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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!

Links:

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We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 82 COMMENTS

  • Wow, Luke is on point with these updates. Thanks so much for posting this!

  • Matt Groves on 05.17.13 @ 8:05PM

    Does anyone know if RAW could make it out to an external recorder at some point through a clean HDMI for something like the 600D? Like to a Atmos or Black Magic?

    • From what I have read it cannot, the datarate is too much for HDMI to handle as it stands at the moment.

    • I don’t think the issue is actually the data rate, as HDMI can handle even higher data rates than the internal bus of the camera. Even the older, circa 2005 standard, HDMI interfaces could carry about 200 MB/s. Newer standards can handle 4K at anywhere from 400 MB/s to 1.3 GB/s.
      HDMI output from the 5D Mk. III is currently still processed into 8-bit before being output, though. The ML team hasn’t yet been able to do anything about that, as far as I’ve heard.

  • I have to say…the speed at which Magic Lantern are making process is phenomenal! Hats off to these guys!!

  • vinceGortho on 05.17.13 @ 8:17PM

    If ML can get high quality video out the hdmi to compress to an external recorder, ill buy three mark IIIs

    • vinceGortho on 05.17.13 @ 8:27PM

      Now that playback is capable, what exactly would you see if plugged in to a monitor? 14bit raw? Or a compressed .H264 looking image?

      • Probably the exact same as you get from the Canon HDMI out firmware (8 bit 422). Not sure if it plays back with a picturestyle enabled – if so, I’m guessing you won’t get the dynamic range advantage. Not sure what the point of using playback to do this would be though – by that time you’ve already recorded it to a card.

        For the record, HDMI cannot transmit raw data.

  • Canon should hire these guys… Canon C 100 with raw :)

  • I am the happiest 5D owner in the world right now

  • Wow. The pace of development is awesome! Now can you guys please work on higher framerates? And is it possible to explore other camera sustems like the Sony A77, which has a higher internal buffet..it can 12fps of 24megapixel RAW images out of the box. I imagine it would be easy to do 60p 4K MJpegs with its power. Please ML Look at Sony cameras!

  • awesome that gh2 is a beast if only someone could do the same with it raw video would be amazzing .

    • I wonder how much difference it would make considering that their compression doesn’t cripple the image in the same way that canons does? Compression alone doesn’t explain the difference in image quality imo.

  • Mastergrooves on 05.17.13 @ 9:12PM

    Sony cams need to be hacked soon. nex-hack.info are making progress but its a shame the ML guys keep themselves so busy. The ownership of these cameras is huge in Asia and could make them a lot of money to become the next blackmagic. I think i am just jealous!

  • Stu Mannion on 05.17.13 @ 10:05PM

    This is pretty amazing. I really didn’t think they’d get playback working.

    Does anyone know if the HDMI outputs while recording raw? I guess there’s no reason it wouldn’t.

    The huge file sizes are an issue for workflow but there’s no reason you can’t convert to Prores then chuck them. You just need the working space.

    • vinceGortho on 05.17.13 @ 10:12PM

      That’s the development im hoping for next.but I guess the 14bit color gets compressed to 10bit. But we’d just have another option for acquisition.

  • Anthony Marino on 05.17.13 @ 11:06PM

    Terrific example. The GH2 is a great reference, it goes to show the GH2 is still a beast. I only saw moderate improvements with some GH2 patches. Having settled with the “nebular” patch for a while just this week I up dated to Driftwood Cluster X Series ‘moon’ Trial 5 ‘Blue Moon’ Matrix QP16 and let me say what a patch. Just unbelievable! The noise in the blacks are reduced to a fine mist that dissolve like I’ve never seen before. It’s like buying a new camera. If you can, check it out. Thanks and btw great coverage NFS and hats off to Luke Neumann, really interesting stuff.

    • The other huge difference is that the GH2 is… well, I was gonna say a lot cheaper, but since the GH2 has been discontinued the price has gone up a lot. There was one on Amazon for about $900. But new ones were being sold for $1,700 and $2,200. That’s crazy. I want to sell mine and get a BMPC.

      • Anthony Marino on 05.18.13 @ 7:34AM

        Wow, didn’t realize that Julian but I can certainly see why. I use it anytime I can, it compliments my A cam and usually never have problem mixing footage. Check out the latest “moon” hack, I promise you won’t be disappointed. :)

  • I wonder if ML will create 10 bit prores or similar in camera and direct to CF card so more footage can be recorded on one card?

    • Seriously doubt it. The raw hack works because it takes less processing power than usual; implementing ProRes encoding in firmware on a chip absolutely not designed for it would take huge amounts of processing.

  • Does the raw hack work on both 5D M3 and 5D M2 the same? No difference?

  • I don’t own a GH3. But I’ve heard that the GH3 is better than the hacked GH2. Will there be a comparison of the MarkIII + ML with the GH3? I’m very curious.

