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Andrew Reid

Panasonic GH5 - all is revealed!

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17 minutes ago, Arikhan said:

@Axel

I tested the Pana AF modes intensively (last time two weeks ago) with the FZ1000. The more you test different modes and scenarios, the more usable it will be for shooters needing a reliable AF in combination with MF. I compared it with the very good AF of the NX1. (Personally I consider Canons DPAF to be number one, some Sony cameras numjber two, NX1 and X-T2 number 3)

The test: FZ1000 + NX1 both set on face recognition, subject walking forth camera, cameraman walking back in round about 1,2m distance to subject. Both cameras with F2.8. Results were absolutely comparable, Pana with no wobbling or hunting. The subject did a moderate walk (not slow, not fast)...I wouldn't have expected this...
With "multi area" (eg subject turns face away from camera), the Pana is hunting, oftenly searching for more contrasty structures (background). In these cases (intensively tested too), it is very useful to determine a flexible AF area - the extent of the AF area can be extended - which can be moved in every direction and place you want. Using this method, focus never hunts (in static situations), even if background is much more contrasty than the subject: You just have to keep your subject within the predetermined focusing area.
There are many complaints on the pana AF hunting (hunting for more contrast, "wobbling" etc. in AF) but I think, users should test more the different modes and adapt this to their preferences...

I don't know  (I never hold the GH5 in my hands) but to be honest, I don't expect an AF similar to the big "AF-Gorillas" (Canon, Sony, Samsung and Fuji as descripted above), but I find the Pana AF usable. I used it in quite "impossible" situations and in the dark (a night concert on a stage in Romania) and - despite the 1" sensor and crop - it did very well at long zoom (about F4). It tracked faces like hell, I was very happy - i never would expect it but this showed me how important it is to extensively test for knowing how to handle camera strengths and limitations...

You bring up some interesting points, Arikhan. For one thing, in the past, I always relied on others, especially YouTubers, to do the testing for me and tell me what the best settings to use were. Since purchasing the Lumix G85, I've been doing a lot of my own evaluating, and I think the settings I've come up with work best for me, much better in fact than just sheepishly following what others recommended. Of course, we are all here to share information, but that doesn't relieve the responsibility of testing yourself. Concerning AF, Lumix cameras have for a while now had some of the fastest single point AF around, and the GH5 is without question going to kill it, with it's ability to read the sensor twice as fast, and with all those focus points. The joystick will come in handy as well, since one thing that troubles me about touch focus on all my Panasonic cameras is that the actual focusing area is really the size of the tip of my finger - quite a large area in fact, and hardly accurate enough for demanding work. The joystick will allow much more precision. As far as AF-C goes, I tried it a few times, it did not work well at all, and I gave up on it entirely. Which is why I admire the fact that you are even trying to see how it can be made to work, and under which conditions. I have been recommending to Panasonic owners that, if they are shooting a person (clothed or unclothed, makes no difference) that they have them wear something shiny or contrasty, like sunglasses, a striped shirt, a necklace - because i've found the contrast detection can lock onto those quite easily. The camera will also tenaciously hold focus on a person if their hair happens to be backlighted, at least it does for me. And in the event that I absolutely must use AF at all, I usually initiate recording in manual mode, so I can at least see focus peaking to confirm focus. Otherwise, with a low resolution LCD, it's virtually impossible to know whether you've got the shot in the bag until you get back to your home or office and view the clips on your monitor. The high resolution EVF and LCD on the GH5 should go a long way toward alleviating those headaches.

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47 minutes ago, Arikhan said:

@Axel

I don't know  (I never hold the GH5 in my hands) but to be honest, I don't expect an AF similar to the big "AF-Gorillas" (Canon, Sony, Samsung and Fuji as descripted above), but I find the Pana AF usable. I used it in quite "impossible" situations and in the dark (a night concert on a stage in Romania) and - despite the 1" sensor and crop - it did very well at long zoom (about F4). It tracked faces like hell, I was very happy - i never would expect it but this showed me how important it is to extensively test for knowing how to handle camera strengths and limitations...

Wouldn't a 1" sensor be more forgiving than an APS-C sensor? :) 

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2 hours ago, jonpais said:

Don't know if anyone's shared this video yet.

(...)

Interesting details not mentioned elsewhere. For instance the part about the fine-tuneable AF modes.

54 minutes ago, Arikhan said:

@Axel

I don't know  (I never hold the GH5 in my hands) but to be honest, I don't expect an AF similar to the big "AF-Gorillas" (Canon, Sony, Samsung and Fuji as descripted above), but I find the Pana AF usable. I used it in quite "impossible" situations and in the dark (a night concert on a stage in Romania) and - despite the 1" sensor and crop - it did very well at long zoom (about F4). It tracked faces like hell, I was very happy - i never would expect it but this showed me how important it is to extensively test for knowing how to handle camera limitations...

