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GH2 vs AF100
  • So, if you want to express your personal opinion, you are welcome.
    Any sign of not expressing your personal view, but blatant AF100 marketing compain, that is strongly going on few leading sites, will be eliminated.
    Panasonic thrown unprecedented amount of money on AF100 marketing. And it is long known for heavy forums usage.

    Famous AF100 advantages list:
    1. 3 position ND filters (if your read the DSLR forums a lot you know the headaches people go through finding a good all around ND filter solution)
    2. The LCD on the AF100 is quite a bit better and is larger...the VF is also more ergonomic.
    3. HD-SDI (ability to get 4:2:2 from a very reliable output is very important to some)
    4. Overcranking/undercranking (this feature is priceless for many shooters)
    5. Waveform + Vectorscope
    6. Detail coring/numerous gammas/ much deeper control of the image parameters, etc
    7. Uncompressed 16 bit audio recording capability/xlr inputs
    8. Timecode/Synchro function
    9. 6 Scene files for easily recalling adjustments
    10. Dual card slots
    11. Max bitrate available in way more modes than the GH2
    12. More shooting modes on AF100 like 1080 30P, 720 24P, etc.
    13. Remote control pricelesss for certain situations
    14. Longer battery life/ Better batteries available
    15. PAL/NTSC switchability
    16. Zebras
    17. Headphone jack
    18. Negative gain function
    19. Ergonomic features like the handle/ tape hook, etc
    20. Slow synchro/High speed shutter - can be set by degree
  • 38 Replies sorted by
  • My small comments:

    >1. 3 position ND filters

    I do not see any problems here.
    Buy VaryND or good quality ND filters (you can use only holder and use very good quality glass filters).

    >2. The LCD on the AF100 is quite a bit better and is larger...the VF is also more ergonomic.

    LCD is better, you are right, but not much better.
    VF is the same, and if you use proper rig it is also very usable.

    >3. HD-SDI (ability to get 4:2:2 from a very reliable output is very important to some)

    For most amateurs HD-SDI is of no use.
    Main goal for SDI connections is to make them secure and allow run quite long cables.

    >4. Overcranking/undercranking (this feature is priceless for many shooters)

    For most shoters it is also useless.
    Having 24p/25p/30p and 60p is that is really required.
    All we see here is proper sensor setup.
    This can be made on almost other Panasonic camera, but requires extensible sensor knowledge.

    >5. Waveform + Vectorscope

    Good to have them.
    But again, they are used very rare.

    >6. Detail coring/numerous gammas/ much deeper control of the image parameters, etc

    Also good to have. But you can live without it.

    >7. Uncompressed 16 bit audio recording capability/xlr inputs

    Buy external recorder.
    Good recorder outperforms AF100 in every aspect from quality to limiters, etc.
    Make linear out to go to your camera (or run using internal mikes) and sound will be synced in auto (will be in new FCP and most probably in new Premiere).

    > 8. Timecode/Synchro function

    Again, it have no use for most people.

    >10. Dual card slots

    That can not record in backup mode.
    And why you need them overwise?

    >11. Max bitrate available in way more modes than the GH2

    Lets' wait.

    >12. More shooting modes on AF100 like 1080 30P, 720 24P, etc.

    It is good, but no so important.
    1080p30 is present in GH2.

    >13. Remote control pricelesss for certain situations

    If under remote you mean starting and stopping then Chinese already made all for you.
    See ebay.

    >14. Longer battery life/ Better batteries available

    But buy DC coupler for GH2 and put big battery on your rig :-)

    >15. PAL/NTSC switchability

    Let's wait.

    >16. Zebras

    Like to have them, adjustable on GH2.
    Right now flashing highlights also work, but it is worse.

    >17. Headphone jack

    See "external recorder".

    >18. Negative gain function

    And why do you need it?
    It won't improve your image.

    >19. Ergonomic features like the handle/ tape hook, etc

    AF100 is still unusable without the rig, and good rig is wastly superior in this areas.

    >20. Slow synchro/High speed shutter - can be set by degree

    It is only "I like it this way". If oyu like 180 degrees, you like it.
    Most people do not need degrees.

