Panasonic GH1 vs. Canon 500D (and Nikon D90)
Yesterday I saw one of my favorite professors at Gabe’s beautiful wedding (renewal of vows). My professor is going to be taking a nice scenic trip in May and he’s looking for a new camera. I believe he has it narrowed down to the Panasonic GH1 or the Canon 500D. He wants an interchangeable lens camera for traveling and he wants good video (preferably 1080p). We talked shop a bit about which camera was best for his purposes.
I knew the rough specs on each camera, but there were a few things I wasn’t sure about. So today I did some research and I made a table to show the results:
May 6th, suggested retail price for the DMC-GH1 has been set at $1499.95,the camera is now available for ordering at Amazon and should ship in June.
March 30th, added Nikon D90 to table after Syed suggested it…
April 1st, added USA release date for GH-1.
April 26th, here is a sample video on Youtube from the GH1 using a variety of lenses. NOTE: motion lag is said to be from the Youtube conversion, not present in the original video???
|Pansonic GH-1||Canon 500D||Nikon D90|
|List Price||$1500 w/lens||$900 w/lens||$1300 list, $1150 street price|
|Release date||April 24th, 2009 (Japan) May 2009 (USA)||???||RELEASED
|Kits lens||14-140mm f/4-5.8 MEGA OIS (28-280mm, 35mm equivalent)||EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (27.2–88mm, 35mm equivelant)||18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S VR DX Nikkor (27-157.5 mm, 35mm equivelant)|
|1080p video?||Yes, 1080p at 24fps*||Yes, 1080p HD video recording at 20fps||No|
|720p video?||Yes, 720p at 60fps*||Yes, 720p at 30fps||Yes, 720p at 24fps*|
|Autofocus during video?||Yes||No||No|
|Adjust aperature and exposure during video capture?||Yes||No||No|
|Stereo or Mono audio?||Stereo, microphone input||Mono, no microphone input||Mono|
|Dimensions||124 x 90 x 45 mm (4.9 x 3.5 x 1.8 in)||129 x 98 x 62 mm (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)||132 x 103 x 77 mm (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in.)|
|Weight||385 g (13.6 oz)||520 g (18.3 oz)||703 g (24.8 oz)|
|LCD||3.0 inch articulated LCD||3.0 inch fixed LCD||3.0 inch fixed LCD|
|LCD resolution||460,000 dot resolution||920,000 dot resolution||920,000 dots resolution|
|Other advantages||Designed for video||Should have the best resolving detail at low ISOs.||The best high ISO performance.|
|*1920 × 1080 movies are output by the image sensor at 24p, and recorded at 60i. 1280 × 720 movies are output and recorded at 60p. More info can be found here. This should theoretically result in smoother video than the 500D’s 20fps/30fps.||*Rolling shutter problem with video.|
Note: I own a Panasonic G1 (the precursor the the GH1) so I am perhaps biased. But realistically since neither camera is released yet, it is really impossible to say “x camera is better than y” or vice versa, and even upon release each camera will have its niche.
We can draw some generalizations based on previously released Panasonic and Canon cameras and what we know for sure about the new models:
G1H: Small Size, Nice Lens, 1920×1080 video at 24fps with autofocus
Like the G1, the G1H should be a splendid camera for someone desiring a small and easy to carry everywhere camera. The 14-140mm lens will go from wide angle to a decent amount of zooming. The icing on the cake is 1080 video at a nice framerate. Autofocus during video is something that no other interchangeable lens camera maker is offering. Plus, you simply can’t find a more compact camera body with interchangeable lenses.
The G1h wins for the photographer or videographer that is new to interchangeable lens cameras and that wants 1080p 24fps video capture in a compact package. The major drawback is price.
500D: Low Price, Likely Good Image Quality, Video?
The 500D should have good still-image quality and handling characteristics, with video being the wildcard. The 20fps spec seems a bit low and the lack of autofocus will require some care in filming. However, for a photographer that simply wants good still-image quality and access to a wide variety of lenses, Canon is always difficult to beat.
The 500D wins for the photographer that wants the best image quality at the lowest price (especially if you already have Canon lenses). The major drawback is unknown video performance and the lack of a video optimized lens that covers wide to telephoto.
Summary: two cool cameras, each with their own strengths!
If you have a different take on this matchup, feel free to comment below!