My objection against AF with big sensor cameras (well, at least compared to traditional camcorders, MFT is still a big sensor) always was that even the smartest camera software couldn't decide what part of the image should be in focus, whether it was supposed to stay in focus if it moved or how sensitive it should react when the focus changed briefly. I saw this problem in an interview I had to edit, a talking head. Whenever the woman shifted slightly in her seat, went oof just for ten frames, the AF felt obliged to react to that, and it looked terrible. I told the camera operator he should have better focussed manually once.

There has to be a profile you can set in advance, one that tells the AF how to behave. It's about setting a treshold and then some kind of ease-in, ease-out. Yes, I understand that in order to adjust focus in a way that looks organic, the AF has to be insanely fast. A computer driven motor can only accelerate smoothly by approximating the target position in many incremental steps, in between analyzing the progress. Many contemporary CAF systems still do it wrongly, they jump beyond the point, then back and forth, and with the object moving across the frame, they never stop. 

I'm planning a short about the thoughts crossing the mind of a jogger. He needs to be don-juaned by a gimbal. A good continous AF would come in handy ...

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37 minutes ago, Axel said:

Interesting details not mentioned elsewhere. For instance the part about the fine-tuneable AF modes.

My objection against AF with big sensor cameras (well, at least compared to traditional camcorders, MFT is still a big sensor) always was that even the smartest camera software couldn't decide what part of the image should be in focus, whether it was supposed to stay in focus if it moved or how sensitive it should react when the focus changed briefly. I saw this problem in an interview I had to edit, a talking head. Whenever the woman shifted slightly in her seat, went oof just for ten frames, the AF felt obliged to react to that, and it looked terrible. I told the camera operator he should have better focussed manually once.

There has to be a profile you can set in advance, one that tells the AF how to behave. It's about setting a treshold and then some kind of ease-in, ease-out. Yes, I understand that in order to adjust focus in a way that looks organic, the AF has to be insanely fast. A computer driven motor can only accelerate smoothly by approximating the target position in many incremental steps, in between analyzing the progress. Many contemporary CAF systems still do it wrong, they jump beyond the point, then back and forth, and with the object moving across the frame, they never stop. 

I watched a Dave Dugdale video once, I believe he was testing the AF ability of one of the Sony cameras, and to the best of my recollection, I think he actually said he usually uses AF for interviews this way. Anyway, that's how I remember it, my memory could be faulty, I'm 60 years old after all. But there are times I actually prefer MF because I don't want the subject to remain continuously in focus, at least in expressive work. So, for example, if I'm doing a tight shot (or whatever it's called in filmmaking parlance) of someone's head, when they move slightly, I like it to go out of focus for a moment. I really, truly detest the word organic, but that's how I feel about focus. AF can look mechanical, machine-like, whereas if a subject moves beyond the range of depth of field for an instant, I think it looks much more natural. Again, I will stress, this is for my personal work only, not for a job where you're filming an interview. And I'm not talking about transition speeds between one point and another here, either (Arikahn mentioned the X-T2's AF, and I immediately thought of how abruptly it can change focus points compared to the smoother transition of say, Sony cameras).

I'm now thinking, since we're having this discussion, that at some point in the very near future, I'm going to invest in focus pulling gear, because I really don't want the camera making decisions for me. I understand that for commercial work, AF is rapidly gaining acceptance, but for personal work, I'm starting to believe it can be a hindrance. Not that I use it much anyway.

I could go on and on... Recently, I've been noticing just how often that while I am focusing, (and I have the menu set to focus assist whenever I touch the focus ring on the lens), that I forget I'm in focus assist; and I go to change exposure with the dial, and instead of changing exposure, I've changed the magnification from 3X to 10X or something. Very annoying! And anyone who's ever used a Panasonic camera knows how useless 10X magnification is (you can no longer see focus peaking, for one thing). I don't know what Panasonic could do to avoid this from happening. Has anyone else here had this same problem? 

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3 minutes ago, jonpais said:

I really, truly detest the word organic, but that's how I feel about focus.

I am not a native speaker, I can't feel those niceties. I use many terms because others use them and so they seem appropriate. Should I have written natural instead? I don't think so. Focus isn't anything you are away of when seeing the world around you. Sure, you can hold your index finger in front of your nose and simultaneously look at the television tower on the horizon, but you wouldn't usually do that. DoF only exists in images, it has to do with aesthetics and sometimes with film language. She was so absorbed in thoughts, the world around her blurred. What we do though (but not by visually blurring the background and thereby isolating the object of interest) is that we perceive selectively. Test this: watch one individual in a crowd for a few minutes. You'll notice that you drift into some kind of trance. You know that there are other people around, cars, trees, traffic signs, you actually see them peripherally, but they become marginal. Your FoV is vignetted - it really physically is, like right now. I know there stands a bookshelf on my right side while I'm looking at the monitor, I know the books have different colors, but it's just as if they were blurred. 

