My first look at the Gh2…Clean HDMI out?!

30
Sep
2010
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Today, amidst the disaster zone that is my house thanks to the WORST kind of cowboy builder who took my money and did sod all work, in fact did worse than that, he created work, quit 3 weeks in and left my house in a dangerous state with exposed still connected gas pipes, but more of that another time, don’t get me started on a rant!…I got two new cameras on loan from Panasonic and Canon today. Some good news…shame I have to give them back! The GH2 from Panasonic and the 60D from Canon.

I know the Canon has been out for a week or so and there are some reviews on it but I still want to give my opinion on it. I will do this asap, it’s basically a better T2i with a lovely articulated screen and with some better features than the 7D… a mid market camera…more to come soon.

The Gh2 is very interesting, it’s much improved over the Gh1 but the 24mbs bit rate is only available in 24p mode. The 25p mode is still the inadequate 17mbs mode. I told the guys there today they need to fix that as in Europe we need 25p bit rate equal to the 24mbps. I know a lot of people have the Gh1 with the hack with crazy high bit rate. This I can tell you straight off will not be as good as that in bit rate terms but it does out perform the GH1 in low light straight away. It also has a myriad of new features that I will go into when I actually review it properly. There are manual audio controls and levels on the screen whilst recording, although they cannot be adjusted whilst recording and there is no headphone jack and it has a sort of in camera over and undercranking, albeit in a very consumer-esque way…

A big improvement is you can now use a monitor whilst recording with the Gh2, before when you hit record it switched off. Now this is where it gets interesting. The LCD screen stays on when the monitor is being used. Something the Canons cannot do, a MASSIVE plus BUT can you record onto something like a Nanoflash or a Kipro using this? Yes and no…The HDMI is completely clean if you press the display button a couple of times but is 1080i 50i (on EU model, 60i on US model) until you hit record, then it goes to 1080p 24p but with a record symbol and a timer. Damn! I told Panasonic straight off that I need that to go off please. So Panasonic PLEASE with the production model can you put this in? The one I am using is a pre-production model. It can’t be hard to add this in the final firmware? We all want it so please please please please please pleaseplease please pleaseplease please pleaseplease please pleaseplease please please PLEASE add it! Ideally please can we have a menu option for HDMI display so we can keep the useful graphics on the internal screen and have clean on the HDMI, I am convinced it would be very easy and this feature alone would be worth the upgrade from the GH1 and would turn it into a VERY powerful little movie making machine!

Clean 1080i 50i before hitting record

But hit record and you get a record symbol and a timer

Whilst live monitoring before record on the EU camera we have 1080i 50i

Hit record and we have lovely 1080p 24p BUT it's not completely clean...

The 3D refers to a a twin optical lens 3d lens that is coming out soon, stills only

The upcoming 3d lens for stills only

I haven’t shot anything with it yet so this is not a review, that will come. There are so many cool features and improvements. It’s just a shame about that HDMI…then of course the new AG-AF100 will have clean Hd-SDI out and many of the other features we want but it costs 4 or 5 times as much as it a proper video camera, I will be getting my hands on one very soon according to Panny… in the meantime the Gh2 looks pretty promising. As a new Leica M9 owner with some nice lenses and a micro four thirds adaptor i have some absolutely pucker glass to use on this camera as well as the lovely 7-14mm wide angle from Panny and a nice Nikon adaptor from Fotodiox…Give me some time and I will see just how much better it is than the Gh1, especially against the hacked GH1 (although it’s not possible to buy a GH1 now and hack it as the firmware prevents it…)

The articulated screen is very nice, it’s touch screen too, oh and it has an EVF…no costly additional expense needed here and it’s works well, I am not sure but I think it is higher resolution than the GH1 one…anyway that’s enough for now. Had the most stressful of few days trying to get home from the US and my “builder” destroying my house. Got a lot to sort out and am back in the US on Wednesday for the Vimeo awards. Blimey. I need a clone or two please! Canon? Panasonic? Can you help me there? I don’t mind it I have  bit of rolling shutter or moire! :)

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Comments

  1. Andrew Reid says:

    Very interesting find with the HDMI output, and great for monitoring on sets! That flashing record icon and timer is a DODDLE to remove for Panasonic. They have to do it!! Will it hurt AF100 sales, to have a GH2 recording to Nanoflash? Only they can decide… but they have taken us this far… that final step cannot be too much to ask for! Thank you for the info Philip and cheers for putting a good ‘please’ or 10 in Panasonic’s ear.

