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tlovegrove

Panasonic G6 for corporate video: first impressions

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With advice from some of you, I picked up a G6 recently for corporate video work (actually replaced my Canon 6D with the G6 to save money). I thought I was getting a GH3, but due to an inventory error by keh I ended up with no GH3, so I picked up a G6 off Craigslist. This is my first experience with Micro Four Thirds.

FWIW, first impressions from my first weekend of shooting:

 

Ah, the joy of a camera from a manufacturer who cares about video!! Now that I've seen how video-friendly Panasonic can make these things, I'm even more dumfounded that other manufacturers don't do the same thing (Dear Nikon, I would have bought a D5300 and been all-in with Nikon if you didn't have that ridiculously short video time limit). In less than 5 minutes I understood the menu system and had all of my key video settings ready to go. Very intuitive. Love all of the custom fn keys.

 

Delighted by the battery life, no overheating issues, and no video time limits. First thing I did was set it up and just let it run - an hour and a half later, it was still recording just fine, and still had 2/3 battery life.

 

My first touch screen, and I like it. The very light plastic is a shock coming from DSLR bodies, but overall I like it. That LCD hinge just scares me a little bit. It seems flimsy. Glad to have the electronic viewfinder for shooting video outdoors. The "record" button frustrates me some - it's indented so much into the camera body. If you're not looking at the LCD, it's not clear when you've depressed it and when you haven't. 

 

I love the little lenses. I got rid of my 6D partly because I just didn't carry it around because of size, and so many of the lenses were truly massive.

 

I'm really excited about the deeper depth of field. I got the 6D partly because I wanted the super-shallow DOF. But for the kind of corporate stuff I do most of the time, I had to stop down to at least 4.5 just to get the nose in focus! So it's actually really cool to be able to shoot in the 1.4-3.5 range. Of course that also helps to offset the higher ISO noise issues.

 

Video autofocus is surprisingly usable. I manual focus most of the time, but am pleasantly surprised to see that this will do the job if I really need it. 

 

The 2x crop factor is going to take some adjusting. I love using older manual focus lenses for video, and of course anything wider than 24mm costs a fortune. So I'll have to use MFT lenses to go wide. But gratefully I've discovered that one of the key focal lengths I need is the FF 100mm equivalent - which means the whole world of affordable 50mm lenses are available as options!

 

Colors are really going to require some adjustment. Coming from Canon, I'm so used to pulling back the deep reds and rich colors. With the standard output from the Panasonic sensor, I can get a very natural look for skin tones if I do quite a bit of color correction. But overall I'm just surprised at how flat the image is, even when I crank up contrast and color. It seems to be really tailored toward film-look customizations in post processing. Again I'm not really concerned by this - I'll learn the PP that works best to get what I need. But it's a big shift from what I'm used to.

 

Grateful for your advice that pointed me toward the G6,

Tim

 

 

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

The "record" button frustrates me some - it's indented so much into the camera body. If you're not looking at the LCD, it's not clear when you've depressed it and when you haven't. 

 

You can set the shutter release button to start/stop record when in movie mode (it may even be like that by default - can't remember).

 

I went through the need for wide-angle scenario recently with my G6 (having old Nikon primes down to 24mm). The Lumix 14mm f2.8 is your cheapest, smallest decent option. It's sharp, fast and I gives a pretty good image. I sold mine recently because I bought a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 to use with my D5300 (all my glass is now Nikon mount). It's more expensive and about 30 times larger/heavier than the 14mm, but I much prefer the image and it will mount to any future camera I buy.

 

Don't write off the 14-42 kit lens either - it's pretty decent, though not very fast.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

The Lumix 14mm f2.8 is your cheapest, smallest decent option.
.

Thanks for mentioning, I was looking and wondering if such lens exists

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 The Lumix 14mm f2.8 is your cheapest, smallest decent option. It's sharp, fast and I gives a pretty good image.

Don't write off the 14-42 kit lens either - it's pretty decent, though not very fast.

 

I bought a 14mm with a GF3 for a little over $200 on  CL (the GF3 is a fun/useful cam by the way).  So you may be able to pick up a b-cam panny body for almost nothing with that lens, or the 14-42 as Matt James Smith mentions.  

 

These lenses will also work on Blackmagic Cinema cameras.  However, the detail from the BMPCC is unreal so the images picks up the smallest camera shake.  Therefore, you want lenses with OIS (and that have an external button for it).  That makes the Nikon lenses less attractive from that perspective.  However, stills are better from an APS-C or full-frame sensor, so the NIkon lenses are a hug plus there.  What's great about Nikon is all their lenses work on their digital cameras (unlike Canon).  So if you find a manual Nikkor at a garage sale you could use it both on any Nikon or the Panny with Adapter.

 

I agree with Andrew's frustration about the DSLRs.  They aren't nearly as easy to use as Panny (as you wrote) and their quality doesn't touch the BMPCC. 

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