I'm in a quandary. I have limited funds (under $1,000) and am at a beginner's level of photography/cinematography skill... though I want to learn some of the various styles from documentaries, to nature, to scripted narratives.
The GH2 looks mighty tempting and the price is right for the body and basic 14-42mm lens kit. It has potential flexibility due to its interchangeable lens capabilities, ability to add good accessories like a Follow Focus later on, etc., but...
After reading countless forums it seems like there's a much
larger initial cost associated with it to make the damn thing work and look better than the most basic camcorder that is actually even cheaper than the GH2 .
For instance, the better hack patches demand very
expensive, fast SD cards to lower the possibility of (but not totally eliminate) crashes and write errors. In a long shoot, that would mean more than one.
Then you need to upgrade from the kit lens to get something halfway decent. That could require some big investments in an assortment of glass and adapters.
I can see the potential cost creep and I'd assume a $770 camera would soon become a $1,500 to $2,000 (or more) investment to push it past it's out of box performance and into the realm of a Canon 5D (and possibly beyond).
After investing a lot in the GH2, it's already a little long in the tooth. No 1080p/60 support, no clean HDMI output to capture, battery run time is limited, somewhat noisy and outdated MOS chip, wonky user interface, ISO bug, etc.
Then there is the Panasonic TM900 or X900M. I've seen them around the $900 mark. They have their own set of problems, though better for the "run n gun" or "nature" scenarios.
Fixed zoom lens (you're stuck with a wider DOF and it's very hard to get that scripted "movie" look). However, no more additional lenses to buy (or are there...?).
No apparent hack to increase the video bitrate beyond 28 Mbps for 1080p/60, though it does have the latter frame rate feature going for it. The final product won't look as good blown up due to more compression artifacting.
Low light shooting is a bit more fuzzy than some more expensive units.
Fan is a little on the noisy side.
I am aware that either a cheap DSLR/Micro 4/3 camera or a camcorder will require a separate digital recorder and mic to get the best audio, and a tripod or stabilizer rig. But I can always add those later.
Should I wait to see what the GH3 looks like... (it will have 1080p/60 and a new sensor) or perhaps it might end up costing even more than the GH2?
Any other suggestions or advice? I'm at a loss.
Thanks! Edited by Dan Hitchman - 6/6/12 at 3:00pm