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Hacked Shootout: Panasonic GH2 vs. 5D Mark III RAW & Magic Lantern Gets Playback/Audio Working

Panasonic GH2 vs Mark III RAWI don’t recall in recent memory any sort of software with this many updates in such a short period of time, but the folks over at Magic Lantern have been working around the clock, and we’re getting almost consistent updates thanks to the incredible people working on the RAW video hack. Basic capabilities from regular H.264 video are being ported over, and it looks like both playback and audio are working in at least a basic form with RAW video mode — so we should see those at some point. We’ve also got a great little comparison from Luke Neumann showing the RAW Canon 5D Mark III against the hacked Panasonic GH2.

First, check out the video from Luke Neumann showing just how sharp the Mark III is now with the hack:

A personal test of mine that I decided might as well be public! Still torn on the results to be honest. The GH2 is using a 146Mbps Driftwood hack and was set to Smooth (Contrast -2).

Lens used – Nikkor Ai-s 80-200mm f 4 (set to f 8 for each camera)

It’s pretty incredible how much this hack is doing for sharpness in the Mark III. The GH2 has arguably been the sharpest DSLR/Mirrorless camera (especially hacked with higher bit rates), but it suffered from slightly lower dynamic range and worse performance in lower light situations than full-frame DSLRs. Now, with the RAW video hack, the Mark III is right up there, and has the benefit of more dynamic range, the ability to use cheap and fast full-frame lenses, and better performance at higher ISOs.

We’ve also got an update from the Magic Lantern Facebook page:

There has been a lot of progress over the past few days – the devs are working hard to refine things to be more user friendly. Here’s a list of new developments from the past couple days:
- All tearing / stuttering issues have been resolved, video is smooth now.
- Raw burst looks possible for 500d and 550d.
- Raw playback in camera is working (will play back at normal speed eventually)
- Audio recording to separate .WAV file works while recording raw video.
- Updated list of cameras supporting RAW video now: 5D2, 5D3, 6D, 600D, 650D (brand new)

We believe raw video will be possible on all cameras, but it is still very early in development. Cameras with CF cards work best – SD cards will only work at lower resolutions. Older DIGIC 4 cameras will work at very low resolution.

So for everyone who has been asking which cameras are supported, there is your answer. As we said before, card write speed is the issue here, so at the moment cameras that can take 1000x CF cards are likely the only ones that will be capable of 1920 x 1080 — but anything is possible, especially at the crazy speed these things have been developed.

Eventually audio and playback will both be supported in a more advanced form, and clips above 30-40 seconds at 1080 will be possible later on down the line. I have no doubt in my mind that the hack will be extremely stable at some point, especially on the Mark III, and just like with the previous hack, we’ll probably see it on the 7D in the future.

For anyone who has been playing around with it, feel free to share footage in the comments!


Related Posts

  1. First RAW Video Sample DNGs from the Canon 5D Mark III with New Magic Lantern Firmware
  2. How to Get Started with Magic Lantern RAW Video on Your Canon Camera
  3. Magic Lantern Unlocks RAW Video on the Canon 5D Mark II and Mark III


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  • All this test shows me that the GH2 is still a Beast.

  • I dont understand how the hacked GH2 still looks so good against 5D RAW? Is this still development stage of 5D RAW? Hacked GH2 still the winner right now to my eyes. Maybe its the lens? GH3 also bothers me with over saturation/lack of flat for post compared to GH2. Hopefully something that can be fixed with GH3 hack.

    I think at the end of the day 5D + RAW I would choose if I also take a photo. But I don’t take many photos. Today, for video only, hacked GH2 is my choice. Second actually, after Black Magic Cinema but that will cost $6K with necessary periphs. Maybe GH3 once the hack comes. Someone help because I need to decide if I move to M43 and sell my glass. What about Black Magic pocket cam? Is it better than hacked GH2??

    With news of RAW 5D I thought my decision was made to move from 60D but now what??? I can’t find GH2 for a good price today.

    • If you’re looking for a good price for a GH2, contact me. I’ve had one for a few months, just haven’t the time for these things anymore. But anyways, all this news is completely remarkable, ain’t it?

  • Compared to the GH2, the 5D Mark III is better suited for stills, high speed shooting capabilities, and for those who have invested heavily in Canon glass. I am quite pleased with my GH2, and would be more inclined to invest in a GH3, or possibly BMC, instead of a 5D if I were to be in the market for a camera with an emphasis on video. The ability to shoot RAW video with the 5D could be very appealing, but I haven’t seen enough samples to have an opinion either way. Whatever…its a great time to be shooting video. Lots of options!

  • so what are the picture style settings used for the 5DmIII in the H.264 video clip? I’m sure that makes a difference, and where any of these clips color corrected or is this strait out of the camera with no touching up?

  • There are 2 categories of cinematography these days. The first is a project that requires anything 4K and above. That camera needs support: accessories and labor. Everything under that line benefits IMMENSELY from perfect form factor. The elements of which are size, weight, usability, durability, interchangeability, and picture quality. Form factor is everything, where picture quality alone IS NOT. All must be considered when choosing a proper camera. If the shoot has a budget and crew, 4K camera is the likely choice. If the budget is low, crew tiny, locations difficult, speed a necessity then I need a camera that will help me get the best images with what I have to work with.

    The 5DMKII/III with canon glass is big, bulky, heavy, and needs so much gack that it ceases to be the guerilla-ready camera that everyone seems to think it is. The GH2/3 on the other hand is a very capable camera with a wonderful form factor: lighweight body and lenses, compact in size, and the bevel screen is the GREATEST thing ever (those who care to debate this aren’t experienced shooters IMO). I can stand with my arm stretched out over an object/crowd/etc. for 10 minutes if I have to, in order to get the shot. To do the same with a Canon I’d need a ladder, grip, bags, straps, and other crap. It is not a ENG video shooting-friendly camera. Picture quality with the ML hack is WONDERFUL, but it just doesn’t make sense to use. THESE cameras (under 4K resolution) are NOT cinema cameras, and should not be thought of as such. They serve specific purpose, and understanding that purpose is paramount.

    Everything I’ve said is, of course, moot if you already own a ton of Canon glass and/or the MKII/III body. Pay no mind to me- this only really applies if you are choosing or arguing for one over the other.

  • Not really fair to use f8 with 35mm sensor then use f8 on much smaller 4/3 sensor. Probably more fair to use f6 or f4 for 4/3 sensor but testing would be necessary to see the exact f# for equivalency.

  • I wonder if anybody knows if there is any development of GH2 being able to shoot RAW the same way 5D can do now?

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