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Category Archives: Panasonic GH2
UPDATE August 22,2011: I have had great stable results with the 56Mbps patch setting for 1080/24p and also 720/60p. Auto Quantizer Details set to 4-All to Details for 1080/24p and 720/60p. Patch is not stable in 1080/60i, don’t even try it Hopefully we will have a fix for this soon.
I think we may have a solid Canon EOS 5D MK2 video rival on our hands with the newly released Panasonic GH2 PTool v3.62d patch by Vitaliy Kiselev and Chris Brandin. For still images the much larger Canon sensor is still clearly superior. Your donations helped make this incredible new version possible, so please keep the donation pool flowing. This update took only a couple of weeks to release…donations do help
Reader Lars in Berlin, kindly informed me of the new patch release, and I quickly had to try it out today. Yes, everything works as promised and PTool v3.62d is completely stable on my NTSC GH2 using the 42Mbps patch for 1080/24p and 720/60p with the 14-140mm lens and Sandisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec card. I shot for 30 minutes in 1080/24p and 720/60p, zooming in and out on the family cat and other moving targets, at all the GH2 native ISO’s of 160, 320, 640, 1250, and 2500. Shutter speeds were the standard 180 degree shutter or 1/50th and 1/125 as it is commonly referred to in cinema circles.
Lars just post this very delicious 42Mbps short film. Very well done
Here is a particular lovely video shot by mpgxsvcd using the GH2 42Mbps patch. Be sure to download the original 1080/24p file, it looks superb.
My custom gamma setting for maximum video dynamic range are the “smooth” setting with the additional -2, -2, -2, -2 in the drop down menu, GH2 folks know what I mean
OK, what is so fabulous and new with the latest PTool v3.62d patch? First off, the video quality in the shadow regions is now just stellar. My quick test demonstrated that ISO 1250 looks better than ISO 160 in the default Panasonic factory firmware. The little “blip” we saw in the first second of video in the previous 42Mbps PTool v3.61d patch is now fixed
The Panasonic GH2 is NOW in stock at B&H Photo and at Amazon, below are the direct links. Also, my 3 tested and recommended SDHC cards for the 42Mbps GH2 patch/hack.
Related Post: Panasonic GH2 42Mbps Firmware Patch Instructions
Related Post: Panasonic GH2: 42Mbps AVCHD Hack and Panorama Stitching
Panasonic GH2 available in two lens flavors at Amazon. Only 1 left with the HD 14mm-140mm kit!
Also available here with the 14mm-42mm Panasonic GH2 at B&HPhoto.com
My recommended SDHC memory cards that work well with the 42Mbps GH2 Patch. I suggest the 16 Gig cards because we only get about 48 minutes of footage at 1080/24p. I also tested my cards with the 720/60p 42Mbps patch and all 3 cards work just great for in-camera playback and recording with the Panasonic 14mm-140mm lens.
My testing method was to shoot 10 minutes continuous footage at 1080/24p and then 10 minutes continuous footage at 720/60p with the 42Mbps patch installed.
UPDATE: PTool v3.62d Firmware Screenshots and Visual Instructions. Please refer to the new article for updated STEPS 4. Link will open in a new tab for easy comparisons. The new PTool v3.62d adds much better shadow detail and fixes the “blip” or hiccup in the first second of video and is super stable Steps 5-10 below still apply.
Simple instructions with visual aids for applying the Panasonic GH2 42Mbps firmware hack. This firmware hack changes the default Cinema 1080/24p bitrate from 24Mbps to a staggering 42Mbps. The firmware hack, developed by Vitaliy Kiselev, can be found on his personal website. Consider making a small donation to Vitaliy on his website, he spent the last 6 months creating this fabulous firmware update and is generously providing it for free. Damn near Canon 5DMK2 video quality for a fraction of the price.
This firmware hack is not for everyone, especially if you are not technically inclined….be warned. While I wrote these super simplified instructions, please do not ask me for tech support, all you will hear is chirping crickets from me, not trying to be rude….just sayin’ Tech support can be found on Vitaliy’s site, he wrote the software and knows it best.
