The Panasonic GH2’s own ‘mud-gate’

Above – GH2 circuitry and sensor unit, whole camera exploded view, Photokina Cologne, Germany.

Discuss this and more on our new GH2 forum

When the GH1 was released in 2009, for nearly a year we had a camera with a very poor codec until the hack situation turned this around. Footage would turn to mud on fast motion or whip pans, sometimes even gentle handheld shots depending on the lens aperture and amount of detail in the scene.

For serious use and editing, we wanted to not have the inconvenience of removing an interlaced AVCHD wrapper from the sensor’s native 24p output.

Now the GH2 has 50p and 60p native output on the sensor which is a huge technical achievement and helps reduce rolling shutter. It’s also great for slow mo, as we know with the 720p modes available on the Canon 7D, 550D and GH1.

Unfortunately, the GH2 has a crippled codec in this respect. Initial reports lead us to believe that the camera was recording in 50p and we could get that 50p out of the AVCHD stream after deinterlacing it. But the AVCHD spec does not currently allow for 1080/50p or 60p, amazing though it seems. It has to be interlaced 50i or 60i for greater compatibility with broadcast standards and older HD TVs.

The Panasonic guy I spoke to on day 2 of Photokina says the AVCHD spec is an open standard and modifications are being made to the next spec so that includes 1080/50p and 60p, so we’ll have to wait for the GH3 or the hacked GH2 (if that is possible) in order to get the nice slow mo footage.

Like with all catastrophes, we must give this a ‘gate’ term. Let’s call this one ‘spec-gate’.