Saturday, December 1, 2012

G3 tweak and hack (updated on 12/11)

Photo Style: VIVID, Contrast -1, Sharpness +1, Saturation +1, NR -1.
AWB: A -1 and M -1.
ISO Limit Set: 3200. The default is "OFF", then it is limited to 800, too low for indoor.



These two are disabled by default for good reasons. I.R. makes video grainy, better keep it off, at least never set it to "high" for video.

I.RESOLUTION: off
I.DYNAMIC: off

Some default focus settings suck, must be changed to the followings (QUICK AF ON etc.):




All above tweaks apply to both stills and video. Now turn the wheel to P or A (if you know what it is) and start your fun.

The following samples show the situations that Panasonic usually cannot handle well.

High ISO (6400, i.e. low light):


 High contrast:


Blue sky:


 Under energy-save lights:



Hack Firmware for Better Video
  • Download G3 firmware and PTool here.
  • Download my hack here.
  • Unzip these 3 files into the same folder: ptool3.exe, G3___V12.bin and setf.ini.
  • Run ptool3.exe, Load Firmware (G3___V12.bin), click button "F", Save Firmware as G3___V13.bin.
  • Copy G3___V13.bin to a SD card, insert it into G3, turn it on, press the green Playback button, select Yes, OK.
That's it. Feel free to check or uncheck these four items, based on your location:


Some notes:
  • 96Mb (6 x 16Mb), actual bitrate up to 50 mb - truly broadcast grade.
  • 45Mb limit on both top and bottom for uniform IQ across frame.
  • Quantizer 12 (vs. 20) for the least image compression.
  • GOP 6 (I-B-B-P-B-B-I) for the optimal IQ and motion.
  • Equal quality I, P and B frames.
  • 6x GOP tables for the best AQ control.
  • Stable and absolutely reliable 4GB spanning.
  • 1080i play fine on camera.
720p cannot be played in camera, because of using B frames, but can be deleted on camera (if not, turn camera off and on).

I have fully tested this hack, with stress charts and real life shooting. First, let's compare it to the Sony SLT-A35 and see how much better ours is:



You can download the original MTS files here and here. This is the indoor sample:


These analysis shows how great this hack is (very tall I frames). PAL produces better IQ at lower bitrate than NTSC, due to less frames per second (25 vs. 30):





I believe this hack work for GF2 too, but I no longer have one to test with.

If you want to tweak your own hack, you need to display this image on your monitor and set the monitor's brightness to the highest. Then put your camera as close as possible to the monitor and shoot at it. Keep the camera still, no any movement. 20 seconds is enough to get a good analysis with GH13 Stream Parser 2.6. The taller the "I" frames, the better the IQ. Then shoot for about 45 minutes to see if any error will occur and spanning will fail.

Check this thread for feedback on this hack:

http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/4913/panasonic-g3-stable-settings/p2

My earlier articles regarding G3:

Time to upgrade to panasonic G3

Sony SLT A35 is no compare to Panasonic G3



61 comments:

  1. greetings from mexico, congratulations pur your excellent work, I just want to tell you that I can not download your hack, I get nothing when I hit the link to point out, greetings

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have a question for you Sean. I have a GF2 for some reason, the pictures it takes with 45-200 lens are blurry, with 14mm fixed lens that comes with the camera, the pictures come out fine.. D you know how to fix it?

    Another question regarding cell phones. Do you have any pre-paid canada plans to recommend? I like pageplus that you mentioned for us plans.

    Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe the 45-200 is a bad copy?

      There are many good prepaid services in Canada, my friends keep telling me about, but I don't remember exactly, something like Bell, Superstore, etc. My friend even bought me 4 Fasicinate 4G phones from Superstore for only $130/ea, all prepaid, with $20 minutes included. There are at least 3 prepaid providers in Canada, check howardforums for details. Some of them include prepaid data, much cheaper than PPC's data rate that is too expensive to be usable.

      Delete
  3. thank you very much and you are able to open, I'll put down to work, he had not found much information on the g3 hacking so far with your post, really you, there I will put a notice on my results thanks indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. hi from mexico again, I just finished the file to the sd, and I'll put it on the g3 camera, I have a little fear, I just want to ask if in case you have any problems, you can return to normal of the camera, just that thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as you have a fully charged battery, nothing to worry about. If you want to go back to the stock firmware, just load the stock firmware, don't check anything except the version increment, save firmware.

