Sunday, March 25, 2012

Enable GF2 Live Video Out

Hold down the Q.MENU button for about 5 seconds, then what you see on the camera LCD screen will be duplicated on a TV. Works for the AV cable, not HDMI. This change stays after a power cycle; so you don't need to do this each and every time. You can disable it the same way - hold the Q.MENU button for 5 seconds.

Too bad, once you press the record button, live view becomes black on the TV until recording is stopped. So it is still useless during video recording.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

GF2 Video Hack - superb quality! (updated on 12/3/2012)

For a camera that takes DSLR grade pictures, why it produces poor video that's not even lower resolution than iPhone 4S? Because Panasonic crippled its software to make sure you can't buy a $300 camera with $$$$ video performance.

Now you can unleash GF2's full potential with Vitaliy Kiselev's firmware hack and my patch. First, follow the instructions on this page:

Then download and apply my patch (updated on 5/9/2012, please do not post the download link but this blog):

Now go shoot some video and be amazed! If you are happy with the result, don't forget to donate to VK, I did. Or watch this youtube for what to expect from your "new" gf2:

You might want to read my other GF2 blog on AWB and picture tweaks, because most of them apply to video for warm colors and good details.

More details on this patch:

This patch is inspired by two GH2 patches: LPowell's Flow Motion and Balazer's Cake.

The key features are:
  • All I/P/B frames are the same quality. You know, Panasonic uses worse quality for P and B frames.
  • Use GOP tables to control max average bitrate, much better than frame limit and fallback etc., for optimal quality and stability.
  • GOP 6, I-B-B-P-B-B-I. I always feel 15/12 is way too long but 3 is too short and cannot take the advantage of B frames.
  • Reliable 4GB file spanning - non-interrupted recording.
  • Video plays fine in camera (except 720p) and on computer.
  • No compatibility issues with video editing software.
Fully tested, no crash yet even under the extreme conditions such as fast panning from very dark to very detailed, very bright areas. Average bitrate is about 45mbps, which is higher than the new Canon 5D III can offer in I/P/B mode. Class-4 SD cards work fine, but class-10 is recommended for reliable 4GB spanning (for longer than 10 minutes of non-interrupted shooting). BTW, now you can get a 32GB class-10 SD for only $17, to get you 2 hours recording even after this patch (again, 5D III is limited to 30 minutes at a time).

[update 3/28/2012] The latest patch is setf.ini (download link above): the numbers in GOP tables are more proportional to the original. After some comparison to the 33mbps/AQ4 patch and stock, the significant differences are: my patch produces more contrast and saturated colors, more like and better than 100mbps MJPEG. The 33mbps/AQ4 patch is more like the stock: pale. Resolution is the same, all are about 800 lines. My patch also outputs constant bitrate at 44mbps (not much variation, within 41mbps to 48).

[update 4/9/2012] The new patch is seth.ini (download link above): much higher bitrate limit (128mbps vs. 99), higher actual max bitrate (46mbps vs. 44, more closer to broadcast standard 50mbps), much taller I frames (700 vs. 500), much more reliable 4GB spanning and even more stable. More samples can be found on youtube:

Note: so far all the published samples have not used this latest patch yet, but very close. They were filmed when I was modifying my patch and testing it in fields. If you are going to modify my patch, be careful, a small change may result into big differences. Basically I've done my tweaks in very detail, for example, if you change top limit from 43000 just a little bit higher to 44000, you may experience recording failure once after several days and 4GB spanning no longer be guaranteed. Another example is the "Other Modes Top/Buttom Setting", they affect 1080i and 720p too! And if you change bitrate from 128 mbps to 112 or 144, everything will be totally different: if higher, you simply waste memory card for less stability; if lower, IQ goes down.

By default, GF2 does not use B frames for 720p; so it won't play the 720p video that has B frames as done by my patch. This is the only imperfection of my patch, but a good trade-off for IQ and you can still view the thumbnail and do delete on the camera.

