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GH1/GH2 Hack


mercer
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This topic gets brought up every once in a while but as I try to decide upon a camera to mess around with in between shooting days, I have found I really like a lot of the old videos I've been seeing from the GH1/GH2 hacks. With those cameras selling for peanuts now on the used market, I thought I may pick one up. 

So, after researching the hacks, it became a back and forth maze of personal view with so many discussions of different patches and possible updates that it became difficult to realize what was the final verdict, since I assume nobody is working on them any longer?

So, if someone in the know could shed some light, I'd be very grateful. I have a couple questions I was hoping somebody here may know the answer to...

1. Did the GH1 mjpeg hack ever get 24p? And is it true the mjpeg is 4:22 on the GH1 but only 4:20 on the GH2?

2. With the GH2, which patch is the best and what settings or features do you guys find to be the most beneficial? Is avchd better than mjpeg on the GH2?

Thanks in advance. 

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4 hours ago, mercer said:

1. Did the GH1 mjpeg hack ever get 24p? And is it true the mjpeg is 4:22 on the GH1 but only 4:20 on the GH2?

I don't recall if it had 24p but the mjepeg 4:2:2 I believe was limited to 720p. I always used the 100mbps Max Latitude patch in AVCHD 1080 and loved it. I always thought the GH1 with that hack had a nice mojo to it:

The camera did have a problem with macro blocking and banding, but as long as you didn't go above iso 500 and nail the exposure/WB you could get a good look with minimal grading. And of course a good lens always helped. This is a test I did for a movie written and directed by my friend Myron Ward (who is in the video) in 2013 that I was going to DP. The project didn't happen, but we did this test with the hacked GH1, Helioss 44m, both flat and anamorphic:

 

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5 hours ago, Matt Kieley said:

I don't recall if it had 24p but the mjepeg 4:2:2 I believe was limited to 720p. I always used the 100mbps Max Latitude patch in AVCHD 1080 and loved it. I always thought the GH1 with that hack had a nice mojo to it:

The camera did have a problem with macro blocking and banding, but as long as you didn't go above iso 500 and nail the exposure/WB you could get a good look with minimal grading. And of course a good lens always helped. This is a test I did for a movie written and directed by my friend Myron Ward (who is in the video) in 2013 that I was going to DP. The project didn't happen, but we did this test with the hacked GH1, Helioss 44m, both flat and anamorphic:

 

Matt, those look really nice... almost analog, with a cool indie vibe. A few months ago, I believe you posted a topic about going back to a hacked GH2 and to be honest I thought it was kinda crazy but the GH2 was never really on my radar, it was too expensive for me when I bought my first camera back in 2012, so I went with the t2i instead.

But after watching your videos and others, I understand the temptation, the hacked GH1/GH2 does have a mojo that seems to be missing from more modern cameras. 

I wouldn't trade my 5D3 for one, but I think it's definitely a camera I may want to have in my tool box, for certain projects.

I lost two auctions yesterday on a mint, hacked GH1 and a GH2. The GH1 went for $110. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't up my maximum bid to $125 or $150.

Was the GH3 better than the hacked GH2?

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FWIW I shot professionally with a hacked GH2 for years, mainly with the Intravenus and Moon patches, and while I certainly liked the quality of that camera's footage, the GX85 I shoot with now is a whole quality level higher across the board. I sold the GH2 after shooting some comparison tests because it wasn’t even close. Panasonic's color science has come a long way in the last few years, and once I saw what was coming OOC with the GX85 the GH2's shortcomings were thrown into stark relief. Skin tone is massively better on the GX85, especially now with the CineD hack. And shooting 4K to export as 1080p gets rid of so much noise I rarely if ever use Neatvideo anymore, while this was a necessary step for any indoor GH2 shoot. I prefer the rangefinder form factor to mini DSLR anyway but ergonomics aside I find the GX85's IQ to be so much better than even the hacked GH2’s 100+MB all-I that I haven’t regretted selling the GH2 for a moment. Everything from video to stills to workflow is better with the GX85.

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2 hours ago, Jon Jacobs said:

FWIW I shot professionally with a hacked GH2 for years, mainly with the Intravenus and Moon patches, and while I certainly liked the quality of that camera's footage, the GX85 I shoot with now is a whole quality level higher across the board. I sold the GH2 after shooting some comparison tests because it wasn’t even close. Panasonic's color science has come a long way in the last few years, and once I saw what was coming OOC with the GX85 the GH2's shortcomings were thrown into stark relief. Skin tone is massively better on the GX85, especially now with the CineD hack. And shooting 4K to export as 1080p gets rid of so much noise I rarely if ever use Neatvideo anymore, while this was a necessary step for any indoor GH2 shoot. I prefer the rangefinder form factor to mini DSLR anyway but ergonomics aside I find the GX85's IQ to be so much better than even the hacked GH2’s 100+MB all-I that I haven’t regretted selling the GH2 for a moment. Everything from video to stills to workflow is better with the GX85.