Focussing has to feel right. How can you teach a software to make an adjustment feel right? Only if it allows you to program it.

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4 minutes ago, Axel said:

I am not a native speaker, I can't feel those niceties. I use many terms because others use them and so they seem appropriate. Should I have written natural instead? I don't think so. Focus isn't anything you are away of when seeing the world around you. Sure, you can hold your index finger in front of your nose and simultaneously look at the television tower on the horizon, but you wouldn't usually do that. DoF only exists in images, it has to do with aesthetics and sometimes with film language. She was so absorbed in thoughts, the world around her blurred. What we do though (but not by visually blurring the background and thereby isolating the object of interest) is that we perceive selectively. Test this: watch one individual in a crowd for a few minutes. You'll notice that you drift into some kind of trance. You know that there are other people around, cars, trees, traffic signs, you actually see them peripherally, but they become marginal. Your FoV is vignetted - it really physically is, like right now. I know there stands a bookshelf on my right side while I'm looking at the monitor, I know the books have different colors, but it's just as if they were blurred. 

Focussing has to feel right. How can you teach a software to make an adjustment feel right? Only if it allows you to program it.

Sorry Axel, I didn't realize you'd even used the * word. :) 

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@jonpais

@Axel

I will make a video with these facts within the next two weeks. There are some more facts to consider, I've written them down.

Example: During a concert in late August 2016, I made an interview with a band menber. It was a very bright, sunny day, the man stood (not sitting), the background was green (grass) and water. With standard AF it was impossible to get the artist in a constant focus with AF. The camera simply focused on background...Why? No clue...
What I did: Though it was very bright (full sun and about 36 degrees Celsius, I remember very well), I put a LED light on his face. The hunting was gone...
BTW: Distance to the subject (artist face and some of his chest) was about 65cm.

During another run&gun interview, i put the FZ1000 very close to the face of my interview partner (hand held with Sennheiser mic on hot shoe). The interview was outdoor...The camera hunted like crazy on background...I got a miserable picture quality, it was pure garbage...
The last "dramatic" situation was for me during an interview with a German bishop, I have loosed because I was alone and had to use AF...The camera hunted on background instead of focusing on bishops face (the guy simply didn't stand still - but this is the reality)...This was a desaster...

After that I was tired of mediocre "AF footage", I begun to "study" the different scenarios and modes. I just wanted to get as reliable results as possible, not depending on luck when using AF. After some time of shooting and study, I got some good results: Quite perfect in focus footage of persons using AF in different modes (persons moving forth and back from camera, interview situations when subjects move a little bit forth and back). So far I am very happy with the results of my FZ1000. As you know, being perfectly on focus is one of the most important factors of my filming / photography. When possible I always use MF with additional control monitor (even when using a big shoulder camera), but when it isn't possible (unespectable run&gun situations, one man band, etc.) I need a reliable AF.

@jonpais

You shoot very much portraiture (faces). For this the two described methods (1. Face detection and 2. Specified area focusing) are quite reliable, in my eyes in more than 90% of situations).
I will try to write down my experience and settings with the FZ1000 (but these settings are similar on all Pana consumer cameras) and will post some footage with excellent face tracking in low light. I will try being very precise in describing the situations, I used the different modes....
BTW: In cases with more than one face, it begins to get hard - because the camera can NOT know which of the faces you want to keep in focus (assuming you have Face1 about 1,5m, Face2 about 2,5m and Face3 about 4m far away from camera - subjects spread all over your field of view)...

Please consider that I am not a experienced reviewer at all. I can only debate on practical facts I have experienced a lot of times.

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1 hour ago, Axel said:

I am not a native speaker, I can't feel those niceties. I use many terms because others use them and so they seem appropriate. Should I have written natural instead? I don't think so. Focus isn't anything you are away of when seeing the world around you. Sure, you can hold your index finger in front of your nose and simultaneously look at the television tower on the horizon, but you wouldn't usually do that. DoF only exists in images, it has to do with aesthetics and sometimes with film language. She was so absorbed in thoughts, the world around her blurred. What we do though (but not by visually blurring the background and thereby isolating the object of interest) is that we perceive selectively. Test this: watch one individual in a crowd for a few minutes. You'll notice that you drift into some kind of trance. You know that there are other people around, cars, trees, traffic signs, you actually see them peripherally, but they become marginal. Your FoV is vignetted - it really physically is, like right now. I know there stands a bookshelf on my right side while I'm looking at the monitor, I know the books have different colors, but it's just as if they were blurred. 