  • It's getting really irritating what's going on with the AF100 and i am beginning to see the strong "marketing campaign" and Barry has unfortunately lost credibility with me now. And it makes sense you know, the guy's writen a book on the AF100, he's teaching af100 classes, and these discussions hurt sales. and that's fine he's a businessman, but he has the power to close and delete threads, and that's not cool. Apart from the obvious and most recent "GH2 deficiencies list" closure there are other more subtle actions.

    my comments and criticism (Stefanos) led its closure and I was banned for 2 weeks! I gave my honest opinion about an awful video Panasonic used to publish a press conference about the AF100 and said how it is ridiculous panasonic chose that video since it doesn't showcase the AF100 to the least. Guess who started the conversation? Barry. Also check who commented last on the thread before it was closed and said "can we just close this thread". Jan Crittenden, panasonic employee. with barely any real arguments, the thread was closed just like that and i was banned.. All I'm saying is certain people have too much of an influence or power.
  • @stefanos
    This is one of the reasons why we moved discussion here :-)
    I also had posts deleted that relate to AF100 :-)

    Main problem with AF100 is that they want to sell it to people who do not need it. In any way.
    It is very good camera. Problem is that market segment who relaly need it is extremely small.
    You can't live from it (despite that AF100 is the most profitable Panasonic camera ever, with big margin to second place, according to my sources).
  • I know it's not exactly related to AGAF thread... But do you think it makes sense having 5d/7d along with GH2? I need a B cam for my doc work. I'm a faithful micro43 user, but one thing I got really tired with is the sensor size that doubles all my focal lengths. So is it totally stupid looking for 5d/7d now when Mark3 may come down on us soon, and F3 is not unrealistically expensive? Or maybe I should throw 1500 on that Nokton and get the 5D DOF (not the form factor though)

    I suggest to buy proper lenses :-) And wait for new 5D :-)
  • Thank you! that's what I'm going to do.
  • Hi Vitaliy,

    Hope it's going well. I was sorry to read all the panasolotics going down on DVXuser. Barry generally has seemed to me like a nice and intelligent guy, but clearly stating that he doesn't like anyone criticising Panasonic even if it means a loss of membership... I find that a pretty disappointing position on a global web community.

    He's certainly entitled to say he thinks your utterly wrong or even a raving mad conspiracy theorist as far as I'm concerned... I believe in freedom of speech, but censorship I am not a fan of. For an intelligent man, I think he genuinely needs to reconsider his position. Panasonic can surely look after itself.

    Re AF100, I personally wanted one for my upcoming feature as I am looking for theatrical release, so high bit rates and clean HDMI out is potentially quite a critical key to the gates so to speak... as they knew it would... but as I also required an UW housing for whatever my cam would be, the costs of using the AF100 are doubled and I just can't stretch that far. So no key...

    I realise this is just an isolated concern, and I am just an insignificant Australian film maker, but it's tough watching companies reinventing and re-marketing pseudo "new" models with lesser or varying features and strengths that are never quite complete enough to truly lay open the doors for you to genuinely low end feature film making. Giving a GH2, or a Canon DSLR clean HDMI and high bit rates is the final crucial step to completing the democratisation of low end film making. Everyone knows it needs to happen, but instead they keep pulling up short in the name of profit margins, multiple products and repeat sales. They are out to make profits, I understand it... but of course it sucks on this end... and to then have people saying it shouldn't upset you or you shouldn't put pressure on or complain about it? You must be kidding. We're only where we are now because of a happy fluke accident - so what are we supposed to do? Just sit back and rely on there proven lack of goodwill towards a low profit niche market??

    So, I just contributed another $50 I don't have towards project Stalin. My wife will be busting me tomorrow when she reads the credit card statement... Hard for her to understand how important this may prove to my work/success :D

    I'm very keen to order a GH2... But I'm holding off on my purchases pending your success/ if you are not successful, I have to decide whether a 5D will probably prove a better choice for my indi film project along with scratching up enough for a GH13 for the 60P slow mo that I'm going to need to go with it.

