Why Panasonic forces me to shoot my next documentary with a Canon instead of using the GH2.

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For a long time we had to struggle to find the GH2 in Stock in US and Europe. But in these days I am experiencing another frustrating story with Panasonic. I have to shoot a new short documentary between March 3th and March 5th. That’s why I ordered some new GH2 batteries at a well known German online shop on January 20th (yes January!). It wasn’t in Stock at that time but the cruel news is that they still don’t have it in Stock after 6 weeks of waiting! And you know what? Not a single german online store do have it in Stock right now (Source: idealo). I searched on eBay and found one eBay shop accepting preorders for five of them (Bayern Fotoversand). Sadly they said that they don’t have them in Stock right now  and they have no idea when they will be in Stock again!!!

What’s next?
As I am shooting on the border between Italy and Austria I contacted both Panasonic Italy and Panasonic Germany:
Panasonic Italy said that “we didn’t notice that there is a supply problem” and “our PC systems says that delivery time is unknown“.
Panasonic Germany gave us a phone number to an external distributor. We called the distributor that also wasn’t really sure about when it would be available (They said maybe 1-2 weeks).

What am I going to do?
Friends from the company helios.bz will give me the Canon 5DII with a huge pack of batteries.

Resume:
I don’t post this story to blame Panasonic, I posted it because I want them to acknowledge that they have some serious problems at the dsitribution level. The Panasonic GH2 has a much better video quality than the Canon 5DII but you really have to:
a) Increase the production of the GH2 cameras and related accessories.
b) If that is not possible at least inform us (and also inform Panasonic employers and online retailers) when those will be in Stock again. It’s pity I can’t use make a profesisonal use of the  Panasonic GH2 because of that.

P.S: GH2 battery links to Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay (in Stock only in some US stores and not in european stores).

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  • Rolphi

    Hello !

    I bought my spare battery for the GH2 2 months ago from this store on eBay. The battery was send the same day and arrived less than one week after. It’s nearly the same price than in any store in Japan. Very good eBayer and they send it every where.
    They still have it !
    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/GENUINE-Panasonic-DMW-BLC12-Battery-Pack-DMC-GH2-/360346813180?pt=Digital_Camera_Accessories&hash=item53e65802fc#shId

    Hope it’s can help you !

    • admin

      Thanks!

      To bad it will not be here in time :(

  • > I don’t post this story to blame Panasonic

    More people become aware better: unlike the film cameras, digital cameras would work only as long as one can buy accumulators for them.

    Film is standardized and can be purchased from different producers – Li-Ion batteries are not.

    • Or in other words: I blame all manufacturers.

      All electronics now uses some sort of Li-Ion/etc accumulator – yet there is still no standard for them.

      Recall how simple it is with AA/AAA accumulators. Since they are standardized, you can buy them literally everywhere and from many (competing) manufacturers.

  • Ad

    I have a GH2, AND a spare battery. I ordered it a few days after I got my GH2 end of December, and I have been very lucky to get one because only a week after that they were out of stock everywhere.

    This is really getting embarrassing for Panasonic, and very annoying to their customers. Once you have recovered from paying a lot for a wonderful camera, you get really ripped off when buying accessories, IF you manage to buy them at all! I am happy with the Panasonic gear, but Panasonic really need to get their act together on these issues.

  • Sorry to hear that you are having to settle for the Canon on your project. In January we had the same problem here in the States. I ordered a European version of the battery, the DMW-BLC12e, from Robert White in the UK – a little closer to you (note: the DMW-BLC12e works just fine with my North American GH2, so the batteries are global, even if the cameras are not).

    If it’s not too late, you might want to try them: http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/product.asp?P_ID=2701&PT_ID=696

    Good luck.