  2. Human bean says:

    Oh, to have your problems Philip. I think anyone would love to be your clone.

    1. pbloom says:

      I would not wish it on anyone. Trust me! :)

  3. Ben Bunch says:

    Hmmm…well you could do HDMI out and crop to anamorphic to get rid of the recording icon.

  4. Owen Tanner says:

    A name and shame of those builders would be a good way to go if you ask me!

  5. Lukasz says:

    I’m really liking my GF1… Just bought it to replace my D80 I sold. Curious about how well the GH2 is going to perform and I look forward to seeing a full review of it!

    btw… Tried to sign in with twitter and it spit this at me:

    Catchable fatal error: Object of class WP_Error could not be converted to string in /home/philip/public_html/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2772

  6. Jim Cutler says:

    Phil how can you possibly be back home so fast? I’m thinking a return that fast left you no time to explore all the camera stores in Allentown, PA..if there are any. :) Hope you had a good flight back after the 7 hours to JFK.

    Jim Cutler

  7. Espen says:

    That is really interesting! Looking forward to seeing your review.

    Any chance you could get your hands on a Nikon D7000 and do a review on that as well? Would be great to get your take on it.

    1. pbloom says:

      Afraid not. I have ZERO Nikon contacts…Nikon, if you are reading this…

  8. SVecher says:

    Philip, by all accounts there is no 25p on GH2. There is interlaced 50i, but who needs that? Maybe you can do a little more wispering in Panasonic’s ear …

    1. pbloom says:

      there is, but it’s 17mbps …only on EU version no US version

      1. Henry says:

        I’m a little confused now. Panasonic have different specs on their official UK site; no mention of 25p.

        http://www.panasonic.co.uk/html/en_GB/Products/LUMIX+Digital+Cameras/G+Micro+System/DMC-GH2/Specification/5979999/index.html?trackInfo=true

    2. isn’t it possible to have the 25p embedded in to 1080 50i? just have two interlaced frames with are the from the same moment in time sliced into the 50i. and when playback it looks like 25p because that how much information is actually displayed.

  9. Michael says:

    Is there any reason why that 3D lens couldn’t be used for video? You’d have to do some fancy post processing to convert the image, but shouldn’t it still be possible?

    1. pbloom says:

      cause it would need to record in a special way and it cannot…the images are saves as special files not jpegs. video would need same.

      1. Marc says:

        How about a time lapse 3D?

        1. pbloom says:

          i don’t see why not

      2. Ryan Sheffer says:

        It seems that Panasonic would have to intentionally stop you from creating a side-by-side 3d video. It would make sense that this lens attached to any m4/3 camera would create a side-by-side video that after effects or the tim dashwood plugin could make 3d with the click of a button.

        Side-by-side is also the most useful 3d recording format.

  10. Clean HDMI is so needed for pro res recording with the Atomos Ninja when it comes out! Don’t even need to press record on the camera, as long as it keeps running the hdmi feed, do you know if there is timeout on the live-view HDMI Philip?
    http://atomos.com/

  11. Robert says:

    Just sold my hacked GH1 on ebay for 200 bucks more then I bought it used for.
    The low light was the problem, the build was bad and the biggest concern was that AVCHA codec which drove me crazy. The new Composer takes it in natively but you first must transfer to the hard drive then take it in, could be hours of work depending on the amount of footage you have. Canon I just drag and drop. Shot some video at the Grand Canyon and it was crazy good, but again to many negatives. Looking to buy a 7D as I am going to shoot a Doritos superbowl commercial on it. BTW I am the dead guy at the end of Fool Circle video that won for Canon Behind the Still contest.

