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Panasonic DMC-GH2 announced at Photokina 2010


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#61 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 05:28 PM

Just an FYI:

Late yesterday Panasonic released a free new firmware update which adds useful features to their GH2 camera:
http://panasonic.jp/...fts/index2.html

Perhaps the most important new features are 1080p30 and 1080p25 AVCHD recording modes at 24 megabits/sec. Previously the GH2's top-quality AVCHD modes were 1080p24 at 24 mbs or 720p60 (or 720p50 PAL) at 17 mbs. The only 30p mode was a low-quality MJPEG mode, and as discussed previously there was no 25p mode.

One of my clients records bi-weekly studio sessions for broadcast using his two Sony camcorders in 1080p30 mode. Until now, we haven't been able to use my GH2 as camera #3 because it didn't support 1080p30.

Some of the improvements only affect the GH2's still photography mode or only its video mode, but not both.

Panasonic's descriptions of the firmware improvements are a bit cryptic (Japanese translated into English). Item #1 is the new 1080p30 / 1080p25 mode.:
  • Added a video mode [HIGH BIT RATE] which is suitable for editing video recorded at high bit rate(24Mbps).
  • Added a function [POWER ZOOM LENS] when using power zoom lens.
    ([DISP FOCAL LENGTH], [STEP ZOOM], [ZOOM RESUME], [ZOOM SPEED], [ZOOM RING]*)
  • Full area enlargement of AF area setting.
  • Improved in the speed of consecutive shooting when shot with auto bracket.
  • Increased number of recordable images in consecutive shooting.
  • [EX.TELE CONV. (Extra Tele Conversion)] can be set ON/OFF separately in photo or video recording.
  • More accurate light adjustment of built-in flash.
  • Improved in the AF performance in video recording.
  • Synchronization of alarm volume for low battery with [BEEP VOLUME].
  • Added a function [HALF PRESS RELEASE].
  • Improved NR (Noise Reduction) in high sensitivity shooting.
  • Added a function [TOUCH SCREEN] which is ON/OFF control of touch-screen.

I haven't updated my camera yet. I'll wait at least a few days until I see more reports online of others having done so successfully.


#8 ("Improved in the AF performance in video") might come in handy if it works well. Currently, AF in video mode is fairly slow.

It'll be interesting to see if #11 ("Improved Noise Reduction in high sensitivity [high ISO] shooting") actually works & looks good.

Vitaliy Kiselev (the Russian programmer who successfully hacked previous GH1 & GH2 firmwares) expects to have the new firmware hacked "soon", but that could mean in a few weeks or many, many weeks depending on how much Panasonic has changed the structure of the new firmware code compared to the previous version. Assuming he hacks the new firmware, all of the goodies he previously brought to the GH2 -- especially high-quality, high bit-rate (up to 200 mbs!) AVCHD recording in all modes -- should be possible with the new firmware, too. For info about the current hack (not based on yesterday's new firmware), see:
http://www.personal-...ack-development

Working with Panasonic's new firmware, it's very likely Vitaliy will finally be able to enable 1080p25 AVCHD PAL recording for _all_ GH2 users. Panasonic's new firmware only enables 1080p25 for users of the PAL version of the GH2, but Vitaly will probably be able to make it available for owners of the NTSC version of the cam, too. (The current version of his hacked firmware already allows NTSC GH2 cams to record 1080i50). Stay tuned.

Hopefully this will all turn out to be a nice little Xmas present from Panasonic!

If you're new to the GH2, or are wondering what it was capable of before the new firmware, here's a beautiful recent example shot by "vesubio":

http://vimeo.com/33025136

Cheers.
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#62 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:44 PM

Philip Bloom recently posted part 1 of his admittedly unscientific "Xmas 2011" camera shootout, pitting a hacked GH2 against some pretty stiff competition, including the Sony F3 & FS100, Canon C300 & 7D, and others.

The bottom line is the GH2 comes out of this shootout with its head held high, um, er, well, with at least its flash hot shoe held high, or something! :-)

See Phil's blog post for details, and also the video of the shootout:
http://philipbloom.n...stmas-shootout/

http://vimeo.com/34279033

Cheers, and as always: YMMV!
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#63 Tim Tyler

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 05:30 PM

Philip Bloom recently posted part 1 of his admittedly unscientific "Xmas 2011" camera shootout...



I have a real problem with this "unscientific" comparison. I mean, if you're going to go through the trouble of assembling your blokes and a bunch of different cameras, why not do it in a heated garage with a tungsten light source and a real test chart?

This video doesn't prove much, and it will unfairly influence purchasing decisions.
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#64 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 05:38 PM

Hi Tim: I think I see your point, but Phil goes a long way in "qualifying" (as in down-playing the final-word aspect of) his informal test.

My feeling is, which is worse: Someone buying a $650 GH2 or a >$4K camcorder after watching Phil's shootout?

If someone actually needs most of the capabilities of a >$4K camcorder for their productions, God help them if they primarily base their purchase/rental decision on Phil's shootout. Buyer beware, YMMV, etc., etc.

And of course, some of the much more expensive camcorders in Phil's shootout have obvious advantages in specific cases (such as XLR audio connectors, headphone jacks, 10-bit 4:2:2 live outputs, better dynamic range, etc.). As always, use whatever tool which best matches the task at hand & the client's budget.

Same as ever, right?

Cheers!

Edited by Peter J DeCrescenzo, 28 December 2011 - 05:54 PM.

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#65 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 06:27 PM

I think Bloom wisely avoids the politics that come with a "scientific" evaluation test where everyone chimes in with how it was done wrongly if they don't like the results. The flipside with these sorts of "real world" tests, which are completely valid, is that many image characteristics are harder to spot, thus only allowing general impressions to be formed.
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#66 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 07:11 PM

Y'know I hate to say I told you so, but I did always rate that thing.

Of course it's probably only as good as a bad AF100, even on a really good day, but that's not bad for the money.

P
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#67 Martin Hong

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 06:08 PM

Says the video's upload incomplete :s weird, cant see the video
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#68 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 04:59 PM

FYI:

Vitaliy Kiselev has released a new version of his firmware modification utility software, PTool v3.64d, compatible with Panasonic's current firmwares for the GH2 & GF2:
http://www.personal-...ol-v3.64d-topic

New settings files for use with PTool are posted here as they become available:
http://www.personal-...es-in-one-place

On the GH2 the modified firmware reportedly makes possible higher data-rates for all video modes, including 1080p AVCHD @ 24p, 25p, 30p and more. I haven't tested it yet myself, but plan to soon. YMMV.

For info about Panasonic's current GH2 v1.1 firmware refer to their website and my post above #:
http://panasonic.jp/...fts/index2.html
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#69 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 08:07 PM

On 3/28/12 Vitaliy released version 3.65d of his PTool firmware hack:
http://www.personal-...ol-v3.65d-topic

PTool version history here:
http://www.gh1-hack..../VersionHistory
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#70 Emanuel A Guedes

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 01:01 PM

But Hitler missed all the real problems, like shooting under non-flicker-free lighting in 50Hz locations at 24p, which causes enormous hum bar style artifacts.

P


Have you used the 1/50th-1/100th shutter in order to keep it under control?
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