GH1 Video with Summilux F/1.4


Just over a week ago my partner in my Photography & Video business took the GH1 to shoot a series of Science workshops at Cardiff University. He used the camera plus the 14-140mm lens to shoot both stills and video.
The camera & lens performed very well but it became obvious that it could really use a couple of faster lenses.
I have just bought the Leica/Panasonic 25mm F/1.4 so decided that I would test it out with the GH1, using the Panasonic 4/3 to m4/3 adapter.
I decided to focus on the wonderful volatility of the English climate. Today was a day alternating between rain showers and sunny intervals. I decided to make a short movie on that.
For the most part I used the lens wide open as that was what I wanted to test. I also love differential focus, which is the reason that I have so many fast prime lenses.
The GH1 is a joy to use as a video camera. The swivel screen and the magnified manual focusing made it easy to get the precise point of focus that I wanted. The screen is also so useful in obtaining shots at difficult angles without putting my body through painful contortions.
Being 4/3 with a 2x crop factor over 35mm gives more depth of field than a Canon 5DM2 without that bland "everything in focus/everything equally soft... oops sorry I meant sharp!!" look. (Perhaps you tell from that just how much of a fan of "normal" video cameras I am!)
Its actually a nice compromise. There is the lovely "out of focus" background look, with quite reasonable bokeh, without the difficulties of trying to get enough in focus. The shot of the rose is a nice example. I did use manual focus throughout.
I was working in good light, even with the rain clouds & it may be more difficult in lower light. I will have to try another movie shot at night, to see how it performs under less than ideal conditions. Certainly when I used my G1's for stills in poor light the screen became a mess of noise.
We have been using a Canon 5DM2 for some time now & while there is no doubting the quality of video and the low light capabilities of that camera, there are many occasions when the GH1 would be more useful and flexible.
Overall I was extremely pleased with the result. It was quicker and easier than I thought. The lens is superb. I've already given it a good testing for stills and have been mightily impressed with it. Its excellent wide open & theres a really good way of focusing it at F/1.4. I have noticed that when it starts to achieve focus chromatic aberration appears. It disappears when focus is achieved & re-appears if I go past the focus point. Very convenient. Colour coded focus confirmation!!

The movie was edited in iMovie on an iMac and I added one of my pieces of music to it.
"Wings of a Glove" © david martyn hughes available at:- http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-audio-6493969-wings-of-a-glove.php

There is an HD version on YouTube at:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPaS8EezZzc
Make sure you click the HD tab.

Comments would be appreciated & I'll try to answer questions if you have them. However I'm not Phillip Bloom! But then you saw the movie & knew that already!

Finally, I'm very new to Video & would have avoided it altogether if these video enable DSLR's hadn't appeared. As indicated before I dislike the "Video look". I dislike it in still cameras also, which is why I use full-frame DSLR's as much as I can. I started with a D90 which was useful as a learning tool but I was soon dissatisfied with the quality of the video. With both the 5DM2 & now the GH1 I'm pretty much in my comfort zone with camera and lens systems that I understand. I'm still learning the Video language though. I'm still pretty much framing as a still image & let things move in front of the frame, but slowly I'm learning to shoot with later editing in mind. This experience with the GH1 has stimulated my appetite for more & looking at what Phillip Bloom can achieve with this camera makes me want to try more.

D






STOP PRESS!
Have ordered the Voigtlander 50mm F/1.1 Nokton which should arrive tomorrow. Will shoot some stills + video with it on the GH1 & post in a few days. (If I can ever get it off my Leica!!)