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GH1 vs GH2 vs GH3 vs GH4. Better looking sensor.
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  • First of all my IQ isn't that high on the whole filmlike/cinematic topic so excuse if I use the terms wrong at any point but I would like to share my limited view on how footage makes me "feel".To be fair I only used dialed down settings on my GH1.

    I think a lot of factors go into getting a so-called cinematic look out of these cameras.I also know from the many films I have viewed that there are many different looks that can be achieved using identical cameras"whether it be from filmstock or clever post production.The "FILMLOOK" thing will always bring about debate amongst dslr's or digital cams so I will use the word texture in collaboration with filmlook.

    I think which image looks best from each camera is quite subjective but having owned a GH1and presently a GH2,I have to say the GH1 "Image texture" is just different to say the least.It may be attributed to the sensor or whatever the case but when equipped with the same lenses as its successor"manual lenses in particular"the images straight from the camera remind me more of film or should I say "feel" more like film"subjective I know".

    I know the GH2 and GH3 have greater specs on paper which some may translate as better images.I think straight out the camera the images from the GH1 appear more filmic or should I say give me the "feeling" of viewing film minus the grain factor.I can't explain it but the texture and the way it renders images seem more organic than the GH2 or anything I have seen from GH3 thus far.To be perfectly honest if I could get a hack that looked liked GH1 images but with the benefits of the GH2"better high iso performance,no fpn issues,better stability" I would be a much happier camper.I just like the image of the GH1 better at low iso's,appears cleaner/smoother.Believe me at the price point of these cameras they already do enough so I'm not complaining.

    Yes color correction/color grading does aid in reaching a more cinematic look but these are things done after the fact.These are treatments put on top of a existing texture.I'm mainly speaking on images straight from the camera and the way they make me feel before post work.I have yet to find a combination of setting and hack for the GH2 to give me the feel of a hacked GH1.I'm not sure but willing to bet it's sensor related.

  • @RRRR, I think it's about trade offs tho. Unless you pay a lot you usually have to sacrifice one thing or the other. So at the lower end of Cameras we usually don't get it all and if I had to chose i'd prefer more DR and better Color over absolute best detail. I also tend to disagree that Great DR and Color doesn't ALWAYS look good, unless you want something to look flat for artistic reasons. I'm talking about the nature of the cameras imaging and not the final grading of the footage.

    When looking at the BMC what we're seeing is the more natural look of a high DR image with good detail and flexibility of Color. So in that sense it's a more "Filmic" look. You're not getting a lot of NR or anti aliasing filter so it's got a grain and noise, but it's more natural as opposed to a processed look. That's what i'm looking for. I personally felt that the D800 HDMI output to Ninja had that kind of look too. Just enough detail but with a good deal more DR that I feel helps to make the image look more like the way I see a scene. I do my best to try and get that from my GH1, as limited as it is.

  • @RRR i also prefer to soften up footage, but i doit for not showing what i dont want to. It happens that sometimes detail and sharpness are disrtacting. As you say, in post you can make lot of stuff.

    About DR, i find it challenging to play with the DR you have. Also this gives you a distinct look, cos you are forced to work with limitations on light.

    About color rendition i leave that to post.

  • @aria, the thing is, I prefer to soften up footage with the lenses or likewise in post over having a "digitally" soft image to begin with. For me, I find the kind of organic feel I want in soft detail, but if it feels pixelated/sharpened soft, (or overly soft, excessively short DOF) then it´s the exact opposite - it screams digital/dslr. I like detail, but hate sharpness and digital artifacts.

    Normally, I can control the DR (of the scene) when I need to - and color rendition too, so that is rarely an issue for me. I´m looking forward to the BMD cam for hard light situations, big views / landscapes e.t.c. In other words, for such occasions when you cannot control the DR of the scene.. But like I said, I´ve found such situation to be relatively rare and they can usually be handled in other ways. I just love the look of the BMD image, I have to say.

    Great DR and color doesn´t always look good IMO. Neither does excessive amounts of detail (could be described as sharp).

  • @RRRR, funny but i'm a bit different. I prefer great DR over the ultimate detail. For me there's a certain naturalness i'm looking for when it comes to an image and in truth the level of detail is one factor, but IMO it's a relative thing. Meaning that sometimes you don't even notice the slight difference in detail between relatively close cameras before you'd notice DR and Color rendition. You'd have to do direct comparisons and pixel peep just to see the difference on many of the current crop of cameras. ie. i'd give up a few levels of finest detail in order to not have to deal with a hard to remove greenish cast or a lack of ability to handle a wide dynamic scene.

