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GF2 as good "B" cam for the GH2?
  • I'm getting geeked out enough taking home movies that I'd love to get a 2nd camera to act as a "B" cam - something so when I edit I have another point of view. My local camera shops have GH2 bodies only, but I don't want to be out another $899 for this.
    Out of GH1, GF1, GH2, G3, etc, which one would you recommend that would be the easiest to match footage up with? Being able to record long amounts of time is a plus; my "B" cam could sit on a tripod and get the wider angled shot.
  • 30 Replies sorted by
  • Also, if you think Olympus might pair up well, I'm open to that as well. I always shoot in 1080p24 with either Nostalgic or Smooth.
    Thanks again!
  • From what I hear if you like panasonic on facebook you will get a discount on their products. So keep that in mine when trying to buy a panasonic product.
  • I really should just buy another GH2. I use the ETC mode all the time. But I don't wanna. I think a GH1 might be my best bet - hack it and I get 1080p24, right?
    I will immediately "friend" panasonic on facebook!
  • You should cuz it will cost you $674.96 plus tax for the GH2 body. I am looking to pick up one too.
  • Does the Facebook Friend thing work in Australia?
  • +1 for just buying another GH2. They're such reasonably priced, why not just get another and be absolutely certain that the footage is going to cut together?

    If I ever get another GH2... which I want now... I'm just going to tell people that I have two A-cams. The whole A-cam B-cam stuff is just old broadcast jargon. I think people get too caught up in trying to emulate "professionals" or "the industry", that they end up making bad decisions and possibly even going as far as compromising the final aesthetic of their work just so they can fallow a "professional work-flow". 'Professional' just means that you get paid for your work. There is definitely a strong correlation between professionals and quality work, but it's not an absolute. The most well know directors and artists usually made a name for themselves by changing the rules... not for being the best at abiding by them. :)

    I got a little off topic there, but oh well...
  • @bwhitz Not really off topic... I was going to mention this... However- if you want an 'FX' Cam (not a 'b' Cam) get a Go Pro- you wont want to be strapping your GH2VK onto a snow board...

    Also- can anyone P L E A S E let me know where to get the $674.96 GH2 --- In Australia, (or o/s don't really care- warranty flushing after VK hack so don't care)... Let me know... Anyone...?
  • I called Panasonic today - they only have the 14-140 kit for $1199 (if you like them on Facebook). However it says "Ships in 4 weeks" which makes me wonder.
  • @bwhitz

    Two A-cams! That's more like it!
  • Just a follow-up - I bought a GF2 with the 14mm 2.5 "kit" for $410 brand new shipped, and the video is great. That little lens kicks butt too. Great for in your face kid pics.
  • How did you get it so cheap?

    Add to cart. Then use coupon code "fireworks" to save $20. I was mistaken; it was $419 not $410. Free shipping and I got it 2 days later (Ohio). Brand new unopened; my wife loves it. That 14mm f2.5 is not cheap. I shot some sample footage today with the 14-140 lens on the GF2 and didn't really see much of a difference in 1080i mode vs. the GH2. Shoots nice interlaced HD video.
  • GH1(13) as "B"-Cam the Best
    or a Sony HX9V is very good
  • @Shield
    Once, film cameras were heavy, so a lighter camera 2 (or"B") could do the trickier, handheld shots. Film stock sort of looks the same regardless of which camera so cutting the two together was no problem. Video cameras often differ so can't be so easy to inter-cut.
    But why bother any more? GH2's are ridiculously cheap for what we get - even as a stunt camera. For a 2-camera shoot, get two GH2's, set one up as establishing shot or reverse of interviewer, use identical settings (possibly even over-riding white balance so as to colour-match). Use a separate slate for each, then a common slate to sync both... heaven on a stick!! Shoot a wedding with a few borrowed GH2's sitting inconspicuously on flat surfaces. Even get to know other GH2 owners and help each other out on 2-camera shoots.
  • I don't shoot weddings or interviews though. Just my kids and my friend's band. I am just going to geek out and film us playing baseball in the yard; the Gh2 will film my son swinging and the GF2 will get the side shot of me pitching and him hitting. Great advice though if I were doing anything in more of a professional manner, but it's amateur hour here!
    Also, it's not that super cheap once you've bought so many lenses including the Nokton 25mm - the wife would raise a serious eyebrow about another $899 purchase!
    Thanks though!
  • That a good price on the GF2. Wonder if more places with start to clear them out ahead of GF3.

