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    GH5S for Wedding Shoot
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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    I don’t really know how to say this, not much discussion on the GH5S model, the Panasonic DFD autofocus system maligned reputation is carved in stone yet the V1.6 update with face recognition worked super good for me yesterday. I mounted the GH5S on a Zhiyun Crane gimbal with PanaLeica 12-60 F2.8-4.0 with OIS on and EIS enabled in-camera; the 4K 60p video was buttery smooth..(drum roll), the AF was excellent. In 92GB (24 clips) of gimbal footage, there were only two of the *very briefest* (less than 1 sec.) out of focus moments where it instantly recovered both times. There was never an instance of latching onto a background, nor was there any back and forth hunting. It just just did a perfect job of focusing on the faces whether in the sun or shadows, even going from outdoors to indoors. This the first time I’ve been satisfied with Panasonic AF performance, and there will be no complaints about these clips. I have hated the 12-60 PanaLeica for it’s non-linear servo focus ring, yet now it’s not even needed to use. It otherwise has excellent optics, great OIS and now fast accurate AF on GH5S. I could go on, already said too much, no one would be convinced anyway. I will later post up the two instances of brief out of focus moments and seamless recovery, built confidence for me.
    Last edited by Tom Roper; 10-11-2020 at 10:08 AM.


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    #2
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    If you'd like, post what I call a "patience test".

    Leave the camera rolling for a few minutes in 24p on something close to the lens with a shallow background that has bokeh/lights in it. We'd observe the lights to see if they grow or shrink.

    This is the only way to test AF on cameras (especially Panasonic) as anything with deeper DOF and/or 60p won't count as 60p always had better AF on cameras as it's easier for the system to focus with more frames at its disposal.


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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    I donít doubt it could flunk a patience test like that, Perfect AF in this case is in the context of, ďbest of DFD.Ē No illusions about this being Canon DPAF or Sony. Iíd like to do that test anyway, however that is not how I use this camera. I had it set up to record a backup shot of the ceremony from a tripod in 24p, but took no chances, shot that in MF. I also consider M43 format DOF can be a worthwhile feature at weddings or at least on a gimbal where itís not usually the intent to emphasize isolating subject matter with DOF. When V1.6 came out I tested it with my PanaLeica 42mm F1.2 Nocticron @ f1.2, it has a decently shallow DOF there but the AF motor is slow and focus slower to respond. Thatís why I chose the 12-60mm, newer and faster design for video than the 42.5 portrait lens. But the 12-60 Gh5s combo worked great on a gimbal for effortlessly moving about the wedding party and guests, free of out of focus distractions.

    My A-cam for the event, Pocket 6K need no intro, shot with a couple of Canon EF lenses from a Benro monopod, *major mojo* from that camera, wow. The dressing room shots against a bright window, sunset shots with reflections into the water and into direct sunlit sky just beautiful. Beautiful bride too. If you want pretty shots shoot pretty people.


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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    Event was also live streamed although I had no role in that.


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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    Can you post an unedited frame of 6K vs GH5S in the same setting?

    Cool to hear that DFD is working so well. Does it do well in the dark?

    The thing is that even the newest DFD cameras dont seem to do that well. Maybe they need more firmware updates. My feeling is that AF is useless until it reaches a certain threshold of reliability. But it sounds like you experienced that on the GH5S.

    Face tracking didnt seem to be a problem on the GH5 or S1 from what I saw - it could tell where the faces were. It just couldn't keep them in focus
    Last edited by ahalpert; 10-11-2020 at 08:02 PM.


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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    I would never have thought AF would be such a touchy subject. I film very few weddings but when I used AF I would tap to set then turn it off if the subject isn't moving. Which is most of the wedding whether it's prep, photos, vows, speeches, etc. Of course you can make it hard on yourself if you film FF with very shallow dof where if the subject leans forward they will be out of focus.

    Now I've never used the GH family, my substantially older cameras like the Canon 70d, 80d had dual pixel face detection, so I could rely on tracking on the occasion they were moving or I'm on a gimbal and never had a problem. Since most of the weddings are highlight style that you can remove any b-roll or a-roll that went out of focus. If you can't pull together a 5-10 minute highlight reel for an entire day of shooting you're doing something wrong.

