Great video – well thought out controls and menus

Buy Online Panasonic DMC GH1K 12 1MP Thirds Interchangeable

Panasonic DMC GH1K 12 1MP Thirds Interchangeable

I bought the GH1 as a second camera to my larger Canon system, replacing a Canon S5 IS. It was a big jump price-wise but I wanted the improved video quality I’d been reading about. I’ve always had Canons, so getting this camera was a personal big deal. However, I have not been disappointed. Panasonic has done a very nice job designing the camera‘s controls and menus. The top right layout of controls is very, very nice. Everything I like to do easily available. No more hunting for that hidden menu for exposure bracketing or the timer. And after I got the hang of the Quick Menu options, I find I’m using them a lot: very well conceived and thought out. The two things I loved about the Canon S5 IS are also part of the GH1: the articulating LCD screen and the red button on the back to immediately activate video. However, the LCD screen is more reflective in bright sun than the Canon’s, so I’m forced to use the viewfinder more than I like (perfectly fine in lower light situations, both outdoors and indoors). That viewfinder is taking some getting used to but after a couple of weeks of moderate use, I’ve got the hang of it. The video is exactly as I’d hoped. I’m amazed at its ability to maintain focus and exposure on moving subjects. I practiced at a dog park so the camera got a good workout: lots of quick movement towards and away from me and shifts from sun to shade. The camera adjusted quickly and silently. It is, however, too heavy for one-handed use (which I was able to do with the Canon S5 IS), so I’m having to adjust to two-handed video recording; of course, that’s necessary anyway to adjust the zoom. Finally the camera feels substantial and well-made.
UPDATE: I’ve recently returned from a week-long vacation during which I used the GH1 very heavily. Thankfully I had a second battery because about 2/3 through each day, the first battery was exhausted. A bit of a surprise as I am used to the longevity of Canon’s batteries. So, a second battery is a definite must for this camera. Also, I got the Lumix G 20mm F1.7 lens as my vacation included lots of museum and cathedral visits. Fantastic lens. Obviously great in low light situations and I hardly missed the ability to zoom at all. Video’s great with this lens, although the auto focus makes noise that the microphone picks up. I highly recommend this lens. And about the video, one of the main reasons I got this camera in the first place: the HD quality of the videos is fantastic. The ability to spontaneously shift from stills to video on this trip allowed me to get some wonderful action videos, which in turn I’ve been able to take great snapshots from. So bottom-line, after much heavy use of this camera, I have no regrets.

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