MONGO Panasonic G9 AF + GH5 Hack Review

Yes, I should have tested the hack at 30fps for completeness' sake, though I chose not to -- at least for this video -- because I don't shoot in 30fps (let alone 60fps), and some YouTubers said you got some advantage even at the lower frame rate. I found this to be true, but...

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Gear discussed:

Panasonic G9: B&H, Amazon, Adorama
Panasonic GH5: B&H, Amazon, Adorama
Sony a6300: B&H, Amazon, Adorama
Sony a7r III: B&H, Amazon, Adorama
Leica DG Vario Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0: B&H, Amazon, Adorama

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Panasonic G9 Mini-Review: Let's see this in Slow Motion!

We've got part one of a review for the Panasonic G9 for you today! In this episode, we see how the Panasonic G9 compares to the Panasonic GH5, Sony FS5, Sony a6300, and the Sony a7r III (sort of). 

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Canon 5D Mark IV: End of the DSLR Era

It has taken four and a half years for Canon to announce the successor to the 5D Mark III, an eternity given today's much shorter product cycles from competitors like Sony and Panasonic. What does the 5D Mark IV tell us about where Canon and the industry are headed? Who is it for? Should you get one? With guys like Tony Northrup (my favorite imaging blogger) and bud planetMitch over at planet5D having already gone hands-on -- and taking a few pages from other industries and other things happening in ours -- we have a really good idea about the answers.

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Three Days with a Pile of E-Mount Lenses, an a6300, an a6000, an RX10 III, an iPhone 6s+, and a Couple of Bags: What Better Way to Stress Gear than at a Presidential Nominating Convention?

It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, but this time (unlike in April) I wasn’t official press. Forget about a tripod or monopod - Secret Service rules prohibited even selfie-sticks. Forget about a lot of glass, especially long, fast glass: not only would everything have to be hand-held, but those same rules stipulated no backpacks and no bags bigger than 18” x 13” x 7.” And then there were the closed-door meetings where even if I had been press, no press were allowed. Traveling small, light and unobtrusive were the orders of the week. Heads-up: this is a post about gear -- not politics -- but if you don’t want to see photographs from the Democratic National Convention in Philly (along with protests) you’d better stop reading here.

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Sony a6300 Usable Video Up to ISO 25600? Oh Baby! (Yeah, OK, it Depends)

In part 2 of my just-created series entitled "How Much Low Light Capability Does One Really Need How Often?" I conclude Sony Senior Technical Manager Mark Weir was spot-on when he told me that the a6300 has an extra stop of low light sensitivity over the a6000. Not earth-shattering, but you know what? I think it's pretty amazing - and I think I will rarely need more. For now.

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Rolling Shutter: Sony a6300 vs a6000 When Hugh's on Cold Medicine

I saw rolling shutter consequences on the Sony a6300  [B&H|Amazon] while I wasdown in Miami for a multi-day hands-on evaluation, but it didn't bother me very much -- it was a stupid fast pan, and for my everyday shooting, rolling shutter is a non-issue. This is not true for everyone though, so now that I have the a6300 on extended loan, here's a dedicated rolling shutter test comparing it to the a6000. Warning: not necessarily the best idea to do a test (especially the edit) while on cold medicine.

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Sony a7R II + Wooden Quick Cage = FS5?

Well, not quite: the a7R II [B&H|Amazonoffers neither the 10-bit 4:2:2 HD nor 120 fps slow motion on offer with the FS5. But attach the exceptionally minimalist yet strong and clever Wooden Quick Cage for Small DSLRs to the a7R II, and you have a superior low light, hybrid video/stills platform to which you can mount just about anything.

I contacted Wooden after discovering that my favorite hybrid, Sony’s a6000 [B&H|Amazon], suffered from flex when working with a follow focus and a geared cine lens. There are many cages out there, but I’d seen the Wooden Quick Cage for Small DSLRs [B&H|Amazon] before and its diminutive, spare design seemed ideally suited to the a6000.

Unfortunately, nothing could help the a6000’s flex except some additional engineering by Sony, and it appears Sony may have done just that by strengthening the lens mount in the a6300. We’ll see.

But I’d also just finished a review of the a6300 [B&H|Amazon]  after returning from Sony’s global press event, and even compared the little guy to its big brother the a7R II and even bigger brother the FS5. You can check out that review here.

Bottom line? If the a6300 is ultimately about price, the a7R II is about that 42mp BSI sensor, and the FS5 is about being a pure – rather than hybrid -- video platform.

That’s where Wooden’s Quick Cage comes in: when you mount it to the a7R II, all of a sudden you’ve got a hybrid which is just as robust a platform for hanging on batteries, monitors, mics and more – even as you can quickly detach it and go hand-held for video or stills, superior to the FS5 when shooting in low light or needing to shoot stills.

 

Even so, the FS5 is a superior video machine for 1080p with 10-bit 4:2:2 output (via SDI only, not HDMI!), 120fps, built in XLR... you get the idea.

 

The Quick Cage for Small DSLRs itself costs $399 – eminently reasonable – but is very modular and expandable. Wooden offers kits beginning at $789 running all the way up to the Pro Kit at $2,225. The Pro kit begins with the Quick Cage and adds a quick release NATO handle, a pair of rods, an XLR adapter allowing a pair of XLR mics to feed directly into the a7R II’s mic jack, an EVF/LCD mount, a dovetail clamp, battery slide, and other bits and bobs to truly challenge the FS5 as a platform.


Nits?

Only one, really.

In order to allow the rear LCD to swivel up, I had to remove the small, adjustable block designed to prevent the camera body from swiveling around the ¼” 20 thread by locking it in place from th rear.  I wish Wooden would create custom blocks the way Really Right Stuff does (in this case, for the front of the body), because torque can result in a camera moving off axis.

 

Other than that, the Wooden Quick Cage for Small DSLR is a surprisingly affordable and rock solid way to handle even the most complicated set-up. They offer cages for a variety of cameras including Panasonic, Blackmagic, ARRI, and more.  Visit their site to learn more.