    I'm considering this as an extra wide-angle B-cam for events (weddings). I already have a GH1 and GH2, but I want another discrete unmanned angle or two. I've made attempts at using a Flip UltraHD and iPhone 4, but I can never quite get things to match (quality as much as color), so this would obviously be a step up. I've also considered and read good things about the TM900 camcorder if anyone has comments on matching. I can't justify the money yet, but while I'm at it, I've always wanted an HMC-150. That seems overkill though particularly with my growing m43 collection. I wish I got another GH1 before they ran out, but it seems used is the only option left. Actually, I did have a second kit ordered through a valid EPP for the $375 panasonic direct deal, but it got cancelled when they first ran out and then they started selling body only again for $350. I was too bummed about it not being as good of a deal to reorder. I even sent an email asking them to honor my original order, but they wouldn't. Almost sounds like bait and switch to me.

    There's not much info on video settings for the GF2 though, and unfortunately 'gf2' is too short of a search term . It sounds like the flicker reduction allows for a fixed shutter speed, but then I read something about Auto ISO kicking in to maintain exposure in aperture priority. This may not be too bad assuming I have another angle to cut from, but I'd like to be able to limit it so that it doesn't get too noisy. This review ( also gives some insight, but not enough specifically. Can anyone with a GF2 confirm and/or explain their optimal 'manual' settings?

    Also, I already have the 14-140mm, 14-42mm, and 20mm Panasonic lenses plus some Canon FD primes. At this price, is it worth it for the 14mm pancake alone? (I realize price wise it is, but the question is more of whether I actually need it. Since it's still not very fast, I'd almost feel more versatile with another 14-42mm, but it's just not as good of a deal and I already have one.)

    I'm torn because this may be good enough to expand my collection, and I like the idea of using the small kit when I travel light. But, the more I mix and match cameras based on the deal at hand, the less I can reuse batteries and more I have to remember specific settings in different places. Not good if you have to setup in a hurry.

    To the original point, I think the GH1 matches the GH2 pretty good, but I'm far from expert and haven't done extensive testing myself. It's really a lot of worth jotting down notes about all the combinations. I wish you could trust jpeg's and use exif data. I can say that it's far closer than trying to match to Canon or Nikon. The lenses can make a difference too, particularly panasonic to canon fd. Sharpness of the lenses was another factor, in my case I was using the 14-42 on the GH1 and 14-140 on the GH2. I haven't applied hacks to either yet since I've been mostly concerned with stability, and just haven't gotten around to experimenting yet. Using the GH1 wide (lots of detail) with a lower bitrate doesn't help either. The color profiles aren't exactly one-to-one either, and I think the GH1 was a little more washed out. I used multi-cam to shoot different angles that vary quite a bit, so I can probably get away without perfection. Shooting the same subject at different focal lengths like an interview might be more noticeable.

    Another note on matching, is that I've tended to shoot 720p60 and use a 720p30 timeline in editing as the lowest common denominator in video formats. I figured 720p is still HD for 'marketing' purposes, and good enough for online distribution, otherwise I only deliver on DVD. This gives me the option to slow-down 60fps footage. Occasionally I opt for 1080p30 and use the extra resolution to zoom or re-frame when I care less about slowing down. Doing this, I don't make use of the higher bit rate at 24fps on the GH2. I say all this because without the GH1 hack, you have to go through the pulldown removal step to get 1080p24 (and from what I've read the hack fix is one of the less stable options). Sounds like GF2 is wrapped in 1080i60 as well. So, it seems like there's a tradeoff everywhere I turn. My point is that having 2 or more of the same camera can help simplify these decisions.
  • GF2: "manual settings are not available in video mode. . ."
  • Looks like the deal on the GF2 at unique photo is gone, maybe it was a price mistake. Upon further review I realized that the GF2 only has 2 color profiles, color (i.e. 'standard') and b&w, where as the GH2 has the long list of film modes that's constantly being discussed. In order to get color to match I guess you'd have to compromise on that as well.
  • "B" cam for GH2: GH2 > GH1 > GF1/2

    Preferably all GH2s. Just a month ago we were calling GH13 a legend. But... you know the digital technology. The newer, the better.
  • I couldn't deal with the 30fps on the GF2 (24p junky) so I bought a 2nd GH2. Shhh...I'm keeping this purchase secret from the wife...:)
  • I'm resurrecting this in light of the various black friday deals this weekend.

