Panasonic Lumix G5 or Lumix GH2?

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Stuart, one of the readers over at DiscoverMirrorless.com, submitted a question to MC Contributor Will Crockett to help him choose between a Panasonic Lumix G5 and a Lumix GH3.

Here’s the question:  

Will,

I watched your review of the G5 and was somewhat discouraged.  You mentioned that it was not a good replacement for a GH2 owner, so here is my concern.  I am looking for a camera that will be used 85% of the time for still photography, but still want good video capabilities.  I am not doing anything professional, but am transitioning from a D7000, so image quality is important (I would consider myself an advanced shooter, 15yrs landscape shooting).  I shoot a lot of pictures of my kids so AF performance is important, and I understand that the G5 has improvements on this over the GH2.  I will not need multi aspect or a mic input, but the power to shoot good video is the reason I am looking at Panasonic over Olympus.  I also want good ergonomics and good customization of external controls.  Am I going to be unhappy with the G5 over a GH2, I can not justify the expense of a GH3.

PS- I had a GX1 and was happy with the controls but the pictures seemed to lack depth and punch.  I am currently using a backup camera, an Olympus E-PL2, and think the OOC jpegs are better than the newer GX1. But the performance and lack of controls of the E-PL2 are killing me.

Stuart

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Will’s answer is in the video above, but since I own a G5 and have shot extensively with the GH2, I decided to post an answer as well.

Here’s my response to Stuart:

Hi Stuart,

This is Scott Giorgini and I’m the creator of MirrorlessCentral.com as well as one of the Hybrid Heroes on DiscoverMirrorless.  I’m not going to speak for Will, who I’m sure will have some great advice for you (Will is the MAN!), but I just picked up a G5 a few days ago and I thought I would throw my 2 cents in (if you don’t mind).

I’ve been very impressed with the G5 on several fronts.  Ergonomically, it’s very comfortable to hold, even one handed.  It’s well balanced and has a nice, comfortable grip.  I think you’ll like it after lugging around that big ol’ D7000.  The image quality produced by the G5 has been superb as well.  Of course, everybody has their own opinion as to what looks good and what doesn’t, but you’ll find that the G5 is very customizable and you should be able to punch up the colors and white balance to your liking fairly easily, and then store it as a custom setting.  There’s also a whole bunch of scene modes and creative filters for you to try out – I’ve been having loads of fun with these.

Yep…  there are custom function buttons (3 of ‘em) plus a custom function lever right behind the shutter release button (and two more custom “buttons” that you can access on the touch screen).  I have been LOVING the lever.  If you attach a power zoom lens, the camera automatically detects it and will assign zoom control to the lever, which is great for shooting video (but you can override that if you want something different).  If it’s not a power zoom lens, then you can adjust the ISO with the lever (or color, or whatever else you’d like).  There’s also a customizable QMenu (Quick Menu) button, so it’s very easy to make this camera your own and I think you’ll like all the on body controls this camera has to offer.

Of course, one of the best things about micro 4/3 cameras is that you have a TON of great lenses available, and they’re pretty affordable too.

I’m a video first guy, and I’ve been impressed with the videos that have been popping out of my G5 too – and shooting video with this camera is easy.  The Autofocus has been blazing fast and very accurate (better than the GH2′s).  I usually use external audio recording devices when I shoot video, but the onboard stereo mics on the G5 have been very impressive.  If you’re planning on using it as kind of a “camcorder” to shoot your kids, it should do just fine.

From what you’re describing, I think you’ll be pretty happy with the G5.  Oh…  BTW – I’ve shot with the GH2 extensively as well.  I think the G5 is better for stills and also shoots great video, but the GH2 has more pro features and manual control in video mode.  I love both cameras, but I feel that the G5 is easier to learn and is a better all around camera.

Hope this helps…  : )

SG

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In a nutshell – if you’re a filmmaker and are looking to shoot mostly video, but you can’t afford a GH3, then a GH2 is a great bargain right now ($499 Body Only on Amazon).  It’ll be a workhorse for you and will pop our some great quality videos.  If you want an easy to use system and incorporate more stills into your work, the G5 is the way to go.  It has an enhanced sensor that produces better IQ in stills and it performs impressively in video as well – It’s a great little Hybrid machine and the G5 is also only $499 Body Only or $599 with a Kit Lens on Amazon.

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