The new Panasonic GH2 and AG AF-100

Both have recently been announced. I have already talked a little bit about how I think the AG AF100 will or won’t affect the DSLR market. I am hoping to get one to try soon from Panasonic UK when I get back to England. I am very excited by it. I am already a GH1 (hacked) owner and love it. I have sone nice micro 4/3rds glass and all my Leica M series glass works on them as well as my Nikons and to a point my Canons (no aperture control though).

I haven’t shot with it, just know the specs. Until I get to shoot anything with it I can’t really say how good or bad it is…on paper it looks great! The HD-SDI out, XLR inputs, viewfinder etc…24mbs AVCHD a bit of a let down, but with the clean HD-SDI the pros have other options..Shame there is no option for AVC intra…

The GH2 has recently been announced and looks like a nice upgrade from the GH1, incorporating a lot of the features from G2 and upping the AVCHD bitrate to 24mbs from the GH1 17mbs…of course with my hacked one shooting well over 50mbs not sure how this makes me feel…24mbs is not bad, 50+is of course way better. I am sure Tester 13 will hack the GH2 once he gets his hands on some firmware but this is going to be some way off I am sure.  What the specs do say that excites me is the ability to use HDMI for clean output…well that is what it says, if this is true then this is great so we can use devices like the Nanoflash etc to get away from AVCHD completely into nice I frame codecs…

I hope to get a review camera soon to try it all out, well both of them until then…I can’t say how good or bad they are, if they are better than cameras X, Y or Z…as soon as I can, I will!! Keep you fingers crossed that I can get hold of these cameras!

You can read an appraisal of the GH2 at DP Review


  1. I can say for certain that the AF-100 will NOT cause a massive panic in the ranks of serious DSLR shooters. I think the most obvious reason is cost. The new AF-100 is a beauty, but I, for one, am not able to even entertain the idea of owning one.Of all the shooters I know (quite a few), only those with some serious disposable income will even consider it.
    Phil, any chance that when you aquire a GH2 for testing that you can do a side-by-side video comparison of the hacked GH1 vs his new younger brother? It will be interestng to see if FPN and banding issues have improved with the GH2.

  2. It’s looking like the GH2 will probably have B-frames and a better implementation of the AVCHD codec, so perhaps the 24Mbit will match or even out perform the GH1 hack. Panasonic estimates a 20% quality increase over unhacked GH1 with B-frames (at least that is what their presentation seemed to indicate,) and 24pn would mean an additional 20% increase over 24p in a 60i stream thanks to data not getting thrown out in the interlacing process. Then you have the extra bitrate..afterall the HMC-150 slaughters any of the DSLR codecs with its AVCHD 24Mbps mode, as do many consumer cameras.

  3. Nanoflash is cool, but what about the Ki Pro mini? It seems like these add ons are going to become increasingly popular. I’d love to be shooting direct to pro res, and a Nano flash vs Ki Pro mini test would be a great vid. Best, Ad

  4. Phil,
    why not some IBC review??
    how about CINEDECK and Pana AF100 together??
    What about New NEX-10 test???

    We DOWN UNDER from Sydney expected “something” from You from IBC.
    As a XDCAM hd f-330 owner I am looking at AF100 as my new camera…..i hope there will be some “video lenses” made for it by Fujinon or Canon.


  5. This is all crap. Who would spend $10,000 on a GH1 with a PL-mount? Just hack the GH2 and put a PL mount on it and spend the rest of the money on high-class prostitutes, then film them in HD with Ultra Primes.

  6. The specs for the GH2 say it can do a frame burst mode up to 40fps @ 4MP resolution! I wonder how long it can sustain that for… and if it would be acceptable for video?

  7. According to the Barry Green intro video that you linked to on Twitter, the AG AF100 will allow aperture control of Canon EOS lenses with a “new electronic adapter” for the micro 4/3 mount, which should be available in the next six weeks.

    1. If that new adapter works with the GH1/GH2, that will be huge? Link to video here please?

      I just sold my GH13 on Ebay a couple days ago.. had a moment of inspiration last week to sell it.. maybe it was a sign!

      I’ve got a bunch of Canon Lenses and a 7D – took the money from the GH1 and bought a T2i for backup camera.

