Panasonic GF2

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The Panasonic DMC-GX1 was a popular little Micro Four Thirds camera only released about a year ago. At 4mp burst mode, the camera can capture a fast 20 frames per second. Besides the built in pop-up flash, the GX1 still offers a hot shoe for attaching a more powerful external flash. The camera can also accept an optional EVF attachment. If you're looking for a small handheld MFT camera, B&H currently has the DMC-GX1 on sale, for under $240 (body only) via B&H (click here).

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find-price-button Panasonic DMC-GX1 MFT Camera

[Update] Just overnight the camera dropped another $50 dollars down to $199 (body only) via Amazon (found here).

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find-price-button Panasonic DMC-GX1 MFT Camera - via Amazon

This is great deal on a small travel photo camera. Often when i'm trying to figure out the quality that can be achieved from a certain camera or even Camera + Lens combo, i'll jump over to see what images have been captured by doing a Flickr search. There are some really amazing images coming from the Panasonic DMC-GX1, and you can check it out at Flickr (click here).

Flickr DMC-GX1
Images from Panasonic DMC-GX1 MFT Digital Camera - via Flickr.com

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Panasonic GX1panasonic 3D1

You've probably heard the buzz around other websites that Panasonic officially announced their GX1 camera (wasn't a big secret) along with another small 3D camera. Their previous GF2 and GF3 cameras were pretty much released one right after the other, and failed to appeal to a mass market. I have a feeling they're missing the boat again with the GX1 mainly because of pricing. In the mini interchangeable lens camera market, we've already seen the Pentax Q, new Olympus cameras, and the new Nikon V1/J1 cameras (which I hear is totally awesome). There's just too much going on right now with small ILC cameras. Although not the same camera body style, personally I think you'd still be better off with a GH2. Pricing found below.

Panasonic GX1
find-price-button Panasonic DMC-GX1

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I'm sure many of you already know about this particular Velbon fluid head. It's been a hit for a while now, and I thought it was finally time for me to test one out. As much as possible I love shooting with smaller cameras, and this fluid head was a great surprise. Works great as a spare head on the Konova slider instead of using the static Ball Head (and cheaper too).

If you're just starting out with a GH2, Olympus Pen, or Sony NEX-5n camera you'll get some truly fluid movements with this sub $30 dollar fluid head. It's no wonder this fluid head gets rave reviews over at Amazon and B&HPhoto websites. Best bang for the buck no doubt. Here's a few things to keep in mind about the Velbon. It's plastic, all plastic (except for a bit of metal on the pan bar). Although it doesn't feel fragile to break in under your camera, it's not designed to be thrown underneath all your other heavy equipment or to be tossed around.

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Size Comparison (Left) Manfrotto 701HDV (Right) Velbon Fluid Head

Don't get the bundled tripods as i've heard nothing but horror stories. You'd be better off buying another one like the 190XDB from Manfrotto (found here). Don't overload the thing. I used a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 100mm Macro F/2.8 which worked well, but the head does not have a 'balance' feature so it wanted to tilt forward with the heavy lens. It's too bad the build quality comes in short, because the performance is truly amazing for such a cheap head. Often you'll find the head on sale as low as $26 dollars, and for a spare head on your DSLR video slider, track dolly, or even one for your Monopod it's a deal. You can find them on sale at B&H (click here)

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find-price-button Velbon PH-368 Video Fluid Head

or at Amazon (click here) available at both B&H and Amazon (click here)

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find-price-button Velbon Fluid Video Tripod head - via Amazon

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Some people swear by shooting only cards that are 8GB in capacity Max. I shoot with 32GB cards, call me a Danger Seeker. Some people shoot only Sandisk media. I personally shoot with the Transcend Class 10 or 400x Media Cards.

Regardless of anyone's rhyme or reason you can grab a Sandisk 8GB SDHC Class 10 for an awesome price over at B&H much cheaper than elsewhere. As for the Transcend 8GB Class 10 (which isn't as fast, but fast enough for video) you can find those running under $12 dollars. Links below.

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find-price-button Sandisk 8GB SDHC Media Cards


transcend-8GB-class10 Transcend 8 GB Class 10 SDHC

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Rebates going around instantly knocking off another $100 bucks off of the GF2. Had I only waited an extra week. Yeah sucks, cause I just bought one. No rush, because it looks like this rebate could stick around for at least a month.