Focussing has to feel right. How can you teach a software to make an adjustment feel right? Only if it allows you to program it.

The X-T2 (and I'm not name-dropping here because I'm infatuated with Fuji or anything, but because it's one of the only digital cameras I'm familiar with aside from Panasonic) has lots of customizable settings for AF-C; the GH5 will have at least four settings too, AFIK; and this is the future of cameras, at least as far as AF is concerned. Learning how to program your camera will take time and practice. So when Arikhan says that the X-T2 is third as far as his experience with AF goes, it could just be that he needs to spend time learning how to tell the camera what to do. I'm not 100% sure though, since to the best of my knowledge, those settings, just like face-detection (should there be a hyphen there?) are not even available when shooting 4K - and I'm not a stills shooter. What this means for enthusiasts is that, with the increasing sophistication of top-tier consumer cameras, photographers are going to be required to become more and more tech-saavy. And from an earlier topic here re: How to Save the Consumer Camera, one thing stands out: that apparently young people are not as computer literate as I once thought. @Arikhan I'm not referring to you here. :) 

1 hour ago, Arikhan said:

 

@jonpais

You shoot very much portraiture (faces). For this the two described methods (1. Face detection and 2. Specified area focusing) are quite reliable, in my eyes in more than 90% of situations).
I will try to write down my experience and settings with the FZ1000 (but these settings are similar on all Pana consumer cameras) and will post some footage with excellent face tracking in low light. I will try being very precise in describing the situations, I used the different modes....
BTW: In cases with more than one face, it begins to get hard - because the camera can NOT know which of the faces you want to keep in focus (assuming you have Face1 about 1,5m, Face2 about 2,5m and Face3 about 4m far away from camera - subjects spread all over your field of view)...

Please consider that I am not a experienced reviewer at all. I can only debate on practical facts I have experienced a lot of times.

The thing is, even the few times I tried using face detection, the camera showed the person's face as being detected, but when looking at the footage, it was out of focus.

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@jonpais

Quote

The thing is, even the few times I tried using face detection, the camera showed the person's face as being detected, but when looking at the footage, it was out-of-focus.

Please wait for my footage...I can only talk on the results I got with the FZ1000. When considering, that your camera is much more younger and advanced than mine, I still wonder that many of your shots are out-of-focus. No clue what is going on, but I will try to explain my settings and usage for different shooting scenarios...

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1 minute ago, Arikhan said:

@jonpais

Please wait for my footage...I can only talk on the results I got with the FZ1000. When considering, that your camera is much more younger and advanced than mine, I still wonder that many of your shots are out-of-focus. No clue what is going on, but I will try to explain my settings for different shooting scenarios...

Remember that a one-inch sensor is much more forgiving of focusing errors than an APS-C sensor, or even u4/3.

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@jonpais

Quote

Remember that a one-inch sensor is much more forgiving of focusing errors than an APS-C sensor, or even u4/3.

I am aware of this fact, but the only Pana consumer camera I own is the FZ1000 (1")...I don't own a Pana MFT...BUT when you take a look at the "AF-Kings", they all are APS-C or FF (Canon DPAF, NX1, X-T2, Sony). So sensor size should NOT be an excuse for manufacturers to offer completly unusable bullshit AF.

With small sensors of broadcasting cameras it's much more easy to keep the subjects in focus, yes. But technology moves on and there are manufacturers offering phantastic AF on big sensors though...

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1 minute ago, Arikhan said:

@jonpais

I am aware of this fact, but the only Pana consumer camera I own is the FZ1000 (1")...I don't own a Pana MFT...BUT when you take a look at the "AF-Kings", they all are APS-C or FF (Canon DPAF, NX1, X-T2, Sony). So sensor size should NOT be an excuse for manufacturers to offer completly unusable bullshit AF.

With small sensors of broadcasting cameras it's much more easy to keep the subjects in focus, yes. But technology moves on and there are manufacturers offering phantastic AF on big sensors though...

We await your tests. :) 

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9 minutes ago, jonpais said:

You have to love the comments over at YouTube. Somebody asks, 'isn't there any sound?" Frickin' hilarious!

 

I think the commenter was asking if the GH5 records sound while shooting in high frame rates because apparently the GH4 does not. What's wrong with that?

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Nothing I've seen of Steven Clarey's footage on YouTube convinces me that the GH5 is any better than any one of Panasonic's lower end cameras.

1 minute ago, iamoui said:

I think the commenter was asking if the GH5 records sound while shooting in high frame rates because apparently the GH4 does not. What's wrong with that?

I could be mistaken, since I don't shoot high frame rates, at least I haven't in a long while, but I wasn't even aware that cameras recorded sound at 180fps. If I'm mistaken, please forgive me.

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