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View Full Version : Can you live with manual focus?



raymondluo
06-05-2009, 11:24 AM
GH1 is the only (to my knowledge) that has continuous autofocus in video, I don't think everybody using a VDSLR really wants to be limited to purely tripod shots so the real question is- Can you live with it?

Are there methods to pull focus while moving the camera on a steadicam? How will you shoot fast action sequences without it?

djkarn105
06-05-2009, 11:38 AM
Once, long long ago,
there was no such thing as autofocus.

you need a follow focus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Follow_focus) sir!

I'm sure plenty of people on these boards have opinions on good ones but off the top of my head look at redrock, zacuto cinevate and indiefocus

John Caballero
06-05-2009, 11:44 AM
Once, long long ago,
there was no such thing as autofocus.


That is so last century. Welcome to modern times. This is the digital cinema era and evolving is the word.

I am all for the autofocus feature. Especially the face focus tracking. The main point would be is that it works properly and continuos focus is done smoothly. If you prefer manual focus more power to you. I like the option.

And wouldn't it look fabulous to have a focus puller with such a tiny camera. Two grown individuals taking care of it. Lovely.

raymondluo
06-05-2009, 11:52 AM
That would nullify the option to shoot on the cheap wouldn't it? Which is pretty much the whole point with the GH1/K7 for me.

John Caballero
06-05-2009, 12:08 PM
?????

raymondluo
06-05-2009, 12:12 PM
The follow focus equipment djkarn recommended cost just about as much/ more than the camera itself. (Hadn't noticed you had posted before me)

Isaac_Brody
06-05-2009, 12:14 PM
The follow focus equipment djkarn recommended cost just about as much/ more than the camera itself. (Hadn't noticed you had posted before me)

What's your alternative to using a follow focus and focus puller?

John Caballero
06-05-2009, 12:19 PM
The follow focus equipment djkarn recommended cost just about as much/ more than the camera itself.

Thats correct. I am curious to see how the tracking focus performs. You have to remember that autofocus only works with the kit lens and maybe some 4/3 lenses. If you want to focus manually it can be done. I guess a lot of prctice and you'll nail it. Its part of the art I guess. Also this cameras are not that hard to focus. The good thing for me about the GH1 is that you can shoot using the EVF, which is the way I like to shoot.


What's your alternative to using a follow focus and focus puller?

Focusing with your very own two fingers on the focus ring. It can be done. It ain't surgery. LOL.

raymondluo
06-05-2009, 12:32 PM
I am basing this on a 'run and gun' situation or scenes where I would like to mimic such- I am wondering as well how I would fare holding the camera steady with one arm (as suggested by John), the other on the ring.

Good point on the EVF, I totally forgot about that! Bummer for K7.

stephenvv
06-05-2009, 12:39 PM
I never - I repeat never have used autofocus in any narrative piece I've ever done. I've occasionally used the instant AF on my HV30 at music video/event shoot with mixed results. but once I got the manual focus wheel stopped it completely.

Even shooting SLR and DSLR over the years, I use autofocus only when necessary. I learned still and motion photography on manual cameras, so it's second nature to me.

John Caballero
06-05-2009, 12:46 PM
It is a good OPTION to have the autofocus. It is good to have in many run and gun situations. Couple of people have mention that the auto focus is pretty smooth and silent on the GH1. Usually on the wider side of lenses cameras tend to be better at autofosing. With the samples I've seen so far I personally think that the GH1 won't give you too much trouble with focusing.

On the other hand if you like doing manual focusing all the time good for you. It is all about freedom to do as you please.

This is a face recognition auto focus test|

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KwuydRE3IQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KwuydRE3IQ)

Kholi
06-05-2009, 01:45 PM
Autofocus -- Documentary, Family Outings, Hyper Run-n-Gun where you don't have more than one take.

