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Larry Rutledge
12-07-2009, 10:18 AM
Canon 7D vs. Panasonic GH1
Is one of these "the new DVX"
by Barry Green

Click here to read the full article (http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/article.php/26)

Ian-T
12-07-2009, 10:47 AM
Wow, this was an excellent read and basically sums up everything that I think about both cams. Thanks Barry. Spot on.

The way these cams are “right now”, if I had the money, I would own both for their strengths. But, as your article suggest, I chose one for my particular need.

robfilms
12-07-2009, 03:09 PM
Barry-

Once again, thank u for doing the heavy lifting. As I have mentioned before, we are all better off because of your efforts to provide this forum with top notch analysis.

So much of my business is talking head interviews. On top of that, I'm still delivering sd dvds to my clients.

Because of my particular needs, I'm leaning towards the GH1 because of 720p being "good enough" for my down convert to 16x9 sd dvds. So I'll learn to run double system audio but at $800 for a GH1 body and several dollars more for 35mm lens, I'm sure I can create a sweet looking interview image.

Thoughts?

YMMV

Be well

Rob

Barry_Green
12-07-2009, 03:36 PM
That setup can deliver gorgeous results, so long as you watch out for things that cause aliasing artifacts (certain patterns or fabrics, or thin-rimmed glasses). And you might want to invest in an inexpensive prime lens, a 50mm/1.4 should be easily available for under $50 and would make for a nice portrait look. The stock lens is plenty sharp, but at f/4 it doesn't really provide for that hyper-shallow depth of field look that makes certain interview shots so attractive.

robfilms
12-07-2009, 04:58 PM
That setup can deliver gorgeous results, so long as you watch out for things that cause aliasing artifacts (certain patterns or fabrics, or thin-rimmed glasses). And you might want to invest in an inexpensive prime lens, a 50mm/1.4 should be easily available for under $50 and would make for a nice portrait look. The stock lens is plenty sharp, but at f/4 it doesn't really provide for that hyper-shallow depth of field look that makes certain interview shots so attractive.

barry-

thanks for the quick feedback.

your suggestions are exactly in line with my thinking-720p will give me 16x9 qnd plenty of pixels to down convert for the standard def dvds. a 50mm/1.4 or 1.7 decent glass prime along with a 28mm/2.8 and even a 85mm/2.8 would give me plenty of options.

would you know what the multiplier factor is with the gh1?

and then there is the whole double system audio and i'm good to go.

lastly, how will final cut pro play with pannie's 720p codec from the gh1? i thought i remembered reading that it's a flavor of jpeg or something. care to explain further?

as mentioned, thanks. if you are ever in nyc, i owe u a cup of decent coffee!

be well

rob

drubynum
12-07-2009, 05:33 PM
Fantastic article. Thank you for your hard work!

Phil H.
12-07-2009, 06:21 PM
I've been on the fence for a few weeks now. This has helped a lot. Thanks again, Barry.

Sumfun
12-08-2009, 08:36 AM
Thanks for another very informative article, Barry.

Just curious why you chose Zeiss lenses over Nikon or Canon.

Barry_Green
12-08-2009, 09:43 AM
Thanks for another very informative article, Barry.

Just curious why you chose Zeiss lenses over Nikon or Canon.
Because the construction quality and the optical quality are the most like true cinema lenses, at the most affordable price. The ZF lenses are the exact same glass that's used in the Zeiss Compact Primes PL-mount lens set. I actually considered getting a set of CP's, because I'm tired of dealing with the goofiness of still-camera lenses that were never designed for cinema work. But the $27,000 price tag for a set of four was quite off-putting, and the PL mount would make them unable to be used on something like a Canon or Nikon body.

