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What's good about the GH2?
  • It has good quality video, made even better by Vitaliy Kiselev's hack. Please see the hacking FAQs
Is the GH2 better or worse than such-and-such camera?
  • The answer to that depends entirely on you: what you're trying to do, how you like to work, how you evaluate video quality, etc. No one can answer this question for you. Check out what's been posted to Vimeo (search for 'hacked gh2'), and do your own testing.
The GH2's video modes
Mode Format AR Resolution i fps Bit rate (Mbps) Notes
High Bit Rate AVCHD 16:9 1920 x 1080 p 30 or 25* 24 interlaced encoding. Firmware v1.1
24p Cinema AVCHD 16:9 1920 x 1080 p 24 24H=24 24L=17
Variable Movie Mode AVCHD 16:9 1920 x 1080 p 30,15,12, or 8 24H=24 24L=17 no sound. 24 fps playback
MMM AVCHD(1080i) AVCHD 16:9 1920 x 1080 i 30 or 25* FSH=17 FH=13
MMM AVCHD(720p) AVCHD 16:9 1280 x 720 p 60 or 50* SH=17 H=13
MMM MJPEG, HD mov 16:9 1280 x 720 p 30
MMM MJPEG, WVGA mov 16:9 848 x 480 p 30
MMM MJPEG, VGA mov 4:3 640 x 480 p 30
MMM MJPEG, QVGA mov 4:3 320 x 240 p 30

*30 / 60 fps on NTSC-country cameras; 25 / 50 fps on PAL-country cameras. Selectable on hacked cameras. (see the GH2 Hack FAQ)

†AVCHD frame rates denoted as 24, 30, or 60 fps are actually that value times 1000/1001 - approximately 23.976, 29.970, or 59.940.

Camera settings for shooting video
  • Set the top mode dial to Creative Movie.
  • For general shooting, select HBR or AVCHD(720p) in the Creative Movie mode menu. HBR mode at 30 fps matches YouTube's and Vimeo's highest quality modes. Choose HBR when you want more detail, and 720p when you want smoother motion.
  • 24p should be reserved for people who have some special reason to shoot 24p. The lower frame rate means there's more motion judder, and you need to be careful to not pan too quickly.
  • Set the exposure mode to M (manual) or S (shutter priority) in the Motion Picture menu.
  • Shutter speeds of approximately 1/40 s to 1/60 s are normal for film and video. Choose 1/60 s for 60p and 1/50 s for 50p.
  • Setting the shutter speed slower than the frame rate reduces the effective frame rate. (e.g. a shutter speed of 1/50 s in 60p mode reduces the effective frame rate to 30 fps)
  • Noise goes up at higher ISO settings (with minor exceptions). Everyone's noise tolerance is different, so do some testing to find what your tolerance is. Shadow range gradually diminishes starting at ISO 2000.
  • An ISO setting of 320, 640, or 1250 may result in increased noise depending on the camera's previous setting. To avoid this, switch the camera to the ISO setting 1/3 stop higher, and then back down. (i.e., 400 to 320, or 800 to 640, or 1600 to 1250). If you turn the camera off while in ISO 320, 640, or 1250, you must repeat the ISO switching after turning the camera back on to avoid higher noise. discussion
  • Set the film mode to Standard with noise reduction to -2.
  • Set sharpness to -2 for Lumix lenses, and 0 for manual lenses.
  • Adjust contrast and saturation as necessary.
Extra Tele Conversion (ETC) mode
  • ETC mode is an in-camera crop mode with one-to-one pixel mapping.
  • With ETC mode turned off, the GH2 uses a 14-megapixel (4976 x 2800 pixel) area of the image sensor covering its entire width, downsampling it to an output of 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 pixels.
  • With ETC mode turned on, the camera uses a 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 pixel area of the center of the image sensor, mapping each pixel 1:1 from the sensor to the output video.
  • For the same lens, ETC mode gives you a narrower field of view - 2.6 or 3.9 times narrower, a picture that's slightly less sharp, has less aliasing, less of a rolling shutter effect (“jello”), and is much noisier for the same ISO setting - equivalent to raising the ISO setting by 2 and 2/3 stops. discussion
  • AVCHD recording in ETC mode is subject to electrical impulse noise that depends on the ISO setting. explained
Low-light shooting
  • With Auto ISO and the exposure compensation value set to +/- 0, the camera goes up to 6400. With the exposure compensation value set to the maximum, auto ISO goes up to 12,800.
  • With “Maximum ISO limit removal” set in PTool, you can manually select an ISO setting of up to 12,800.
  • For an unhacked camera, the maximum manual ISO setting is 3200.
  • Increase the exposure time, up to 1/30 s (or 1/25 s for 24p and 25p). But doing so increases motion blur, so try to hold the camera steady and don't pan too quickly.
  • Use manual focus and manual exposure and increase the exposure time even more - up to 1/2 s in 24p, 1/15 s in VMM 160%, 1/12 s in VMM 200%, or 1/8 s in VMM 300%.
  • Setting the film mode to Smooth or Nostalgic boosts mid tones.
  • Reducing the contrast boosts shadows.
  • Shooting at high ISOs (above 1000 or so), it will help to use a high quality video hack, so that the noise is captured accurately instead of being discarded in the compression along with some picture detail.
  • You can use Neat Video to remove noise in post processing. discussion
  • In AVCHD modes, the camera stops writing the video stream to the current .MTS file before the file reaches 4 GB, and continues writing the stream to a new file. If your video player or editing software doesn't know how to read spanned files, you can combine them into one large seamless file using any program that can join binary files. For example:
  • Windows command prompt:
    copy /b 00000.MTS + 00001.MTS + 00002.MTS   new_file.mts
  • UNIX/Macintosh shell:
    cat 00000.MTS 00001.MTS 00002.MTS   >new_file.mts
  • Some high bit rate PTool settings fail to span with certain memory cards: recording stops by itself before the file reaches 4 GB, as if you'd stopped the recording yourself with the button.
How to play back GH2 videos
  • Media Player Classic Home Cinema
  • VLC
  • If you wish to preview videos via USB to AV cable, sometimes it is necessary to hold the Erase button for five seconds to turn AV on. This does not apply to HDMI which is a separate output.
How to edit GH2 videos
  • Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD - native h.264/MTS
  • Sony Vegas Pro 10 or higher - native h.264/MTS
  • Adobe Premiere CS4 - transcode to ??? . Poor native h.264/MTS support
  • Adobe Premiere CS5 & 5.5 - native h.264/MTS file support. CUDA enabled Nvidia Card enhances speed further. 64-bit system required.
  • Final Cut Pro 7 - transcode using 5DtoRGB or ??
  • Final Cut Pro X - native AVCHD: copy the Private folder in its entirety, and then File>Import From Camera>Open Archive. Or, rewrap MTS to MP4 using ClipWrap
  • Grass Valley Edius 5.51 or higher - native h.264/MTS
  • Grass Valley Neo 2.5 or higher - native AVCHD
How to cut/trim GH2 videos without re-encoding
  • I wouldn't trust any video trimming program completely: hang on to your source files
    • tsMuxeR - works. Can also change the frame rate or remove the audio channel.
    • Smart Cutter - works
    • Final Mate - works, but the resulting files crash Vegas Pro 10
Lenses for the GH2
  • Any Micro Four Thirds lens, or Four Thirds lens (with an adapter) will work with the GH2. These lenses are the only ones with electrical connections to support auto focusing, electronic aperture control, and image stabilization, if available.
  • So far the only lenses with image stabilization are some Panasonic Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds lenses, and Tamron Micro Four Thirds lenses.
  • Just about any lens that has manual focusing and manual aperture control can be used on the GH2 with an adapter. Look on eBay for adapters.
  • Full-frame 35-mm camera lenses project an image circle that more than covers the GH2's sensor, but since the GH2's sensor is smaller than full frame 35-mm, the resulting images have a narrower angle of view than if you were using the same lens on a full-frame 35-mm camera - 1.9 times narrower in 16:9 mode.
  • C-mount lenses are meant for several different film and video formats, and generally require some cropping in the camera (ETC mode or 2x zoom) or in post when used with the GH2. Note that c-mount adapters for m43 have a recessed c-mount flange, so not all c-mount lenses will fit without modification.
  • Specific lenses:
    • Panasonic Lumix lenses with an “HD” designation are all good, with fast and accurate focusing.
    • The Lumix G 20-mm f/1.7 is great optically, and brings in a lot of light. But it focuses slowly, has no image stabilization, and using a wider aperture gives you shallower depth of field, which means you need to be more precise with your focusing.
    • Canon FD-mount, manual focus Nikon F-mount, and Minolta MC/MD lenses are popular choices. Note that the focus rings on Nikon lenses turn opposite that of most other lenses.
Sensor Coverage

