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Bulb Mode for Still Photography
  • Hi all,

    I recently purchased the GH2 and must say that despite all the great features and quality I am somewhat disappointed by not only battery performance but also the crippled Bulb mode.

    At this point I am evaluating the camera and trying to throw it into my 'real world' tests as much as I can. One of thie things I set out to do this year will or should involve long time exposures. Now, I have the feeling that I might not need 6hr exposures, but even the missing more than 2min exposures setting is a bit troubling.

    I have read through various forums, guide, etc. but have only found a few references to bulb mode exposures for STILL photography. While it seems that you cannot change the firmware to allow for longer exposures, I often see a mention of using external remotes, but it seems often a 'should work scenario' answer.

    Has anyone used a specific remote (maybe the one available from Panasonic) to do a longer exposure maybe over 10min or even longer? A) what gear did you use and B) how did you work with the GH2, and C) would you mind sharing an example of such a shot?

    I'd hate to return the DH2 just to get a bigger DSRL for a feature that should be included in a camera of this price range and performance level.

    Thanks in advance.

  • 14 Replies sorted by
  • what exactly is your guestion here? how to make a longer exposure than 1 minute? You can put your camera in B mode. Put it on M mode and put the shutterspeed all the way down. After the lowest '60 setting there comes B. Now hold the shutterbutton as long as u want (for example 10 mins) and there u go. Ofcourse u better use a remote for the shutter button, but im not familiar with them.

    Hope i have been of any help...

  • Get a bigger DSLR if you are into stills. Post a single picture you took that was exposed for anything longer than two minutes please.


    1. 100% crop of max exposure on GH2 at base ISO with no in body NR.
    2. 178 sec exposure with an old D200

    EXIF is intact on these, check it out

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  • @albertdros That is part of the problem. With the GH2 you can't expose more than 2 min, the GH2 will automatically stop. So i wondered if that can be increased with a remote, and if do wich one.

    @ssh I really enjoy the size and quality of the GH2, and it's weight, which was one of the primary reason for the purchase. Plus the vid quality, but I don't record video that often.

    I will post some images when I get back and had some time to test. But I am headed out to the desert, hence my question about the remote and bulb modification.

  • @el_reverend

    I have some of the the other cheap remotes you can find online but thats my favorite. It takes "normal" batteries and has an actual on/off switch unlike some other ones. Plus it feels a bit sturdier.

  • hmmm I didn't know bulb mode only goes to 2 minutes. That kinda sucks because i was planning to do some long exposure photos with ND filters. I guess this is the actual question of the OP. Does anyone know if its possible to get longer exposure times than 2 minutes?

  • @albertdros Yup, that's what I have been trying to determine.

    @Xenocide38 Have you used it with the GH2 AND produced exposures for longer than two minutes? If you have it available, would you mind trying it, say 10 min?

  • I use it with several remotes. They do not increase the bulb mode maximum exposure length - I use a Canon 50D for those shots instead.

  • @thepalalias Thank you very much for that answer. Exactly what I was looking for. Sadly so, but none the less.

  • @ssh

    There is no way that is correct. If you use the Bulb mode on the GH2 it will record for 2 minutes and 8 seconds exactly. The difference between 128 seconds and 178 seconds is less than a stop. Those pictures have WAY more than a stop difference.

    I have used the GH2 for astrophotography for the last 6 months. Honestly, it is absolutely the wrong camera for not bright deep space objects(It is simply the best camera for objects like the moon and planets). The 128 second time limit is tough to get around. However, its long exposure noise and artifact performance are what really cripples it.

    Ironically I tried my GF1 one day out of pure frustration and found that the time limit on the GF1 is actually 256 seconds(4 minutes and 16 seconds). It also has much better long shutter duration noise performance and it doesn't require the use of the in camera long exposure noise reduction.

    I am finishing my Astro Photography review this weekend. It will explain how to do long exposure photography on a tight budget.

    Here is an example of why the GH2 cannot be used for long exposure pictures. This is a 128 second shot with the lens cap on. This shot should be completely black. It has a weird pink glow instead. The GF1 does not exhibit this phenomenon as much.

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  • @mpgxsvcd urgh, dude, get an EXIF reader, my first attachment is a 100% crop of your "cap on" shot.

  • I may be missing a relevant aspect, but exposures >2min certainly require very still objects, so wouldn't it be a possibilty to just take 5 2-minute exposures instead of 1 10-minute exposure, then use your favorite image processing software to just add the pixel values of your 5 exposures? (The time gap in between the exposures should not matter to much with still objects, right?)

    If I may, please let me abuse your thread for asking a stupid question from one who has so far never used a remote shutter control on a Panasonic: If you do automated time lapses, does the camera turn off in between shots? Or will the time lapse fun end early when the battery is drained?

  • @karl Yes: Certain things do require constant exposure though. Some of mine:

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  • @ssh

    Sorry that really wasn't clear in your first post. I do like your D200 shot. That is an excellent image. The link you posted was very good as well.

  • @ssh2 & mpgxsvcd: The "160ISO-lens-cap-on-without-NR" long exposures shure show specles, but why should one not use the in-body NR? (When I take a long exposure lens-cap-on picture and do enable "long exposure NR", I get a very black picture without any visible specles...)