The ZFs, on the other hand, are 1/4 the price and have the identical same optical characteristics as the Compact Primes. The focus rings are exquisite, designed more for cinema use than the typical short-throw SLR focus ring. My 85mm lens has a 270-degree focus travel, it's just perfect. The Nikon mount makes them adaptable to pretty much any camera out there, whether Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, or Red. And after the Duclos modification, the iris ring becomes comparable to a cinema lens iris ring as well, and with standard gearing and standardized fronts, they pretty much overcome all the hassles of still lenses and deliver the visual quality of cinema primes. The only major annoyance left is that they focus backwards, because Nikon lenses focus backwards, but a follow focus with reverse gear will fix that.

robfilms
12-08-2009, 10:29 AM
Because the construction quality and the optical quality are the most like true cinema lenses, at the most affordable price. The ZF lenses are the exact same glass that's used in the Zeiss Compact Primes PL-mount lens set. I actually considered getting a set of CP's, because I'm tired of dealing with the goofiness of still-camera lenses that were never designed for cinema work. But the $27,000 price tag for a set of four was quite off-putting, and the PL mount would make them unable to be used on something like a Canon or Nikon body.

The ZFs, on the other hand, are 1/4 the price and have the identical same optical characteristics as the Compact Primes. The focus rings are exquisite, designed more for cinema use than the typical short-throw SLR focus ring. My 85mm lens has a 270-degree focus travel, it's just perfect. The Nikon mount makes them adaptable to pretty much any camera out there, whether Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, or Red. And after the Duclos modification, the iris ring becomes comparable to a cinema lens iris ring as well, and with standard gearing and standardized fronts, they pretty much overcome all the hassles of still lenses and deliver the visual quality of cinema primes. The only major annoyance left is that they focus backwards, because Nikon lenses focus backwards, but a follow focus with reverse gear will fix that.

Barry-

After a quick Google search, I read the following:

"Some years ago Zeiss licensed Kyrocera of Japan to use the name Zeiss on some lenses made for the Contax brand of cameras. Life was good.

Contax went out of business in 2005, ending the need for these lenses. As soon as the agreement expired in 2006, Zeiss looked for something to do with the Japanese manufacturing capacity.

Zeiss decided to put these former Contax mount lenses in Nikon mounts instead, and that's how we get these ZF lenses. These are new lenses made in Nikon mount.

This lens is not made in Germany and it is not made in a Zeiss factory. It is made in Japan by Cosina, the same company that made the cheap FM-10 for Nikon and many other inexpensive lenses and cameras for third-party makers for many decades."

http://www.kenrockwell.com/zeiss/zf50.htm

Thoughts?

Be well

Rob

Barry_Green
12-08-2009, 01:16 PM
You can probably find a hundred reviews about the ZF lenses on the web. One of them (Ken Rockwell's) is negative. Every other review I found is gushing.

Rockwell's review is hostile from the opening sentence. Using phrases such as "the cheap FM-10" and "manual focus went obsolete 20 years ago" are just hostile and fuddy. Reading it, it sounded like he had a chip on his shoulder from the beginning. Now, I don't know or care what he prefers, but what I wanted was excellent performance, beautiful imagery, and the slickest, sweetest manual focus I could get, and the ZF has it. Oh, and it also happens to have gorgeous build quality overall, and stellar performance, and really has nothing in common with a "cheap FM-10".

I was initially bothered by Ken Rockwell's review, and frankly it made me hold off on buying any of these lenses for quite a while. But after something like a dozen other, screamingly praising reviews everywhere else, I took the gamble. I got the 50mm because it was the cheapest, and ... it's the cheapest. It's my least favorite. If anyone was going to complain about any of the ZFs, it would be this one. But even so, if you stop it down a couple of stops, it begins to become wonderful. So I no longer put any stock in that review. Besides, what he wanted is not what I want -- he wanted a lens he could "focus with one finger" and that had autofocus. I wanted a lens that delivered cinema-worthy results, for a lot less than the Compact Primes.

Secondly, the ZFs are not the same lenses as the Contax ones were. The optical design is different, and reviews have shown the ZFs to outperform the older Contax designs.

