Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Video quality, hacked GH1 compared with GH2

I've tried to test the GH1 (hacked) and the GH2 under the same conditions. To make sure the conditions were the same in both tests, I made a rotating platform using Technic LEGO, and left it under artificial lights. To better be able to judge the quality, I put a sock on the platform. The sock has some texture, which will come in handy in the comparisons.

The lens used was the Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8 lens. The focus was put on the centre of the image, and I used f/6.3, ISO 400 for some depth of field.

Both videos are filmed in 1920x1080 pixel resolution. The GH1 is hacked to a maximum of 44Mbit max bandwidth, while the GH2 has the native firmware. The GH1 video stream is 25p, the GH2 is 24p. I used the new Cinema 24p mode on the GH2.

The GH1 stream is 11 seconds, 38.430.720 bytes, 3.5MB/s.

The GH2 stream is 10 seconds, 27.998.208 bytes, 2.8MB/s.

So there is more information in the hacked GH1 stream. However, this does not necessarily mean that it's better.

Here's the GH1 (hacked):



And the GH2:



It's not easy to make an objective comparison based on these YouTube videos. So to be more fair, I have made frame grabs from the video streams.

GH1 (hacked):


GH2:


To make the comparison even better, here are 100% views of two similar framegrabs (click for a larger version):


Conclusion

First of all, it is easy to conclude that the colour balance is different. I have the same saturation settings in both cameras (+1), and the lightning was the same. So the difference must be due to different implementation of auto white balance. Overall, I feel that the GH2 colours look more natural.  It's not strange that the cameras struggle with the colour balance here.  After all, there is artificial light, and the subject colours are rather strange.

When it comes to the sharpness, I think the conclusion is that the GH2 has better image quality. Even though the bandwidth is a bit smaller than in the hacked GH1.

I have also made a comparison of the GH1 video quality before and after the hack, in which case I found that the video quality was slightly better after the hack.

10 comments:

  1. No doubt that GH2 is the better choice for someone like me who is planning to buy video enabled body. Thanks for Your conclusions they are very helpful.

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  2. Ehh, the GH2 can record at 1080p25? The second video definitely looks more like 24p to me but I can always hope it wasn't a typo!

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  3. You're right about 24p. The GH2 stream is 24p. I've fixed the text now. Thanks,

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  4. GH1 way too oversarturate .. i love GH2 more. thanks for sharing

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  5. Wow, this is surely impressive. I am going to order a GH2 for sure

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  6. thanks a lot for your post ,how about 7D vs a55 vs GH2 (overall wich one is better)

    how about video quality of these three camera
    thx

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  7. Honestly, I can't tell.

    The 7D is clearly the better choice, unless one of these two items are important for you:

    Compact size and low weight

    Video

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  8. Thanks for the detailed test, the images are very interesting. I'm wondering if you used the Native 24p patch on the GH1? If not, the interlaced 60i format the GH1 uses for 24p video can make a difference in how the camera's AVCHD compression is applied. That might account for some of the softness in the GH1 images.

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  9. Good question. I did not use the native 24p patch.

    My camera is the European one, so it cannot do 60i. The mode used on the GH1 was 25p.

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  10. I still think the hacked GH-1 is a more versatile video camera, simply because you can record 1080 25p, one of the actual video standards (PAL region). GH-2 does record at 25p but only at lower bitrate (I guess GH2's 17Mb/s would be worse than 40Mb/s average settings on the GH-1). I still don't get the point of using 24p if not aiming for 35mm cinema. Also I can't mix with EX1/EX3 footage, since there isn't 24p on these cameras.

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