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GY-HM200 Thoughts

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    GY-HM200 Thoughts

    So, I've had this camera for over a month and overall I am very happy with my purchase. I bought it to replace a stolen GH4 and while I miss my GH4, for the style of video shooting that I do, this camera exceeds what I was able to do with the GH4.

    I work for a TV-News station and a Radio News station. So my style is "run-and-gun". The zoom and the autofocus are superb for this style of shooting. The ability to shoot on two SD cards (I have them set up to mirror for a backup) is fantastic. And most of the controls are easy to figure out and use.

    * Shoots 4k, 120fps 1080p and 4:2:2 1080p.
    * Decent low-light, better than my GH4 but not "great". Definitely good enough for News.
    * Good zoom range and the digital zoom actually works pretty well.
    * Good bokeh, not great, but better than a lot of my old GH4 lenses.
    * Autofocus is fast and accurate in good lighting.
    * XLR inputs are fantastic.
    * Live streaming to YouTube and Facebook Live! is fantastic (though a bit difficult).
    * Camera can upload videos to an FTP site using wifi.
    * Good size.

    * Only two ND filter settings. This thing is very difficult to control lighting in the summer daylight. Good news is you can buy an external ND filter and use that.
    * Only goes to F/11.
    * Audio is VERY low, even on manual with gain pushed all the way to 10. I have to increase the levels in post for everything, even when using a handheld wired mic.
    * Autofocus with dark footage is spotty. I was shooting a wildfire at night and the flames were very bright (almost blowing out) and focus had issues occasionally.
    * LCD is useless in daylight.
    * Camera has to reboot itself when you change resolution or frame rates.
    * No touch screen.
    * No wifi access or app. You have to buy a wifi dongle for streaming, but you can't use it to access the settings or live stream on the camera from an external device. No ability to access the recorded videos from my phone or tablet.
    * Wifi disabled when the camera is in 4k mode.
    * Cannot stream when shooting in 4k (kinda hoped it would downconvert to 1080p or 720p on the stream),
    * No stills functionality. Would be nice if I could export a JPG frame from a recorded video in camera.

    So, I have used it to shoot a number of "stories" and "segments". I shoot those in 4k since I have more time to edit the stories/segments together. But I shoot in 1080p 4:2:2 mode for breaking news and news conferences. Easier to edit and when the camera is in 1080p mode you can use the Wifi to upload video to a remote FTP site. So tethered to my cell phone, I can upload video back to the station without having to remove the memory cards and do it from my laptop. For some bizarre reason, the Wifi is disabled when the camera in 4k mode. But once you switch it to 1080p mode, you can upload any of the video you shoot, including 4k video.

    I had to make an emergency trip to California for a couple of weeks on family business. While I was there I did some stringer work and shot video of the Sherpa and San Gabriel/Reservoir fires. The optical image stabilization was adequate, but not great. And a lot of my footage was WAY overexposed because on the LCD it looked fine and even though I had zebras on, there was so much contrast if I got rid of all the zebras, the darker areas were WAY underexposed. I need to find the sweet spot. And with only two ND filter settings, exposure is difficult to control in the mid of summer.

    I drove down to L.A. and shot a lot of footage for stock and the night time stuff with bright lights was great. I had to increase the gain, but the noise wasn't nearly as bad as my GH4 in similar conditions. One pass with Red Giant Denoiser and the footage was perfect for stock. I did have focus issue in low-light... at one point shooting the Santa Monica Pier, I ended up disabling the auto-focus and using manual focus. Worked out great since I was doing all locked-down tripod shots.

    If I had one major complaint, it would be audio. I bought it with the Panasonic shotgun mic. Standing 5 feet in front of the camera and shouting, the meter only gets to -20db. That's in manual mode with the gain turned all the way up to 10. Even with a wired handheld mic, it never gets above -15db. I have to increase the gain in post for everything I use with audio. It's actually the perfect levels for NAT sounds.

    I want my GH4 (or another DSLR) back for creative stuff. Short films and such. But for news gathering and shooting commercials for clients, this is a very nice camera and I'm happy with it. I may rent an LS300 to see if that would merge both worlds, but I'll probably get a Sony A7s II instead and keep this.