Panasonic GH1 DSLR quality/compatability/workflow

Guy S. wrote on 1/18/2010, 11:39 AM
We are looking at purchasing this camera and I'm hoping to find out how it's working out for others. Searching the threads I know that at least one person is using it successfully and that someone is else having issues.

I'm want a file-based work flow and a camera that lets me take product photos and video in the field. I've had my eye on HD-capable DSLR's since the first one was released and the Panasonic looks like the best solution available for my needs right now.

How is it working for YOU? What's your work flow (Cineform, etc.)? Are you satisfied with the final output quality? Do you shoot in 1080i or 720p?



handleyj wrote on 1/18/2010, 11:24 PM
I have a GH1 and I love this camera. I had an HVX-200 before the GH1, and for my needs the GH1 is much better. Mainly it is a lot more portable. I rarely did anything with the HVX due to it's size. I do love the shallow depth of field, and the beautiful image produced by the GH1 in general. Of course, the audio is not that great.

I was torn between the Canon 7D and the GH1. I finally decided that the pros and cons between the two were just negligible, so I decided to save a couple hundred bucks and get the GH1.

I do indeed use NeoScene (i.e. Cineform) in my work flow. When I shoot in 1080p, it is required to remove the pulldown, and when I shoot in 720p, I like that my PC doesn't need to work as hard to play/edit the video while using a lot of FX (mainly color grading). I do prefer to edit in the "Computer Color" space. So I'm sure to add the "Color Corrector" to my video track with the "Studio RGB to Computer RGB" preset.

After a bit of shooting, I think I've decided that I will do most things in 720-60p now. The rolling shutter problem is very obvious to me when shooting in 1080p, but 720-60p is a lot harder to notice. I also like being able to ramp the footage into smooth slow motion.

If you've read any of my previous posts, you know that I am having problems with Vegas 9. But those problems are not related to the camera (i.e. since I use Cineform, I'm not putting the "raw" files from the camera on the timeline, and thus, I can't see how the camera would be the issue. But I do know at least one person believes that the camera you use directly affects how Vegas behaves). Because of my Vegas 9 issues, I am using Vegas 8 for all serious work, and with Vegas 8, I have not had any of the problems that Vegas 9 exhibits. Although I continue to try Vegas 9, hoping that I'll isolate the problem. So far, no luck.

There are a couple of good articles that may interest you on

Canon 7D vs. Panasonic GH1:

Bummer, their site just went down. But if you use the breadcrumb at the top of that last link I pasted to go back to the "Articles" section, look for another article about "Aliasing."

Edit: The site just came back online, here is the link to the aliasing article:

Edit 2: Another good article about framerate conversions between a GH1 and HPX-170:

Hope that helps!

Zulqar-Cheema wrote on 1/19/2010, 1:57 AM
I have used the GH1 in 1080 50i on mode with the files directly onto the time line of SV9c. It worked fine and no problems rendering out.
logiquem wrote on 1/19/2010, 7:29 AM
I got a GH1 with stock 14-140 zoom and the 20mm 1.7 f and love it.

The main drawback is coloured lines appearing in low light areas (instead of digital noise). I guess this should be attenuated in future bios generations.

Otherwise, it's truly excellent. I shooted a 114 min. choral concert lastly with the stock zoom and the results are amazing (giving the conditions). I use a Zoom H4N as a standalone audio recorder. You can shoot 124 min. on *one* SDHC 16 Go! I edited it in its original 720 60 P AVCHD format in V9c 32 bits without any problems. The final output was SD DVD 29,97i.

I also regularly shoot chromakey stuff with it and it keys very well for me.

Like any zoom lense of this range (10 x), it is somewhat slow (f4-f5.8), so the 20 mm 1.7 lense is truly a great addition, in particular for indoor low light conditions.
Guy S. wrote on 1/25/2010, 9:22 AM
Thanks! Based on your responses I went ahead and ordered a GH1 (it should arrive today).

DJPadre wrote on 1/25/2010, 11:35 AM
"The rolling shutter problem is very obvious to me when shooting in 1080p, but 720-60p is a lot harder to notice. I also like being able to ramp the footage into smooth slow motion."

Im curious to know how you "ramp" your footage with the GH in Vegas when you shoot 50/60p

as youre using an intermediate format does that not then defeat the purpose of solid state recording?
BudWzr wrote on 1/25/2010, 12:07 PM
The whole Lumix line is outstanding!!!! I have an FZ-35, and it's AWESOME!!!!!
Guy S. wrote on 1/25/2010, 6:06 PM
The GH1 arrived today and it looks like it will be sufficient for our needs.