    I’ve been told a little about the next iteration of GH after the GH3. It is highly unlikely the MarkIII + ML will be able to compete with it in video. GH mirrorless may force Canon to make a big step with DSLRs or even to go mirrorless for photo cameras with video too.

    One successful photographer is saying mirrorless will bring the end of DSLRs—UNLESS you’re only planning on using your DSLR for photos.

    10 minute video will give his viewpoint:

    • that´s bullish… i´d never buy a mirror less camera over a dslr because taking photos is 1000x better with a dslr. looking through a electronic view finder. uuuughh. no way. i also think that the 5dmk raw will not be beaten so fast because i think the gh4 will not have raw. canon also doesn´t have a dslr with raw. ml has a raw dslr. but it will be really interesting how the camera industry will react to that. now u can have a 3000$ raw camera with full frame. that´s not easy to beat. this will be a huge problem for all manufactures. the whole c series from canon has suddenly lost it´s worth, black magic is not really interesting anymore. panasonic? who cares. sony? what do you get for 3000$? besides the mk3? not much…

      • I wouldn’t be so quick to bash the BMPCC and any new GH5 down the road. Those cameras still will have their uses. It will all depend on the needs of the user. I plan on buying the BMPCC due to it’s small size and flexible m4/3 mount. I already have a GH1 and all the lenses I have will be just fine on either camera. I think it’s great what ML has done and I may just get a 650D to test out the RAW on it if they get it working at a decent level.

      • um….you can get the GH3 or BMPCC for 1/3 the price of the MK III. Plus, on the GH3 you get 60P, unlimited recording time, good audio, etc.

        • Hummer,
          On the GH3 and unlimited recording time, are you meaning with a Ninja? The memory card for video on a GH3 is small because of that EU tariff, the 12 minute limit. How can you get unlimited? I’m not being sarcastic. I do want to know.

          • typo:
            30 min, not 12 min. But not more, even with a card that can hold more than 30.

          • The difference is the GH2 is actually capable of unlimited recording, you don’t have to deal with the sensor overheating. The time limit is only an issue in the EU and that can be fixed with a simple hack, I believe.

          • I’ll have to search for that hack. For $1300.00 the GH3 makes fantastic video.

          • That 30 minute recording limit applies to the PAL version only and there’s a hack to override that (and make the camera norm switchable) but it’s only for the GH2 so far. I guess Vitaly Kisilev will work his magic on the GH3 as well soon enough.
            But come on, the GH3 is a much better camera for video, both in features and handling (I’ve used them all), though the messed it up with that wee moiré.

            Now all of the sudden the 5D MkIII comes back on the map and that’s only thanks to Magic Lantern.
            Canon doesn’t deserve this but it is a very good improvement for all of us, I think.

        • GH3 video page at vimeo, with 155 videos.

          http://vimeo.com/groups/panasonicgh3

    • The Panasonic rep in this video from January 2013 says it’s possible the GH4 will have 4k video, “maybe”. I hadn’t heard that before. I did hear 2k video in the GH4 is a real possibility.

      Talk of 4k for the GH4 starts at 2:17:

    • That blog is a bit ….full of it. I owned a GH3 for a week. Ran tests and sent everything back. For me, micro 4/3′s chip is just too small to replace my 5d. And it’s DOF characteristics is still too small to up end APS-C. I found the LUT’s in the GH3 not flat enough. The color rendition, especially on flesh tones couldn’t touch my 5D. Sure it’s sharper but the overall image just isn’t as pleasing. Fleshtones lack depth. Don’t get me started on light sensitivity.

      Perhaps it’s OK for Crockett’s wedding hybrid packages, but I’d never use a GH3 for client work. The image looks video’ish and cheaper, even if it is sharper. There’s no replacement for the beauty of full frame. Can’t wait until someone makes a real pro video camera with Full Frame.

  • i don´t want to bash it but i think a mk3 is in the moment the best deal u can make. for me it´s important to have a good stills camera and a good video camera. the mk3 always was a good stills cam. now it´s a good video camera as well. and also in many other way it´s better then the rest out there. the most important think especially for low budget productions is the high iso quality. with a bmcc u need much more light which makes it more expensive to film with it. for example a shoot in the night in the city. what do u do then with a bmcc? building up tons of light? or take a mk3 and use the available light? i work a lot with high iso and for me it became a must to be able to shoot with iso 2500 or more. that´s why i alway would even prefer a c300 above a bmcc. but now there´s no need for a c300 and all the other overpriced stuff. and that´s good. i really hope that ML will solve the 30seconds limit. i mean the 4gb limit. if they don´t that would be a k.o. reason for the raw hack…

  • Erwin (Netherlands) on 05.18.13 @ 6:05AM

    I want my C100 to do RAW!

