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Thread: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

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    Senior Member JMaher's Avatar
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    G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    I know everyone here is enamored with their new GF! cameras but I don’t think I plan to go there.

    I have an EP-1 and I am having fun with it and really like the built in stabilization. I took some pictures at an audio club event (another expensive hobby) the other night and while they weren’t the best I have ever taken they were acceptable and all with the 17, 1600 ISO and an average speed of 1/15 of a second. Other than lusting after the new 20mm I am happy with my results.

    However (always an however) I don’t find using legacy lenses are fun with the Pen as the screen resolution seems lacking for this use (not knocking it as I love the wide viewing angle, etc) and the camera is virtually useless in many low light situations as the lack of a focusing aid makes focus lock very problematic.

    I have an E3 I can use but I really like carrying a camera with much less weight and I am thinking of selling the E3. From all the praise I have seen the G1 looks like a great add on to my collection. It’s obviously much less expensive than the GH1. What, if anything do I lose (except video – which I don’t use on the EP-1) would I be missing with a G1 versus a GH-1? Have I waited too long to buy a G1 (grin)?

    Jim

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Jim,
    I don't have the GH1 to compare to my G1, but if you are not interested in video, then why pay the price (unless you want that nice 14-140 lens).
    A friend of mine just got a new G1 on Monday. She was able to find the G1 in stock at B&H and Samy's.
    The G1 will be much easier to focus with legacy lenses than the E-P1.
    Maybe Terry will chime in as she has both G1 and GH1.

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    I stick with G1 myself. It has LCD and EVF both. I don't think there's a differenc in IQ between G1 and GH1 except at 16:9.

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    There is about a stop better ISO performance on the GH1 compared to the G1. This has been discussed on the fora and I've seen it myself. Not necessarily a deal-breaker though IMHO as the G1 delivers excellent results.

    Cheers,

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Further to the above, I have a G1 but am curious how it would compare to the GH1 for the type of photography I do. Specifically, I'm curious about how well it performs in low-light situations shot at ISO100 with long-ish exposures and the camera on a tripod ... nighttime stuff, in other words, such as this:



    and this:



    and this:



    I'm actually surprised (and pleased) by how well the G1 acquits itself in this application, but I'd be happier still if it reached just a bit further into the shadows, as I gather the GH1 does. The problem, though, is while everybody and their brother is focused on how well these cameras perform in low-light conditions at ISO800 and 1600 and 3200, none of this matters for my purposes and nobody, it seems, is focused on how well they perform with 15-60 second exposures at ISO100. While it's possible to lift the shadows a bit during post-processing, this also lifts the noise and that's what I find problematic at times.

    I realize I'm asking a lot of a low-to-midpriced camera and neither the G1 nor the GH1 is ideal for my purposes, but I like working with Live View on an articulating LCD (must be the view-camera user in me!) and I also like the 4:3 format, so short of stepping up to an MF digital back (which I'll no doubt do eventually, just not until the economy improves and I'm more comfortable dropping big bucks on toys) there aren't many options open to me.

    Hence my question: Has anybody, anywhere compared the G1 to the GH1 under these conditions? I'm very tempted to replace my G1 with a GH1, but only if I can expect a decent improvement in this respect as all of the other features (especially video ... no "convergence" for me, thank you!) are irrelevant to me. So, if you can shed any light on this, I'd love to hear from you!

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    Senior Member JMaher's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Audii-Dudii

    I am curious to see what others say about your question as well as mine. Off topic - I really like your second shot.

    Jim
    ****
    To others who have responded so quickly - thanks.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    My take, FWIW:

    1) G1 is an outstanding camera, especially for the money.

    2) GH1 is equally outstanding, and IMO is worth considering but probably only if you are interested in shooting HD video or just have to have that 14-140 lens.

    3) GF1 I view as a compact version of the G1. It adds a more basic form of HD video, but has no articulating LCD and requires and add-on if you want a live VF.

    So, my .02 is that if you primarily shoot stills and the G1 isn't overly large for you, then it is an outstanding choice. If you want something more compact or the occasional HD video, the GF1 is worth considering. If you are going to shoot a lot of HD video, then the GH1 makes sense.

    Finally, if one already owns a G1 and wants a second body, the GF1 or GH1 might be viable choices for their differences.

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Audi-Dudii, really like those images -- great compositions and effect. #1 is my favorite -- I like the muted tone as-is, but would also like to see it in B&W
    Jack
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Audi-Dudii, really like those images -- great compositions and effect. #1 is my favorite -- I like the muted tone as-is, but would also like to see it in B&W
    Thanks for the kind words! I thought they looked a bit bland in plain B&W, so I've been experimenting with a hybrid approach whereby I combine a nearly desaturated color version with a toned B&W version. Here's another one from the same area, shot last Friday night:

    Last edited by Audii-Dudii; 8th October 2009 at 08:47.

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    The shadow noise (at base ISO) of these cameras are pretty much the same.

    Any marginal differences are just splitting hair.

    The G1 is the cheapest and the most versatile of the lot for still photography.

    The GF!, OTOH, is over priced and underspecd for its cute package. It won't let you use 3rds party batteries also while the G1 does not self destruct when 3rd party batteries are used.

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Quote Originally Posted by JMaher View Post
    Audii-Dudii

    I am curious to see what others say about your question as well as mine. Off topic - I really like your second shot.
    Thanks! Here's one of the burned-out building across the street (I cheated a bit on this one and used my LED Maglite to "paint" the building with light, but I kind of like how it turned out):


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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Audii, I like that one too, but still prefer #1 in the series FWIW, I did pull that image into CS, convert it to B&W and liked it a lot, however it takes on a totally different feel compared to the muted color tones you present. All said and done, I like your processing on these as is -- kudos!
    Jack
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    I really like all of those--and like the processing quite a lot. I really would like to shoot that type of subject but never feel comfortable shooting by myself in those areas at night. It also means I have to go into a city that I don't know all that well so I just don't.

    I'd like to see more--#1 is my favorite also, but they are a terrific series.

    Diane

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Diane B View Post
    I really like all of those--and like the processing quite a lot. I really would like to shoot that type of subject but never feel comfortable shooting by myself in those areas at night. It also means I have to go into a city that I don't know all that well so I just don't.
    Yes, this can be a dodgy neighborhood at night. I always have my three-cell Maglite with me and at times, I "pack heat" as well (fortunately, Arizona is an open-carry state and I actually want the deterrent effect of having a gun visible on my hip). So far, though, the only bad encounters I've had have been with security guards who think it's somehow illegal for me to photograph buildings and alleys from public streets and sidewalks and who are always calling the police on me accordingly. :-(

    I'd like to see more--#1 is my favorite also, but they are a terrific series.
    No series yet, as I've just started, but that's the plan now that I've pretty much finished my "Superior after Dark" project whereby I photographed the mining town of Superior, AZ at night from May through August of this year.

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    A question about the 14-140 lens - some posters are implying that you need to get the GH1 instead of the G1 if you want that lens. Why is that??? Is the 14-140 only available as a kit with the GH1, or is it incompatible with the G1 for some reason?

    Thanks,
    Lisa

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa View Post
    A question about the 14-140 lens - some posters are implying that you need to get the GH1 instead of the G1 if you want that lens. Why is that??? Is the 14-140 only available as a kit with the GH1, or is it incompatible with the G1 for some reason?

    Thanks,
    Lisa
    I've seen the 14-140 available by itself, although I suspect you'll be much better off switching between the 14-45 and the 45-200 for a lot less money (unless you really want one lens that has that range). I think part of the expense of the 14-140 is that it was designed specifically to work better as a video lens, so that functionality might be wasted on the G1.

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Here (in Holland) the 14-140 zoom is listed separately or even as a bundle with the G1.

    But as photosmart42 says, it is specially designed to be quiet for video (with sound) recording.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    The 14-140 is compatible, just near impossible to find by itself. It is part of the kit for the GH1 and is desirable for a few reasons:

    1) It is an awesome range;

    2) It focuses lightning fast;

    3) It is virtually silent AF, so won't interfere with the sound on your video capture as it continually focuses.

    4) It is also excellent optically.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    I think the G1 would be a great choice. I don't think the video and slightly better high ISO is worth the extra money based on your stated intentions with the camera. Plus if you ever do want to shoot video, you have the EP-1 already.

    G1 LCD and EVF are really great, and those aren't better with the GH1.

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    The 14-140 is compatible, just near impossible to find by itself. It is part of the kit for the GH1 and is desirable for a few reasons:
    Thanks, Jack. I've been toying with the idea of getting one to use sometimes in place of my Nikon D300 with 18-200 VR lens, which is great, except that it's just too heavy for me to carry comfortably for very long. The GH1 or GF1 with the 14-140 lens would have about the same coverage (because I hate changing lenses when I'm in a hurry to get the shot), but be a heck of a lot lighter. Do you (or anyone else here) have any idea how much image quality I'd be giving up in going from my current setup to either a GH1 or GF1 with that 14-140 lens? Has anyone done any comparisons with similar cameras?