I had the G7 and the GX85 and although I agree they're great cameras and probably more useful for professional work, I feel they lack some of the "mojo" I'm looking for in a kick around camera. I'm a hobbyist so half the fun is pushing the camera around to see what it can do... or better yet what I can do with it.

I have a better camera for what I consider more serious work that I do, the GH1/GH2 will just be for fun. Which patch did you like better? I've seen some nice videos with the Moon patch. But it seems like Sanity X and Flowmotion 2.02 were the most used. 

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5 hours ago, Jon Jacobs said:

FWIW I shot professionally with a hacked GH2 for years, mainly with the Intravenus and Moon patches, and while I certainly liked the quality of that camera's footage, the GX85 I shoot with now is a whole quality level higher across the board. I sold the GH2 after shooting some comparison tests because it wasn’t even close. Panasonic's color science has come a long way in the last few years, and once I saw what was coming OOC with the GX85 the GH2's shortcomings were thrown into stark relief. Skin tone is massively better on the GX85, especially now with the CineD hack. And shooting 4K to export as 1080p gets rid of so much noise I rarely if ever use Neatvideo anymore, while this was a necessary step for any indoor GH2 shoot. I prefer the rangefinder form factor to mini DSLR anyway but ergonomics aside I find the GX85's IQ to be so much better than even the hacked GH2’s 100+MB all-I that I haven’t regretted selling the GH2 for a moment. Everything from video to stills to workflow is better with the GX85.

 

I own a GX85 myself and OOC color is much better than from my G6.

Still, so much awesome GH2 footage and many great looking shorts on vimeo, but only very few pretty clips with the GX85, no shortfilms so far.

And, GX85 has underwhelming HD.

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3 hours ago, dbp said:

Sanity X and Flowmotion were both great, a solid balance between quality, file sizes and reliability. 

Good to know, thanks. A lot of hacked cameras pop up on eBay, so if I find one that's already been hacked, it may make my decision to buy one or not easier...

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On 7/30/2017 at 0:34 AM, mercer said:

Matt, those look really nice... almost analog, with a cool indie vibe. A few months ago, I believe you posted a topic about going back to a hacked GH2 and to be honest I thought it was kinda crazy but the GH2 was never really on my radar, it was too expensive for me when I bought my first camera back in 2012, so I went with the t2i instead.

But after watching your videos and others, I understand the temptation, the hacked GH1/GH2 does have a mojo that seems to be missing from more modern cameras. 

Thanks! I actually got the GH1 because I couldn't afford the GH2. I got it from someone on dvxuser for like $300 in 2011. I kinda want a GH1 when I go back and look at older work, but it might be more out of nostalgia.

3 hours ago, kidzrevil said:

@Matt Kieley damn those look good. Goes to show you...these old cameras still go hard !

Thanks man!

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I understand the “mojo” thing. Mojo is vaguely undefinable, unquantifiable personality due to artifacting. Lots of audiophiles prefer gear with added “mojo” like tube amps, turntables, wacky accessories, etc. Nothing wrong with this preference for more rather than less artifacting until people start describing mojo as being somehow better, or closer to the source. 

The reason I prefer the image from the GX85 to even the best hacked GH2 is because the GX85, especially with CineD, comes closer to a modern digital cinema camera look. Much closer. The hacked GH2, no matter what patch you use, has a look, definitely. Whether you prefer it or not, whether you call it “mojo” or simply less well-evolved color science, is your prerogative. But for me, I far prefer the cleaner and more tonally natural footage of the GX85. Comparing Vimeo clips is meaningless. Apples and oranges. I defy anyone to shoot a controlled comparison of the same subject in the same room, as I did, with the two cameras and come away preferring the hacked GH2. Unless of course you don't care for a cleaner and more color accurate image, and are looking for more “mojo” to add character and “filmic” to your hobby of playing with cameras and trying to make short Vimeo clips look like someone's idea of exaggerated 80s film stock.

 

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@Jon Jacobs, That you´ve been shooting the GH2 professionally is a testament to you and the camera. Have you been shooting GX85 professionally? Would you

have the chance to post an example of professional work for each, the GH2 and the Gx85? I think it´s in the nature of filmmaking to appreciate the work and achievements of others.

Much talent has posted their work on vimeo to be seen by a public audience. GH2 is showing off quiete a body of work done with it. GX85 close to none so far.

HD is bad compared to G6 or GH2. Motiion cadence is murky with pans and tilts compared to my G6. Maybe my GX cam is faulty in that regard. OOC color is nice, that´s right, lowlight too.

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54 minutes ago, PannySVHS said:

@Jon Jacobs, Much talent has posted their work on vimeo to be seen by a public audience. GH2 is showing off quiete a body of work done with it. GX85 close to none so far.

I might be new to video, but I know this syndrome from stills. No. This is a common mistake when evaluating cameras - comparing examples without allowing for the skill of the typical user. Bitd, the GH2 was a hot camera for elite innovative shooters. The GX85 is mostly bought by civilians. Skill is the main factor in image quality - and supporting hardware like lenses and lights are often the second. I shoot a Sigma Merrill for a lot of stills work and if you looked at their flickrs, you'd think that the Merrill is 10x the camera the GX80 is for stills. And the Merrill is better - at low ISO - but with the same shooter the difference is more like 1.5x. The Merrill attracts attracts fanatics and its such a pain that only the most determined shoot their cameras instead of selling them. You really can't compare bodies by looking at what the average user achieves - not when users are completely unalike. As JJ already said, so I don't see the point in bringing up this argument.

