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Panansonic IR interview - talks about GH2 hacker community
  • Thought some of you might find this interesting - first time I've really heard what Panasonic thinks about the GH2 hacker community - seems quite positive!

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  • @LPowell Of course. And likewise there is no evidence to support hypothetical speculations that the hack has no detrimental long-term effect on the GH2. Though it doesn't stop me taking the risk...

  • Everything has a lifetime, As long as you understand that ISO 12800 was a stock auto ISO setting (user manual pg 71). Vitaliy made it so we can manually have access to the higher ISO setting. This should not be in this conversation... Having said that, this thread is worthless....

    It's a $800 camera.. Vitaliy just made it better than some cameras 6X its cost. driftwood has given the GH2 a good rogering and I hear no complaints from him.

  • Based on documented instances of your website's hyperbolic technical claims, is there any reason we should not consider your assertions those of an unfranchised marketing agent?

    As for documented sources for your hypothetical speculations, the clock is still ticking, but I doubt the pressure of interminable operation will reduce its life expectancy.

  • MCUs and other ICs have a max temperature rating. In most commercial IC's this is 85C. The ICs have to work reliably to that temperature over their lifespan and the designers will have included a certain margin of safety even if there are heatsinks or heatspreaders used.

    There is no way a little bit of data increase will resort to overheating an IC to 85C..

  • @brianluce In summary, based on our collective experience and independent technical analysis, there is neither reason nor evidence to support hypothetical speculations that modification of GH2 encoder firmware has any deleterious effect on the camera's hardware components.

  • No, the probability factor is like nil.

  • So in summary, for all we know, the hack may in fact reduce the camera's lifespan right?

  • Maybe a tiny bit of clarification would help out here?

    1) It's not a bad thing to be a "marketing guy" by any stretch. If honesty and integrity is maintained it can be really fun and rewarding! I don't see Panasonic often making bogus claims in marketing so I assume they do - or usually do.

    2) As a marketing guy, when faced with a semi-technical question such as:

    "So there has been a lot of interest in hacking GH2s. Might you take to heart some of those optimizations they're making when you're looking at future developments?"

    he should have stuck with the parts of his statement he actually knew to answer:

    "You know... Yes and no? We do take a look at what they do, and we take it very seriously, because obviously that's what the customer wants. ... a consumer, go for it! But as a manufacturer, we have to stay within [OUR IMPLIED] limits..."

    instead of trying to wing it thereby not only making himself look a little silly but also misleading potential readers.

    3) To his credit he usually did keep to marketing type answers:

    DP: ...And it's interesting; you see a lot of people, who are basically hotwiring the camera, to push it even further.

    AE: Yeah, souping up the camera, the GH2: I was wanting to ask your perspective there.

    DP: It’s like a great car--you just want to soup it up and do even more with it.

    And later:

    DP: "We’re a cautious company, but we do take baby steps in those directions. This is an interesting point, though: You have the blogs and the websites and a lot of people creating these ideas and sharing their ideas out there. That's something that's available now to the consumer, to discuss these things amongst themselves. At the same time, we’re taking a look at it. We’re watching it, saying, ‘Okay, well, we need to start thinking about this. There’s a lot about it. It’s what the consumer wants. What can we do to make that a reality?’ At the same time, yes, there are going to be times where we just can’t go down that path; we have to let the consumer do what they want to do."


    4) I just thought it was funny that his first grasp at an answer for that specific question was to /blame/ something other than "The Product" - even though AVCHD is as far as I know, a joint creation of Panasonic's and Olympus's.

    I really didn't mean to stir the pot quite so vigorously. :)

  • I think the reason we're all hacking our cameras is that we like to live on the edge. On the other hand, Panasonic's Darin Pepple comes across as precisely the cautious marketer of consumer products we've all known. When I worked at ABC radio, I wanted to set the Analog VU meters at as close to zero as I could - not at minus 3db, dammit! Later while running a TV studio, I disobeyed instructions and bypassed all the composite cabling and used Betacam component. And with the GH2, I'm the same guy. Ordinary risk management means Panasonic just have to find that sweet spot of quality vs reliability which Vitaliy speaks of - even if the benchmark is much lower than the product's capacity. Any way, we win.

  • And of course more traffic over the buss generates more heat as well.

    I dunno about the GH2, but with the GH1 the extra heat generated while measurable is so nominal that it's pretty silly to speculate that it would effect the overall lifespan of the product under any kind of normal use. Then again if the environmental conditions were at the very edge of the actual operating limits (I dunno, like 120˚ in direct Sun?) then it might be enough of an extra push to crash the camera or something.