Third, pick one up and hold it -- you'll be able to tell the difference between a ZF and any other SLR lens. It does exactly what I want -- gorgeous image rendering, beautiful solid delicious construction quality, and heavenly manual focus with massively long focus throw.

Fourth, lenses are a matter of preference, some like and prefer the warm/soft Cooke look, others prefer the Leica look, I happen to crave the Zeiss look of super-sharp and ultra-contrasty.

Fifth, I repeat -- Zeiss now sells the same glass to the cinema world as the Compact Primes, where each lens is rehoused in a PL housing with proper cinema focus and throw, witness marks for the focus and iris, and standardized fronts. Those lenses cost upwards of $4,000 each, and a complete set of seven costs over $27,000. The glass is the exact same in the ZFs. For $250 apiece you can get these lenses modified to perform much more like cinema lenses, so for 1/3 the price you're getting cinema-ized versions that perform like a professional cinema lens set...

In any case, any of these SLR lenses are massive overkill for SLR video use. If you want to buy a lens for shooting HDSLR video, a cheap 50mm will be just as sharp as a ZF or other premium stills lens.

HHL
12-08-2009, 01:18 PM
Thank you so much for your article Barry. It was a very neutral, balanced, informative perspective. We should REQUIRE that everyone in the DVXUser community read this.....so we cut out all of the "background noise".

Thanks again for all you do for our community!

robfilms
12-08-2009, 02:06 PM
You can probably find a hundred reviews about the ZF lenses on the web. One of them (Ken Rockwell's) is negative. Every other review I found is gushing.

Rockwell's review is hostile from the opening sentence. Using phrases such as "the cheap FM-10" and "manual focus went obsolete 20 years ago" are just hostile and fuddy. Reading it, it sounded like he had a chip on his shoulder from the beginning. Now, I don't know or care what he prefers, but what I wanted was excellent performance, beautiful imagery, and the slickest, sweetest manual focus I could get, and the ZF has it. Oh, and it also happens to have gorgeous build quality overall, and stellar performance, and really has nothing in common with a "cheap FM-10".

I was initially bothered by Ken Rockwell's review, and frankly it made me hold off on buying any of these lenses for quite a while. But after something like a dozen other, screamingly praising reviews everywhere else, I took the gamble. I got the 50mm because it was the cheapest, and ... it's the cheapest. It's my least favorite. If anyone was going to complain about any of the ZFs, it would be this one. But even so, if you stop it down a couple of stops, it begins to become wonderful. So I no longer put any stock in that review. Besides, what he wanted is not what I want -- he wanted a lens he could "focus with one finger" and that had autofocus. I wanted a lens that delivered cinema-worthy results, for a lot less than the Compact Primes.

Secondly, the ZFs are not the same lenses as the Contax ones were. The optical design is different, and reviews have shown the ZFs to outperform the older Contax designs.

Third, pick one up and hold it -- you'll be able to tell the difference between a ZF and any other SLR lens. It does exactly what I want -- gorgeous image rendering, beautiful solid delicious construction quality, and heavenly manual focus with massively long focus throw.

Fourth, lenses are a matter of preference, some like and prefer the warm/soft Cooke look, others prefer the Leica look, I happen to crave the Zeiss look of super-sharp and ultra-contrasty.

Fifth, I repeat -- Zeiss now sells the same glass to the cinema world as the Compact Primes, where each lens is rehoused in a PL housing with proper cinema focus and throw, witness marks for the focus and iris, and standardized fronts. Those lenses cost upwards of $4,000 each, and a complete set of seven costs over $27,000. The glass is the exact same in the ZFs. For $250 apiece you can get these lenses modified to perform much more like cinema lenses, so for 1/3 the price you're getting cinema-ized versions that perform like a professional cinema lens set...

In any case, any of these SLR lenses are massive overkill for SLR video use. If you want to buy a lens for shooting HDSLR video, a cheap 50mm will be just as sharp as a ZF or other premium stills lens.

