GH2 hack footage – 42Mbit AVCHD 1080/24p

The GH2 is already a lot of bang for the buck. This hack has made it a bonafide plastic explosive!

In the latest hack released today Vitaliy has enabled high bitrate AVCHD in 1080/24p cinema mode for the first time. These represent the first image quality improvements for the hacked GH2. What does it look like? Watch the video above to find out.

I shot this mostly at ISO 1600 and 3200 with the Samyang 35mm F1.4. I ran out of the door within about an hour of Vitaliy releasing the new hack, so excited was I to find out what the image is like and I shot through the night. Well the good news is that 42Mbit on the GH2 is lovely. It also seems very stable, much more so than the GH1 was in 44Mbit AVCHD mode.

First impressions of 42Mbit 1080p on the GH2 are:

  • Noise now has a lovely film like fine grain, much more organic and less electronic looking
  • Noise smears far less detail
  • Low light performance is just better all round
  • Less compression appears to have helped with banding on gradated tones, looks closer to 10bit than 8bit!
  • Significantly better than the high bitrate MJPEG mode especially in low light
  • Colour seems improved, I am getting some beautifully rich tones out of it
  • Detail has increased and is much more solid looking, even with heavy camera movement

Currently the only real bug is that the first half a second of each clip is corrupt but this will of course be fixed soon.

You might remember just over a year ago, the GH1 hack began to achieve results. Vitaliy gave the GH1 a huge boost in image quality and fixed the dodgy encoder.

The encoder on the GH2 is far more advanced. In the new PTools there’s a ton of new options to experiment with and test, mostly to do with AVCHD. It may be that in this release a tester also finds the secret to 1080/60p so stay tuned.

If you haven’t done so already please donate to Vitaliy’s mission to bring us a Sony F35 rivalling sub $1000 plastic explosive.

How to apply the hack

  1. The hack software PTools, is a Windows app. If you are a Mac not a PC, you will need virtualisation software to run the app (download PTools from http://www.gh1-hack.info/wiki/PToolSoftware). I use VMWare and a ISO image of Windows XP. It’s probably easier to use WineBottler.
  2. Open ‘PTools.exe’ and load the GH2 firmware file GH2__V10.bin (get it from http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/330/new-gh2-firmware-leak)
  3. Select version increment in PTools, set it to 10 and make sure the box is ticked
  4. Under AVCHD Movie Mode select Video Bitrate 24H and set it to the suggested value 42000000. Set Video Bitrate 24L to 35000000.
  5. Select other patches with your own free will, but ignore the Tester Patches with the pirate icon unless you want to help with testing and experimenting.
  6. Now save the firmware, call it GH2__V10 or GH2__V11, copy that file to your SD card and insert it into the GH2.
  7. You will need a battery with at least 2 marks left on the on-screen indicator, do not use a power source AC adapter.
  8. Turn on the GH2, enter playback mode and an option to update the camera should appear.
  9. Wait for the camera to update and you’re done.
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