Field Review: Panasonic GF-1 (Day 4)

This posting was supposed to be about video quality and performance. But everything went awry. You see, Premium Compact Specialist Will Greenwald and I ventured over to Ketchum’s offices to shoot some video for his site, The video was of Gran Turismo 5 and Little Big Planet 2. We shot some pretty darned good video, and then Sony told us that we couldn’t use it. Because of this, the video will not be shown. However, one can go onto Youtube, type in GF-1and find lots of videos shot with the wonderful camera. What you don’t hear about, though, is the problems that you encounter while filming.

At first, we were shooting the gameplay off-screen very easily. The camera is light, compact and easy to operate in terms of changing settings when necessary. One peeve with the camera was the less than stellar microphone. It picked up a reasonable amount of sound, but not as much as it should have vs other DSLR and EVIL cameras that shoot video. What I really wished was if the Rode Shotgun mic would’ve been able to connect to it via a port of some sort, but that is not possible.

The camera tended to try to focus in and out with the slightest movements. The good thing about this though was that the focusing motors weren’t picked up very well by the on-board microphone. The problem, however, was that it focused in and out very slowly. Think of molasses being poured out of a jar.

Turning on manual focus, prefocusing, and stopping down the aperture quelled the problem of autofocusing. It all still wasn’t perfect though. We know that all DSLRs that record video shut off after some time because of the sensor and processor working too hard. The GF-1indeed stopped shooting after about eight minutes each segment.

At one point, the camera became so hot that I took off the lens and let the sensor cool off a bit. After cleaning the sensor, I put the lens back on and went back to shooting. The camera sensor became hot again after another eight minutes of recording.

The camera was passed back and forth between Will and I. Usually what I do is shoot short segments at a time so that it is easier to edit. Because we saw some alpha builds of the games and some really good stuff, I figured that I should just let the cameras roll.

Then the problem I had recording concert footage with the D3scame back to me. However, it wasn’t that bad this time. The LCD of the D3s melted a business card onto my wallet when resting against my side. The GF-1didn’t get quite so hot, so I was able to shoot stills with it a little while afterwards very quickly.

Though this may all sound very standard, just keep it in mind when shooting video with the GF-1.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.