      Wonder how much GH2 body only will be and what the quality will look like in 24p native mode with 20% increase in quality!! 🙂

      I was sold on the GH1 from phillips joshua tree piece, it shows that in the right hands with the right light and right lenses and right filters, you can surpass the limitations of AVCHD…

  8. Phil, your work is great. And I’m sure you will make a great GH-2 film. May I ask a request. Even if it is just one shot. Like a low light. Could you give us a comparison video of the hacked GH-1 with the GH-2. That is the best way to see if there is much of a difference. Same shot, same lens, same lighting same settings.

    Joshua tree was beautiful on the GH-1. and I’m sure what ever your subject is for the GH-2 will be just as nice. But it would be a very helpful comparison. Peace out!!!

    Also, the digital zoom feature has been much discussed. If it is variable, say 10% you can crop out any vignetting from a high quality c-lens like the Ang 25mm 0.95.

  9. I got to play around with the AF100 prototype today in New York, it was hooked up to a full HD monitor and I must say I was very impressed, it was very sharp, certainly way more detail then any DSLR, and there was very little skew, I’d say on par or better then an EX1. It even lets you over/undercrank via a dial in realtime!

      1. I’m not sure, as we weren’t allowed to record anything (and I didn’t ask), but you can dial up & down by small amounts, like 1080P 24/30/36/ ect, all the way to 1080P60 and it updates live in the viewfinder/monitor without resetting the sensor.

      1. Hello Philip, the Sony site says 50i in 1920×1080 @ 17mbps, followed by a confusing “approx” 25fps in 1440×1080 @ 12mbps. No info on what comes out the HDMI. Doesn’t look like a go-er really.

  10. The AF-101 looks great and is definitely a nice pro bit of gear. But for the price, you could so much more with the GH2. The GH body only price on B&H is only $899. They’re expecting the AF-101/100 to be around $6k without any lenses. So for the same amount you could buy the GH2, the 14mm & 20mm pancake lenses, a Noktor lens, a decent mic for it, a nice set of sticks, a Zacuto rig, and then you would probably still have money left over for a new laptop. Something to think about.

    1. i guess it depends on how the camera deals with the rolling shutter etc…also it does have things like proper viewfinder and HD SDI out…all speculation for me until I get my hands on them!

  11. Yep . GH2 records 24mbs? then surely it will become “Hacked GH2” soon with 50 mbs bit rate by “teaser 13”.. 😉

    anyway, i heard GH2 can record 1080i 60fps, thats great i think .

    As the canon fan, I think we need magic lantern firmwares for 7D, 550D, 60D . . etc 😀 . I don’t know how is the possibilities about the increase recording bit-rate by a firmware for the Canon, . .

    Then the AG AF101 will be the Prince soon. because no one can beat just now for AG AF101 . because of its features and all-round qualities.

    anyway, waiting for the GH1 review video . .

    Good times Mr. Philip. 🙂

  12. I guess the question of whether the AG-AF 100 is a DSLR killer comes down to who’s using it. . . I work in News and Docos and there fore would be happy to splash an extra couple of thousand dollars for XLR input, no aliasing etc but I guess if you are a hobbyist or shooting weddings and that sort of thing then there will be no desperate need to upgrade. i wait with baited breath to see how things pan out. . .

  13. Hi Philip,

    I tested the Panasonic AG-AF 100 last week in Italy for one day and one night (I’m lucky ^_^).
    Actually there is only one of those cameras in the world. It’s a pre-release model so is impossible to have an accurate review (menu was partially locked, the sensor was not the definitive one and no recording, I used my great Nanoflash via SDI camera output).
    The model that was in my hands, was terrific, I’m falling in love with this baby!
    No aliasing and no moirè and a very negligible rolling shutter effect.
    The new Panny will costs about € 5900 in Italy tax included (body only).
    Can’t wait december !!! :o)

  14. In many ways the arrival of these two cameras (Sony/Pany) make me feel better in terms of investment in the DSLR realm. Both Sony and Panasonic have the ability to knock or socks off with these releases, and while they are solving many of the issues we have in DSLR production – for the cost I’m not convinced – nor blown away! Sure I will keep an open mind to these offerings, but frankly if Canon just solved HDMI output options – I for one wouldn’t think about another option. Without AVC-Intra I think Pany is missing the workflow issue. With Sony it seems the framerate issue. So for me I’m extremely excited at what NAB might bring in terms of the Canon side and also what RED will do. Exciting times!