      Delete
  5. and the battery is full, I will install it now, I'm anxious, thanks for your help Sean and thanks for your contribution.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have it, it seems that everything went well, testing now, thank you very much

    ReplyDelete
  7. dear mr chen,
    i am wondering if the hack enables manual shooting modes. what kind of changes to aperture, shutter, etc. can you set while the camera is shooting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No hack for the things you listed. It only modify the video encoder.

      Delete
  8. Awesome patch, got it working on GF3 and G3. I test recorded on GF3 with regular class 10 card and it ran for 44 minutes with no problem. I am happy as a clam. I knew someone would come up with a setting that just works. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  9. The video quality semms quite good...I just wonder whether it could work well on a GX1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Should work for GX1, GF3 and GF2 without any changes.

      Delete
  10. Hi, a bit new to these cameras and hacks. I have a few G3 bodies that are NSTC. I live in a PAL world and need to know if this hack or another can change the output from the camera directly to PAL... Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you simply check the "PAL<>NTSC Menu" option before you save the firmware. Then you can switch between these two formats on your camera. After you switched the "Video Out" format, you need to turn the camera off, then on and format the SD.

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello,
    what a functional iso has maximun limit removal, have the firmware but once tested in video mode, nothing has the iso number changed to 3200 and still not at IA and ISO2000 standard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too never notice a difference on my GF2 and G3. It is supposed to remove the ISO limit for video, so you can use higher ISO. Maybe it works for some cameras only such as GH2.

      Delete
  13. Hey Sam, great hack. Do you have any idea how your patch is comparable with other DSLR cameras in terms of photography and video? You showed it is superior to a sony DSLR, but is it superior to a Nikon D700, for example?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it comparable with a D800?

      Delete
    2. No, for Panasonic cameras only.

      Delete
  14. just bought the G3 with 14-42mm lens kit from B&H as you recommended. Can't wait for it to arrive. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  15. I too just bought another one! For those who does not need the kit lens, B&H also offers the body only for $250.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, been researching what video camera that I can use for still and film. With just the body I am looking at getting the G3. My question is...would a canon lens fit? More than likely I will need to get an adapter from canon to a lumix micro...also I am new to the hacking...what SD card would you reccommend best will work for filming? I will be mainly shooting 720P here. Thank you, Raquel

      Delete
    2. You can use virtually any DSLR lens includeing Canon. Adapters are on ebay. No auto focus though and most no aperture control (maximum only).

      When you buy a SD card, make sure it is microSD so you can insert it into phones, tablets and laptops. Also class 10, price is no more higher than 6 or 4 these days but much faster.

      Delete
    3. Hey Sean, got my new G3 body only today. I did your hack, however my canon lens is not recognized. Am I missing something on the settings??

      Delete
    4. M43 cameras cannot recognize non-native lenses. To use these lenses, you have to go into the camera menu and enable "shoot withou lense".

      Delete
    5. Hey Sean, here's a sample of a video I did this Saturday w/ your hack. Thank you. Raquel

      http://vimeo.com/63066708

      Delete
  16. Sean - Please - how do I make your patch work on GH2 ? I love it on my GF2. But I need it to run 24p on my GH2. Please help?
    -AndyS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry I don't know, I don't have a GH2. At least you can look into the set.ini file and apply the items and values, I cannot see any risk.

      Delete
  17. How do I do that, Sean? I have never tweaked those myself before. What exactly do I do?
    -AndyS

    ReplyDelete
  18. You play with the hack tool to figure it out, quite easy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dear Sean,

    thanks a lot for your work.

    A couple of things I wanted to add:

    1. You cannot delete 720p videos on your memory card with your settings;
    2. Why does the "Ex. Tele Conv." feature only work in 720p?
    3. The VIVID photo style setting is not really recommendable for photos, is it?
    4. Why did you adjust the WB like that?
    5. "Quick AF" is a nice feature for filming, but drains your battery a lot!
    6. The ISO limit is set to 800 for a reason - everything beyond that doesn't look good with the G3.