Manual Focus -- All else

There's no reason to be afraid of it. It's all about practice.

dvbrother
06-05-2009, 01:47 PM
One workaround might be to set the aperture to f5.6 or f8 to get enough depth of field that you could set focus at one point and have the subject stay within the acceptable focus range. I know this negates the whole point of using the GH1 for "film-like" shallow depth-of-field, but it could work.
It's funny, I was reading an old American Cinematographer magazine from the 1980's. The editor was praising new, faster film stocks because the extra light sensitivity would allow cinematographers to stop down and have MORE depth-of-field so they could give their focus-pullers a break. The article portrayed shallow-depth-of field as sort of a necessary nuisance that could be tamed with faster film. Interesting how times change. Today, shallow depth-of-field is the holy grail for us digital filmmakers.

Abstract Photog
06-06-2009, 08:52 AM
i dont have the camera yet, but Im a big MF fan.
so iv got one of these on the way: D | Focus the $100 Follow Focus System (http://www.designbydave.net/dfocus/dfocus.html)
if you want one soon id suggest ordering now as theyre backordered for a couple weeks.

i plan on using this to focus my manual primes (obviously), and to zoom with the kit lens.

upshot
06-06-2009, 10:38 AM
I think using manual lenses on the G1 is wonderful. And expect the GH to be the same... Works great for me!

Kodak Cine Ektar 40mm F1.6
http://images47.fotki.com/v1497/photos/5/148595/7575026/P1140823-vi.jpg

Illya Friedman
06-06-2009, 09:42 PM
Autofocus -- Documentary, Family Outings, Hyper Run-n-Gun where you don't have more than one take.

Manual Focus -- All else

There's no reason to be afraid of it. It's all about practice.


Perfect summation!

dan_aka_jack
06-09-2009, 02:28 AM
Could someone post a quick video showing the "user experience" when using the GH1 in manual focus mode? Will the GH1 zoom into the image to allow me to nail the focus if I'm using Nikon lenses via an adapter?

upshot
06-09-2009, 07:19 AM
Could someone post a quick video showing the "user experience" when using the GH1 in manual focus mode? Will the GH1 zoom into the image to allow me to nail the focus if I'm using Nikon lenses via an adapter?

On the 'four-way controller' the left button pulls up the zoom box... then you can move it around using the four-way so that you can keep your composition... then you hit the center button and it zooms in to the area you've chosen. Nail focus, vola.

My only complaint is that it's disabled in 2x zoom mode...

dan_aka_jack
06-09-2009, 07:59 AM
brilliant, thanks for the reply

kagibson2
06-10-2009, 08:53 PM
I would be worried about the camera shaking from pulling focus... even on a good tripod with a follow focus and a steady hand. It's a TINY camera.
Is this something I should even worry about?

I know a whip would help, but I don't always want to use one.

Mike@AF
06-10-2009, 10:39 PM
Am I reading this right? When shooting video you don't have manual focus with the kit lens? For manual focus you need to use a different lens?

Peter J. DeCrescenzo
06-10-2009, 11:03 PM
Am I reading this right? When shooting video you don't have manual focus with the kit lens? For manual focus you need to use a different lens?

Of course you can manual focus when recording video using the GH1's kit lens.

If you haven't already read it, the user manual for the GH1 can be downloaded:
Enter "DMCGH1K" for the model number:
http://dlc.panasonic-europe-service.com/EUDocs/

(Note the little "movie camera icon" with the letter "M" next to it at the top of page 80).

Mike@AF
06-11-2009, 01:41 AM
I was reading the manual and although the manual was confusing as well, this thread got me really wondering even with as ludicrous as not having manual focus would be.

Peter J. DeCrescenzo
06-11-2009, 09:54 AM
I was reading the manual and although the manual was confusing as well, this thread got me really wondering even with as ludicrous as not having manual focus would be.

That's cool, Mike. It _is_ confusing. It's funny because we're faced with cameras, especially this camera, which have so many "auto" features it can be hard to figure out which ones can be disabled, and when, and which ones can't.

The user manual isn't always 100% helpful, especially when the only confirmation you have about a particular feature is some tiny obscure icon. :)