    If the OP is happy with the performance of the GH5s then what's the problem? From what I've seen the Panasonic contrast focus, it's hit or miss depending on the lighting condition, lens, and subject. So if you have good results that's fine but most people will not want to put their trust in it during a crucial moment during a live event. I don't think there is a point trying to convince people to the contrary. Like Abe has pointed out and I've seen some reviewers say that Panasonic has weird behavior where it will detect a face put a box around it and yet it will be out of focus. For me that's the worse scenario because it would leave you with the impression it's in focus when it's not.
    Last edited by Peter C.; 10-11-2020 at 07:02 PM.


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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    Can you post an unedited frame of 6K vs GH5S in the same setting?

    Cool to hear that DFD is working so well. Does it do well in the dark?

    The thing is that even the newest DFD cameras dont seem to do that well. Maybe they need more firmware updates. My feeling is that AF is useless until I reaches a certain threshold of reliability. But it sounds like you experienced that on the GH5S.

    Face tracking didnt seem to be a problem on the GH5 or S1 from what I saw - it could tell where the faces were. It just couldn't keep them in focus
    I suppose I can do that, the unedited shot from the same setting. On the P6K I shot the event in 4K UHD Prores LT except for two clips that were BRAW, but all used the BMD Gen 4 wide video gamut and Gen 4 6K gamma, the terms used for the various BMD log gammas. The GH5s were all shot in VLog-L, so they should be reasonably comparable, but both will be flat without grading. I used the cameras differently. I shot walkaround B-roll with the GH5s on the gimbal before the ceremony, then turned to the P6K for the bride and groom getting ready shots. For the ceremony, both cams were on manual, the GH5s a static wide shot for safety; I used the P6K on the monopod for the A-roll. After the ceremony I used the GH5s/gimbal again for the reception, food and drink bar socials, then went back to the P6K on the monopod for toasts, first dances, cake cutting, garter toss, bouquet toss. The sunset shots were squeezed in with the family photos, so I believe have a bit of both settings from both cams to show. Yes, the GH5s with V1.6 firmware with face tracking did keep focus in alignment with the squares and crosshairs with the 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 PanaLeica. That was not the case previously with the PanaLeica 42.5 f1.2 Nocticron prime, which seemed to lag in other testing, slow to focus, slow to respond.

    What I want to do in this topic first, is find and post the two brief worst case shots that I thought were well handled by DFD. It would not have been worst case scenario, this was paid work after all and the point of doing things is to avoid trouble not seek it, so low light GH5s face tracking shots were not used, rather I used P6K and the LED light for those as I was aiming for good shots not bad work.

    To address a comment Peter made, I was never happy with DFD before but probably had not tried the 12-60 on the GH5s since I also was using a regular GH5. With the P6K I don't use the GH5 anymore so I put the 12-60 on the GH5s instead. So between the V1.6 and 12-60, DFD was about 100% on target this time around, and was not used for the critical 24p documentary, all of it was 60p highlight reel.


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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    That's very interesting re: DFD and I believe I read somewhere that DFD does better at high frame rates


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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    Here is where it lost focus, then recovered. It only did this once. Not sure why. What drove me crazy before was it would focus on a wall behind the subject, then stay there stuck, as in forever stuck.

    Last edited by Tom Roper; 10-11-2020 at 11:32 PM.


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    #10
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    This happens on Canon and Sony cameras too. Sometimes they just fail, confuse themselves in random situations like these.

    What makes an AF system great is its patience. Being able to track an eyeball in a well-lit interview for 45 minutes to 99% perfection. (Just one example.)

    Panasonic cameras would never be able to do the above. They just break and go berserk for no reason. They have no patience.

    For quick clips, especially ones part of a faster-paced edit, it really doesn't matter too much and you can use any AF system.

    As far as the wall/background problem, typical Panasonic AF problem. Very common. Seen it for so many years.


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