[update 4/12/2012] Down to 96 mbps bitrate limit without top and bottom limits. So far no failure yet and love the contrast. All modes, 1080i60, 720p60, 1080i50 and 720p50, are fully tested. Unless I'll see a failure, this is the last update for this patch.

[update 4/29/2012] In several days of shooting, I got one abnormal stop with the last patch. The error message I saw on the screen was something like "Recording stopped due to card speed...". The recorded video is still there, nothing lost. Therefore I made another more conservative patch, seta.ini. So far so good, after more than a week.

[update 5/9/2012] Revised the 96 mbps version with proper limits and GOP numbers to be more stable without losing quality. I think I have finally got everything done right. I usually use Smart Cutter 1.4.8 to cut and join my footage, then recompress it to 8 mbps in Pazera Free MOV to AVI Converter, before upload to youtube. Both of these video tools tended to crash; so I had to use VideoReDo TVSuite V4 to remux before recompressing. Now I no longer need remux.

P.S.: My G3 hack should work for GF2 and should be better IQ, more stable and reliable 4GB spanning.

Thursday, March 8, 2012



  • QUAITY,RAW + Fine。JPEG和RAW同时都要,便于比较和电脑上查看。现在SD卡又大又便宜,没必要节省空间。
  • QUICK AF,ON。这个跟烦人的连续对焦不一样,只是大致接近目标,很好用。
  • I.DYNAMIC,HIGH。能改善阴影处的细节。
  • ISO LIMIT SET,800。1600的噪声较明显,慎用。
  • PICTURE ADJUST:对比度-2,有利于减少高亮区的削顶;锐利度+1,+2时噪声太突出,不自然;色饱和+1,已经有点过头但中看,+2会太过头;降噪-2,更好保护细节。



  • 对比度,A little strong contrast。增加这一点点主要是其给色调带来的变化逗人喜爱。
  • 锐利度,Natural fine。还是有些偏软,但是用Emphatic Sharp的话反而会更软,不知道怎么回事,用Exaggerate Sharp又会让噪声凸显出来。如果是用ISO 800尤其是1600的话,最好选Noise reduction priority,别的都很不理想。
现在来看看JPEG和RAW的对比,虽然非常接近,还是RAW更好看,尤其是蓝天白云。所有的RAW转换在HP Slate 500上做的,每张耗时约34秒。

Wednesday, March 7, 2012




首先是选手机时要注意。摩托罗拉(比如Droid X)和HTC(比如Hero)的手机待机一般超不过1个星期。你就是把mobile data完全关掉,也就是完全当做傻瓜机来用,最好的情况下也就4天左右。

经过实测,三星的Fascinate和LG的Optimus S的待机时间分别能到25天和28天。下面介绍一些具体细节。

首先,不能在手机上注册google account。一旦注册了,掌管你手机的不再是你,而是google。最可恶的是,一旦注册了,就不能注销,也不能更换,除非硬复位。其它账号也都要去掉,去不掉的要停止同步(auto sync):Settings,Account and sync,一律都不启用auto sync,选项一律都不打勾。还有就是各个桌面上的所有的widget全部都要拉到垃圾桶里去(remove),因为它们大多都要定时自动更新。

如果想要最长的待机时间的话,还要把mobile data关掉:Settings,Wireless & networks,Mobile network不打勾。Fascinate很方便,用手指从屏幕的上面往下拉,拉出快捷菜单,点一下Mobile Data按钮来开、关data。Optimus等可以找到和安装SwitchPro Widget v2.1.2.apk,诸多切换都很方便,而且是真正切换3g,不像其它的reboot后3g还是会自动打开。这样有时候需要用3g上上网很方便,平常关掉,大大节省充电的麻烦。

如果需要把data常开着,比如自动电邮推送(push mail)或自动接收QQ短信(用微信),可以强迫Fascinate只用1x(CDMA only)或者只用3G(EVDO only),待机时间还是相当不错,能长达12或9天。HTC Incredible 2和Optimus S都没法强迫到1x或3g。如果碰到信号比较稳定,1x和3g之间的切换不是很频繁的话,Optimus S待机可长达8天。不过Optimus S有一个bug,需要找到和安装xtr50fix-v1.apk,否则mobile data打开时的耗电非常大。