I tried the 720p AVCHD mode as recommended and the quality is more than adequate for what we do here.

I also tried 720p MJPEG - the image quality looks good, but the footage just doesn't work well in Vegas (preview framerate of ~6 fps compared to 23.97 for AVCHD). The footage shows up as QuickTime footage and I've had issues in the past with MiniDV footage captured using the QuickTime.

Same footage in Prem Pro CS3 plays at full rate, highest quality, with realtime crossfade.

Perhaps I have Vegas set up incorrectly???

BudWzr wrote on 1/25/2010, 7:46 PM
Panasonic uses the .mov or .mp4 container for MJPEG so Vegas calls up QT to decode. Just change the file extension and it should open with a different decoder.
DJPadre wrote on 1/25/2010, 8:00 PM
Bud, change it to what extension? Its all fair and god and apreciated that a response is provided, but vaguness doesnt help many.

Im still curious how one "ramps' 50p footage in vegas...
BudWzr wrote on 1/25/2010, 8:03 PM
Sorry, try .AVI, do you have a VFW MJPEG decoder set up?

I shouldn't answer this post because reading back it seems you're probably not familiar with how Vegas chooses decoders and there's more than one solution

Anyway, just change the extension and see if it works for you in the meanwhile.

The way I would do it is install ffmpeg, and enable MJPEG, if renaming the extension doesn't work. But wait for musicvid, he seems to know all the shortcuts.
handleyj wrote on 1/26/2010, 11:34 AM

"Im still curious how one "ramps' 50p footage in vegas..."

Well I'm typing this from memory (and looking at some other forum posts ... see the bottom of this email for links). So be sure to do a sanity check on this info. Since you mention 50p, I assume you're using the PAL version of the GH1. I'm using the NTSC version, but I'll try and note the differences when they matter.

1) Shoot your footage in the 720p mode. 50p for you, 60p for me. Obviously the 1080p mode only shoots 24p (same for PAL, I think...?)

2) You need to make sure your shutter speed is set to either 50 or 100 (60 or 125 for me (120 isn't an option on the NTSC GH1)). People say that shooting at the higher shutter speed will produce better results. I haven't really noticed a difference. But obviously it affects how much light you need on the scene. If you test this out yourself, let me know what you think about the results between 50 and 100 shutter speeds. If you set the shutter speed to *any* setting lower than 50 (or 60 for NTSC), then the camera will automatically go into 25p mode (30p for NTSC). Meaning that it will record double frames. Meaning that it will still force itself to record a 50p stream, but it's only shooting 25 fps, so it records each frame twice. Vegas *seems* to automatically detect this, and removes the extraneous frames automatically ... but that may only work in a 29.97 project (or whatever the equivalent of "normal" PAL speed is).

3) Now start a new 24p project in Vegas, and drop your footage on the time line. It will playback normally.

4) Right-click on the footage on the Vegas time line. I don't have it in front of me, but there are some radio buttons there labeled "Smart Resampling" (or something like that). Be sure to set it to "off" or "disabled" or whatever.

5) Now add a velocity envelope to the video track. For the NTSC footage, setting the velocity envelope to 40% (if I remember correctly) gives you perfect slo-mo (i.e. it's not trying to generate any new frames, it's simply playing the 60 recorded frames at 24fps). So you can then add new points to the velocity envelope by right clicking on the VE's line on the video. And ramp the footage back up to 100% and back down to 40% (or 0.4 playback rate) at various spots in the footage.

I guess for PAL, you'd put into a 25p project...? In that case, the perfect percentage would be 50% (or 0.5 playback rate), right?

Anyway, like I said, I may be off on some of this info, so you may have to play around with it a bit. Post here if you find any corrections to my instructions.

Here are the links I used for getting this info:

Take care,

DJPadre wrote on 1/31/2010, 9:28 AM
thx for trhat joe, I'll keep that info on file, as ive tried doig this with the JVC 50p mode and it doesnt work. Alot of transcoding was reuqired (throuhg edius) before i could get full frame rate 50p to play back at 50% slowmo @ 25fps
DGates wrote on 3/18/2010, 8:30 PM
I just got my GH1 yesterday. I shot some footage of folks at a fountain in the late afternoon. I love the color right out of the camera.

I have to say that I'm quite impressed with it. It compares favorably with my HMC150 in regards to picture quality. And I already had NeoScene, so I'm using that in my workflow.

DGates wrote on 3/19/2010, 2:18 PM
"The main drawback is coloured lines appearing in low light areas (instead of digital noise)"

I'm hearing that this seems to diminish after the sensor has been 'burned in' a little more from use.