  • Just shut up and SALUTE the ML team!!! Canon 5dMK3 is a beast!!!!

  • How much faster is a 1000x CF card than a 95 MB/s Sandisk SD card?

  • Well hats off to ML, friggin amazing work. Shaking the industry up yet again.
    This camera looks amazing now.

    But this all makes me think that I wish the ML team would go into production themselves. Or go into partnership with a company that doesn’t create products that don’t fulfill their own potential for the customer.
    Canon is all about extorting its customers purely to future safe it’s lineup and upcoming models.
    ML, canon doesn’t deserve your free marketing or development, you are the company keeping them alive in the video world, you deserve the profit and kudos not them.

    So in summary, I probably should by a mark 3, but I’ll hold out for the BMPC. Because long term I want to support a company that is honest and gives the consumer what it needs for a fair price. I will not support a company who is all about the slowjack.

  • mmmm I know every one here wants to see how RAW video from Canon DSLR is better and amazing, but, in my opinion the video from gh2 looks better. I own a Mark III.

    • To some degree, you can make raw footage look like it’s from any camera you like. GH2 footage is always going to look like GH2 footage. Ok, so that’s not entirely true, but I think you get what I’m saying.

  • Here’s still hoping 7D will get it (at least scope-crop 2.4:1 AR).

    And 40-60 sec of recording? Yay… we’ll back at the days of windup cameras! :P

  • when i try to convert the raw files with RAW2DNG keeps telling me this

    Error: This ain’t a lv_rec RAW file
    ls: *.dng: No such file or directory
    Nothing converted
    what im doing wrong
    any ideas?

  • I hope, more than anything, this demonstrates to the doubters that the GH2 (which was selling for $500 before it was discontinued) has video image quality rivaling a $3500 DSLR. And in a smaller form factor, without pesky limitations like recording limits and with an articulating screen. Now THAT’S impressive.

    Kudos to ML guys for bringing Canon’s nearly top-of-the-line product finally up to par with a plastic-bodied camera 1/6 the price!

    • Mark Weston on 05.18.13 @ 2:32PM

      Nice try.

      The ml hack works on cheaper canon dslrs.

      • Are those cheaper ones on par as well? I haven’t seen any footage.

      • Nice “try” at what?

        Sure, the ML hack works on the cheapo Canons…at much lower resolutions than 1080P. Go back and read the ML news.

    • I did a whole TV series on hacked GH2′s for a Kids Show for a major cable channel. Never again. It was somewhat forced on the production for a various reasons. I found the hacks (all of them) completely unreliable under heavy production loads, cold weather, and heavy detail loads (trees, wide angle high detail, movement). Not to hate on GH line but I find many here are overwhelmed by sharpness tests but never really look at how well they perform and look in standard narrative drama. Sharpness is way overrated. THere’s a reason Alexa’s dominate and not Epics.

      • Too bad you had that experience. You should’ve chosen the right hack/SD card combination. I haven’t had a single issue with hacks in more than a year of using them on very detailed scenes (say, a forest filled with bushes and trees moving on heavy wind). On the other hand, I’ve had two 60D with Magic Lantern fail on two different live sessions, rendering broken .dat videos (luckily there are programs that can recover them to some degree).
        Motion rendition, lens choice and the hack made me buy it back then over a Canon DSLR. I was amazed when I discovered it and I still love it to this day.
        RAW is great, but it’s a shame it got to Canon. They don’t deserve it.

  • The GH2 and RAW Mk III are closer than I would’ve guessed. The h264 looks like mushy garbage compared to both.

  • & still the detail champion GH2

    • Price champion too.

      I’m wondering how the Panasonic HC-X920 camcorder would look compared to these same 3 video samples. It likely wouldn’t win. But I’m still curious how well it would do. For $1000.00 it would be kinda amusing if it looks better than the mkiii.

  • Here is another video using the hack. What’s insane about this clip is I applied NO post processing other than white balance correction (ie, no sharpening, this footage is straight out of the camera)

    https://vimeo.com/66486380

    This has really changed the playing field, thanks sooo much magic lantern!

  • Perhaps there is no “sd” to “cf” converter, but I have seen converters from “sd” to “sata” and “ssd drives” could be great to expand recording time for raw dng files three o four times.

    http://www.cablematic.com/search/sd-sata/2_dot_5-SATA_hyphen_HDD-Adapter-_open_parenthesis_1xSD-to-SATA_close_parenthesis_/?pag=1

  • Wow it scares me what they would be capable of doing with the 1dx, which gives more credence credibility to the reason why CANON threaten them if they touched the 1dx.

    IF they ever get the audio playing on this thing, it would in my opinion make the idx 4k compressed feature obsolete.

    And is it me or do the videos look a little less shaky, the first released videos seemed to be prone to more rolling shutter does anyone know.

    Also how much raw can be recorded on highest CF card, just curious

  • 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?