GF2 EVF
find-price-button Panasonic GF2 w/ 14-42mm Kit

So that you don't miss out on any other deals, there are quite a number of MFT (micro four thirds) Camera rebates that will be expiring in the next week found below:
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find-price-button MFT Digital Camera Rebates

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Cameras are getting smaller and lighter. People are attempting to fly GoPro's and iPhones on Steadicams. For lightweight cameras including Sony's A55, Panasonic GH2's, or Canon T2is, here's a simple DIY DSLR Steadicam (merlin style) stabilizer idea from Vimeo member KFLeung. There isn't much tooling required, it's more of an assembly of readily available pieces which combined provides you with a framework, gimbal handle, and counterweight for a camera Stabilizer. Starting with an inexpensive Flip Flash Bracket. These brackets are made for photographers to mount a Flash above the camera. When the camera is rotated in either landscape or portrait position, you can flip the flash so it still remains above the camera (i.e. to bounce light from a ceiling). This video is actually about 3 years old, but there are still several people using this method with good results.

KFLeung's first test video posted after the build

The Gimbal (handle) is based on a mini tripod with ball head so that it swivels freely. Getting a good fluid mini tripod is key to having smooth movements.

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A really simple method to creating a 3 axis Gimbal Handle most people don't think about is to literally take a mini ball head and throw it on top of a Barska Handgrip. This setup adds some size, but is extremely comfortable and acts as a decently effective Gimbal Handle system. (I can see many of your minds already at work with that idea...)

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Mini Ball Head
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BARSKA Grip

The arch design of the bracket gives space for your hand to work, while providing an area to mount a counterweight below. At this area, you can use simple Fender Washers like most Hague or Indiehardware stabilizers. When you're done, the stabilizer folds into a small form factor.

Flip Folding Flash Bracket
find-price-button Folding Flip Flash Bracket

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If you've got a Panasonic GH2, or other Micro Four Thirds camera, you'll know what this lens is. It's been tough to track down lately when they went out of stock because it's just that awesome for a MFT camera. Luckily I grabbed mine months ago, and it's been on the GH2 as the primary lens. My GF2 also came with the 14mm Pancake, which is another popular and highly recommended lens for these MFT cameras. More than likely this new shipment of the 20mm won't last very long, so if you've been waiting patiently here's a chance.

Lumix 20mm F/1.7
find-price-button Panasonic Lumix 20mm F/1.7

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Panasonic GH1 / GH2 have a strong following and when it comes down to DSLR video it's almost 'cult-like'. Ok guys - you win. Panasonic does have some awesome qualities in DSLR video, but I still can't get through the ergonomics as quickly as I can the Canon DSLR's. That's a personal preference. Of course I did buy into the GH2 and recently Lumix GF2 (which i'm loving so far).

Now Panasonic has updates it's 'G2' model with the new G3. The new G3 digital upgrades the common 12MP chip found in most Panasonic's to a new 16MP chip, and adds many of the new touch screen controls like the GH2 and GF2. So far the Panasonic's 'GH2 is just completely sold out, and has been since it's announcement. The new G3 looks pretty good, but I don't think it will have the same effect being sold out, but it's available on pre-order now.

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find-price-button Panasonic Lumix G3 Pre-Order

15 Comments

I've been shopping for a smaller point and shoot type camera and was really leaning towards Fuji's sexy new rangefinder like X100. The disaster in Japan delayed inventory on the Fuji, and to my benefit has given me more time to think about this next camera. I've come to realize that the Fuji X100 is just too high priced and comes with a fixed lens that I might outgrow quickly. Instead, I went for Panasonic's latest GF2 Micro Four Thirds camera. Sure it's technically NOT a point and shoot, but i'll be working mainly with a Lumix 14mm f/2.5 Lens, the LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 or if I could ever afford the Voigtlander 25mm F/0.95.

GF2 EVF
Shown with optional EVF - Electronic View Finder

The GF2 is a replacement for the popular GF1, and carries the label as the smallest interchangeable lens camera with a built in flash. Even with the built in flash, there's a hot shoe to support an optional EVF, or if I wanted to mount a bracket to support a Zoom H1 and Rode VideoMic. The GF2 comes in with quite a few new specs over the GF1 including full 1080p Video and touchscreen controls. (The video above should give you an idea of it's capabilities)

As soon as it comes in, i'll give it a good run through. After many weeks of research and checking out all the reviews and samples, i'm pretty happy with my decision. Especially because it comes in at half the price of the Fuji X100, and I still have the ability to interchange and adapt just about any lens on the market.

Panasonic GF2 Micro Four Thirds
find-price-button Panasonic GF2 Interchangeable Lens Micro Four Thirds Camera