Panasonic GH2 native 24p footage resolving greater resolution than Canon 7D and 5D Mark II

The first native 24p footage has been put on the web by Polish camera review website Optyczne.

The .MTS AVCHD file comes direct from the camera unaltered.

First of all, what I find amazing is that none of the mainstream sites who have Panasonic GH2 review samples have yet done a basic comparison with the Panasonic GH1. DPReview has some ISO samples but no comparison. No proper reviews yet either. Obviously it takes a lot longer for these bloated mainstream sites to deliver basic comparative photos and videos than I realised.

So let’s come at this via the back-door for now and see what the trained eye can spot.

First of all, it appears to be more compressed than the 44Mbit AVCHD on the hacked GH1. It’s not quite as clean despite the much better implementation of AVCHD.

I didn’t get a chance to grab any Cinema 24p footage at Photokina (it was in 1080i mode the whole time) so this time I’ve been able to analyse the raw AVCHD file in StreamParser 2.0… The good news is that it is truly native, no interlaced wrapper, and B-frames are present, so no more mud. But it doesn’t quite have the flawlessness to it that 44Mbit brings to the GH1.

If you play the file in VLC Player, it reports the frame rate as 47fps but I assume that’s incorrect. StreamParser says that it’s 1080/24p.

Optyczne also have available to download some in-camera slow mo and speeded up footage, but VLC Player has trouble playing it back – who know’s what it’s like to edit! Whilst on the subject of slow motion I think Panasonic should have enabled 60p recording in 1080p mode as an option at least, despite the AVCHD spec (which needs updating pronto). Curiously the Panasonic TM600 prosumer camcorder has 1080/60p. So why does the GH2 lack it despite having a sensor capable for it? Maybe the image processors are not yet up to speed enough to handle that amount of detail coming back from the sensor, so throws half the frames away and interlaces the footage.

Quite noticeable to the bare eye from a simple once over in VLC Player on my Mac is that the resolution resolved from the sensor has gone up from the GH1, despite the lower compression bitrate. Obviously the new image processors are doing a better job of scaling the sensor to 1080p and not throwing away quite so much image information. That much is obvious, no pixel peeping required.

We’re still not sure yet what the sensor output is in Native 24p Cinema Mode. It could be 50p and dropping frames, or it could actually be 24p on the sensor as well which would cause issues in 25p PAL land. Let’s wait and see on that one!

The GH1 always did have the edge on Canon’s DSLRs (in good light and at low ISOs) for per-pixel sharpness and resolution but now the GH2 has gone and put some clear distance between Canon and Panasonic. So now the humble $900 GH2 has the best compression and best resolution of any DSLR, it is time Mr Canon to catch up…

Download Notes

You will need to ‘right click and save as’ to obtain the binary .MTS files otherwise your browser may attempt to download them as ASCII code, or you may download it from my Vimeo account here to save stressing Optyczne’s server bandwidth.