EDIT: Sorry! I posted the wrong URL to the GH2 HDMI fix. See below for the corrected link.
I own a Lumix GH2 already since december 12, 2010.
I have been discussing this camera with friends (and a lot of new twitter and blog friends) ever since. The resolution is great, the noise is OK and somewhat more pleasing to the eye than the noise some other cameras produce, and the dynamic range is not bad at about 7,5 to 8,5 stops – depending on which ISO and which method of measurement used (IN VIDEO MODE).
If it wasn’t for the weak AVCHD codec at approx. 24Mb/sec, this would be the best super mega mega DSLR for video use.
Why does the codec fall apart? 24mbit should be OK for AVCHD at this resolution?! Indeed, but the image of this camera is TOO sharp and too detailed.
Using a flat profile and dialing down the sharpness does still produce a too sharp image that has ugly electronic halos and ringing, amplifies the noise and stresses the codec to such an amount that horrible compression artifacts show up in parts of the image where they are best visible: in the grays and blacks.
Panasonic, please give us SHARPNENING OFF. This is so depressing: I have beautiful detailed footage, but swarming with macroblocking (those big coloured compression blocks) and micro blocking (typical jpeg-like strange garbage around detailed areas). This all because of the extreme detail in every part of the picture. If i zoom in 100% on bricks or skin, i can see into every pore. Something i’ve never seen with pictures from my 5Dmk2.
But, hey, a solution seemed at hand: the Nanoflash or Ninja external recorders could record the signal from the (“clean”) HDMI output! But, alas… the hdmi output on the GH2 seems to be crippled in an ugly way (messing up the interlace cadence; adding double interlaced frames each 7 seconds, or skipping frames each 7 seconds). Both the Nanoflash and the Ninja recorder can record the 1080i60 signal including a 3:2 pulldown – that’s OK – but the recorder wil go crazy if the interlaced cadence is (randomly) messed up approx. every 7 seconds. The Nanoflash will stop recording. The Ninja is not yet available but i assume it will do the same. Normally, FCP or most other NLEs are capable of removing the 3:2 pulldown and Bob’s your uncle. If your’e clips are shorter than 7 seconds… no problem…
So, what to do now?! I was pretty depressed after finding this out. Imagine!! A GH2 + Ninja is a sub 2000$ full HD 4:2:2 high detail camera! A kind of mini scarlet for a 1000 bucks.
I will write Panasonic about this and report it as an error, just to trigger a reaction, but i assume it is a built-in trick to prevent recording from the HDMI output.
Why? AF-101 .., that’s why. At least, that’s what i suspect. You could build yourself a min-af101 for a third of the price, with better video recording. If this is the case, Panasonic is missing the point; that DSLR film makers are NOT per-se AF-101 buyers.
I know people that can afford an AF-101 but stick to their 7D. It’s what they like best and, of course, it’s a totally different market segment budget-wise.
So what should we do?!
- write panasonic and report an error in the HDMI cadence mechanism
- write to firstname.lastname@example.org (makers of the 900 dollar 4:2:2 prores hdmi recorder) and ask them to please please please make the device’s firmware compatible with the GH2
- Possibly a fix to record with the Ninja from DVInfo.net (corrected)
- Henry Olonga’s Panasonic Punch And Judy show (at the bottom)
- a very long and informative discussion on DVXUser
One point of light at the end of the tunnel (not a train…): someone who does not want his name or position to be disclosed, gave me a hint: “some people” are hard at work to make the GH2 work with the Ninja recorder. But i haven’t said that of course. Nobody can promis anything, although things are looking promising…
That’s as vague as the general new Scarlet announcement, only without a new price tag…