Camera Review – Panasonic DMC-GH1 Digital Camera: Perfect for Skiing

Posted By: Steve Bellamy on July 12, 2009 9:12 pm

Just like your ski ensemble has gone from skis, boots, bindings and poles to skis, boots, bindings, poles and helmet – your next generation checklist will likely include a video/still camera specific to your needs on-slope.  We just had the pleasure of shooting the Panasonic DMC-GH1 and our report back is …. Run, Sprint, Unicycle, People Mover… whatever it takes to get to the store and get this camera – go for it. 

It is nothing short of a piece of electronic genius!  Candidly, we are camera snobs.  We have shot over 100 television shows in the last 6 months, with various camera rigs through the craziest of conditiions.  Yesterday, one of our top camera operators was shooting Erik Fisher Wake Boarding and sat in the lake with fins keeping himself high enough out of the water to keep the camera dry while Erik jumped over him.  Today we were with Ted Ligety and a bunch of other US Ski Team members doing a team building exercise swith the fire department.  Suffice to say, we are hard, hard, hard on gear and the Panasonic DMC-GH1 was a workhorse and a tank even though it was light and ergonomic.  We didn’t do any cliff hucks or yard sales, but  we did drop it off a race tower at the Mammoth Mountain Invitational and she was fine. 

The SLR or DSLR was beautiful.  Completely simple to switch back and forth from stills to video.  Everything you could want and more.  I believe it was 12.1 Mega Pixels and you would have thought it was 50 by the images.  The manual allows you to do everything imaginable with the camera and the auto is a snap.

Where the rubber really met the road on this beautiful piece of equipment though was on the video side.  Full  1080 HD.  The footage looked spectacular!  You would have thought James Cameron shot it.  It performed incredibly well in low light which is highly important on the ski slopes.  We had no expectations on the audio, but were absolutely blown away by the sonics.  Straight out of the camera sounded like an engineer had been playing with it in pro tools for hours.  We are constantly shooting big cameras but there are so many times in our line of work where the big guns aren’t nimble enough to do the trick.  Let me tell you the Panasonic DMC-GH1 was.  Geez was that thing easy to use.  Whether it is following Simon Dumont in the pipe or Errol Kerr down a race course – it was just EASY!!!!

Again we are camera snobs and this thing was worth its weight in gold.  It comes in beautiful red shell and can be had for around $1500.  High five to Panasonic who although not likely trying to build the perfect ski camera have now likely created one of the true industry standards.