Choosing the Panasonic GH1

Choosing the Panasonic GH1

We recently purchased a Panasonic GH1 for the ShedWorx test bench.

There is a lot of movement out there in DSLR camera land, so I thought that I would write up the key differences between the GH1 and the traditional high-end DSLRs.

Micro Four Thirds sensor

The GH-1 has a Micro Four Thirds Sensor which is smaller in capacity than the 'big guns' like the Canon 5D and 7D. Its about 70% of the size of the sensor used in these cameras. This allows for smaller camera bodies. Check out the Panasonic GF1 and Olympus E-2 for examples of smaller cameras using this system. This new system is aimed at bridging the gap between cheaper instant cameras and full-blown Pro DSLRs.

The other interesting thing to note about the Micro Four Thirds system is that unlike the Pro DLRs, there is no mirror used.

On a regular DSLR you look out through the viewfinder, through the lens by way of a mirror that drops down in front of the sensor. This mirror flips up out of the way as the photo is taken.

On a Micro Four Thirds camera you are looking at the image as projected on the sensor at all times, but unlike an instant digital camera, or a video camera, the lens still does its job of opening and shutting to get you your shutter speed and aperture (how far the shutter opens).

The GH1 has a viewfinder but this is just another view of the LCD output.

Price

The GH-1 is a bit cheaper than the entry-level Pro DSLRs. Using Australian retail prices in December 2009, you have the following:
- Panasonic GH-1 (with 14-140mm lens): $2,200
- Canon 7D (with 18-135mm lens): $$2,800
- Canon 5D (with 24-105mm lens): $4,500

Video

As a comparison with its nearest rival, then Canon 7D, both the GH1 and 7D shoot Full HD 1920x1080 video, but here's the kicker: None of the Pro DSLRs have auto-focus while recording video. This can be a deal breaker for those who want to take any sort of action shots with their video camera. It is practically impossible to be manually focusing on a moving video subject.

All of the DSLRs lack motor-driven zoom also. Thats right - manual zoom only.

The big thing with the GH1 video is QUALITY. The sensor used by the GH1 is about 5 times the size of the sensor in a handycam. The GH1 also has a 'real' lens - made with lots of glass and stuff. The lens alone of the GH1 weighs more than our Canon HF11. These two factors combined give the GH1 killer video performance. Its just better than the handycams in all areas - colour, low light, image quality, etc.

The GH1 produces far and away the best AVCHD video in the pro-sumer market.

Wrap-up

The GH1 (and the GF1 and Olympus E-2) marks a new hybrid camera entering the market. Its a great still camera which gets you into DSLR territory and its a killer video camera. I had tried to use my Canon HF11 as a hybrid still and video camera, but to be honest, its still pictures were just rubbish. The stills from the HF11 were always inferior to those shot on our old instant digital (a Canon IXUS 800) so we ended up always using both.

Panasonic looks like it has another hit on its hands. The rugged FT1 (TZ3 in the USA) was a huge hit earlier in the year with stock sold out for months. The same is happening now with the GH1.

The GH1 marks the first time that you can have one camera which can take top-quality stills and video. Its no wonder that they're sold out everywhere for XMas 2009.

35mm Depth of FIeld Adapters

We've had a number of requests from users about 35mm depth of field adapters.

We have looked into this and when you shoot with a 35mm DOF adapter, the video ends up upside down. We will be adding a 'flip' feature to VoltaicHD soon to allow you flip the video back up the right way when converting.

For those who haven't seen this before, here are some examples of what is possible with a DOF adapter.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxeBMQ3VfV4&NR=1

To put it simply, you can shoot professional quality footage not possible with a consumer camera. The DOF adapter gives you a very narrow depth of field which allows you to focus in on a subject in ways not possible with AVCHD cameras out of the box.

We've just bought an adapter from these guys for $199 US:
http://www.vid-atlantic.com/

We're pairing it with Canon EF 50mm f1.8 SLR lens which we bought for $120 (AUS - about $100US), just like this:
http://www.vid-atlantic.com/photos.html

We will certainly post up some samples to Youtube once the new toy arrives.

So how popular is this? Let us know if you use a DOF adapter already, or are planning to.

ShedWorx Store outage on 27/10/09

We had a store outage from about 1800 to 2300 GMT on 27 October 2009. The reason that it was down for so long was that it happened from 1am to 8am Perth time, so while our monitoring system was going nuts, we were all tucked up in bed.

We're still getting to the bottom of this but it looks like one of our security scans got out of control.

We run these pro-active tests frequently to ensure that our site and store are rock solid. Unfortunately last nights regular tests went a little crazy and took out the store.

This is the first extended outage that we've had with the store in 2 years of running ShedWorx. We're confident that it won't happen again.

Apologies for any inconvenience that this has caused.

PayPal all good

PayPal behaving again

PayPal is back to normal, reliably confirming our payments as they go through.

From now on, as soon as you make a purchase our store will email you you Activation key/s immediately, as always.

We have not yet got the to bottom of why this happened, but the PayPal confirmation failures have ceased.

If you do not receive your product keys within a few minutes of paying, please contact us via support.

Intermittent Paypal errors

Paypal clearance issues

Over the past 12 hours we've been experiencing intermittent delays with PayPal reporting back to us that payments have been cleared.

This means that a small number users have not been sent their activation codes instantly, as is usually the case.

We're investigating the problem with PayPal and we are manually clearing transactions, but we're only doing the manual process during business hours (we have to sleep sometime).

If you don't receive your key straight away, you can email us and we'll check it out, or just wait until morning (Australia time, GMT+8) and we'll clear any delayed transactions then.

Thanks for your patience. I'm sure this will be fixed soon.

VoltaicHD 2.0 into private beta

VoltaicHD 2.0 is now out for private beta testing. Those of you with access to the ShedWorx beta downloads page can download from there.

This release is fully functional with no known major bugs.

VoltaicHD 2.0 can co-exist with version 1.x, so just save 2.0 to a different location to 1.x.

Please see the tutorials videos if you need help getting started.

If you want to try VoltaicHD 2.0 outside of Demo mode, drop us a line at support and we'll get you an Activation key for 2.0

Release date for VoltaicHD 2.0 is currently set at Monday 26th October.

Thanks for testing :)

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