    1. Ben Bunch says:

      You really shouldn’t be drag and dropping your canon footage…it’s H.264, basically the same as Panasonic AVCHD, and should always be transcoded to a codec like ProRes prior to editing.

  12. Robert says:

    Oh yeah I feel for you with your house. I had a house fire last year and lost my Avid, computer, software and editing furniture. If he has a license you can call the license board and have it taken away. Keep trucking on your house!

  13. Marc says:

    Hi Phil, I have a nice ANGENIEUX 25mm 0.95 C-mount lens. Beautiful! But there is a bit of vignetting. When you get a chance, can you report back on the new feature called “Digital Zoom” ( it is an independent function from EX. OPTICAL ZOOM
    Ex. Tele Conv is indeed 1:1 mode. The Extra Tele Conversion function virtually extends the zoom range up to 2.6x” Its reported to be “variable?”

    ,let us know if you can set the Digital Zoom to say 10% or so, or if its limited to the 2.6x?

    Then I can use my C-lenses with impunity:-)

    Peace out!!!

    Also, everyone at the GH-1 Hack Forum are wondering if the full 1:1 digital zoom (2.6x) holds up, or looks like crap. There should be no moire or banding at 1:1 pixel recoding at 1080p.

  14. Bernardo says:

    Hi Phill. I’m specially interested in a low light side by side comparison GH1/GH2, that will help me decide if the upgrade is worth it. Hopefully they solved the horrible banding problem of the GH1’s sensor. Good luck fixing your house by the way!

    1. pbloom says:

      I will check them out!

  15. Shawn B says:

    Hey Philip.

    Man thanks for taking the time to do the mini review.
    Please can you test the rolling shutter/Slew issue.
    Im curious to see if there is an improvement there.

    Thanks bro
    Shawn :)

  16. Tomer says:

    No 25p and no clean HDMI out- I ain’t buyin’ it. Simple as that.
    Hi Panasonic- you do the maths. Proud PAL GH1 owner.

  17. Mike says:

    Do you have a positive or negative overall opinion of in-camera EVFs opposed to the optical ones (for both stills and video)? Some of the new cameras like the Sony a33/a55 have one million-pixel EVFs, and I was wondering if this was more of a real trend or more of a fad.

    Also, do you have an opinion of Sony DSLRs in general? I know that they have been lacking in the lens department, but they seem poised to release a bunch of lenses in the next few years.

    1. pbloom says:

      Hi Mike. Not tried these new optical EVFs..they sound interesting but of course as it’s not liveview it’s much more like operating a film camera so you won’t see depth of field etc, shutter motion or ability to zoom in digitally for focus…

      Never shot with Sony DSLR. I do have the NEX3 and 5 and they are ok…

  18. JoeJITSU says:

    Phillip,
    I see that you already tested the 60D and GH2. I am looking for a lowlight camera that I will be using for the nightclubs here in Vegas. My hacked gh1’s are not cutting it…even with fast lens. I am debating on the 60D, GH2, 7D or 5DM2. any advice from you would be greatly appreciated. I am a Big Fan btw

    1. pbloom says:

      I haven’t tested them both yet. 5dmk2 is best for low light out of all for sure. gh2 still does not come close and 60d is much like 7d

      1. Pascal D. says:

        For this kind of use, nightclubs, I would look at also the D3S, really better in low light for me…

      2. Peter says:

        hi Philip,

        What do you think about the new Sony a33 and 55? It has autofocus while recording video… :/

        Peter

        1. pbloom says:

          afraid i have no idea!

  19. Jay Birch says:

    Nice blog… the HDMI out could be a huge bonus (without the red dot).

    They should not worry about people not buying the AF100 due to such a feature…

    1) The AF100 has such a raft of pro feature, HD-SDI out is just one.
    2) Alot of people will buy both.
    3) Getting people onto the 4/3 ladder and the huge profit in lens sales should be the real key to success.

