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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
4K and AVCHD on a Micro Four Thirds system camera with interchangeable lenses.


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Old November 19th, 2011, 04:10 PM   #1
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Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

Re: PTool 3.63 and the GH2

Yes, its a hack. Yes, it takes some trial, error, and fiddling, and you have to be choosy about what cards you use.

Round one of the hack did some nice things, but really wasn't what I considered a "necessary" modification. It somewhat cleaned up higher ISO's and made footage a little more color correction tolerant.

With the newest version's ISO liberation, that's it - if you shoot with this camera in anything approaching sub-optimal lighting and DON'T hack it, you're hamstringing yourself.

For your consideration:

Note: not my footage, but I've seen similar results - outside, at night, in my basement, during concerts - it's ridiculously good.
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Old November 20th, 2011, 01:13 AM   #2
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

Remarkable footage. Would be nice to know what lens was used.
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Old November 20th, 2011, 06:32 AM   #3
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

Lens used was Voigtländer 25mm/F0.95

see: Gh2 Color footage 10.000 ASA ISO test - Panasonic GH2 on Vimeo
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Old November 20th, 2011, 07:38 AM   #4
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

even so, that ~1 stop difference from something like the Summilux DG 25 would get you about the same.
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Old November 20th, 2011, 08:43 AM   #5
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

Got a GH2 this weekend, loaded the "Seaquake" intra hack, and started playing around with it last night in moderate incandescent lighting. I shot with the iso at 2500 using the cheap kit lens at f3.5. The quality of the clips was unlike anything I have ever seen from the XF100, XHA1, or 5DII. Excellent resolution and motion representation and very very fine film like grain. I'm not selling my XF100, but the GH2 will now be the go to camera in cases where I have the time to set up the shot or want the highest image quality I can get. Even overexposed shots had a beautiful high key look to them.

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Old November 21st, 2011, 05:28 AM   #6
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

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shot with the iso at 2500 using the cheap kit lens at f3.5. The quality of the clips was unlike anything I have ever seen from the XF100, XHA1, or 5DII.

Pat
hi Pat, that's quite a statement. do you really feel the image from the GH2 with a cheap lens delivers better than a 5d mk2 even with a good lens (like an L lens)? I own a 5Dmk2 and a Canon HFg10 and, although I love the image quality, I am almost ready to pull the trigger on the GH2, and posts like yours are providing me with more reasons to do it.

can you compare more specifically your experience with the 5Dmk2 vs the GH2?
thanks
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Old November 21st, 2011, 07:07 AM   #7
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

As an event shooter who shoots in low light the hack would be tempting at first glance. But we have to keep in mind it was shot at 42mbps, a F/0.95 lens was used, noise reduction was used in post, there is no comparison footage, and most importantly the hack is not reliable and cannot be depended upon.

One would have to find a card/camera combo that works every time. Is that even possible? Too many stories of bad or corrupted files when using hacks for me to consider it.

Regarding the lens, as the shooter says focusing was very difficult, which is typical with an extremely DOF. The Voightlander is a fine lens, to be sure, and if I had one I would likely enjoy using it, but for event shooting, for me, it is not close to practical. Manual focusing with such a lens would take more time than I have when recording a wedding or reception.

This is a case of pushing things to the extreme, kind of like modding a street car with jet fuel. It will go fast, but it is not practical or even desireable to use as a taxi.

I'm dealing with a wedding with which my editor has lost some original footage, making a re-edit impossible. I am going through hell right now because of the emotional impact this will have on my client, a repeat client who I will lose forever because of lost footage. I mention this because there are enough variables and stresses involved with event shooting that to add the uncertainty of a hack to the equation is not an option for me.
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Old November 21st, 2011, 08:49 AM   #8
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

Federico,

With the highest bit rate hacks, the GH2 looks way better than my 5d2 will L lenses. I am using a fast class 10 card, but there are occasional hickups. Also I have found that the GH2 in 24p mode has pulsing (not the same as normal 24p judder) on high-detail elements like grass and tree branches. This is less apparent on indoor shots, and shots where you have narrow or shallow DOF. This pulsing looks just like what I saw on Panasonic's TM700 until I turned in-camera sharpening down. I think Jeff observed this pulsing in some of his recent shots. Turning sharpening all the way down (-2) in the GH2 doesn't get rid of it.

I haven't tried the 42 and 44 mbs hacks, but the higher bit rate hacks occasionally cause card errors of shorts. There are people using the various forms of hacks for pro work, but it is a bit of an adventure, and you would have to be willing to live with or work around these issues.

Some people are getting rid of the pulsing by softening the focus with filters. The tiniest amount of gaussian blur in Vegas helps. Shooting with narrow DOF helps greatly and I never saw problems when shooting this way (nor do I see it in the sample footage discussed here).

Are the hacks good enough for pro work, events, run and gun? I think it depends on how much you are willing to deal with the issues, test, find solutions, and practice.

All I can say for sure is that low light shallow DOF shots at home a few days ago were the best I have ever seen from any of my cameras (XF100, 5D2 with L glass, and XH-A1)

Pat
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 08:26 AM   #9
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

Consider that while the ISO deregulation and reduced noise at increased bitrates allows you to shoot with a fast lens in minimal light, it also lets you use a slow lens (~f4-5.6) in reduced indoor light.

I do agree that hacking your camera and then immediately using it on an ultra-long-take paying job is likely not the best idea. With a stageplay shoot coming up, I'm pre-testing by just setting up the camera at home with a spanning hack and letting it run for 2-3 straight hours. So far, there's been no problem.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 09:26 AM   #10
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

Kevin, when I'm done editing my currentl backlog, I am likely to try it to see the results. If things were to work out and prove stable enough, it would be an incredible advantage to have.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 01:21 PM   #11
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

GH2 test vs 5D2 at wedding.

GH2 at ISO 3200, Aperture 2.8 14mm lens. Wide shot
5D2 at ISO 1600, 50mm lens. Medium shot.
Audio from original microphone build in with GH2 Level 1.
Footage is direct from original cameras (no hack) no color correction.


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Last edited by Cuong Dinh; November 22nd, 2011 at 01:23 PM. Reason: more detail
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 02:59 PM   #12
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

Thanks for posting. What was the lens used on the Canon?
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 04:25 PM   #13
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

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Thanks for posting. What was the lens used on the Canon?
Prime lens 50mm on Canon 5D.
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 04:34 PM   #14
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

1.4 or 1.8?
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 06:26 PM   #15
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Re: Still staying away from the hack? Shoot in low light?

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1.4 or 1.8?
My lens is 1.2L :)
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