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My Photography with the Panasonic GH2

Jim Radcliffe

The Neglected Stepchild

I ordered the GH2 (Black body only) December of 2010. I had already purchased a number of lenses for my GF1 so I only needed the GH2 body. For some reason the camera was not readily available as body only and after three months of waiting it finally showed up on my doorstep... but it was too late.

I had ordered the GH2 to take to Mardi Gras in New Orleans but since the camera did not show up I chose to pick up the Pentax K5 just one week before I left for New Orleans. Needless to say a love affair ensued with the K5 and I have barely touched the GH2 until February of 2012. It finally made the trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans one year later than planned. Because of this I have referred to the GH2 as the Neglected Stepchild.

Why No Review?
The GH2 was purchased mainly because I hated the EVF for the GF1 and I did not want to lug my 5D MKII with L glass around New Orleans. That along with the fact that it had a better sensor and articulated LCD. The EVF on the GH2 is far superior to the add-on EVF for the GF1. Perfect? No, but much better. The articulated LCD came in very handy on a number of occasions. I'll have a story about that later.

The GH2 does not weigh very much. In fact, it feels very light, almost toy like in a sense... but it is not a toy. It does perform well. I prefer a camera with a little more heft to it than the GH2 but the bottom line is always the photos it is capable of producing and the GH2 does not disappoint in that area.

Battery life is good. I could shoot a whole day without having to replace the battery but note that I always turn the GH2 OFF when I am not holding it in my hands to shoot.

Word on the street is that the GH2 is a great camera for producing video but I don't care about video. I've not made a single video with the GH2 and probably never will. I prefer prints as they don't require a power supply to enjoy them.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time with what I do and don't like about the GH2. It's been out long enough that anything I write about the GH2 will be old news and of a personal like / dislike nature. So rather than rehash what everyone already knows about the GH2, I'll just post photos I have taken with it. The GH2 does deliver.

Oh, what got me using the GH2 after almost a year? The Leica 25mm lens. A superb lens, tack sharp wide open with great micro-contrast. It probably saved the GH2 from total neglect. I've not been using my Micro Four Thirds gear much since buying the Pentax K5 but that is now changing. When I want to travel lighter I go to the GH2.

Pana-Leica 25mm

Get This Lens
Leica DG Summilux 25mm f1.4 ASPH lens

I have the 20mm pancake for the GF1 and the GH2 and I thought that I did not need the 25mm... well, I was wrong. It out performs the 20mm in every way but size. Of course on a MFT camera it equates to 50mm. To some that may be too long but that is also why I have the 7-14 and the 14-45 lenses. The 25mm is super sharp even wide open and when it is stopped down to f/4 or so.. be careful you don't cut yourself on the sharpness of the image. It also is great for subject isolation and produces very pleasing bokeh. Yes, it is expensive but in my opinion, anyone who enjoys shooting in low light and wants a lens that really produces on the GH2 or other MFT owes it to themselves to at least try this lens. It stayes mounted on my GH2 most of the time.

Jim Radcliffe
Dallas, Texas

To View The Images
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A Note About The Images
I post process all images in Photoshop CS5.  I tweak contrast and saturation.  I dodge and burn.  I adjust curves and I do BW conversions. I correct for lens distortion and more.  In short, I use a digital darkroom.  I am not one of those who believes that  what comes out of the camera is the final product.  There is nothing you can do in-camera that can not be done better and with greater control in Photoshop. The digital darkroom let's me do everything I used to do in the wet darkroom but without the chemistry, paper safes, print dryers, and working under red lights.  The bottom line is that every image you see here came from the Panasonic GH2 and was post-processed in PS CS5.

Deep Ellum Arts Festival
I only took the GH2 and the Leica 25mm for this event. I wanted to travel light and shoot for B&W.

Hunting & Shooting Texas Wildflowers
Texas is known for its beautiful wildflowers. With that in mind, I set off to find them on some of the back roads near Hillsboro, Texas. I was not to be disappointed. These were shot with the GH2 and the Leica 25mm. That lens is amazing!

Long Exposure - Dallas Skyline
The Trinity River floods every now and then and when it does photographers come out of the woodwork to photograph the reflection of the Dallas skyline on the river. This was my first shot ever with a long exposure: 8 seconds... yes, I finally used a tripod. The GH2 did a great job on this night shot.

My Best Shot So Far With The GH2
The shot below was taken on Saturday, March 17, 2012 using the GH2 and the 7-14mm. It was taken on a cloudy day in Texas. A Friend and i had been out all day shooting and we decided to wait for the sunset to see if the sun would drop below the cloud cover to light up this old, abandoned, diner. Waiting for the light is something every photographer should learn to do. The rewards can be amazing.

February 2012
New Orleans Trip

When I go to New Orleans I usually go during Mardi Gras but I don't spend all of my time taking photos of people in costume or flashers begging for beads. The photos that follow were taken with the 25mm, 14-45 and the 7-14mm.

Here is the story I promised you about the articulated LCD.

The two shots above were very hard to get. This is the interior of a tomb in one of the New Orleans cemeteries. The tomb gate was chained and locked and the only access was through a small window on the side of the tomb. And no, I did not enter the tomb. The window was above my head and there was no place to stand to get the shot. I used the articulated LCD to frame the shot. I could not have gotten the shot without that articulated LCD display. It is one of the reasons I bought the GH2 to replace my GF1. There is another shot from a different angle further down this page.




More to come...
Thanks for viewing!