    I missed the GF2 on Newegg for $285-299. Looks like GF2 is getting harder to find now. The GF3 is still available through Panasonic EPP with 14-42 and 14mm lenses for $499. In the US, Target has the GF2 w/ 14-42 for $400 and they give you a $75 gift card. The GH2 w/ 14-140mm lens is $1125 also through Panasonic EPP/Facebook. (I have a valid EPP so this has pretty much been the price or $675 body only, although it doesn't currently seem available). Let me know if there's another other deals I'm missing.

    I realize there's a new effort to hack the GF2 (, which would be great to open up more manual control. I realize it's kind of special because it has the hot shoe, available evf, and stereo mic. Otherwise the GF3 is similar, stonebat has some other comparisons in that thread.

    In my situation I have a GH1 and a GH2, mentioned above in my previous analysis ( I'm looking for additional b-cams for wedding/event video that will match and perform well. I'm more of a hobbyist at this point, and don't need anything else until like March for my brother-in-law's wedding, so the typical if you need it, get it argument doesn't apply yet. I've seen deals come and go, but keep thinking I'll hold out for a second GH2. (Maybe get a 3rd if they get clearanced out farther in the future). I just keep thinking that if a GF2/3 will be good enough then I could get 2, and have twice as much footage. Any body else have comments or experience on matching?

  • If I were you, get GH2. So much easier for color matching during PP. I'd trade GH1 with GH2 just before it gets discontinued. The whole gears will be nicely packed into a big bag for projects.

    GF2 is most likely a candid camera for me. Attach a pancake, throw into a man bag. Conform 1080p30 video into 1080p24 to give subtle slowdown which reduces camera shake.

    Keep things simple :)
  • ok, so you've already bought it...
    I though about the sony hx9v when I read your comment -
    whoever looking for a pocketable possibily "b" cam - or just as a all time camera for a doc a trip, could read some more reviews and opinions about this practical little cam.

  • The image sensor in the GF2 appears to be the same as the one in the GF1: 4000x3000 pixels in stills mode, unlike the variable-aspect sensors in the GH1 and GH2. The maximum sensor scan rate is 30p, which produces a stream of duplicated frames in 720p60 mode. Likewise, 50p and 50i video modes are actually scanned at 25p, making the GF's more suitable for PAL usage than the GH2.

    However, the GF sensor is noticeably noisier than the GH1, and no doubt noisier than the GH2 as well. I found the GF1 image quality acceptable only in daylight conditions; and its low-light fixed pattern noise limits it to no more than ISO 400. The hack makes manual controls usable in video mode, but the fixed LCD screen can make monitoring the camera awkward.

    Note that the GF2 only has the 50i/60i 1080p video modes - it does not support 24p video at all. Since it's only working at 25/30p sensor scan rates, I wouldn't count on getting hacked bitrates higher than 66Mbps.
  • +1.

    GF2's 25p sensor output would be great for PAL users. 30p wouldn't be so bad when uploading to web. No it can't compete with GH1 or GH2 in video quality.

    After the crazy dumping last week, GF2 is officially discontinued. I used it for a few days. No this is not a good B cam for GH1 or GH2.

    GF2 is just a fun camera to carry around everywhere. The Made-in-Japan metal body is quite addictive. The pancakes look great on it, and small MF lenses are easy to control. MF shutter lag is shorter than GF1 and GF3. Its 1080i video has B-frames. The codec must be more advanced than GF1's. Also more powerful processor than GF1's. If a hack happens and reproduces fine noise and brings out the fine details, this might be a great little 'A' camera to carry around. Carry a fast prime to keep the ISO under 1250 which is equivalent to GH2's 2000.