    Phil, if you get a chance on your main review… a little info on the zoom/crop mode would be great.

    1. pbloom says:

      yeah that zoom crop sounds great.

  20. David Charry says:

    I’m going to be shooting a short film (most likely on DSLR) in a few months, but the dealbreaker is probably going to be the monitoring.
    I want to make sure I understand this– The 7D monitors well, correct?
    I’ve heard a lot of things all over the place about monitoring each camera, and I want to make sure I make a good choice.

    1. pbloom says:

      yes it’s fine…but you lose the LCD screen when you plug a monitor in…

      1. David Charry says:

        Using an HDMI splitter, I could hook up a monitor for the 1st AC and Camera Operator, while still having one for the Director, right? So losing the little LCD screen isn’t necessarily that big of a loss?

        1. pbloom says:

          Agreed it will work fine with a HDMI splitter as long as you aren’t handheld then it gets tricky…make sure HDMI splitter is powered.

  21. STR says:

    Thanks for the interesting report Phil – it does seem like it would be a breeze to remove / strip out of the firmware for Panasonic… cant wait to hear about the AG AF100…

    P.Bloom mk2 now with clean hdmi out – he could stay back and make a short of all the building work that went wrong.

    sounds like you have an insane calander Phil – u should have a touring / travel calendar on your site like a band !

    Hope everything gets sorted for you – cheers for the GH2 report – much appreciated.

  22. Lu says:

    Your reno experience instantly reminded me of Fawlty Towers!
    The worst part – your home port…your nest … is “unwell”.

    Hope they set it straight ASAP without you being forced to
    mix some extra concrete – ha! ;)

    Excellent info about the G2.
    When the 60D is available…I’ll be back.

  23. Mark fry says:

    Use that good low light capability to show us some of the devastation of your flat especially the dark corners so we can judge the FPN. The wonderful width and clarity of the 7-14mm coupled with the touch screen to quickly focus should do you up a treat….Just don’t talk too much about the 17Mbs 25p or you might suffer the wrath of the “Pal”istanis”

    Mark

    it sound like you need Mike homes

    1. tipota says:

      Don’t want to appear as first mullah of PAListan, but 25 p only with 17 Mps is really what sets our turbans to fire currently. And has made me not to pre-order a GH2 body immediately. And I wanted to test it with my already pre-ordered 25 mm Voigtlaender f 0.95.

      And: Shall we poor PAListanis really shoot 24 p in an environment with 50 Hz electrical grid? What is the Japanese expression for “pumping” or “flickering”? Can somebody please translate this from PAListany to Japanese for the Panasonic people?

      1. Marc says:

        Re: Flicker problems of 24p vs. a 50Hz grid, I’d think Japanese makers would be about as tuned into this as anybody, as Japan uses NTSC, but the entire Eastern half of the country (where Tokyo is) is on a 50Hz power grid. (The other half is 60Hz.) So they’re pretty much doomed to flicker issues either way.

        Unrelated, seriously considering a GH2 in lieu of a new camcorder, so all these mini reviews are hugely appreciated.

  24. Richard says:

    Hi Phil!

    A few questions.

    First off, are you rating it?

    Secondly, do you know what frame rates this thing does? If you read UK Panasonic, they imply that this records 1080 60p or 50p. But then it mentions something about interlacing it afterward. Why would thy do that??? Another site says something about it only recording 50/60p at 720 res. Then another one mentions something about 120fps, but I think that is relating to the AF.

    Thirdly, is there a PAL NTSC difference? It’s just that once again, the US are getting this camera crazy cheap in comparison to us. $662 at Amazon US or £899 at Amazon UK. If there is no difference, I’ll be buying it in the US. Hell I could buy two!

    I thin that’s all for now.

    Cheers Phil! You’re rad!

    1. pbloom says:

      yes there is a difference between PAL and NTSC, shame. but both have the 24mbps 24p mode.