  • Panasonic or Ansmann of Germany should really make a battery grip for the GH2 and GH1, however the batteries do charge really quick, so maybe you can charge it between shooting?
    also GH2 batteries are available on ebay from Japan.

    whatever happened to http://www.43rumors.com/ft5-new-battery-grip-for-the-gh2-to-be-announced-by-early-2011-2/

  • O/T. http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=37864627
    Quote:

    We’ve shot, processed and added the GH2 studio test shots to our comparison tool. They should now be available from the pull-down list within any review, such as this one:

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcgf2/page16.asp

    We’ve also added GF1 raw files for all ISOs, for comparison against the GF2. The associated Raws are, as usual, downloadable.

    Richard – dpreview.com

  • Creatingdvds4u.co.uk

    Yes I dont know how I got my GH2 before I went on holiday. I had to fight and fight for it. The battery is not really enough to shoot video for an hour. Hopefully there will be a Battery grip for the GH2 because there is one for the Canon Mark II @ £50 with a AA battery adaptor that you can fit inside the battery grip. How cool is that!!

  • Bob B.

    OK….I am a still photographer and am basically annoyed that there is video on any of my cameras. (Separate discipline in my world…always will be) LOL…needed to tell you that before I say what I have to say about the attached article on this Micro 4/3 website.
    Above in the article, the author (sorry..I do not know your name or see how to find it …the article is authorless) you state “The Panasonic GH2 is way better than the Canon 5DII”. HUH??????????? You must mean in video capability, which you should clearly state before making a general comment like that on a Micro 4/3 website. (BTW …I own a GF1 and a Canon 5D Mark II …which has never shot a frame of video…LOL)…
    OK…maybe the GH2 (appears to be an impressive camera) shoots better video than a 5D Mark II…I would not know..but from what I have read about the camera and my own personal knowledge and experience…the GH2 will NEVER come close to the image quality attainable by a Canon 5D Mark II when shooting stills. Not to mention the VAST available PROFESSIONAL lens selection for the Canon camera.
    I think you were referring to video only above..but that should be very clear in a vague blanket statement like that.
    Be responsible.
    Thanks.

    • admin

      Hi Bob! Yes I meant the video quality. Image quality of the 5D is of course muuuuch better!

      • Bob B.

        Thanks…(for a moment I thought I was going insane this morning when I read that statement?). LOL!
        I guess the video on the GH2 IS impressive…AND in a really small package!

      • snowflake

        Really a lot better?

        I think that depends on whom you talk to. I have looked at pictures from GH1 and Canon 5D, and they both look equally great.

        The following is a comparison to Canon’s 7D to the GH1.

        http://snapsort.com/compare/Canon_EOS_7D-vs-Panasonic_Lumix_DMC-GH1

        Image quality is virtually the same, dynamic range is close to the same. The only significant difference is the higher ASA. (Which the GH2 has improved on). For most regular photographs there is no “way better” difference in the cameras in terms of the photo delivered.

        The difference is not a lot; it is teensy weensy. There is no difference in the actual aesthetic value of the shot.

        Professionals are always going to have to have the “best”, just because it is expected of them and it establishes a kind of status or pecking order, ie, my camera is bigger than yours kind of thing. Which is why these kinds of discussions often have a personal edge to them.

        Also, regarding Canons professional line of lenses. I predict that in about a year there will be a manufacture that makes an adaptor that allows full function of Canon lenses on m4/3 mounts.

        • Igorek7

          “I predict that in about a year there will be a manufacture that makes an adaptor that allows full function of Canon lenses on m4/3 mounts.” The shipment of the Canon_EF-to-MFT lens control system by Birger is suppose to start April 2011: http://www.birger.com/
          However, the MSRP price is rather too high, $700.

  • Igorek7

    GH2 Custom Battery Solution
    http://vimeo.com/19591333

    • admin

      Yes we are trying to make that :)

      • snowflake

        Thanks for the link

        Great ideas

      • snowflake

        In some ways the comparison I gave is misleading since Bob b was talking about a full frame camera.

        http://snapsort.com/cameras/Canon/EOS_5D_Mark_II/specs

        Even here the difference is not way better, except for ASA. The specs are slightly better for still shots.

