Posts Tagged ‘panasonic


Panasonic releases terrific new 25p GH2 firmware!

UPDATE: on, user PDR has reported that HDMI recording is still not possible from the GH2 without following the AviSynth workflow.

Panasonic (so not a “hacker”) has released new firmware for the Panasonic Lumix GH2, on december 7th 2011.

This firmware has some very interesting new features that render the “hacks” available less interesting for the majority of users.

The most important new features for video shooters include:

  • better noise reduction algorithm
  • 25P, 25P and 30P frame-rates
  • HDMI output rumoured to be  un-crippled and fit for external recording (not tested yet!)
  • new HIGH BITRATE film mode that records at 24Mbps
  • improved video AF performance

If it’s really true that we can record a un-crippled HDMI signal with this firmware update, that can be played back and edited without going through that time-consuming Avisynth workflow, then i’d be absolutely flabbergasted and as happy as a monkey with the key to the banana plantation…

I’ve gone through the easy firmware update and that went like a breeze. Indeed, some new settings to play with.

My Ninja recorder is hired out ’til january 2012, so i can not test this at the moment. I hope that other Ninja or Blackmagic users out there can try things out and post their results here!

Here is the Panasonic download page:


Martin Beek


AF100 / AF101 filming 24p in a 50hz country

If we all agree (for the sake of this article) that 24p (23.976fps) delivers the most beautiful cinematic look (and i personally agree), then we set SYSTEM FREQ from the OTHER FUNCTIONS menu to 59.94 herz – so that we can select 1080 24P from the SCENE FILE menu – and dial in the 180 degree shutter from the SYNCRO SCAN menu, and Bob’s your uncle..! We now have a real film camera; only things lacking are a $600 roll of celluloid, some extra kilos, a soothing clicking-sound (every click’ll cost you 3.5 cents) and at least 8 extra stops of dynamic range…

Well, that was easy! Let’s start shooting that indie blockbuster!

But, wait!
If you’re in a 50hz country (e.g. all European countries), you’re in for a nasty surprise when your encounter TL fluorescent tubes, cheap LED panels or a TV-set anywhere in the picture. TVs will show rolling black bars and spiky white lines. The TLs really mess up your picture, if the light is bounced off walls, floors or your subject. Your picture will show a pulsating gray bar, creeping along the screen. It may not be directly visible on your EVF, but it will surely ruin your shot. This is caused by the 180 degree shutter; it’s flicker (at roughly 48hz) interferes with the 50hz net frequency.
In order to solve this problem, and being able to shoot in 50hz countries without worrying about interference, the AF101 is one of the very few cameras that let us fine-tune the SYNCHRO SCAN shutter speed!

Do as follows. Go to the SCENE FILE menu and make sure that you have selected FILM CAM and set REC FORMAT to “1080p24”. Now  go to SYNCRO SCAN and dial-in 172.8d as new shutter angle, instead of the default 180d. This will eliminate any flicker and strobing in the picture, because now the camera’s shutter is in sync with the 50hz net frequency.
Try this setting out on a 50hz TV set, or TL fixture.

The maths behind this: (23.976 x 2) / (25 x 2) = 47.952 / 50 = 0.95904  ==>  180 x 0.95904 = 172.63 ==> Do some rounding off down the line and we’ll end up with 172.8 as new shutter angle.


Happy shooting!



AF101 / AF100 vs GH2 vs ? – Stop moaning, Start shooting!

af100 af101 cinematized ssv

Courtesy of Shooting Star Video

When i bought a demo Panasonic AF101 two weeks ago, and tweeted about it, i received an unexpected number of negative responses. Not that the responses were negative as-such, but were mainly providing me with links that showed me that i’d made the wrong choice. People were eager to point out that the AF101 sucks and that there are much better cameras on the market today. I had to endure watching crazy comparisons with Red and Sony F3 cameras (that cost 4 times the price of an AF101) and even with the Canon 5D and 7D, in order to learn that the Panasonic AF101 is probably even worse a camera than the 900 euro Panasonic GH2.

But thank you all, i knew all that the moment i bought this camera. Before i get into detail about the possible shortcomings, and explaining why i still went for this camera,  let’s see what some shooters have found testing the AF101. I’ve included links to the discussions.