    Note: I will probably have to order from over seas to gt a PAL version the way it's looking in Australia, but you have already solved the language issue I seem to remember??

    Anyhow, thanks again for all your efforts Vitaliy... it will potentially make a big difference to this low budget film maker trying to kick start his film career and means a lot.

    Best Wishes

  • As I was the first to mention the dvxuser situation and barry, I wouldn't want this conversation to become a rant on dvx and barry. Barry is a very eloquent and intelligent guy and I've learned a lot from some of his posts, and I'm 100% sure he's one hell of a business man. My point was that I think his role as a DVX moderator and his job as a DIT and someone who is affiliated to making money from the AF100 are coming to conflict with each other, to an extent which doesn't help community expression. It is just that more and more AF100 related threads are being closed as soon as the conversation starts to present simple true facts about the market users and cameras. And the threads usually close with an intelligent sounding long post about DVXuser philosophy with very poor argumentation. What I find tiring, is being told all the time that I'm bashing the AF100 to justify my GH2 purchase. I couldn't care less about that.
    that's all, and that's one reason why some of us are discussing all this here
  • I'm brand agnostic. Think Barry is an extremely valuable member/leader of the HDV/film community.
    But I believe in freedom of speech.
  • >Think Barry is an extremely valuable member/leader of the HDV/film community.

    Fully agree.

    >But I believe in freedom of speech.

    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    This is the problem we have with AF100 compain.
  • We are living in digital times so company can make very similar products,pack into slightly different pants,make some limits for software and sale in different prices.This is not goog for us.Most of people don't like think,search and ask questions so company makes a lot of money from them. This stick has two ends so limits software can be hack by people like Vitaliy .This is very good for us. Times are changing,always and there will be new company which can dethrone champions of this market. Look at (e.g.)Samsung.Few yars ago I I called them Shitsung but they are better and better.Today Japan is champion in DSLR, perhaps China will be a leader in manufacturing in this market ?
  • >1. 3 position ND filters

    Built-in ND filter is superior to any ND lens filter. It saves space and it sounds very convenient. No ugly flare if flare can't be avoided with hood or matte box. XZ-1 has built-in filter, too. This should become an essential feature to all serious vdslrs. Just imagine not having adjustable ND filter on M43 lens. Nothing but M43 zoom and its cool hood. What a stress relief!!! This should be the single most important feature of GH3.
  • > Built-in ND filter is superior to any ND lens filter.

    I am not so sure.
    It is descrete ND filter.

    >No ugly flare if flare can't be avoided with hood or matte box

    You can have other flares and light bounces having glass between lens and reflective sensor.

    >XZ-1 has built-in filter, too. This should become an essential feature to all serious vdslrs.

    Many compacts have ND filters, as well as camcorders. Just because they can't close aperture without degrading image.
  • Yes built-in ND filter is discrete and it's just fine. 2x, 4x, 6x... what more to ask? No more step up rings. It just makes the whole setup more compact.

    Reflective sensor... true. Hopefully CDAF system can determine metering based on each frame's digital image so that non reflective sensor can come back. Actually this can open up varieties of metering strategy.
  • so the point of the whole thing is:
    1. AF100 has better features but arent used by everybody
    2. GH2 is better because its cheaper.

    heres my 2 cents
    I want a GH2 simply because its small and i can carry it anywhere without being obtrusive. Thats it.
    I have an AF100 and I earn money from it and it is paying for itself. for its cost, its really convenient with all the features mentioned. WFM and Vectorscope: I use it alot and it has made exposure easy and illegal colors are easy to spot. Thinking its not useful is ignorant.

    bottomline, 4900 is worth every penny ive spent.
  • Portability is an important plus for me. For example recently, for a videoclip, i used the gh2 linked to hat. With the af100, it wouldn't ever been possible. It's a priceless feature for me. However is a matter of needs.
  • the GH2 with a proper firmware would beat any camera for me. Irritating is the Mini Microphone plug.
  • @dcloud
    >I want a GH2 simply because its small and i can carry it anywhere without being obtrusive. Thats it.
    >I have an AF100 and I earn money from it and it is paying for itself. for its cost, its really convenient with all the >features mentioned. WFM and Vectorscope: I use it alot and it has made exposure easy and illegal colors are >easy to spot. Thinking its not useful is ignorant.