Barry-

I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. I imagined/hoped that you were familiar with the Rockwell review of the ZF lenses.

I believe you have addressed the issues that any dvxuser would consider when they were looking for glass to be used with the GH1.

Be well

Rob

dcloud
12-08-2009, 04:15 PM
ignoring the manual focus part, ken rockwell seems happy with the performance.

konton
12-08-2009, 10:58 PM
Great to hear your thoughts on this. Now if I can just find that body only GH1 . . .

Justin

Osslund
12-10-2009, 12:40 AM
You pretty much came to the same conclusion I did. I can't see one better than the other and I'm also keeping them both until something better comes along.

Future cameras from both Canon and Panasonic will be very interesting indeed.

Carlos_Nieto
12-10-2009, 12:16 PM
Great article, Barry, as usual. I've been strugglin' with myself for some tryin' to decide between the GH1 and the 7D and, finally, it was the 7D. I know I'll miss some of the GH1 features (especially, the smaller form factor and the articulated screen) but I already have some nice L glass and I would like to use my SmallHD for monitoring, so, these have been decisive factors in favor of the Canon.

One thing -- In your article you say that "still-camera lenses aren't parfocals, they don't hold focus at all" and insist in this affirmation later when you says: "Already I've mentioned that you don't have parfocal lenses, meaning you can't zoom in, focus, and zoom back out". Well, this is not the case. Or, it's not correct in all cases. Most of still zoom lenses are not parfocal -a lot of cheap or variable aperture ones-, but some of the best ones are. I can´t talk about other brands, but these Canon lenses are parfocal:



EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM
EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM
EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
EF 90-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM
EF 90-300mm f/4.5-5.6

You have this information provided by Chuck Westfall from Canon USA here: http://www.rogercavanagh.com/helpinfo/30_parfocal.stm

I know for sure that my Leica-R 28-90 2.8-4.5 ASPH and 80-200 4 are parfocal too.

Barry_Green
12-10-2009, 12:19 PM
You're right, some lenses are. I was referring to the kit lenses that come with the SLRs.

Freeze
12-25-2009, 04:16 PM
Thanks Barry for the informative and non-biased information. Would really love to have both but am confident on going with the 7D as my main cam.

Peter Reynolds
12-25-2009, 06:51 PM
As a professional video camera to replace an HPX170 or EX1, which one would I use? Neither. No possible way. They aren't ready for that. Way too limiting, and the potential image artifacting that happens because of the extreme aliasing they both use, means that for me, as my own choice, I would not risk my reputation or my paycheck by using one of these instead of a professional video camera.

Well, my decision is made. Thanks again Barry.

Peter

yoclay
12-27-2009, 12:48 AM
Barry,
You mentioned that you are not a great fan of the 50mm ZF. One thing I have noticed in the user reviews on the BH site is that with the new 50m Canon ZE lens a lot of people are saying that you need to stop down to at least f2.8 to get decent sharpness. However I don't notice this same comment on the 50/ZF reviews. You are the first person to mention this. I wondered if there was a difference between the two, it appears not according to your statement. Any further comments?

The other thing I have noticed is that Ken Rockwell implies the Z lenses are just basically rehoused Contax elements. I disagree. I have 4 older primes (three are f1.4). I appreciate the speed and consistency of the look. The C/Y 50mm f1.4 is very sharp wide open. The 35mm f1.4 less so. The new Z 35mm lens is f2.0, but apparently very sharp. While the new Z 50mm apparently not. Things have gotten reversed.

An important point, all T* coatings are not the same. I am certain it has changed. I have a Contax 645 camera and I can tell you that the quality of color seperation blows almost everything away. Leica and Hasselblad included. The first thing that strikes me is that the new Z lenses have a similar quality of color seperation. I strongly suspect that it is a similar formula to the contax 645 lenses. The older 35mm Contax/Yashica T* lenses do not compare.

