I first wrote about the Lumix GH1 in March 2009, and at that time, I requested a review unit from Panasonic. Then in June 2009, I wrote a followup article with a written interview with Panasonic’s PR department, to clarify several technical issues. Unfortunately, all of Panasonic’s answers were negative from a pro perspective. Over a year has passed without Panasonic loaning me any review unit (while countless other manufacturers have sent me several products for reviews); and competitive cameras from Canon have come out, like the 7D and T2i, and Sony has shown similar models, at least in the consumer division. However, last week I heard that a happy hacker had modified the GH1’s firmware to permit 1080p internal recording, either 50Mb/s MJPEG or 32Mb/s AVCHD.
The happy hacker is known as Tester13. You can see sample footage shot at 50Mb/s MJPEG at this Vimeo page, where you will also find information to download the master, before web compression. The most complete information about the hack seems to be from EOShd.com’s page here. Their cited improvements over the Canon models (5D MKII, 7D, and T2i) include :
- Zero compression artifacts, zero mud, and much more photo-like gradients, tones, and textures.
- Lower noise.
- Direct-to-edit, even with Final Cut Pro, without any prior transcoding.
- Pixel binning, instead of line skipping used by some of Canon’s cameras.
This is getting more interesting all the time!
Update from a reader
Comment from a reader who sent his comments via PVC‘s management due to technical reasons:
Hi Allan: Just an FYI: There’s recent news concerning the so-called “GH1 firmware hack” or “GH13 hack”.
Vitaliy Kiselev (AKA “Tester13”) is the name of the Russian programmer of the fantastic, and currently free “PTool3” firmware modification utility software for use with Panasonic Lumix Micro Four Thirds DSLR cameras. Vitaliy has a growing cadre of volunteer testers worldwide who help him refine his software.
Vitaliy’s application should be downloaded from its primary online home at DVXuser:
I can say from firsthand experience that PTool3 really does transform the already very good GH1 (and certain other m4/3 cams) into a whole new camera.
The latest version of PTool was just released, version 3.40d. Its new features, and most of what you need to know about PTool, are described on the 1st page of the colossal thread at the link above.
Although Andrew Reid at eosHD.com was an early user of Vitaliy’s software, far and away the best & most extensive resource for users of PTool3 are the GH1 & GH13 forums at DVXuser.com, especially the “sticky” forums at the top of this page:
Although quantity doesn’t necessarily trump quality — there are literally thousands of GH13-related posts on DVXuser — it’s a fact that a huge amount of hard-earned, high-quality info about the GH1 hack is on DVXuser.
I’m a very happy GH1 & PTool3 user myself. I’ve posted some simple GH13 camera tests and other footage on Vimeo:
Those of you who find PTool helpful, please consider making a donation to the PayPal account listed at the 1st link above. $ goes toward software development equipment & supplies. Amazingly, when Vitaliy first began his work on this project, he didn’t even have a GH1 to test on. Donations made it possible for him to acquire a GH1, which has greatly sped-up development.
Disclosure: I’m a satisfied end-user GH1 owner and user of the free PTool software. I’ve not been compensated in any way to use or discuss these products.
Thanks for your article, Allan, and three cheers to talented, inventive programmer/entrepreneurs like Vitaliy!
All the best,
Peter J. DeCrescenzo
Portland, Oregon USA
Thank you Peter!
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1: a first look from a videographer’s perspective, from March 2009
- Lumix GH1 camera: surprising responses from Panasonic, from June 2009
- Sony consumer announces APS-C camcorders with removable lenses, from May 2010
Allan T©pper’s consulting, articles, seminars, and audio programs
Contact Allan T©pper for consulting, or find a full listing of his articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at AllanTepper.com. Listen to his TecnoTur program, which is now available both in Castilian and in English, free of charge. Search for TecnoTur in iTunes or visit TecnoTur.us for more information.
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No manufacturer is paying Allan T©pper or TecnoTur LLC specifically to write this article. Some of the manufacturers listed above have contracted T©pper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations, and some of them have sent him equipment for evaluations or reviews. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine.