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New video cam recommendation
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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jnorman's Avatar
New video cam recommendation

Hi guys - I would like to get a new video camera to record college and competition audition material. Audio is recorded separately and synced in post. I am currently using a lumix gx-85 to shoot 4k footage with a stand mounted led floodlight and sometimes get good results and sometimes not so great. I would like to stick to 4k but that is not a deal killer.

Part of the problem is I seem to need easier access to controlling manual focus (to keep the camera from doing random “focus searching” while in a fixed position on a tripod), and controlling the exposure better where there is a dark background and a spotlight on the soloist which often gives me overexposed faces, or sometimes quite low light situations. I realize this is largely my own laziness in not learning how to use my gear to the best end, but somehow I feel like a different camera might help me.

What are you using? What would you recommend? Thanks for your input.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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GH5S. Great low light performance, large pixel pitch, long battery life, no overheating, unlimited video record time, wonderful lens options, compact, 10bit 422, great ergonomics.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Nut
I'm still using gh3s! Manual focus and one of those expensive neutral gray cards.

My laziness has expressed itself in a pix recorder so I don't have to sync in post.

What is your lens situation?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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jnorman's Avatar
Thanks guys. I currently only have a 12-32mm for m43. I was considering maybe trying something like a Sony ax53. Should I just stick with m43 camera like the lumix gh series? Pros/cons?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
I realize this is largely my own laziness in not learning how to use my gear to the best end, but somehow I feel like a different camera might help me.
Learning a whole new camera seems rather harder than learning how to use your GX85 properly! Manual focus and proper exposure on the GX85 are not remotely difficult: I use one frequently and have no such issues. The camera is entirely competent and unless you are into heavy grading I suspect you will see absolutely no gain from stepping up to a GH5 etc. for your type of use.

In terms of focus, as you only have a 12-32mm kit lens (which has no manual focus ring!), you might well find it best to have the camera set to manual focus but with the AF/AE Lock set to AF-ON, which lets you autofocus using the AF/AE Lock button but with no subsequent autofocus hunting. This is useful with other lenses anyway.

In terms of metering, the GX85 has competent spot metering for such lighting as you describe, so no different than any other decent camera. Just set up the metering options to one of the function buttons so that you can change this more easily.

Also ensure that you are not using auto white balance.

In your shoes, I would expand your lens choices from your existing 12-32mm kit lens before thinking of a new camera: the Lumix 25mm f1.7 is the obvious next lens for your use - decent quality, fast, low cost and with a manual focus ring, it is the M43 equivalent of a 'nifty fifty'. And, if you are allowed more than one camera for competition/audition work, think about a second body: the GX85 is incredibly good value new or used these days. Having a second viewpoint with a camera that colour matches exactly and has the same controls is a good move.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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jnorman's Avatar
Roland - thanks very much for the excellent answer. I will definitely try those things. I have trying to use manual focus using the touch screen slider and it is quite difficult to adjust properly, and trying to manually adjust exposure by eye and guesswork. Your advice might solve my problems- I appreciate it!
Jim
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
Roland - thanks very much for the excellent answer. I will definitely try those things. I have trying to use manual focus using the touch screen slider and it is quite difficult to adjust properly, and trying to manually adjust exposure by eye and guesswork. Your advice might solve my problems- I appreciate it!
Jim
I ran into similar focus issues with Samsung cameras. Excellent cameras (however, discontinued...) but the approach of adjusting manual focus electronically does have clear disadvantages. But recently I used an old Canon FD lens in conjunction with suitable adapter ring, and this way I got my good old manual focus back! So this will probably be my way to use this camera in the future. I'm sure such a solution is also possible for m34 cameras.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulrich View Post
I ran into similar focus issues with Samsung cameras. Excellent cameras (however, discontinued...) but the approach of adjusting manual focus electronically does have clear disadvantages. But recently I used an old Canon FD lens in conjunction with suitable adapter ring, and this way I got my good old manual focus back! So this will probably be my way to use this camera in the future. I'm sure such a solution is also possible for m34 cameras.
Jim's issue is partly manual focusing a lens that - unusually - has no focus ring (most M43 lenses do of course, though that can be 'focus by wire' rather than physical). But that aside, part of the attraction of M43 cameras to me is the ability, via fairly cheap adapters, to use any lens I have, including old purely MF Nikon lenses: the speedbooster variants (I use a 0.71x one) also reduce focal length and increase the lens speed, which is nice. Of course, a follow focus needs a real focus ring to work, not a focus by wire focus ring.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
My suggestion is to keep your hard earned money in your pocket.

I don't have a GX85, but strongly suspect it has a menu setting to show an enlarged focus screen that will help you set focus.

Lens adapters and old manual focus lens are pretty cheap. If the subject isn't going to be moving around much, you could set manual focus and use a fairly decent aperture setting, say f5.6 to give yourself some depth of field, assuming you have enough light.

As norfolksoundman9 already said, there is a menu setting to use spot metering that you can set on a face to meter exposure. The more general recommendation I would offer is to get out of automatic and set your exposure manually so you are telling the camera what exposure you want instead of your falling victim to the whims of automatic camera metering. Use the camera's viewscreen to check to be sure you're getting the look you want.

In "quite low light," most any camera is going to struggle with autofocus, be grainy, and skin tones will be awful. Add more light to correct this if possible. If not, pick your battles. If "they" essentially turn out the lights, the video results can't be good.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
Thanks guys. I currently only have a 12-32mm for m43. I was considering maybe trying something like a Sony ax53. Should I just stick with m43 camera like the lumix gh series? Pros/cons?
I‘d consider the AX100 instead of the AX53. It has a bigger sensor which means better low light results. I really like my AX100!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Finally got around to taking a look at my G6 menu which I suspect is very similar to the GX85, both being Lumix cameras.

On my G6, this is how I get the enlarged focus area from the menu settings:

Press Menu. Then go into the Movie menu on the left side of the touchscreen. Change Focus Mode to MF.

Then go into the Custom Menu (wrench +C icon on left side). Scroll down to page 3. Select AF + MF (turn on). This should give you the ability to use the focus ring on your lens if it has one to dial in focus manually. Also Select MF Assist (turn on). This will bring up the magnified focus area as soon as the camera detects that you are manually focusing.

You can also move the magnified focus area around by dragging it with your finger on the touchscreen to where you want it. There should also be a + visible on the screen--you can make it larger with the touchscreen, too.

On the G6, there is also an option to turn on Focus Peaking in the same Custom Menu which will highlight whatever area the camera has focused on and display that on the viewscreen.

In low light with little contrast in the scene, autofocus may hunt, in my experience. That's where you might want to switch to manual focus if you have a relatively static subject. You might also want to go back into the Movie Menu and into Exposure Mode to switch to manual so you have control over aperture and shutter speed.

You'll want to save these settings to a custom menu. And shoot some video at home to become more comfortable with the menu. IMO, the menu is somewhat logical in some respects, but sort of a head scratcher in others. Spending some time with the menu will help you overcome it.

Last edited by 2manyrocks; 4 weeks ago at 02:05 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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jnorman's Avatar
Thanks 2many - that’s pretty much what I have finally figured out over the past few days of reading the manual, fiddling around, and absorbing the advice from Roland and others here. I appreciate all the help guys.
Jim
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
Thanks 2many - that’s pretty much what I have finally figured out over the past few days of reading the manual, fiddling around, and absorbing the advice from Roland and others here. I appreciate all the help guys.
Jim
Glad you are sorted Jim. Coincidentally I picked up another GX80/85 body yesterday - as I said, such a bargain these days.

Cheers,

Roland
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