So while everyone is talking about sharpness, I think the true secret of these newer Zeiss lenses is actually the multi-coatings.

Barry_Green
12-27-2009, 12:53 AM
The 50/1.4 is not the same as the Contax, and yes it gets breathtakingly sharp if you stop it down to 2.8 or further. I'm just disappointed in how blah it gets at 1.4 or 2.0. But, even so, kept in the context of this article, even at fully wide open it resolves more than enough detail to take full advantage of what a DSLR can handle. You just have to bring the contrast back in post, but the resolved detail is all there.

Because of that, I'm less disappointed with it now. I had considered trading it in on the 50mm/f2 macro, but the simple fact is, that lens is a stop slower, and if you stop down the 1.4 to 2.0, it really closes the performance gap between it and the macro. And if you absolutely NEED 1.4, you can't get it with the macro version, so... yeah, I'm sticking with the 50/1.4.

astigmatic
12-28-2009, 03:23 AM
A lot of photographs I see coming from the zeiss 50 1.4 are gorgeous.. and this is at web resolution. So just based off of how the image looks and not how the pixels resolve, since the 7d aint resolving much in terms of photography standards, I don't see how anyone can be dissapointed with this lens for video usage.

I've also read user reviews, not pixel peep reviews, saying that the old contax 50 1.4 is pretty much just as good.. so def a cheaper alternative there.

here's a pixel peep review that compares them. Both resulting in about the same resolution.. the zf handling flare better though.

http://www.slrlensreview.com/web/carl-zeiss-slr-lenses-51/standard-slr-lenses-94/284-carl-zeiss-planar-t-50mm-f14-zf-lens-review.html

Dan_Kanes
12-28-2009, 02:35 PM
Ken Rockwell is pretty much the Chuck Norris of the photography world.

:kali:

LOL


Barry-

After a quick Google search, I read the following:

"Some years ago Zeiss licensed Kyrocera of Japan to use the name Zeiss on some lenses made for the Contax brand of cameras. Life was good.

Contax went out of business in 2005, ending the need for these lenses. As soon as the agreement expired in 2006, Zeiss looked for something to do with the Japanese manufacturing capacity.

Zeiss decided to put these former Contax mount lenses in Nikon mounts instead, and that's how we get these ZF lenses. These are new lenses made in Nikon mount.

This lens is not made in Germany and it is not made in a Zeiss factory. It is made in Japan by Cosina, the same company that made the cheap FM-10 for Nikon and many other inexpensive lenses and cameras for third-party makers for many decades."

http://www.kenrockwell.com/zeiss/zf50.htm

Thoughts?

Be well

Rob

Than001
12-30-2009, 12:32 PM
Thanks Barry, very nice article. I think the sound limitations of these cameras right now would deter me from purchasing. The functionality of having an on-cam mic or direct xlr in is what I've been so used to. Going soundless just seems like such a setback. Is there an easy fix that I'm over-looking?

Barry_Green
12-30-2009, 06:26 PM
The solution is an external audio recorder, such as the Marantz 661 or Edirol or, on the budget side, the Zoom H4N. $299 gets you an external audio recorder of pretty decent quality, so you go double-system just like we used to in the film days...

noirist
12-31-2009, 03:34 PM
What is the difference between the Zeiss ZF and the Zeiss ZF.2? Which ones do you recommend Barry?

Barry_Green
12-31-2009, 06:08 PM
The ZF.2 is the same glass, but has electrical contacts to allow some automated functions. Obviously those are better, but I think they're about $250/lens more, so I didn't find it worth it. I think the original ZFs will probably be discontinued in favor of the .2s.

noirist
12-31-2009, 09:17 PM
Do the electrical contacts work on the GH1 through the micro 4/3rds adapter?

DrDave
01-06-2010, 02:21 PM
Thanks Barry!

Barry_Green
01-06-2010, 03:46 PM
Do the electrical contacts work on the GH1 through the micro 4/3rds adapter?
I don't know of any m4/3 adapters that pass the electrical contacts info through.

