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Sony A57 or Panasonic GH2 ?

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Tornador Coma
Sony A57 or Panasonic GH2 ?
on Dec 14, 2012 at 9:20:59 pm

lately I've been wondering which DSLR camera I would use for filming.
I've done lots of research on the internet, and I still can't decide in between the Sony a57 and the Panasonic GH2 (hacked or not hacked).
And a lot of people say the hack for the GH2 is great, but is it secure ?
Level of detail/color/smoothness/low light performance ?
Are they weather-sealed ?
Is there much difference ?
Film look ?
Slow motion ?
Steadyshot ?
Important : Does the GH2 film 60p (true progressive) AND 60i ?
And what about the autofocus (which lens for quick autofocus on GH2) ?
I'm primarily going to film sports and action, so the AF tracking on the Sony a57 is a good feature according to me.
Please help me !

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Bill Bruner
Re: Sony A57 or Panasonic GH2 ?
on Dec 15, 2012 at 9:04:35 am

Hi Tornador - a lot of questions here - I am a GH2 shooter - but I like the A57 and have recommended it to others. Both are great hybrid still/video cameras with different strengths and weaknesses.

To answer at least some of your questions:

Question: Is the GH2 hack "secure"?
Answer: I am not sure what you mean by "secure" - but, guessing that you mean "stable". The real answer is "it depends". There are many different types of hacks, which upgrade the camera to different bit rates. Some are more stable than others. I personally have not hacked my camera, and it is still the sharpest and most moire-free camera in its class. With the hack, it is even better.

Question: Level of detail/color/smoothness/low light performance?
Answer: I have not seen side-by-sides of the two cameras, so I can't compare. What I would say is that, for detail and sharpness, the hacked GH2 is the best camera in its class, and that with a fast lens, it performs well in low light. But I don't shoot stills or video above ISO 1600 with mine because ISO 3200 is noisy.

Question: Weather sealed?
Answer: Neither camera is weather sealed. For that, you would have to get the A77 or the GH3.

Question: Film look?
Answer: Depends on the lens, the settings and the color grade.

Question: Slow motion?
Answer: the A57 shoots at 1080/60p, which produces a slow motion effect when conformed to lower frame rates on playback. The GH2 has a 720/60p mode, but does not shoot at 1080/60p. The GH3 does.

Question: Steadyshot?
Answer: The A57 has "Optical Steady Shot" - the GH2 has lens-based "Advanced Optical Image Stabilization" - the real answer is - shoot with a tripod or a stabilizer. Except for Olympus' 5 axis in-camera stabilization, these systems are not very useful for filmmakers.

Question: Autofocus
With the video-optimized 14-140 lens, the GH2's autofocus is very fast in still and video mode. "Small spot size' and face tracking work very well.

Something you didn't ask about was lens autofocus noise. Sony lenses are noisy when autofocusing - see this video:

Panasonic video-optimized lenses such as the 14-140 are absolutely silent (note the noise from the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 and the relative silence of the 14-140):

Outside of the EU, another difference between the cameras is the clip length limit. The A57, like most Sony cameras, is limited to 29 minutes and 59 seconds of continuous video. The GH2 has no clip length limit.

In EU countries, both cameras are limited to clip lengths less than 30 minutes.

Bottom line - see this post over at indieforum to see what filmmakers are doing with the GH2. I don't think there's a comparable collection of clips for the A57.

Hope this is helpful,

Hybrid Camera Revolution

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Harvey Bp
Re: Sony A57 or Panasonic GH2 ?
on Dec 15, 2012 at 1:07:20 pm

Thank you !
You've made it clear for me !

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Glenn Angel
Re: Sony A57 or Panasonic GH2 ?
on Dec 28, 2012 at 10:15:14 pm

which did you go for?
Im in the same situation except im looking at the canon 650d (t4i as welL!)

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Harvey Bp
Re: Sony A57 or Panasonic GH2 ?
on Dec 30, 2012 at 6:56:36 pm

I went for the GH2.
I was going for the 650D at first, then went to the Sony a57, then to the GH2.
I found out that even professionals like Philip Bloom, Atiba Evans and much more use the GH2, and some even use it for TV ads !

Don't take the 650D if you want a quick autofocus (to film quick moving subjects), because even with the STM lens, it is really slow and hesitating. And even if you want to do manual focus, it's easier with the GH2, because it has focus assist (zooms in more to help you focus), and you can also focus with the touchscreen (geeat feature). And as for the quality, the un-hacked GHGH2 has a better quality in 720p than any canons in 1080p (moire, aliasing...).

So once hacked, it's a war fighting machine, capable of having better quality than RED cameras (GH2 -> less than 800$ RED -> more than 5000$).

Hacked, you can change from PAL to NTSC and vice versa DIRECTLY into the camera, and the best hack for now can make you go up to 244mbits ! Some people upscale it to 4k ! And I don't think the hack stops the guarantee ! So no reason to not hack it !
And there's a wider choice of lens, and you can buy an adapter to use your old lens (if you have any). I think it's the best DSLR for video, with the GH1 and GH3, of course.
So in order :
GH2 better than > Sony a57 better than > 650d (or t4i)

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terry drew
Re: Sony A57 or Panasonic GH2 ?
on Mar 25, 2013 at 1:22:19 pm

Can someone help setting up the A57 to shoot video? I have tried every setting I can think of and they all look somewhat noisy on a full size monitor/TV. Side by side with my little Panasonic Tm-90, the TM-90 is much cleaner. Any help would be awesome.

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