ends up taking too much time or you want a different camera?

3) Is there a deposit that you have to put down and that you would lose if you canceled your order?

About the actual Camera itself:

4) Do you find yourself missing any of the added features and buttons of the HVX/DVX type camera?

5) What would one do to achieve slow, steady zooms? It seems impossible without having a servo. I hardly ever use the servo on my DVX, but I feel a little nervous not having one.

6) Would I be fine with the stock lens for a while?

7) How do the lowlight abilities compare to those of an HMC, HPX170, HVXa or DVX?

8) IMPORTANT: When the video is imported and the pulldowns applied etc, will the final length of the clip varry at all? I will be recording audio seperately and I need to make sure it matches up perfectly.

9) And then, the million dollar question, is this camera suitable for real, narrative filmmaking, and all of the demands and situations that you run into in filmmaking? remember I am caturing audio seperately.

Thanks guys. I would like to decide and preorder ASAP so I can get back to making films.

05-30-2009, 06:47 PM

You sound like a prime candidate to rent, borrow or test drive one of these cameras. From a shooting standpoint, the 5D MKII and the GH1 are terrible, they are ergonomically designed to shoot stills, the workflow for either ranges from totally convoluted to somewhat convoluted. The audio is close to useless, and both cameras are missing features too numerous to count for filmmaking.

Think of them as cool sensors in really lousy boxes and then you begin to get the idea. No user setable time code, no hard stops, strange fields of view, no remote monitoring capability other than the 5D MKII in low res with overlays, etc. Can you make a movie on either? Of course you can, they are both very capable of making great images. Will your AC/DP/crew be happy "making a movie" with either? NO! They are a total compromise in ergonomics and workflow. That said, I recently interviewed two different groups of people who used the 5D MKII to make features. The GH1 is too new but someone is probably already in pre-pro to make a feature with the GH1.

I have the 5D MKII and dig it, it makes really interesting, beautiful images but it is a messed up kludge to shoot with compared to my HPX170. I plan on buying a GH1 as soon as they are in stock, it is too cheap to not buy one to play with but I wouldn't try to do client work with either. Too many gotchas that could really sting me with money on the line. But I don't make features. I actually think that the 5D MKII is more suited to features than to what I mostly do, which are docs and run and gun type shoots.

1. Do I miss any features? Of course, this is an SLR, not a video camera.

2. Slow steady zooms? Use a video or film camera. To my knowledge, none of the lenses available for either the GH1 or 5D MKII have zoom servos.

3. Stock lens on the GH1 is pretty good by all reports but pretty slow too. If you are going to light scenes, it looks like a pretty good choice. If you are going for available or low light, not so good, better buy a faster lens.

4. The low light ability of the GH1 is superior to any of the cameras you list

5. I can't answer question 8, I have not shot with the GH1 yet. Ask Kholi, Philip Bloom or Hunter Richards, they have.

6. Suitable is a vague term. Go talk to an experienced crew and they will laugh at you if you tell them you want to make films with the GH1. Heck, they will laugh at you if you tell them you want to even use the HMC, DVX, HVX or HPX, they will tell you to rent a real camera like a RED One or shoot film. DSLRs are not made to shoot feature films. I was speaking to someone at RED this week and they likened the 5D MKII and the GH1 to "higher resolution Flip Minos". In a sense, this description is correct when applied to the feature filmmaking world. Both cameras shoot highly compressed codecs with lots of jitter, CMOS artifacting, etc. in comparison to a RED One.

I would just buy one. The market on them will be hot for at least a few months. It is cheap enough to be disposable for many. There will be much better stuff pretty quickly but for $1,500.00, even if you only shoot one or two little projects with it you are money ahead. Just realize what you are buying. It is not a cinema tool, it is a consumer video camera that happens to have a large sensor, good lens and some nice features. Can you make cinema with it? Sure, if you are a good filmmaker. Will your crew be frustrated or will you be frustrated with its limits? Definitely.


Jackson Miller
05-31-2009, 12:37 AM
Thank you Dan.

As far as the renting/borrowing/testing goes, I'm afraid that would mean much more waiting. I would still love input from Kholi and anyone else who would like to help me out. I'm at the point that I just NEED something to make movies with. Getting this will be a lot cheaper for me and I can therefore invest more money in audio and lighting which I will never feel this iffy about since it holds it value etc. Then I can have peace of mind knowing that I will be able to sell the camera used for almost no loss. That is what I am thinking right now and I guess I am just trying to reassure myself.

I still would love to hear from people about how they managed to preorder.

Thanks. I'm gonna call around tomorrow I guess and try to find people with it available for preorder but I don't know who exactly to order from.

Jackson Miller
06-01-2009, 01:57 AM
Oh I see how it is... no one wants me to pre-order because there aren't enough to go around! :cry:


Abstract Photog
06-01-2009, 03:11 AM
Panasonic and Amazon are still accepting pre-orders...

06-01-2009, 10:35 AM
I agree a lot with what Dan's saying and he's got an objective view on it.

4. Nah, I don't miss it. The only thing I could possibly miss would be the ability to run sound into camera, but that's no big deal to me at all with the H4N around. I can hotshoe ball-mount it to the top of the camera and feed sound in that way. Sure, I have to hit record but it's just adopting the mindset that our forefathers have had for years: sticks/slate it! It'll help with organizationi n post anyway, you know?

5. You can get a pretty slow and steady zoom by hand. Practice practice practice. Andi f you go with a follow focus it'll be even easier. People have ben doing it for years, we can do it too. It's kind of like how people are asking how on earth we can focus these things. If you ever get a chance to pick a veterans brain about how stuff was done a while ago, ask them how they pulled focus with their fingers on the lens. We've got it easy these days.

I prefer zooming and pulling focus with my hands. The feedback is better for me, but it took practice to be able to pull like that. I have to retrain myself to do it with the VDSLR now. No biggie.

6. Definitely. THe stock lens rocks. If all you have is the stock lens you can still do really well. While I wouldn't budge the ISO over 800, if you HAD to you could and still get nice results. There's some 1600 ISO stuff floating around that looks great.

7. Can't even compare in my eyes. Lowlight on either the GH-1 or MKii just stomps all over everything.

8. Final Clip length doesn't vary.

9. Dan has it right. Down to his final words.

You will have to spend time practicing and learning the system, though. Mostly by actually doing some small proejcts. Every time I shoot something with one of these cameras I learn something new, so it really should be practicing in an environment with a tangible goal. I.E shooting a really short film with dialog, etc. Or shooting a commercial, spec. That sort of thing.