Panasonic GH2 or GH1?

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While there are some Panasonic GH2 cameras available at current rip-off prices, the older GH1 is stepping back into the spotlight. Previous GH1 cameras with older firmware could be hacked into what was called the GH13 or GH1.3. The hacks provided more features than the standard GH1, which included higher video bitrates and additional framerates. After a certain firmware version, later sold GH1 cameras were considered 'unhackable' and this was discouraging. Well just a few days ago the hacking geniuses finally got things going again, and now state that all GH1 cameras can be 'hacked' along with some other models like the G1, GF1, and G2.

The great thing about the MFT cameras are that you can adapt pretty much any lens to it. The GH1 is even a great 'stills' camera for the budding photographer. So if you're looking for a Micro Four Thirds camera body that can capture high quality video and photos, you might want to re-consider the older discontinued GH1s while there are still some in stock at these discounted prices.

find-price-button Panasonic GH1 Digital Camera

Or a few via BHPhotoVideo:

On a side note there really isn't good deals on the GF1. If you're a smaller rangefinder sized camera type of person, the GF2 which has a faster processor is also in stock with a $100 dollar instant savings found here:
find-price-button Panasonic GF2 with 14-42mm

21 thoughts on “Panasonic GH2 or GH1?

  1. Pingback:

    Hacked GH1 (GH17) Video Tutorial » CheesyCam

  2. I'm aware of the 2x crop factor and I'm trying to figure out how it would play for my use, shooting weddings and events. I'm looking into all of of those lens choices. I'm a bit apprehensive about those CCTV lenses as I don't know their quality. One thing I just noticed --as I just bought my first GH1-- is that you can't use EF lenses with the GH1, since they don't have an aperture ring, correct? I saw one guy online who would use a Canon body, a 7D I believe, to set the aperture and then transfer it over to the GH1, but that seems like a major pain. Is there a way to use the EF lenses with the GH1 at all?

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @apostolos - Keep in mind that the MFT cameras have a 2x crop. So you'll be doubling the focal length of any lens (and then multiply a bit for an adapter). FD's are a good cheap alternative, Nikon manual and Zeiss would be better (more expensive). There's also CCTV lenses but again all of this is manual and without focus confirmation.

  4. So, assuming the hack will work on mine, I'm starting to research lenses. You think the Canon FD lenses, like the 200mm f4 you reviewed would be a good choice for it? As long as they have an aperture ring on the lens?

  5. Well, I jumped at the GH1 bandwagon after all your relentless propaganda about it. 🙂 But seriously, if it's hackable, it has the potential of being a terrific second or third camera for video, for multi-camera shoots. Do you know for a fact that all firmware versions are now hackable? Do you have a link for the latest hack by any chance?

  6. Thank you cheezycam! This is a cheaper alternative than hiring someone to press a button every 12 minutes at my weddings. Was holding out for a gh2 but at this price point, I'm hiring less shooters and will have an amazing multiple camera angled coverage!

  7. Tony Carretti

    I have both. The gh1 with the hack is a fantastic solution for the price! The hack really pushes the quality and you can create very nice images.

    With that being said, the gh2 offers the following benefits:

    Better low light capability
    Ex tele mode (try it... Amazing feature)
    HDMI out while recording
    Variable speed creative mode 80-300%
    touch screen controls

    And probably the most important... Stability.

    Bear in mind that even though most of the available patches created for the hack are reasonably to greatly stable (depending how aggressive you want to go) there is always the chance that the camera will freeze and you will lose a shot or more. Not a big deal if you are just having fun, but could be costly on a paid shoot.

    Bottom line is that the hack turns the gh1 into a beast of a machine for low bucks and I'm thrilled to have it! Just happy to have the gh2 as well...(and a hdc sdt750 for 1080p60 to boot!)

  8. Well, I don't think he was looking for traditional timecode, that's why I said timestamp and not timecode. I think these legal videos need a way to stamp the actual time of the day of the deposition on the footage, not SMPTE timecode. Sort of like the old time stamp burn-ins they had on 35mm film cameras.

  9. Emm

    Post author

    @apostolos - No I don't think you can do timecode in the camera. Also, the GH2 might still be the better camera overall, but it's also priced much differently right now. The GH1 is a good deal for someone looking to start in M43 or looking for a small camera to carry around.

  10. Greg

    120fps 720 with good quality would be amazing in a camera. I love slow motion.

    I'm thinking about picking up a gh1 as a cheap solution for a cam that stays on a tripod the duration of a wedding.

  11. Oh, as far as that 120fps pipedream, in theory this is Scarlet's big selling point, whenever it materializes. But I fear it's going to bomb commercially, because the time for a fixed lens 2/3" sensor for 6k, was oh, 2006.

  12. @ Bill. 1080p 60fps, NOW that would be worth some money Bill. I'm sure someone will figure out some great use for it, like shooting slo-mo skydiving videos.

    @Emm. But bottomline, is there ANY advantage the GH2 has over a hacked GH1 for video. Is the DOF different? They both use a portion of the sensor enough for 1080, but is the DOF different?

    And one last question. I have a friend of mine who's asking me in what camera to invest for video. He's on a very tight budget and he's shooting legal, deposition videos (with a borrowed camera) and he wants to get into wedding photography as well. So, I keep telling him, his best bet would be to start with 60d, with an aftermarket lens, out the door for about $1.5k. And then he asked me this. He said "depositions need a time-stamp on the video. Can you do this with the 60D?" Well, I didn't think so. Do you know the answer to this?

  13. mike_tee_vee

    The GH1 is a great camera, but it has a different battery from the GH2, which makes it a frustrating back-up 🙁

  14. Emm

    Post author

    @Bill Voelker - That would be pretty awesome, but when will we start seeing 120fps in a camera...

  15. Emm

    Post author

    @Olivia Speranza - The GH2 is still the better camera, but for less than half the price the GH1 is a good backup type solution.

  16. carlos

    you know, i was really close to getting a gh1. Defitenily worth it if one cant afford much else. There have been many comparisons however to hacked gh1s and gh2s. many results have shown that there is a lot more to image quality than bitrate. the gh2 looks MUCH BETTER.

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