  • WT21

    I struggled to get a ZS3 and an LX3. Since then, I’ve never tried to buy Panasonic. In my 19 year professional career selling high tech, I’ve never seen a major-market company worse with distribution than Panasonic photo. Pathetic.

  • Per

    Hi!

    Yes it’s a pitty that they have distibution problem.

    However, the GH2 batteries seems to be in stock in Sweden:

    http://www.scandinavianphoto.se/product/item.aspx?iid=11520859

    http://www.dustinhome.se/pd_5010547279.aspx

  • So how long can u record on a single battery? Anyone has experience?

  • Dag Rhodin

    Hello!

    I Sweden is this battery in stock.
    Go to this side and you can order.
    http://www.scandinavianphoto.se/product/item.aspx?iid=11520859
    As you can see there are 12 in stock.
    I do belive that they send abroad.
    Good Luck!

    Dag

  • NEWSFLASH! Blogger Unhappy Because He Can’t Get Everything He Wants!

    (No film at 11 because we ran out of batteries…)

    Okay, I know it’s frustrating — I was in the same battery situation until recently, and was just lucky to stumble across an electronics shop that for some reason had some of the batteries in stock. But the tone of the post seems too hysterical, and the remedies suggested don’t make sense (if Panasonic had the ability to predict when distributors/retailers would have the batteries in stock, they also would have the ability to make sure they DID have them in stock.)

    Frankly, if I were going to be doing location video with ANY type of camera, I would make sure I had a backup power solution (such as the combination of the Panasonic DC Coupler and RC hobby battery that was discussed recently.) Contrary to what Dummy00001 posted, LiPo cells ARE standardized and are available in a wide variety of sizes and configurations; it may take a bit of solder-fu to match a particular type to a specific camera’s DC adapter, but it should not be very difficult. Come to think of it, maybe this should be my project for this weekend!

    • admin

      Yeah, they sent the cameras to europeans and the batteries to americans :(

  • One more reason to consider Olympus over Panasonic. At least Olympus does not restrict the use of third party batteries in their devices. If you can’t get a Panasonic battery, you can’t get a battery at all. LOL

    • Chris K

      Agreed! Panasonic is playing dirty tricks in the first place by preventing the use of third-party batteries. Tee unavailability of Panasonic batteries is all the more problematic due to the lack of third-party batteries.

  • HMR

    I know that I’m not the only one, but I have a GH2 battery that I was able to find, online, here is the US. I’ve had it for 2 weeks now. Only problem for me is I don’t have a camera to put it in. Still back ordered from Amazon. Starting to wonder if I should just keep the GH1 going and and wait to pre-order a GH3.

  • Chris

    Panasonic is leaving a huge opening here. If Olympus or Sony came up with a serious competitor to the GH2 and kept them in stock, there would be many people (myself among them) who would abandon Panasonic for a more reliable company. Every time a great new Panasonic product comes out (LX3, GH2), it’s becomes impossible to find. This is why I now own an S90 and an E-P2. I don’t need 1080p video right now, but when a different manufacturer has an alternative to the GH2 (and it will, technology always marches on) I’ll be ready to pick up a non-Panasonic offering. Their track record is just to spotty to trust any more.

    • Mr. Reeee

      IF is a really big word!

      How long are you willing to wait for either Olympus or Sony to come up with a GH2 equivalent?
      If EVER?

  • The Master

    If you don’t like the tactics of a corporation, don’t give them your money, without your money, they can’t stay in business very long. If a CEO of a corporation is a buffoon, then tell the shareholders and he’ll get his walking papers.

    The whole second party battery situation with Panasonic was a poor choice from the get go. Couple that with leaving out an A/C adapter on the GH2 and the almost total lack of backup battery availability, spells shameful and complete incompetence on the part of the CEO. If I were a Panasonic shareholder, the two words for the CEO would be “YOU’RE FIRED.”
    The very least they could do, would be to offer a GH2 package with an extra battery.