    I really like AF100, and I think that for many people its price will pay out fast.
    But, as I said, it is completely wrong to try to sell it to someone who really do not need all this.
  • I'm glad you mentioned the XLR/16 bit audio. I hear all the time this "professional" feature. There is nothing professional about it.
    The professional standard is 24 bit--hey 16 bit is like 40 years old. A real pro setup would be either four track 24 bit or 4 track with a surround input. I also think it is very funny that people think a bigger connector sounds better when they use mini hdmi for the video.
  • @DrDave

    Generally, you must use XLR connectors if you can. They, alone, do not make sound better.
    But good microphones that you can connect to them and better preamps really make the difference.
    Plus you can't accidently unplug good connector or get static hum because of not so good contact.
    And using locking HDMI cables is also very good idea. Unfortunately, I do not see locking mini HDMI.
  • From Vincent Laforet blog:
    I was so rooting for this camera when it came out. Unfortunately, this camera is a big let down for me. The ergonomics, button layout, endless menus – and most importantly, the image quality – are lacking. The images look like video – chroma issues abound, over-sharpening, very very strange yellow (other) color casts in the highlights… and the kit lenses – ouch. I really have little to say that I like about this camera – it’s one of the first ones that I tried out on a job/shoot- and immediately lost interest. Please note that I am basing my opinion on this camera on BOTH the Zacuto tests and first hand experience with the camera. I’ll go over this in more details in the upcoming blog post I mention above…
  • >From Vincent Laforet blog

    I think that his opinions about AF100 are highly subjective.
    Something like anti-Barry :-) "All is bad" postion opposite to "all is perfect".
    Neither one is informative.

    As for Zacuto tests. I find them to be one of strangest things. Some mix between marketing and "independent" tests.

  • I share the frustration with the "defensive" tone around the Af100 from many senior and established users on DVXUser.
    At the beginning of this year my intention was to buy an AF100 and then a GH2 as a B-cam.
    The fact is, I love the form factor of the AF100 but I just don't like the image it produces. It's soft at 1080p and has more banding than it should. (more than an EX1, and HPX170 which are also "8 bit").
    I've tried to like it, even bought a Voightlander 25mm in anticipation of buying one, but the the GH2 actually looks better to my eyes.

    The GH2 however has proved impossible to buy, and now I discover that the HDMI output is "non-standard".
    This is perhaps even more frustrating.
    I have no interest in 24p (I am in a PAL zone). If i want 24p I will re-conform from 25 in post, or shoot on a film camera.
    I find it extraordinary that the PAL model has no dedicated 25p mode.
    In addition, it seems there are "extra fields" inserted on HDMI-out even in FSH mode. IMO, there is no technical reason why the HDMI output should not be 25pSf (progressive segmented frame) when using FSH mode. Indeed, that would be the defacto standard way to transport the stream over HDMI, would it not? The sensor is scanned progessive, so Panasonic must have made a conscious effort to re-interlace.

    Combine this with the fact that both the AF100 and the GH2 use freshly different proprietary batteries from previous Panasonic models...

  • I guess I should chime in here. I was part of that thread that was closed. I expected it to happen but I really thought it would get closed earlier than it did. I think Mr. Barry and co. exercised pretty good self-control for the most part. I'm sure panny asked them to close the thread and sponsors do keep the forum paid for so I have no problem with them obliging, but I don't have to stick around either and that means possible lost revenue from the lack of my ad clicks or buying sponsor's goods, both of which I have done a number of times. I can just post elsewhere if I choose, and now VK has opened this new forum for those of us who think differently than most on DVXuser. I've seen it on other forums, eventually the heavy hand will shoo everyone away and do the exact opposite of what was expected.

    Anyway, back to the GH2 vs. AF100.

