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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hacked Panasonic GH1 & Ryan Connolly and Canon DSLR To Remove Annoying Limitations

Why the (hacked) Panasonic GH1 is a better video camera than the Canon5DMk2

If you are a Canon 5Dmk2 fanboy you may want to shut your eyes. The lowly Panasonic GH1 just got supercharged with a firmware hack that makes a great HDSLR video camera even better. Here is my list of things that make the GH1 a better video camera than the 5D. First let’s take a look at the 800-pound gorilla in the room, The Canon has a full frame 35mm sensor, therefore, there is no crop factor when using 35mm lenses. Canon’s full size sensor is 4 times the size of the 4/3rds sensor in the GH1, which also means that the Canon must compress 4 time the data for the same bandwidth, all thing being equal (which they are not.) Supposedly the 5D is writing data at 35Mbs, compared to the (stock) 17Mbs of the GH1, which means that it’s still throwing away half again as much data as the GH1 (4 time the sensor and only twice as much data as the GH1).

My GH1 Camera Rig
But the GH1 has a secret, with the Ptools firmware hack from Tester13, the GH1 can shoot true 1080P 24fps with no pulldown at 50Mbs. And since both cameras use h.264 compression, with the software hack, the GH1 is compressing the data from its sensor far less. But there’s more, the GH1 hack also enables the 1080P mode using MJPEG compression at 100Mbs for short shots. While this setting is kind of like using nitrous and it’s really pushing the limits of the camera, it is a real boon if you want to get the highest quality video possible. The advantage that motion JPEG has over h.264 is that it only uses spatial compression instead of the temporal and spatial compression of h.264. This means prettier pictures. His holiness, Phillip Bloom posted a great blog post on what the firmware hack brings to the GH1 which you can read on his blog.
I’ll admit that image quality is close enough between these two cameras that the 5D might win if that were the only issue. But


Panasonic Lumix GH1

The Current ComboCam King

If you want a peek at what the future of both still and video cameras might look like over the next few years, drop into your camera dealer and have look at the Panasonic Lumix GH1. To my mind it's the first Combocam that "gets it", delivering both image quality and functionality that don't represent a considerable compromise on one side or the other.

Panasonic GH1 & Ryan Connolly - Documentary (a funny and informative video:)

Uploaded by on Nov 22, 2011
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Documentary Presentation

Hacked Panasonic GH1 - Best4Filmmakers Series
a document by George Anton

Written Directed
George Anton

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Video Link...

How To Hack Your Canon DSLR To Remove Annoying Limitations

Canon DSLR cameras can shoot fantastic video.  But they do have some annoying limitations.  The most notable is on the audio side, where the camera’s use “automatic gain control”...


Video Link (can do full screen here)

Magic Lantern Firmware

Magic Lantern is an open platform for developing enhancements to the amazing Canon 5D Mark II and 550D/T2i digital SLRs. These cameras are "game changing" for independent film makers:
  • It allows the use of a wide range of lenses (anything that can be adapted to the EF mount).
  • The 5D's 35mm full-frame sensor is larger than the RED ONE's sensor, Super 35 film. It is approximately the size of VistaVision. This means shallower native depth-of-field than anything on the market, except for the Phantom 65.
  • The dynamic range and latitude are close to the capabilities of high-end HD cameras.
  • The low-light performance is currently unrivaled, even by the RED ONE.
But, the software in video mode has limitations, even after the recent 1.1.0 upgrade from Canon that fixed the most glaring manual exposure "bug".
That's where Magic Lantern comes in -- it turns your 5D Mark II into a 5D Mark Free. We've written extensions and widgets that fix many of the annoyances in working with the 5D Mark II on a film or video set. Our first set of fixes are targeted at the audio limitations of the camera, but there are some video enhancements included, too:
  • On-screen audio meters
  • Manual gain control with no AGC
  • Zebra stripes (video peaking)
  • Custom Cropmarks for 16:9, 2.35:1, 4:3 and any other format
  • Control of focus and bracketing
Beyond those features, however, is the ability to write your own extensions or to commission new ones. Within some limitations, we can fix many of the Canon firmware problems and plan to write widgets to address the requirements of the film users of this amazing camera.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Hacked Panasonic GH1 & Ryan Connolly and Canon DSLR To Remove Annoying Limitations

Panasonic GH1 & Ryan Connolly - Documentary - YouTube
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Why the (hacked) Panasonic GH1 is a better video camera than the Canon5DMk2 | Jay Shaffer Video
The Panasonic LUMIX GH1 30 minutes EU recording issue and firmware petition | Philip Bloom
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Magic Lantern Firmware Wiki

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