Published on May 5th,2009 at 12:00 PM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

The Panasonic GH1 Kills The DSLR, TV-Industrial Complex

This is an amazing time to be alive, what with all the things that are changing, evolving, improving.

A major step was just taken that will revolutionize how video is produced and consumed. It’s called the Panasonic GH1.

It dispenses with the traditional SLR mirror and optical viewfinder, allowing a shorter lens-to-sensor distance; in turn enabling smaller, lighter, and quieter cameras. The platform, called ‘Micro Four Thirds’, maintains the same-size image sensor as a traditional DSLR, and uses similar (though smaller) interchangeable lenses that allow for shallow depth of field, which is one of the defining characteristics that DSLRs have long had a monopoly on versus point-and-shoot consumer cameras.

So it’s smaller. Why is this camera so revolutionary then?

Well, size is not the revolution. HD video functionality is.

Though hardly the first digital camera to shoot HD video (notable examples include the Canon 5D Mark II and the Nikon D90) the GH1 manages to provide jaw-droppingly-good HD video (1080p) in a smaller and less-expensive package* than its predecessors and rivals. This means that any idiot with a thousand bucks, a subject, and a PC can become a movie producer.

Here’s the freshest example of HD video shot off a Panasonic GH1 (if you watch the HD version closely and notice the shallow depth of field and fantastic quality, you’ll understand how revolutionary this is!):

Panasonic Lumix GH1. First footage from Philip Bloom on Vimeo

What we’ve seen with print media–the replacement of the top-down newspaper/magazine model with a more democratic, user-generated model–is exactly what is going to happen with digital video. With the increased accessibility of cheap HD video recording, sites like Vimeo and FunnyOrDie are going to be swimming in quality user-generated content (if they’re not already). The losers are going to be the big studios, whose only advantages will be 1) bigger budgets for marketing/production, 2) star power, and 3) existing distribution channels (movie theaters, et cetera). The studios, however, will be at a massive disadvantage on the internet, coming up against small niche players who will be able to undercut them on production cost AND content pricing, providing the content for free (ad-supported). If the big studios eschew the free-content route, as print media did, and they’ll lose market share to the internet upstarts.

This is a MASSIVE opportunity for anybody with film-making experience. You have the opportunity to be involved in a revolution. Yes, the democratization of HD video will mean declining prestige, and an increasingly flooded content marketplace. But at the same time, it allows content creators to put more professional-looking creations on the web and garner maximum exposure before the big studios begin to adapt to the new platform.

If there is to be an internet video production star made, he/she will be made king very soon. As I said earlier, this is an amazing time to be alive.

*Note: the Panasonic GH1 may be priced similarly to the Nikon D90. We’ll have to see.

Kauai sunset: Lumix GH1 slow motion from Philip Bloom on Vimeo

Thank you for my good friend Cameron Newland from Seattle for this post. Finally we are waiting the golden week to be over here in Japan in order to recieve a GH1 Sample from Panasonic to review for you… I can tell you that we are pretty much excited to test this little fellow !

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Comments
 

  • http://www.autoshowevents.com gb

    When will you guys do a comparison video and image shots from the Panasonic, Nikon and Canon? Now that would be cool.

  • jarulo

    A. This is not a pro camera.

    B. It won’t make for any better photographers. It’ll will, however, likely re-arm a lot of wannabe’s who get in the way of working professionals. Believe me, it’s already happening.

    Bad enough there’s a collective case of ADD in the digital world. Point-and shoot “Insta-Matic Mentality” is trashing what used to be an actual art from. For pro music photographers like me, it’s like having to contend with an army of gnats.

    Worse, as soon as the music venues, managers, agents, promoters and artists realize anyone can show up with a Mark II or a GH-1 (which sounds like a crappy cable music channel, btw) and shoot live HD video without being detected, they’re going to shut us down like a bad case of Chinese melamine flu.

    Finally, if you want to shoot good video, buy a good freakin’ video camera. The GH-1 is the camera equivalent of the all-in-one fax/copier/printer. Know anybody who still faxes?

  • Joergen

    “such good gadget make our life more interesting and colorful!” – keep telling you that…, sorry to say it, but these so called wonderfull gadgets have really killed alot of creativity.

  • Bas

    @jarulo.
    You seem a grumpy old man. What’s worse is that you seem to derive your professional status from your equipment rather than your creativity. You obviously feel threathened by the fact that creative “amateurs” can now make almost broadcast quality too. All this camera does, is to give more people the oportunity to show their creativity. So if your competences go beyond your gadgets, you shouldn’t be affraid.

  • Sammy

    You have to remember that creativity and artisity comes from within oneself that is simply natural. You can’t learn that in school or get a degree on it – it simply doesn’t work that way.

    It’s not what tools you use (tho’ it does help), it’s the actual person/people that creates them. Like i once said to a friend who asked me for a suggestion on a DSLR camera he wished to buy; Don’t blame the brush if you can’t/don’t know how to paint.

    One who appreciates art can value good art. One who loves really good movie will appreciate good quality screenwriting. So no matter what tool you use. If you create crap… no matter what you use it will still be crap.

    I agree with Jarulo but you have nothing to worry with these types of cameras. Not everyone can be a “Slumdog Millionaire” producer. That movie was caught entirely on a DV camera.

  • vasra

    1. It doesn’t resolve anywhere near 1080p optical lines in movement (i.e. not even a true HD cam)

    2. It uses a high compression – not good for post processing – codec

    3. It has very small sensor, not good for low lighting

    4. Small sensor also means limitations to depth of field with various lenses (compare to full frame 35mm sensor)

    5. Pro is already moving to much beyond HD (think RED)

    Yes, I agree it is revolutionizing almost HD-quality web-video for the masses… when it costs $499 and everybody has one.

    Other than that, great camera and a very welcome entry!

  • cowpunk52

    Hey jarulo – I’m a pro photographer who’s going to be buying one of these and using it on pro jobs. 12 MP? Perfect! 720p60 in AVCHD? I love it!

    I make a living shooting stills & movies & television shows. This camera will be used for all the above. I’ve analyzed raw footage straight out of camera, and it suits my needs just fine, and footage from it is going to show up on your TV and photos from it is going to show up in your magazines. I can guarantee it.

    Don’t be a measurebator. Specs don’t make a pro camera. The professional behind it does.

  • http://www.autoshowevents.com gb

    Real pros actually like this camera… check out dvxuser site. Some of their members actually imported it from Japan and have been testing it out. Seems to be better than the other brands…and its only been out a couple weeks in Japan so we really don’t know if Panasonic will update the firmware by time it arrives in the US next month.

    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/forumdisplay.php?f=175

  • http://www.dreambox.org.uk/ dreambox 800

    I agree with Jarulo but you have nothing to worry with these types of cameras. Not everyone can be a “Slumdog Millionaire” producer. That movie was caught entirely on a DV camera.

 

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