    It's no secret that people who don't understand what's actually *inside* of devices can be easily swayed to believe that those devices are somehow different to others. I'm fairly neutral on the idea that Mr. Barry is in the pocket of Panasonic. I tend to think that he was told by panny that the AF100 is somehow drastically different than the gh2 and he truly believes them. That's fine, I understand that. Marketers plan on that type of loyalty and they count on their customers to spread that marketing pitch by telling everyone they know about their new toys. If this didn't happen, then nothing new would get sold. Everyone would be using their old devices that are plenty good-enough. It's like the whole Ipod/Ipad/Iphone thing. Every couple months they come out with a device that is marginally better and large numbers of people who have perfectly working older devices line up to get the new and improved thing. Guess what? A phone is still a phone. An MP3 player is still an MP3 player and a tablet computer is still a tablet computer. It's just the sex and coolness that they sell with large amounts of peer pressure and WOW factor.

    I work in the electronics design field and I work with marketers who sell these things to people. I've been doing it for over 15 years now and every job I've had I've watched the marketers embellish the truth to pump up sales. They don't outright lie but they do stretch the truth a lot. So when someone comes along and says that some marketing person *told* them that it's different, I have to really take that with a grain of salt as I know that the marketer is likely in selling or ass-covering mode. Again, I'm not trying to insult anyone or claim that anyone is actually making things up, but I know how these things work behind the scenes and in the real world and would be surprised if somehow it was different this time..

    So after watching many videos, pixel peeping, and reading possibly hundreds of threads on the GH2 and AF100 all over the internet, I can say that some serious comparison can be made. Sure they have some obvious mechanical differences but while others are looking at stuff like how much moire or aliasing these things have, I'm looking at their deficiencies and noting that each seem to have extremely similar problems such as the same yellow cast on the picture, same banding at the same shutter rates, same amounts of noise in the dark areas, same blue lines, same flaring during bright light, etc. If the AF100 had a different sensor and/or processing, then most of these visual problems would be captured somewhat differently. But they aren't and I've been able to find the exact same visual problems amongst videos from each camera. This says to me that the sensor and processing are likely the same.

    Sure there are differences like XLR jacks and SDI outputs and ND filters and all that but those are fairly superficial in terms of design. You could put an XLR jack on your GH2 if you wanted. You already have a digital video stream and I've seen simple IP cores(bits of programming you can buy) for FPGA ICs for HD-SDI and HDMI transceivers. Adding a small board and some ICs could create a huge number of outputs of different kinds. You don't have to change a thing on your main board. These are just some of the examples that may be different on the outside but don't actually change anything about the core of the camera. All of these could be added to a GH2's system with additional boards and make it have the same functionality as an AF100. The rest seems to be simple software differences.

  • @svart

    I agree with many things you say.

    We live in a very interesting time. Time than production methods advancements and energy availability had been used not for better life standards, but for constantly increased number for intermediary companies and people who work in them. This, now huge, part prevents to increase quality of life for all other people.
    Panasonic branches, like in US, are one of the good examples. They can certify service centers (constantly optimizing, read - cutting, them to increasy their bonuses) and they can organize goods shipping from Japan and China (and we constantly see huge errors with this).

    Considering AF100 internals. It could be very interesting to disassembly one of them :-)
    Looking at firmware I think that main LSI chips are from consumer video cameras. They tend to use same LSI chips in all HD cameras of the same generation, but with different code and ROM/RAM sizes.
    As for sensor, I don't see any way that they developed completely new sensor.

    As for XLR and HD-SDI, we yet so see 180 turn in this direction also.
    Like it already happened because of HyperDeck Shuttle. We just had constant talks how costly it is to make hardware that allow record uncompressed video (even less compressed).
    Now all we have is rants that SSDs are not cheap (somehow Panasonic and Sony cards costing up to 20x more do not count already :-) ).
    Current HDMI versions allow data exchange and audio return. So, LSI that will be able to use it are not far away and similar to Shuttle devices will have big RAM buffer and will allow to use simple HDDs recording 4:4:4 in almost loseless format, having XLRs in the same time.
    Even very new Sound Devices recorders that come from quite pricy company are already affordable for many people.

    Penalty for owning highly integrated and dedicated pro camera will be increasing fast.