  25. Vince says:

    Wondering how the fixed pattern noise/banding is in low light. If it’s gone, definitely worth the buy for me. I love the GH13 and have worked around the FPN, but it’d be nice to know it doesn’t show up on the GH2.

  26. stonebat says:

    i’m concerned about usable iso limit with the extra tele conversion.

    2.6x magnification implies almost 7 times smaller sensor “area”…

    can u please test the feature with iso 400 or higher? thanks in advance.

  27. Martin Oller says:

    GH13, GH2, AF100… same brand and still exciting… guess it’s a certain lameness to actually drag in AF100 (and hey the Panny folks will probably blacklist you if you actually compare image quality of their new effort with a hacked product, lol…) But seriously though, some opinions in GH13 vs. GH2 and GH2 vs. AF100 is totally legit and the vast majority here expects some ol’ school honest opinions from Mr. Bloom. (And let’s be real, most of us won’t have the change to test all 3 cameras, even if not comparing directly to each other)

  28. Mark fry says:

    Well it seems to me….. as if the “Phamous Philip Bloom” shall then lead hia fellow palistanis to the promised land of flicker freedom and Mbit parity… Get that man head gear and a staff…and prepare bow to the East

    Mark

  29. Mark fry says:

    Now that would be a fun project to shoot….

  30. Mark fry says:

    Hey wait a minute what about mr Hilter we know he wont be happy either!!

    1. tipota says:

      Mr. Hilter? Don’t mention the war, please!

  31. Jaap says:

    Indeed, it’s already hard enough to ”battle” the aliasing and rolling shutter etc. ;)

  32. Marco says:

    Hi Philip!
    Do you know if the AV out of the GH2 will shut off as soon as you plug in a jack?
    I’m asking because if AV out would be possible while recording, then it might be possible to make a converter to use the AV out for headphone monitoring…?

    1. pbloom says:

      what do you mean?

      1. Henry Olonga says:

        Hey Phil.Small request and this is not tedious. Could you do a proper daylit HDMI nanoflash test soon with fast lenses without pressign record? That is the most intriguing part of the cam for many.Perhaps even offer the unedited Nano file? Many thanks.

      2. Marco says:

        Hi Philip! My question is: Is it possible to use the AV OUT of the GH2 for audio monitoring?
        Thanks.

  33. Mark says:

    Hi,
    When will you post more about your experience with camera? Are you embargoed to a certain date? Are you just too busy with other things? Speaking for myself, I’m very excited about this camera and want to hear more about it ASAP! Come on!! Test the camera already!

    1. pbloom says:

      as soon as i can….

  34. Zamani Feelings says:

    Phillip. Thanks for the information on the GH2. I am new to the DSLR world and right now I have a Panasonic G10. Im debating between the T2I, the GH2 and possibly purchasing the 5D. I noticed that aside from the greater depth of field available with the 5D due to the larger sensor that images appear to be rounder or more 3 dimensional, especially faces. I am primarily interested in shooting portraits (still and moving) and the 5D seems outstanding in that respect, although the 1D seems to be slightly better with respect to the stills. I also wish the 5D shot at a faster frame rate for occasional sports action I might want to shoot. Is it my imagination of do the images in the 5D seem more full?

  35. Peter Smith says:

    Hi Phil, I do not see a problem with 24p. 24p and 50i are ideal for blu ray and I can convert it simply in 25p. The time delay of one frame is not noticeably.

  36. @Marco: On the GH1, the USB/AV output can drive some headphones (I use it with Sennheiser HD280 Pro), but only during playback of course, not during recording.

    You don’t need a special converter, you just need the appropriate plug adapters to use with the cable supplied with the camera by Panasonic. A combination of plugs/adapters such as stereo female-RCA-to-female-3.5mm (1/8″).

    The question for Mr. Bloom is whether the GH2’s USB/AV output (audio and/or video) is live during preview or recording? And do you have to do the trick like with the GH1 (hold the Trash button down for several seconds) to enable it? Thanks in advance.

  37. joe g. says:

    Phillip–

    You COULD put the contact info for Panasonic developer people up at the top so we could tell them to put clean HDMI output in the camera.