    • Mr. Reeee

      Microsoft loves their buffoon CEO! :-)

      Economically, it makes no sense to include every possible cable or adaptor with a product, when they may not be used. The GH2 doesn’t come with a mini HDMI to HDMI cable or adaptor. Olympus doesn’t include and external battery charger with the XZ-1 (what’s up with that?)!

      Panasonic has both AC and DC adaptors for the GH2. They’re basically a battery shell with a cable coming out of it that connects to a power brick.

      Not having spare batteries readily available is pretty bad.

    • Chris

      Not if, but when. The D90 appeared with HD video, and nearly every manufacturer soon followed. I keep hearing rumors that the NEX-7 is going to be a significant upgrade to the NEX-5, in part to meet the demands of more serious shooters. Will that be true? Who knows. Sony certainly has the ability to screw lots of things up, and has.

      For the amateur shooter, the need to have a camera like the GH2 is fairly low. If you’re a pro, you likely have the funds to buy an appropriate solution.

      The point is Panasonic has identified a lucrative niche market but are failing to meet the demand for it. Any company that can step in to fill that void and meet demand will hurt Panasonic. It’s been six months since the release of the GH2, and it’s still very difficult to get a hold of. Maybe nobody will play catchup, but in my experience technology continues to move and some company will be able to fill that void. If Panasonic has any sense they’ll be sure to be the ones to do it before someone else steps in and steals their thunder.

  • Max

    The problem is, Their engineers make GREAT affordable products. Their marketing, production and distribution are horrible.

    They should just design these cameras and hand them off to a company to produce, like Apple does with Foxxcon.

    It is a shame because these are amazing products for the money.

  • shutterwill

    I would suggest you get the GH2 DC coupler DMW-DCC8 and the Tekkeon power all MP3450i (http://www.tekkeon.com/products-mypowerall.html) It can last much longer than the BLC 12

  • That’s what Pany get’s. I’ve talked myself out of this camera. I don’t like waiting for months to get something. Not saying it’s not worth waiting for but just making a point that this strategy of making people wait forces some of us to spend our money on other things.

    • Mr. Reeee

      The GH2 is absolutely worth the effort and wait.
      I think Panasonic was blindsided by the reception and demand for the GH2. The GF2 seems to be fairly easy to get at this point.

      That said, it’s unconscionable that Panasonic didn’t have enough units ready to sell at launch OR specify a FIXED DATE when it would be available for sale in adequate numbers. The same goes for the batteries. $60 for a battery is pretty steep and I had to do some hunting to find and buy one!

      Hopefully Panasonic will learn from this fiasco a do a better job in future.

  • Kiel

    Panasonic should be blamed for the fiasco that they have created with this camera. I have not only talked myself out of purchasing this camera, but I have also decided against waiting for the G3, as their track record with products is astonishingly poor.

    Boo Panasonic!!!

    • pdc

      They probably over-supplied the market on the G1, G2, G10 and ended up with inventory they couldn’t move, so have really choked back the output of GH2s. With the GF1 and GF2 they seem to have struck a better balance between supply and demand, and the latter is actually on store shelves now. If you really want a GH2 it would be better to suffer the wait than jump ship, as there presently is no other product that does as good a job in video at this price point.

    • kai

      “Blindsided” might be the word to describe the situation that happened last year with the GH1. But AGAIN with the GH2 is just piss poor planning.

  • New Deal

    Another reason to stick with my GH13… Why does Panasonic hate America so much?

    • Maybe Steven Colbert can get them on his show and ask them directly.

  • iluvhatemail

    Yeah I have a few friends that wanted to buy the GH2, a few months ago! When you update your line every year its frustrating to have these delays. Olympus can gain from this if their pro-model can challenge the GH2.

  • Mr. Reeee

    GH2 Batteies in stock at videodirect.com. $55.