    1. Why would You do that if You buy CINEDECK…….
      just tested Sony NEX-vg10…it Does Not do REAL 1080i, Picture is PROGRESSIVE within 1080I codec…impossible to do real nice slo-mo in post unlike from dedicated INTERLACED Cameras. Nice little toy.

      pana AF100 just went down in List Price. Cost is US$5,000 exactly,which makes is really nice Bang for money for someone who needs SDI and XLR outputs/inputs,VF and somebody who actually Makes Living out of Video.
      Hope it will record Real 1080I not just Progressive within 1080i like Sony NEX10.


      because one could use it for TV Sports and other TV work where stations request 1080i.


      1. Well then we need to boycott Panasonic until they send you one of the Panasonic AG-AF100’s 🙂

        I serious!!! I wouldn’t buy one until I see a professional review from someone I trust period.

        By the way have a sneak peak at my last video “New Strings”
        Not trying to get attention, just want some feedback


        1. Sorry for the typos in the above post, But Critics is not the only “Drinking Zone”…

          Yes We here in the “Green(Newbie)Zone” have a few parties without Weiss and Bloom!
          Oh Yes We Do!

          And We still shoot video while doing it 🙂
          Now let “Critics Season 3 Begin” and lets hope that damn American “Weiss” fellow learns proper English!


          Thanks for reading.

  15. I hear you about the being able to use the m-mount glass. I recently bought a Voigtländer R4M with a 35mm, 15mm, and soon to be a 21mm. After investing in m39/m-mount glass, purchasing a Panasonic or possibly a Sony NEX as B camera is starting to sound very appealing. I hope you are having fun with that M9!:)

  16. Hi Phil, may I ask a question? I was about to buy a Canon 7D for video filming when I saw the news about the GH2. What would you do – buy the /D or wait for the GH2?
    Thanks, fabster

      1. Gh2 has manual audio controls and ability to monitor on screen levels while recording…AF-100 of course has full manual audio controls with XLR inputs, dedicated knobs for audio levels, headphone out, etc.

  17. Hi,
    could somebody please find out-perhaps Barry Green-if Pana AF-100 actually records true 50i or is it just like Sony NEX-10 which records 25p into 50i Container.Thank You.

  18. ha ha, you are funny me bloom 🙂

    But seriously, panasonic should give you one for free just to review there cam.

    I was seriously thinking about buying it because red is probably never going to release scarlet. And i am not rich enough to spend money on epic. at $30k or more, its only for big production houses.

    I am eagerly waiting for your review of af-100. And unlike other review sites who will just look at specs and numbers, you will review it by making some beautiful videos 🙂

    I honestly cannot spend 6k unless this camera gets reviewed by you.

  19. Mr Bloom
    You are like the world guru in the DSLR Subjects.
    Canon with the horrible Moire and I have seen some tests
    with the GH2 and has a lot of banding in the shadows.
    Do you think some day in the future someone will release
    a proper VDSLR ?

  20. Hi Phillip, just wondering… I have a friend who says the lack of a servo-controlled zoom makes this camera (the ag-af100) not very ‘pro-friendly’. Apart from that (and maybe there is a workaround?), what are the main features you think this camera is lacking (I see you are not thrilled about the lack of AVC Intra, for instance), inasmuch as you can tell from not actually having played with one?


      1. Thanks for the reply… you just zoom by hand? The 14-140s with both my GH1s are a little sticky…

        Anyhow, I think the ag-af100 looks pretty fantastic, looking forward to seeing some footage. Cheers!

  21. Hi Philip: Now that you have a GH2 to test …

    Stupid question, but obviously important: Is it a “final” production cam, or a “beta” pre-release version?

    If possible, please try to confirm whether or not the GH2’s live HDMI output can be uncluttered (no on-screen graphics or text), and is it a solid, stable full HD video signal (full res 1080i? frame rate(s)? no dropped frames? good color quality? etc.)

    Is the the HDMI output different depending on if the GH2 is in preview vs. record mode? If you have your KiPro with you, does the GH2’s HDMI output seem to be compatible with it or any other external HDMI recorder you can lay hands on?


    1. Just tried out the GH2 with the panny Leica. I’m surprised reading about all the positive reviews as my experience has been the opposite. In general, just too grainy and gradients are horrid. Must do some more testing but so far not too impressed.

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