    Thanks,
    Lisa

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Lisa,

    I had both the D300 and the 18-200 VR lens, and I have the GH1. Lens-wise, I don't think you are giving up a thing. The 14-140 is a super lens, as Jack points out. Where you may see the difference is with the G1/GH1/GF1 vs the D300. Personally, I am very happy with my G1 and GH1 and I just got my GF1 (and love it!), and I am at the point of selling my Nikon gear (D700 & primes now) and moving exclusively to the Micro4/3s system. I'm tired of the weight of the bigger system and the M4/3s gives me everything I need in IQ.

    BTW, I loved the pictures on your website... I'm envious of all the places you've been.

    Hope this helps.

    Ciao,

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    Senior Member JMaher's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    I think many of us are trying to get to that same point of less weight or size and a good enough system. I had a D700 for a very short period of time as well as a D90 (and many Nikon's in the past) Not having owned a G1 I still believe the Nikons are better cameras - better in low light, better speed, better flash options. However I am looking for "good enough" - something that produces excellent pictures in most circumstances and that is flexible enough to produce great shots with a little work. However my main criteria is light and small enough that I'll actually have it with me. I like the EP-1 but am already looking for more or perhaps in addition to. The G1 is what I am thinking about because of the better viewfinder but I would love the smaller size of the GF-1

    Jim

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Thanks for the comments, Simon & Jim. That the lens is great is very encouraging. My two big concerns about the Nikon-to-M4/3 trade are:
    (1) more noise at higher ISOs (like about 800, which I use occasionally)
    (2) whether the GH1 & GF1 lack some functionality of the bigger DSLRs (exposure modes? mirror lock-up? anything?)

    Anyone have any further comments on the subject?

    I also wonder, if I go the GF1 route, whether I can get accustomed to going without a viewfinder. (Yes, I know that you can add an external one, but at that point the camera with the viewfinder has gotten larger enough that you might as well go for the GH1 in order to get good video too.)

    Lisa

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa View Post
    My two big concerns about the Nikon-to-M4/3 trade are:
    (1) more noise at higher ISOs (like about 800, which I use occasionally)
    (2) whether the GH1 & GF1 lack some functionality of the bigger DSLRs (exposure modes? mirror lock-up? anything?)
    Um, neither the GH1 nor GF1 have mirrors to lock-up...

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Lisa,

    Personally, I have no issue pushing the G1/GH1/GF1 to 800 or even to 1600. If you expose well, there is a minimum of noise present, and what is there can be dealt with by a NR program such as Noise Ninja etc. There will be more chrominance noise than you would expect from the D300, but not to the point you are precluded from producing good images. The higher ISOs are wonderful for moody B&W work.

    Coming from a film background, I find the obsession with noise to be completely overblown. I remember loving the higher ISO films specifically for their grain characteristics. Remember Agfa 1000 colour film? The grain was like golf balls but soooo nice! Check out Sheila Metzner's usage of that particular film.

    As to functionality, no mirror, so no mirror lockup. Exposure mode-wise I don't find any deficits. If anything, you get more bells and whistles than on the D300, but it's easy enough to ignore the chaff and concentrate on the wheat.

    Probably the biggest difference handling-wise is the speed of shooting etc.

    Re using the GF1 without an EVF, again, personally I hate holding a camera out in front of me... it goes against the grain so to speak. I'm looking forward to getting the EVF but will use a CV 35mm OVF in the meantime.

    Ciao,

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    The 14-140 is compatible, just near impossible to find by itself.
    They always have a bunch of them available on eBay: Linkage

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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Lisa,

    I have an EP-1 and 1600 ISO is very usable and fairly close to my memory of the D90 at the same ISO. I don' t hesitate to use this. If I understand correctly you should see the same (very close anyway) results on either the GH-1 or the GF-1 but lose a half or full stop on the G1.

    As for getting away with no viewfinder - I don't know. From posts on this forum I believe the LCD on the Pen is more versatile although with less resolution but both are good. However I am thinking of adding a G1 or G1 specifically to add a viewfinder (and a low light assist lamp). I like the Pen a lot - but its not a camera for every situation.

    Jim

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: G1 or GH1 – for specific needs

    Thanks for the GH1 & GF1 comments, all. (And of course there's no mirror to lock up! Momentary brain glitch.:sleep006 It sounds promising. I'll go by my local big camera store sometime soon and see how they are "in hand", and hopefully take a test image or two to compare with my D300.

    Of course, when I talk about trying one out, my spouse says, "But I always carry the cameras anyway..." (Of course, I'd carry them more often if the weight of the camera bag didn't hurt my shoulder!) But then he thinks I should get a Nikon D700 instead, going heavier instead of lighter. Decisions, decisions...

    Lisa

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