Noel Evans
01-07-2010, 04:35 PM
Good article Barry.

nageswara rao s
09-22-2010, 08:13 AM
great work by Barry Green. you have given pin to pin detail man. no words for this at all. too worthy of this detail. thank you barry green.

blazer003
09-23-2010, 10:49 AM
I've used the 5D and own a GH1(3). I'm curious how image quality compares between the 7D and GH13 now that it's "upgraded".

I'm currently eying the GH2, but want to see what Canon's next offering is as well.

Anyway, great article Barry!

Ben_B
09-27-2010, 01:08 PM
I've used the 5D and own a GH1(3). I'm curious how image quality compares between the 7D and GH13 now that it's "upgraded".

I'm currently eying the GH2, but want to see what Canon's next offering is as well.

Anyway, great article Barry!

GH13 has better IQ than the 7D, but still has the same video cam vs digital cinema cam dynamic...however the GH2 is the better camera on both the video and digi cine front...though final image quality remains to be seen.

robertrogoz
09-30-2010, 11:26 AM
Barry, I think the point of this article should be that both cameras are still cameras with some video capabilities. They can be used in a video production process, but in very, very limited scope. As far as still picture capacity 7D wins hands down. As the matter of fact 7D is approved by Getty Images and Panasonic GH1 is not- for a reason. Interestingly enough Getty accepts pictures from LX3, but not from GH1- go figure.

Barry_Green
09-30-2010, 04:49 PM
Agreed, they are both stills cameras first and foremost, with video features added on. And the 7D is the superior stills camera. I wouldn't want to use either of them as my primary video camera, but in very limited circumstances they can be quite useful.

robertrogoz
09-30-2010, 07:45 PM
Also it would be interesting if you compared new 60D with GH1- almost the same price, close on features. After selling my Nikon gear I am dwelling on 7D or 60D> i mostly would use it for stills, but having some cutaways and B-roll footage would be great. And 60D doesn't have auto gain for sound, which makes it much nicer option for video.

Barry_Green
09-30-2010, 08:17 PM
GH1's discontinued though. The GH2 is probably the better one to compare it to. Haven't seen either as of yet.

robertrogoz
10-10-2010, 01:28 PM
It would be also useful to compare all cameras in the same conditions. It would be interesting to see how the footage looks when shot at the same time from 7D, T2i, 60D, GH2 and D2, plus some Nikons.

Barry_Green
10-10-2010, 03:37 PM
Having done multiple-camera tests before, I can say that it's extremely difficult to pull that off and make everyone happy. Each additional camera you add, multiplies the complexity of "getting it right" by an order of magnitude. You have to make sure that the white balance, picture profile, shutter speed, exposure, framing, field of view, and everything else are equalized before and during each and every shot, and ... well, if you've got an operator for each camera it's do-able, but one or two guys trying to run every one of the cameras, it becomes unmanageable very quickly. And when you post your results, everyone whose camera didn't "win" will lambaste you for having done something or other wrong. It's a thankless job.

Alebrujo
10-21-2010, 08:52 AM
Thank you for the article. just an update for 2010. Canon now introduced a control of manual audio levels also you can see them in the menu. down side is that you can only see the bars levels on the menu page. So you have to set the volume before you start recording since there is no way to monitor the levels while you recording. which is still not great as far audio goes but is a great improvement of what it was a year ago. You can't use headphones in the camera since you don't have jack for audio out. However if you hook a external LCD monitor you may be able to monitor your audio that way while you recording.

videofan
08-09-2011, 12:54 AM
Barry,

Thanks very much for your sharing. It is really helpful for me to decide which one I should get.

cherchieh
11-13-2011, 03:33 PM
Having owned and shot videos with a 5dm2 for some time, I have to say Barry is spot on about the pro and cons of a rather similar 7D. And yes, the audio falls off the cliff, LOL.