FAQ regarding the 42Mbps firmware hack
- Best uses for indy film videographers and video enthusiasts
- This works for the Panasonic GH2 only…period!
- Is it stable…yes. I have shot over 4 hours of video with zero issues
- Will it “brick” my GH2, not if you follow the directions very carefully
- Can I return to the default firmware version…sure, just uncheck the boxes in the patch and your back to default settings
- Will my cheap ass class 2, 4 or 6 card work? Eh, why risk frustration and lost footage, I recommend a good Class 10 card, they start at $27
- How many gigs do I need? My 16gig card holds 48 minutes of 42Mbps footage. Before the hack, the same card held 1 hour and 30 minutes. So the 42Mbps uses about 50% more space for the same shooting time. This is a good thing folks….nice clean video like the Canon 5DMK2 which shoots at 39-45 Mbps!
- How does the video look? At 3200 ISO I see zero grain and noise in the shadows, looks like it was shot at 160 ISO.
- This works on NTSC & PAL versions of the GH2. However, the PAL version of the GH2 will remove the 30 minute recording time limit . The only drawback for our European friends is that they loose 25p. PAL cameras will shoot 1080/24p….not 1080/25p. Vitaliy will update this and other features in future releases…so make a donation
- I only post stable releases that I have personally tested and verified for commercial video shooting and paid shooting gigs.
OK, all aboard, lets go! Continue reading
The Panasonic GH2 is the ultimate light-weight travel camera for pro quality images and hacked 42Mbps AVCHD video. I gave the GH2 a solid workout for 7 days shooting both video and stills. All video was shot at 1080/24p and the stills were shot in RAW, later to be stitched together for 34MP-46MP panoramas. Read on for details of the images and video created below. The video section has several great tips that apply not just to the Panasonic GH2, but to all HD video DSLR’s.
In the past, my landscape gear included a Nikon D2x or Canon 5DMK2 and several prime lenses, 24mm, 35mm, 60mm, and sometimes even the 85mm. All this gear, when packed into a Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Backpack, easily weighs in at about 25 pounds…..40 pounds with the tripod, ballhead, and panorama L-bracket. A heavy and steady tripod is important for those high scenic overlooks. The wind is always seems so calm in the parking lot Gosh, this backpack is almost as heavy as the 4″x5″ view camera I used to schlepp around on vacations between photoschool semesters.
Update: July 30th, 2011
Complete article with full instructions for the GH2 42Mbps Firmware Patch.
There has been a great deal of coverage on the Panasonic GH2, is it any good for stills, and how does it compare to the Canon 5Db MK2.
Personally, I bought the Panasonic G2 and then hacked the firmware to the extreme. We got 60 mbps in MJPEG, then we tried 60 mbps in AVCHD…..processed the video in the best converter available by a cool small company in LA, called Rarevision.com. I will provide my hack details shortly for the G2.
After careful analysis and real photography job requirements, I decided that the G2 is just not as good as the Panasonic GH2. The Panasonic GH2 is light years ahead because it uses a brand new sensor that is out of this world. The raw images from the GH2 smoke my Nikon DX2 and come very close to our Canon 5D MK2. Is the Canon better….yes…but not by much.
Is the Panasonic GH2 better than Nikon’s best….I don’t know. But what I can say for certain, Panasonic has done something really good with the GH2 that will make all the testers take a second look at this camera….including me. We are confused by how a 4/3 sensor can look this good. How can a camera, that is a point and shoot look this good????
My video tests at 1280x720p at 60 fps are just amazing. Yes it has more contrast than the Canon…..but the GH2 is very close. Stills in Adobe Raw, no support for Capture One yet….bastards, put down the coffee as this is the real test. In Adobe Camera Raw, the images look amazing as well.
All in all, I am very impressed with the Panasonic GH2. Tim and I just got done shooting a video and stills with both cameras. We got the Canon dialed in, took about 2 years, but the GH2 we got dialed in in 2 days. We shot the stills on the Canon as I was too stressed to begin screwing around on a new camera as it was.
Now the big question, how is the GH2…..you will see in the next post. The GH2 is a 4/3′s camera that shoots like the big boy cameras. Read our first commercial shoot review below. Continue reading