    DR is also important to me since I can't always control the light situation and in many cases I don't want to have to use a lot of lights and other things just to make up for a lack of DR. I want as much of it as I can get from my camera. This is one of the reasons i've been leaning towards a D800/600 or BMC for my future camera. I could care less that there are cameras out there than can resolve a bit more detail, when I can get as much DR as those cameras can give under less than perfect conditions. Great DR and color always looks good, but sometimes the ultimate in detail can reveal too much.

  • @endotoxic It depends on the project really. There are both practical and aesthetic considerations to make..

    For the gh series I sold my gh1 after getting the gh2. It´s much more useful for me overall. Not that I think the gh2 is perfect, but it´s a very handy little tool that I don´t hesitate to use.

    Both cams can look very good, the gh3 too. That much is clear!

  • I think the optical factor influencing in any case a Nokton, Zeiss, Leica or some old lens can give that cinematic look. Not a unique work of camera sensor.

    For my eyes these shots has a cinematic look:

  • @aria @RRRR

    nothing personal taken, this is forum!! :)

    I have one question then. When choosing light, lenses, and postproduction process, and you are given GH series to choose, which camera would you use for shooting and why?

  • From how I see it, there is so much that goes into the "Film" look that the camera used is a small part of the entire process, so for me I'm looking for techniques that help anyone with just about any camera get a more "Pleasing" look that we often refer to as "Filmic" but that has a wide range of characteristics over the years. There is no ONE FILMIC look. There are so many different Film Cameras, Film Stocks, Lighting styles etc. I less concerned with reaching some specific ideal. I'm most interested in getting the best possible look to what I shoot. I'm still learning how to get the best out of my GH1, but I like the camera still despite the advances in DSLR and other large Sensor Cameras that have been coming out since the GH1.

  • Don´t take it personally @endotoxic as it´s just something that has been getting on my nerve for a while now; it certainly wasn´t intended as criticism of you, more voicing my concerns over this trend that doesn´t benefit anyone (except perhaps marketing?) – I think we have pretty similar views of this, at least it seems that way! :)

    Saying: I think this (or that) looks good is factual. Your next guy doesn´t have to agree. It´s open for discussion and it´s open for other suggestions. I like it.

  • @RRRR

    My intention was never to overate the ''cinematicness'' or not from this cameras. Lol, maybe the correct title of this thread should be "the better looking sensor" and i will change title, i agree with you.

    Post prossesing, and and a correct selection of light, is enough to make grate looking footage. What i really ment was which sensor has the better overall look.

    You cant deny that some sensors have better image than others. Of course some people can make bad sensor or lenses look really good, that is talent and vision. you can see the short make by Park chan wook "paranmanjang" grate cinematography made with iphone. He took advantage of its limits and made grate work.

    What i was trying to show out was the diferences and easy aquisition of good looking image from each sensor, and i think GH1 at low iso has very pleasing image, better than GH2 or GH3 for me.

    The word cinematic is wrongly used here.

  • @endotoxic

    I think you go about it backwards with the topic title. It´s not just you, the in-word for long has been wether something is cinematic or not. To talk about "best cinematic image" is just ridiculous, IMO.

    Let me just say that the whole GH series can look both filmic, cinematic and camcorder like or just plain "DSLR". The same holds true for basically any contemporary digital image making boxes that we like to talk about.

    Are there differences in look between the GH series cams? Yes, absolutely. But to specify these things as more or less cinematic is completely ignoring that it´s all about the hand and eye that wields the tool that he/she chooses and how the footage is edited, processed.

    Most people would say that the Alexa gives the most cinematic image if compared to the GH cameras (plenty of DR, beautiful grain). YET, 80-90% of the time I see it immediately (when it has been used) and most of the time it doesn´t look cinematic or filmic at all. Just Alexa. Or dslr. (because people have fallen in love with it´s flat look and abuse shallow DOF)

    To sum this up, I´d applaud attempts to bring together good looking stuff that has been shot with this series of amazing little cameras. (and by all means, why not include some tech specs of the equipment used, post work e.t.c.) But to discuss the "cinematicness" of this or that cam is pretty boring.