Also, it really seems to be the case that with the GX80 you have buy a big SD, shoot in 4K and supersample the image down on your PC if you want HD. Which is still a lot cheaper than buying a GH2 was back when and was always going to be the best way to shoot HD, so really, what's the problem?

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I would opt for the GH2 over the 1...I still shoot with mine regularly...though the features seem like ancient technology now, to my eye...2K/4K...the image is unequalled...I carry four small capacity SD cards in a little Pelican case with the Drewnet T9 Long GOP (my personal favorite), flow motion, Spitz and the EOSHD Vanilla hack...and the only card that works with all of these is the Sandisk Extreme Pro U3 95mbps...this essentially gives you four phenomenal options with the Vanilla hack giving the most reliability...I've yet to have a single failure with any of the four mentioned though, and L Powell has done some amazing versions too.

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29 minutes ago, Fritz Pierre said:

I would opt for the GH2 over the 1...I still shoot with mine regularly...though the features seem like ancient technology now, to my eye...2K/4K...the image is unequalled...I carry four small capacity SD cards in a little Pelican case with the Drewnet T9 Long GOP (my personal favorite), flow motion, Spitz and the EOSHD Vanilla hack...and the only card that works with all of these is the Sandisk Extreme Pro U3 95mbps...this essentially gives you four phenomenal options with the Vanilla hack giving the most reliability...I've yet to have a single failure with any of the four mentioned though, and L Powell has done some amazing versions too.

Hey Fritz, thanks for the tip. Obviously, I am not trying to say that people should shoot with a GH1/GH2 instead of a modern 4K camera by Panasonic or any other maker. Unless they want to. I'm in need of a second camera, because quite honestly... I enjoy effing around with cameras. I tried to go back to the GX85 and was unimpressed and sent it back and remembered why I didn't like it the first time I had it. Obviously it's not a bad camera, it just isn't the look I want for the task and to me, it's kind of neither here nor there.

I'm still considering an Olympus E-M5 Mark ii as my eff around camera because I do like the IBIS, but $700 is pretty steep for an eff around camera.

So since I really love the look(s) that were obtained with the GH2, I figured it would be fun to give it a try since I never owned one.

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Slightly (or a bit more) sarcastic and apodictic tone of Jon Jacobs - to quote: "looking for more “mojo” to add character and “filmic” to your hobby of playing with cameras and trying to make short Vimeo clips look like someone's idea of exaggerated 80s film stock" - doesn't mean anything more than also subjective prejudice. In comparison with high capable GH2 hacks, for me GX8 has some problems with roll-ofs, in-camera done saturation, noise reduction and exaggerate sharpening, which in result may looks "cleaner" in 4k to HD conversion. Some of GH2 hack matrices successfully in great amount take away sharpening and noise-reduction artefacts, leaving futages in some sort of prores or even pseudoraw stadium that could be lately more sharpen.

@Mercer My greatest problem with GH2 always was high noise in any low-light situation and vulnerable DR. So, for me Canis Majoris is hack with highest efficiency in clever reduction of shadow noise. One of the late, or maybe the latest hack by master with nickname Apefos make, imho, sublimation of all others efforts. He even provide appropriate grading luma curves and, if needs, NeatVideo presets. Look to personalview site.

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3 hours ago, mercer said:

Hey Fritz, thanks for the tip. Obviously, I am not trying to say that people should shoot with a GH1/GH2 instead of a modern 4K camera by Panasonic or any other maker. Unless they want to. I'm in need of a second camera, because quite honestly... I enjoy effing around with cameras. I tried to go back to the GX85 and was unimpressed and sent it back and remembered why I didn't like it the first time I had it. Obviously it's not a bad camera, it just isn't the look I want for the task and to me, it's kind of neither here nor there.

I'm still considering an Olympus E-M5 Mark ii as my eff around camera because I do like the IBIS, but $700 is pretty steep for an eff around camera.

So since I really love the look(s) that were obtained with the GH2, I figured it would be fun to give it a try since I never owned one.

@mercer...the GH2 gives a ridiculously good image...lol...there's little to touch it at any price in my opinion...and although old it's easy to shoot with...depending on what you shoot though, it can eat the data, but as you already shoot in RAW, I think it's a no brainer for you...I will say the thicker files in the GH5 is easier to grade to your 5D than the GH2...you should check out enough clips to see if it would work for you, as grading the 5D to the GH2, may be the easier workflow, but not give you the look you need/want...the movie Musgo was shot on the GH2 which I love the look of, as was Mandorla...I would suggest you check out the trailers to see if you like it. I would also add that as another camera, one in good nick picked up for 300 to 350 would give you great value for your money....not the camera for unskilled shooters, but you'd get great results if you like the look from the samples...

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