    I got mine from there and also the DMW-ZL1 Zoom Lever for the 14-140mm lens.

    http://www.videodirect.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=V&Product_Code=DMWBLC12&Category_Code=

    • Batteries also available on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004KDVNZO

      I bought the zoom lever from videodirect also and had to laugh when it arrived that I actually paid $30 (including shipping) for that piece of rubber!

    • kai

      $55 for a battery that lasts an hour. You people are crazy. You can get knockoffs for the GH1 for $12.

  • Actually, you can go right ahead and blame Panasonic.

    Ask yourself, why would Panasonic use a differently shaped, 1200mAh battery, when there are extant batteries of similar shape and size already on the market by them?

    For the same reason printer manufacturers have nine million different shapes for ink cartridges. It’s for the same reason remote shutters between cameras of the SAME BRAND are so frequently incompatible. They don’t want you to be able to mix and match, and they don’t want you buying off-brands.

    The quality of off-brand batteries notwithstanding, I’ve worked in batteries. I know their game well enough. A 1200mAh Li-on battery costs them less than $5 to manufacture, and they probably sell it to wholesalers for $25.

    So, yeah. Play the blame game as much as you want, they deserve it.

  • Ben

    Ironically the US, which has very few GH2s, has the batteries, you can get them from Panasonic parts if you call.

  • Found the batteries in UK, quite cheap.

  • The Master

    Judging by the recent affect that the Internet has had on greedy and corrupt governments and dictators. I suspect that the days of greedy corporations are numbered as well.

    If a corporation wants to sell you a product to advance their wealth and then basically demand that you bend over, so they can stick it to you in the rear, in order to use their product, then I think that the consumer needs to carefully consider this approach.

    Personally, I like dealing with people and corporations, that treat me like a valued customer, since I am in fact the one or one of many putting the bread or rice on their table, so to speak. I treat people right and I appreciate it to be reciprocated. If not, then I don’t deal with them anymore.

    Photographers got along just fine without Panasonic in the past and can easily survive without them today. I don’t think we need anymore Omar Kadafi like corporations, on this planet. :)

    • The Master

      I meant to say Moammar Gadhafi.

  • It’s too bad the GH2 and peripherals is hard to find. I think Panasonic’s unsold inventory of G1, G2 and G10 products is not just a marketing disaster, but potentially an environmental issue depending on how the company disposes of this massive overstock.

    Realizing the unexpectedly popularity of the GH2, perhaps Panny is planning its successor and will have this product readily available in large quantities. I think with the GH2, what you see is what you get, and that’s it.

  • Walls

    Uhh I got mine at Adorama…no issues. Don’t they ship worldwide?

  • Bernardo

    Check out the pictures in this post, it is a setup of gh2+DMW-DCC8+tekkeon battery. I get far more than 8 hours od straight shooting with it. Even if the gh2 batteries were in stock, I still would use this setup, no soldering needed and no more worries about battery life:

    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?236472-DMW-DCC8-Dc-coupler-Pearstone-NP-F975-Lithium-Ion-Battery-(7.2V-7600mAh)/page6

  • Please tell me, How long can You record on a single battery? Experience is experience…

    • Bernardo

      I ran a test and left the camera recording sitting on a table, so the camera wasn’t doing any no AE or AF work, which equals to less power consumption, and it only drained HALF of the total battery capacity. What I can assume by that is that I can shot AT LEAST 8 hours straight auto focusing, changing exposure, messing with the menus, turning it on and off, etc.

  • Can’t believe they are not in stock in whole US. We have plenty of them here in Canada. Price is a bit different though

  • Can’t say Who

    Guys, don’t be so naively. I was talking tet-a-tet with Panasonic representative about battery problem and he smile to me and said “Usually only professional guys need more than one battery, right? You see, the gh2 is not a pro camera, because the AF100 is a pro camera, and Panny don’t want to sell gh2 to pros, because they want to sell more AF100 to pros. That’s it!”
    So they will not do anything to sell more gh2 or its accessories until the AF100 enter the market. Unfortunately for all of us..
    If this is not a true let Panasonic disclaim it. I don’t believe in production delay.

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