  • bad handling of highlights, color channels burn out easily and give these parts a nasty yellow hue – link – link
  • “plastic-looking” skintones when not correctly exposed (see the point above) – link – link
  • noisy, and the noise is linearly distributed along the gamma curve; so: noise everywhere – link – link
  • the BBC has tested this camera thoroughly and came to the conclusion that the sensor sucks with less than 1300 lines and a lot of distortion – link
  • it has an old HVX type of sensor and not the new GH2 type generation; it is not suitable for taking stills or according to some, not even suitable for shooting HD video
  •  it is a commercial hype; a cheap DSLR in a videocam housing and the rest is a lot of marketing – link
  • the affordable Panasonic GH2 is better than the much more expensive AF101 – link
If you read the articles carefully, including the comments, you learn that 33% of all “problems” can be solved by properly exposing and dialing down the detail settings. Another 33% of the camera-bashing is delivered by people that have never used the camera themselves and judge quality based on Vimeo movies. The final 33% base their judgement on comparing the camera with the Sony F3, a camera four times as expensive as the AF101.
Did i start worrying after reading all the provided “thumbs down” links? Well, to be honest…. a bit…
I was very happy and even a little surprised to see that the camera performed surprisingly well in The Great Zacuto Camera Shootout 2011, episode II
When i finally had the chance to play with the camera for a few days, i was able to redeem all the bullshit about this camera. When properly set up, using the flattest picture profile, with “Detail” AND “Coring” dialed down all the way (-6 or -7), properly exposed using the great waveform monitor, this camera DELIVERS! With the right lens (Voigtlander Nokton 24/0.95 or better) and maybe occasionally underexposing 1/2 to 1 stop, you get your filmic quality.
Oh, yeah… Since i own both the GH2 and the AF101, i can tell you that the whole “The GH2 is better than the AF101” is another myth, plugged by GH2 fanboys, and regularly by people not even owning either one of these cameras. They can hardly be compared, specially if the comparison is done based on charts. The AF101 sensor works in a totally different manner. It derives perceptual detail in a totally different and also inventive manner compared to the GH2 (using aliasing as a vehicle). The perceptual detail of the GH2 could look better when shooting charts, but the GH2 is using straight-forward electronic detail-enhancing that you can’t switch off AND uses a totally different way of rendering the picture from chip data.
Recording from the HDMI output using the Atomos Ninja recorder delivers great images from both the GH2 and AF101, but they are different! I can’t say that one is better that the other, just different.
My personal feeling is, that the GH2 has smooth roll-off of highlights by using a kind of auto-knee mechanism. It protects the highlights, but only up to 100-ire! This is a pure consumer camera that performs best as a run-and-gun camera. The AF101 has several controls for protecting the highlights, as well as a 110-ire range! Considering this, the GH2 has less latitude than the AF101 when both are exposed “to the right”; the GH2 up to 100-ire and the AF101 to 110-ire (“super-white”). The AF101 is not a consumer camera, simply because it’s too complex for most amateur users.
Out of the box, the AF101 is NOT a run-and-gun camera at all; it will produce video-like images, instead of the GH2. The AF101 is a video camera, the GH2 is a photo camera. At least, out of the box that is.
People who don’t understand how waveform-monitors, picture styles, matrices, gammas and knees work, should not even consider testing or reviewing the AF101, and keep their comments to themselves…
To loosely quote Philip Bloom: stop shooting charts, start shooting people!
Fort those interested. I’ll publish our AF101 settings in the following post.
Martin Beek
Twitter: @martinbeek

GH2 HDMI output recorded with Atomos NINJA

Ninja Graffiti by Martin Beek /

Recorded at the annual Graffiti event in downtown Eindhoven (The Netherlands) using the Panasonic GH2 and Atomos Ninja digital recorder. The Ninja is a GREAT sub-1000 euro ProRes422(HQ) HDMI recorder from .

I’ve used the GH2’s Smooth picture profile (all settings on -2 except for color saturation at -1) and Voigtlander Nokton 25mm/f0.95 lens with Fader ND filter. Aperture fixed at f2.8. Mixed 160 and 320 ISO.

Quality of the footage is stunning; it’s a pity that i had to convert it to H.264 to upload to YouTube, plus the extra compression crap that is added during YouTube’s conversion.

You can download the original hires/hi-Q input file (H.264, not the FCP ProRes444) from the Vimeo page at :

Music: “Yeah Yeah” by “Bodyrox featuring Luciana”. Buy the music here:

HDMI Ninja-recorder footage was deinterlaced, decrippled and converted to uncompressed 4:2:2 “fcp-ready” footage by using the free AviSynth and FFMpeg tools as described here:! and here:


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