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Hacked GH1, GF1, or GF2 for a student filmmaker?
  • Based on my research the GH2 offers by far the best bang for your buck in terms of video performance (although maybe the GH3 will take its place latter this year once its price has eased off a little), however for me even the GH2 is just outside my personal budget.

    Currently I have an older Nikon DSLR which lacks video, as next month I'm starting a year long film course I have a need for a new camera which does video well (also will be using it for various personal projects too: short films, music videos, web series, etc.. and hopefully even a paying job or two).

    It seems to me at first the obvious choice would be the previous model from the GH2 so thus get the GH1 secondhand on eBay, but the GF1 & GF2 also appear to be attractive options?

    Made a comparison of what I know so far about GF1/GF2 vs GH1.


    a) does "comparable" video to the GH1 (I think it is the same? But struggling to find this out for sure)

    b) goes for about half the price as the GH1 on eBay, which is a very compelling point for me at the moment (oddly the GF2 & GF1 are both going for about the same price on eBay??)

    c) is exactly the same system and brand as the GH series, thus my future acquired knowledge/lenses/accessories will be very easily transferable when I get a GH2 or GH3 (or GH4? haha)

    d) smaller bodies, for extra stealth should I wish for it as they're almost nearing compact size

    e) the GF1 & GF2 are also hacked (thanks @Vitaliy_Kiselev! I'm amazed by how much you've contributed to this field)

    f) the GF2 uses the same spare batteries as the GH2 (although I think the GF2 does not have the same degree of manual control in video as the GF1 has?)


    a) lacks a view finder

    b) lacks an adjustable rear screen

    Any extra advice or information about a hacked GH1 vs GF2 vs GF1 would be appreciated, thanks :-)

  • 11 Replies sorted by
  • f)The GF2 does not use the same battery as the GH2.

    Buy a used GH2 and you'll be able to use it until you graduate without thinking early to upgrade. The body is the least of your worries IMHO.

  • f) batteries: my bad, I looked it up again and I see was in error (as I thought I had read that somewhere.... maybe I was thinking of the GH1 & GF1, they have the same?)

    Even the used GH2 I think is kinda pricey for now, probably will get the GH1. But if I can instead get the GF1/GF2 to save some cash which I could spend on lighting and sound equipment then wouldn't that be good?

  • The GH series has full manual control of video settings that the GF series does not, a GH is the direction to go for a filmmaker :)

  • I shot few no budget things with hacked GF1 and manual lenses. It is usable to a certain degree.

    This was shot with GF1:

    But if you can, get GH1 instead, it is much better and more useable for video.

  • @matthere so would the Olympus Pen E-P2 or Olympus Pen E-PL1 be a better option than the Panasonic GF1? (& it still allows me to stay within the micro 4/3rds system for when I move up to the GH2/GH3/"GH4")

    As those Olympus cameras are also in the roughly US$150 range secondhand, but they do have manual video as an option (they've got in camera image stabilization too, which the GF1 doesn't have). Although I thought the PTool hack allows fully manual video control on the GF1.

    @jules thanks I'll reply now

  • If you can, get GH2, otherwise GH1.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    If the GH2 is out of the question and even the GH1 is stretching it, what options are there underneath the GH1?

    It seems to me, to the best of my limited knowledge, that the two leading contenders for value under the GH1 while still sticking to the micro 4/3rds format is (& for as much as half the price of the GH1 secondhand):

    Panasonic GF1/GF2 or Olympus Pen E-PL1/PL2? (their secondhand prices are all very close, and I think I'd rank them from best to worst as: EPL2/EPL1/GF1/GF2?)

  • @Ironfilm as you are going to be doing a filmmaking course, it is obviously a good plan to get yourself a camera.. With financial restrictions it can be a difficult choice, which camera to get. From my investigations into "Which to buy?" Which includes watching a lot of filmmakers output on Vimeo and YouTube.. The cameras that are giving the best output for "relatively" small financial outlay are the GH series.

    You are correct that the GF1 is able to be configured for manual shooting, but the output of the GH's seem to my eye to hit the sweet spot for compression, cadence and that elusive.. Expensive camera look. There is some good stuff coming out of the GF1 I don't want to put you off getting one of these if it is the only camera in your budget, but after quite extensive research into "filmic" cameras the GH cameras are hard/impossible to beat for their value in producing great images. I don't know for sure about the Olympus lineup and the potential for manual video, but if you again search for video by the Olympus cameras you may find you struggle to get the quality of the GH range especially hacked footage.. I am no Panasonic fanboy, but the hack has unleashed great image quality - Thanks to Vitaliy and the team here! But it is only you who knows what is right for your needs, watch as much footage as you can from a wide range of cameras, the differences are often subtle.. But you will find what makes you happy through watching examples from all the cameras mentioned here :)

  • @IronFilm

    How about go to work and get few extra dollars required instead of seating on forum and finding things impossible to find? You'll need other things anyway. Btw, really suggest to work and self educate rather than spend time on film courses. As they won't bring you any work, just disappointments.

  • I was thinking the same thing. As much as this site is useful and great, spend more time actually doing things. Go get a part-time job on a paper route and get that GH camera. Then apply your experiences from that job and make a story. Kill two birds with one stone.