Angry Robot

The Panasonic GH1, a Few Months In


There is no question in my mind that cameras like this are the future for many of us.

By us I mean those interested in both still and motion picture photography. I’ve been into both fields for a while, both by hobby and trade, and it still blows my little mind to think I could afford a thing like this. It’s been a long, gradual and perhaps predictable time coming, but that doesn’t make it seem any less crazy. When I was in university we shot on VHS, and people were saying Hi-8 video was the future. Then it was the DV “revolution”. I split on a cheap DV handicam with some friends. But you still couldn’t get a nice image with these things – you could imitate video stuff, but never convincingly film. For that you needed to shoot film, which was a mulit-thousand-dollar proposition for camera rental & processing. Soon, we were lucky enough to be able to shoot on early pro HDCAMs like the Sony F900, but that was still a half-million dollar camera. A few short years later, the Red is here at $20,000, which is mind-blowing to anyone in the industry.


And now we have sub-$2,000 video SLRs like the GH1. Cameras with great optics, all-digital workflow, 1080p24, compact size, full manual control. Interchangeable lenses, decent low-light shooting. Total craziness.

Hard Rain

These are amazing cameras, but they have kinks. I’m sure in a year or two this category will have stabilized, the feature set will be clear, and choices will be easier. The next iteration of the GH1 (might I guess GH2?) will solve a lot of the problems with this thing. Because yes, there are problems.

Diner - Side

I don’t want to sound complainy here. The GH1 has a lot going for it. Mainly:

Like I say, I’m figuring in a year or so the dust will have settled, each manufacturer will have figured out the featureset they need, and eliminated the needless problems. Red’s cheaper camera Scarlett will theoretically be on the market, too. No matter how you slice it, it’s a great time to be shooting, and it will continue this way for the forseeable future. Perhaps one day we will simply exhale a fine mist of microscopic flying camera bugs and then let our algorithms cut it together, but until then…

Dude Buys the Singing Fish