不注册google account就不能用market,这其实是一件大好事。去market寻找和安装apps虽然方便,但是结果是你的手机从此是一天到晚不停地要你做更新,人都烦死。我一般是在网上找apk,碰到少数实在是找不到apk的话,用一个root了的破手机在market里安装,然后用ES File Explorer把apk文件从/data/app里复制到SDCARD上供其它手机安装。

电邮(包括gmail)最好用K-9,采用IMAP Idle推送,比Android自带的GMAIL和EMAIL好太多了。如果要自动收google voice的短信的话,可以在GV设置里把短信forward到mail,然后K-9就会自动收到短信。另外可以找到并安装,收发GV短信比较方便,注意不要让它每10分钟查一次SMS,那样很耗电的。

总之,要想智能手机待机一个星期以上,首先是手机要选对,不能启用任何账号同步,不能注册google account。不用data的时候最好把data完全关掉,至少要避免手机在1x和3g之间的频繁自动转换。是用1x还是3g,需要根据手机和所在的地区来试验决定。需要同步或推送的话,采用做得比较好的软件比如K-9和微信等。

需要指出的是,有些软件写得很差,总是占用CPU(processor),导致手机总是不能进入sleep模式,电池的消耗也就显著增加。几乎所有的SIP软件(比如CSipSimple和Acrobits等)都有这个问题。可以用Android System Info来查看哪些apps总是不停地占用CPU,用Android内置的Battery use工具查看不出来,因为这些apps的CPU的使用量并不大,只是每隔几秒钟就把CPU搞醒一下。

最后,对于智能手机的强力用户来讲,也就是大量使用手机上网和推送同步,上述的超长待机策略没有什么意义,反正一天能坚持下来就够了。如果一天都坚持不下来的话,比如臭名昭著的Droid 2,Thunderbolt和EVO 4G等,只好用加倍的大电池。

【后记】Fascinate,限制只用Voice和EVDO(不用1x CDMA data),不接也不打任何电话,不从事任何后台网络活动,不挪地方,原地纯待机,只是每隔若干小时查看一下电量,连续坚持了18天。这是Android手机最新的最长待机记录,上一次是Samsung Galaxy GIO,无SIM卡的情况下坚持了11天。

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kicker EB51真是付好耳塞!



在Frys的店子里看了看,耳塞不多,就那么几个。有几个是16欧姆的,音圈圈数太少,多半是太节省材料的垃圾,不予考虑。虽然随身听更怕的是阻抗太高,但是阻抗太低也不适宜,32-120欧姆比较适中。有几个是50刀以上,舍不得下手,担心像Sennheiser那样易断线。这个Kicker EB51标价$15,阻抗32欧姆,指标看起来比较诚实:38Hz-18KHz,不像别的都标的是20Hz-20KHz,于是决定试一试。到柜台付钱的时候是$9.99,惊喜。




昨天晚上躺在床上用HP Slate 500浏览网站,才意思到白底黑字是多么的刺眼。于是想到把我给手机做的夜晚模式搬到电脑上来。顺便做了一些改进,解决了以前有些网站(比如ebay)的图片不显示的问题。



C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\User StyleSheets\Custom.css

如果是手机上的Opera Mobile,把user.css放到SDCARD的任何一个地方,然后用OM打开这个网址:opera:config,在quick find里输入"local css",然后Choose到你放user.css的地方。



如果说以前M4/3还只是相当于中低档的DSLR,现在是直逼高档的无敌兔(Canon 5D Mark II)。完全可用的ISO和无敌兔一样高达6400,聚焦速度也毫不逊色。最有意思的是机内防抖(IBIS)终于可以用于录像,而且效果非凡,堪比steadcam,实在是迄今为止人类做出的最完美的相机。

Sunday, March 4, 2012