Panasonic GH2 – my thoughts

I really think that the GH2 recently announced by Panasonic can be THE digital Cinema camera to shoot on if you are on a budget. Having been recording to HDMI in recent years I can attest that the uncompressed HDMI feed of any camera is vastly superior to the internal codec.

It is still unclear at this time whether the HDMI feed is clean, degraded, frame rate manipulated or not. If it is an unfettered signal then this will be THE DSLR to own. Digital cinema will not be easier.

I have the GH1 and it is the most convenient camera to own I believe. I have the 5D as well and it is cumbersome to take on a trip. The GH1 has interchangeable lenses ( almost any lens ever made works becuase of the short flange distance – just need the right mount ) , small discrete size, large sensor for close to 35 mm depth of field and a great swivel screen.

It has been turned into a beast with the hack but it still has a way to go as far as being visually lossless as I am used to. Next year I will be filming my first feature and I am keeping a close eye on this baby. I believe that Panasonic have hit a home run with this camera.BUT…………………. The PAL version it appears at this stage will not have 25p but 50i. Now if that is true then that sucks big time. The NTSC version may well have 24p and that means that that is the version I am likely to go for on release. 60i with embedded 24p is no problem for most NLEs or indeed HDMI capture rigs that have pulldown removal built in – like my nanoflash.

Panasonic may well have just come up with a camera that can make the independant film-maker truly BIGTIME. Hey Pana – want someone to test the GH2 for you in a music video set? He he he – one can dream.

Well done Panasonic – I have my eye on the AF 100 as well so things are hotting up………………oh yeah!!!!

Scarlet – Where art thou????????????????

7 Responses to “Panasonic GH2 – my thoughts”

  1. how much is this camera, i really have a soft spot for cameras.

  2. Depends where you live sir –

    Body only is around 800 I think I read somewhere. google is your friend.

    Best wishes


  3. Heck Henry, this is the cat’s pyjamas!

    For the last forever I have been screwing around trying to make decent video with a Panasonic TM300 (PAL) camcorder that is a bit like the GH2 on steroids but not very powerful steroids. Now I am trying to figure out how to improve the quality of what I can squeeze out of this little beast and just came across references to being able to improve quality by skipping internal compression by outputting direct to hdmi via the mini hdmi jack. Just don’t have any idea if this might work on the TM300 or not. Do you?

    FYI max quality I can record to SD or internal HD is MPEG/AVC H.264 high def video compression HA1920 (ie 17mbps 1920×1080 VBR) but only i not p which is what I would like. Would you guesstimate outputting via HDMI to an external recorder could improve that or do you reckon not?

    Hope you don’t mind this question. I only ask since as far as I can figure out from your blog you seem to have already got into and out the other side of this jungle that I am just about to enter.

    BTW now you have done what you have done and know what you know about bypassing compression in semipro cameras would you if you were just starting out do this again or just upgrade your camera?

    Regards from Mexico,


  4. Hi Peter,
    Uncompressed HDMI is stunning. It really is soooooo much better than standard consumer codecs no matter what they say in their marketing. I capture to Cineform or Nanoflash and getting past the artefacts is welcome. It isn’t a magic bullet and won’t fix exposure issues, white balance errors, oversharpening etc. RAW is the way to go for that and then you are looking at tens of thousands perhaps – unless you use hacks like Magic Lantern.
    Just make sure your recorder can handle the frame rate. You may also need to do pulldown removal if the signal is embedded in an interlaced stream. I am not sure of that camera.

  5. Thanks for the encouraging reply.
    Any idea how I can experiment to find out if the HDMI output from my TM300 really is uncompressed before I break my piggybank or is the only way to cross fingers and buy a cable and recorder not knowing if it will be any different to what I record on my camcorders HD or SD cards until I try it?
    For example if I just bought a mini HDMI-HDMI cable and hooked up the camera to my LCD screen to compare the picture with footage recorded on SD card do you reckon it be likely that I could see the difference?
    For what I do RAW would be overkill so a little better image quality w/o spending big bucks is all I am after and if I can get that without having to junk my otherwise perfectly good dinky TM300 toy camcorder and only having to add a recorder and cable that would be super 🙂

  6. Hi Peter,
    You can see the differences if you compare the compressed playback with live viewing. At least I have been able to after doing this for years. The macro blocking, smoothing of detail and lack of sharpness is fairly easy to see on AVCHD files if the scene is testing. The ultimate test is to source some lightly compressed stuff vs AVCHD in an edit to see if it is worth the hassle. If your destination is going to be 720p then perhaps don’t bother but for 1080p – uncompressed makes a huge difference IMHO.
    Good luck

  7. Super! Nice not to have to reinvent the wheel. Good luck to you too with your next adventure.

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