Format diagonals in millimeters are calculated from the camera apertures. Sensor mode diagonals in millimeters are calculated from the pixel pitch and 16:9 mode resolution. Only combinations of lenses and sensor modes are shown here that yield at least 720p.

720 ETC 1080 ETC non-ETC non-ETC 3.8k Cinema 4k 1080p 2.4k
(5.51 mm) (8.26 mm) (21.41 mm) (19.83 mm) (16.52 mm) (17.36 mm) (14.32 mm) (18.13 mm)
1/3” (6.00 mm) 108% 73% 36%
1/2” (8.00 mm) 97% 48%
2/3” (11.00 mm) 133% 67% 77%
1” (16.00 mm) 194% 75% 81% 97% 117% 88%
4/3” (22.00 mm) 103% 111% 133% 127% 153% 121%
8 mm (6.11 mm) 110% 74% 37%
Super 8 (7.04 mm) 128% 85% 42%
16 mm (12.70 mm) 154% 77% 89%
Super 16(14.55 mm) 176% 68% 73% 88% 102% 80%
Super 35(31.11 mm) 145% 157% 188% 179% 217% 172%
APS-C (28.4 mm) 133% 143% 172% 164% 198% 157%
35 mm FF (43.23 mm) 202% 218% 262% 249% 302% 238%

* Different 4/3” formats define image circles varying in diameter from 21.5 to 23 mm. Super 35 is the ANSI Super 35 4:3 silent aperture. APS-C is Nikon DX, which is slightly larger than Sony and Canon APS-C. 35 mm full-frame is 36 x 24 mm. The GH2 and GH3 non-ETC mode sensor areas differ because of the GH2's oversized multi-aspect ratio sensor.

GH2 audio recording
  • The GH2's built-in audio recording is pretty good. You choose one of four gain levels. All settings have auto limiting, and little or no automatic gain adjustment. Use the on-screen audio meter to monitor levels in real time.
  • A 2.5-mm microphone jack accepts stereo audio and provides plug-in power of approximately 2.5 V for condenser microphones.
  • For the best audio, use an external audio recorder, and then sync the audio after the fact manually, or with Plural Eyes or Dual Eyes. discussion
gh2-usage/gh2-usage.txt · Last modified: 2014/02/13 22:41 by balazer