  38. Dean Rovira says:

    Hi Phil,

    I’m wondering if I will be able to do interview shooting with the new GH2. I watched the short video you made in the states where you recorded I think using a Canon controlled by software on your laptop. Fantastic results and something I would like to try when I get my GH2.

    Thanks in advance.

    Dean

    1. pbloom says:

      i dont see why not.

  39. Vitaliy is our only savior, C’mon panny!, you gots the mojo factor, now just give us the functionalities we need : )

  40. Matt P says:

    According to Panasonic it’s not got 25p, just 50i and 24p (in the PAL model), which sucks for us European users!

    I wonder if you accidentally read 25p wrong as maybe it said 25i? Unless you had a Bloom-exclusive version with 25p, lol!

  41. Paddy says:

    Hi Phillip, I was very interested when you mentioned the Leica M adapter and using those lenses on the GH2 – have you tested them?
    I hear the adapter gives a 2x magnification! that could turn my 90mm F2 from a portrait to a tele!

  42. Bernardo says:

    Adding something to the test wish list:

    I’ve heard there’s a crop mode to use a smaller portion of the sensor without loosing resolution, this will be great to get rid of the vignettes when using tv lenses.

    Hopefully you’ll have some free time to show this.

  43. Henry Olonga says:

    Phil – two weeks and no test – this is not like you. You must be really busy or planning on doing something really special with this camera. Quick question – can the GH2 work with the Nanoflash?

    1. pbloom says:

      I won’t be publishing footage yet as the camera is too buggy. so it will be delayed am afraid.

  44. Oded Helman says:

    Hey Philip

    I’m Film student, and I want to buy a DSLR to shoot film, buy like a typical student, I’m on a budget.

    I was thinking about getting the 550D(T2i) but this Gh2 looks interesting, which would you recommend?

    Thanks

    1. pbloom says:

      the gh2 is still pre-production so tough for me to recommend something yet..

  45. strillogy says:

    I’m having a hard time deciding between the gh2 and 60d. I owned a hacked gh1 and love it, but I need another dslr to work with (for interviews, documentaries, etc). What would you recommend Philip?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      until i get a fully working gh2 i cant advise sorry..

  46. charles says:

    question about the GH2 – will it feed hdmi to a monitor for director while leaving the LCDVF or LCD on for the operator.

  47. Sanjin Jukic says:

    HDMI out while it’s recording is clean without any icons.

    GH2 HDMI out as seen on an HDTV>>> http://vimeo.com/16554089

    by Richard Travis.

  48. Sanjin Jukic says:

    Also: “You can have the menus on HDMI out but you can also switch them off.”

    Vitaliy Kiselev: GH2 official discussion thread>>>>http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?223622-GH2-official-discussion-thread

  49. Zach says:

    Philip when will you be getting your testing model?

      1. Zach says:

        Sweeeeeet!! Review anytime soon??

        1. Philip Bloom says:

          as soon as i can…

  50. Zach says:

    Awesome! Thanks!

    Quick one word answer, do you think if unable to be hacked, the bitrate can hold it’s own with this version of AVCHD?

  51. john says:

    if it wouldnt be too much to ask, would you mind sharing the brand name or place where you get your lens adapters. i have been combing your blog and the most coverage i have been able to find seems to be only on the 7D dvd – where you are mounting nikon glass on your 7D. i have found that some have optics (which appear to make them longer) of varying qualities and prices, while the one you use don the DVD was the mere sliver of metal without optics. i assume the thinner the adapter, the better. from my experience after having purchased a few from very different places, there is either a lot more to it or i am just buying from the wrong people. thanks for your time.

  52. Rajesh says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for that review. Here’s a quick question – I have a lot of EF lenses from my Canon Mark ii, like the 50 mm F/1.2 and the 16 – 38 F/ 2.8. You reckon, I could get an adapter to go with the GH 2?
    – Rajesh, Mumbai
    PS: Also when you say 25p does that mean 25 FPS?