Panasonic_af100_vanity-224x161Panasonic has released their first firmware update for the AF100, and while it's a minor one (fixing some SD card errors), the availability of such a file means that it can be dissected... and possibly hacked. Back in September when previewing the AF100 I asked, "who’s to say that an enterprising hacker won’t find a way to raise the bitrate of the AF100 in-camera, without requiring an external recorder?" Now the programmer behind the original GH1 hack is looking to do just that, deeming the AF100 firmware "definitely" hackable.

Vitaliy Kiselev programmed the unofficial firmware that allowed the GH1 to attain much higher bitrate recording than Panasonic originally allowed, so he has plenty of credibility (unlike, say, those guys claiming to allow 4K on Canon DSLRs). The AF100's 24mbit AVCHD codec is very efficient, but for a $5,000 camcorder one would certainly be justified in asking for higher bitrate options. Vitaliy says upgrading to 4:2:2 encoding is probably impossible, but if he can up the bitrate of the camera's native recording significantly, it would allow shooters to film at much higher quality without needing an expensive (and often bulky) external recorder. He's already released a firmware decomposer (.zip file link), so time will tell what features (other than the expected bump in bitrate) he's able to "upgrade."

For anyone who's shot with an AF100, how did you find the default AVCHD codec?

Panasonic AF100 Firmware Update
DVXUser thread on the potential hack

[via EOSHD]