    No he's not. He's an employee for his own sake or maybe the sake of Panasonic and probably nothing to do with Christ. Chances are very good that many people here know more than he does about electronics. It might seem egotistical of me to say but I think I do myself - having a CS degree and having had designed many circuits in the past (for my own sake). :)

    "Credit" is earned IMO. And since we don't know what his past accomplishments are then all we have to go by is what he says. And what he said is fairly lame - even you have to admit. Right?

  • if you are running the sensor in video mode at ISO 12,800, you are stressing the sensor.

    Can you please, tell me how ISO change stresses the sensor?

  • @EOSHD - "...if you are running the sensor in video mode at ISO 12,800, you are stressing the sensor. To say the hack doesn't touch the sensor isn't really accurate."

    And aside from an interview with a Panasonic marketing rep, your documented source for this authoritative claim is...?

  • Honestly, if the hack was actually loading the processor this would put more demand on the battery (hence more fucking current draw)... I see no difference in battery life whatsoever...

  • You can shoot in ISO 12,800 without hacking your camera.

  • @balazer thanks for demystifying that one for me. much appreciated.

  • No. Higher compression means the encoder ends up dropping more coefficients after the quantization stage. Fewer coefficients means there is less information that needs to go through the remaining stages of processing. (entropy coding, multiplexing, writing the bit stream). Lower compression means there is more information that needs to be processed. Processor load scales with the bit rate, not the compression level.

    Compression isn't like squeezing. It's transforming the video into a different representation, on which you can ignore the least important parts and keep the most important parts. The more you decide to keep, the more work that needs to be done in packaging and shipping of the things that you keep.

  • Call me crazy but isn't the processor actually doing less work with less compression/higher bit rates?

  • @LPowell

    lol Watch might go blind!!! :-)

  • @balazer Yes, I agree, running the encoder at a higher bitrate definitely makes the GH2 a hotter camera. The raw sex appeal it generates raises my blood pressure and the heat from my sweaty palms is no doubt conducted directly to the image sensor. But I think that just makes the pixels swell up even fatter, giving it that juicy organic film grain we all cream over. All those hot computations pimp out that phat bitrate which must be why my SD cards wear out faster but no matter its all good!

  • @Ptchaw is exactly right to say that making the encoder run at a higher bit rate will make the camera run hotter. CMOS circuit designs, which modern computers generally use (and certainly any computers designed for high computing power and low electrical power), consume more power and generate more heat when the transistors switch more frequently. Making an encoder produce a higher bit rate leads to more frequent switching: the encoder is doing more work, in the computational sense. (calculations per second)

    But whether the higher temperature exceeds the camera's thermal designs is just speculation. The camera will run hotter than it would as designed, but not necessarily hotter than the design allows for.

    Let's not scrutinize the technical things a marketing guy has said. I give him credit for knowing more than I would have expected him to know.

  • @Ptchaw Care to cite your technical basis for claiming that a high-bitrate hack "is inevitably going to make the camera run hotter than it was originally designed for"? What is this "load" you're speculating about and how are you estimating its power dissipation? Or perhaps by "hotter" you're referring to the GH2's sex appeal?

  • @proaudio4 Don't be too cynical; It may not be overclocking or effecting the sensor, but making the processor run at higher load levels for longer periods of time than it normally would, i.e. as a high-bitrate hack would, is inevitably going to make the camera run hotter than it was originally designed for. However in practice, the cooling may be more than adequate and the effect on lifespan from the stress may well be negligible.

  • uh... What might be true?

    Definately not technically. When these parameters are changed, they will either run within the clock cycle or not. Again, this IS NOT overclocking..period.

  • That might actually be true "TECHNICALLY" speaking. LOL

    For example if you ALWAYS operate you camera in 100˚ F weather then using the hack could shorten the camera or sensor's "average" lifespan from 15 years (or whatever) to about 14 years and 250 days. ;)

    Of course you'll no longer own the camera and in 14 years and 250 days from now you probably won't have an interest in µ4/3 cameras at all by that time. Not to mention that if you actually use your camera the shutter will probably give out looooong before then. And Panasonic of course will not service ANY of their cameras with a busted shutter after about 100 shots or so - According to Panasonic's own service management' statements to me and as written directly in the warrantee.

    But oops... I guess he forgot to mention all those factors. :)

    In the end your camera/sensor is about 99.9999999999% more likely to break from an encounter with cosmic rays than from using different encoding parameters.

  • I'm actually really embarrased for Panasonic for letting this guy even open up his mouth to say anything. When he stated:

    "At the same time, we know the level that the sensors can handle, we know the amount of cooling it's going to take, and to push it past it's limits, you're going to degrade the life expectancy of the product."

    This made me laugh out loud. He obviously does not have the slightest clue. He's acting like the hack is overclocking the processor.... What a nitz