    I'm looking forward to your reply - thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1.Yes you can. Turn the camera off and on, don't try to view the video, just delete it.
      2.Because the sensor does not have extra room like the one in GH2 and G5.
      3.As long as it does not look too exaggerated to you.
      4.To make image warmer.
      5.Buy an extra battery on ebay for $7.
      6.It is still better than blurry images if light is not enough to use 1/100" for moving objects.

      Delete
    2. Hi again!

      Thanks - that helped me a lot!

      Delete
  20. Hello, any update for manual controls? video mode*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think that's possible. If I want to do video manually, I'd rather get other cameras that do photos better such as OM-D.

      Delete
  21. Hi,

    I've been contemplating the G3, the G5, and the GH2. My primary interest is doing video, and I'll probably be using the ETC mode often.

    When I looked at your comparison between the G3 and G5 ETC modes, it seemed that the G3 was much sharper than the G5 in 720p ETC mode. Would you say this is accurate.

    I know the G5 is very sharp in 1080p ETC, but I'd also like to be able to use the 720p ETC, and, based on your video, I'm not convinced it's usable.

    I've also heard a lot of people complain about the GH2 720p ETC mode being soft, and I know the G5 and GH2 share the same sensor, so I'm wondering if something about that sensor causes proplems in 720p ETC.

    Ideally, I'd like a camera that can do both modes well, but I'm having trouble finding one. BTW, yours is the only video I've ever seen demonstrating the G3 ETC mode. Prior to that, I probably would have chosen the G5, but, again, it looked soft in 720p.

    Would appreciate some guidance.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. G5's video is softer than a hacked G3's, except 1080p60 (PSH) mode. On G5, 2.6x ETC mode is available for 1080p60 too, but 3.4x is 720P only like G3. Once hack is available for G5, then 720p should better.

      So, as long as you use 1080p60 mode on G5, its video is significantly sharper than a hacked G3's. If 720P is more important to you, then you may buy a G3 or wait for the hack for G5.

      Delete
  22. Thank you. Much appreciated.

    So, I take it that, to your knowledge, without the hack, the G3 is pretty similar to the G5 in 720P ETC mode, but with the hack the G3 is sharper in 720P ETC mode. So, with a hack, presumably the G5 would be on par with the hacked G3 in 720P ETC mode, with the G5 also having the 1080/60p ETC mode.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi,
    I'm absolutely new in this world (maybe i must say "jungle") of pixels and frames. I have a panasonic G3 and i am pretty satisfied with their original video capabilities, but your hack is a big step forward for me. In a big screen the improvement is more than clear. I want to ask you, it is possible to shoot in 1080/24p? I only found 1080/50i and /60i. Thank you so much. Regards from Spain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Panasonic made 24p exclusive to GH1/2. For all other models, the closest thing is 1080/50i. Most video editing software such as PowerDirector treat 1080/50i as 1080/25p.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your kind reply! ... And congratulations for a so well made job!
      Regards, Rafael.

      Delete
  24. Hi pvdog, is this the latest G3 hack? After trawling through the personal-view.com forums, I came across your link and it's great to find links to the hack and the Ptool (finally!). Is there a hack for the manual settings available for the G3 yet? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hello pvdog, I've downloaded the PTool software and the setf.ini but I can't find a link to Firmware G3___V12.bin. Do you have a link? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hello. I realised in the end that the BIN file can be found on the Panasonic website. I've installed the hack and now find that a 8GB card will only give me 10 minutes of video in this mode. That's too little time for video and I will have to buy another, larger capacity card, if I can afford it. I have no need for broadcast quality (50 mb/s) video, but I would like better quality than what G3 can offer with factory settings (without the hack). Is there a hack (seta/b/c/d/e), that can give me that, e.g. 25 or 30 mb/s?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I no longer have a G3 or any hackable camera, I only have a G5, therefore I cannot play with the settings. What you can try is to check the 4 checkboxes under AVCHD Compression. Change the bitrate to 25000000 or so and select Auto Quantizer options.

      Delete
  27. Sean, I am a camera novice and bought a G3 a while back to just get better pictures around the house. However, I've found that the autofocus can't gain focus in dim light. However, the light is not that dim and my camera phone and cheap, old point and shoot canon have not problem. I spent forever with panasonic's crappy support team and tried everything they said and it made no difference. Then they had me send it to their support place in texas and they said they ran their diags on it and it passed and that is all they know how to do. I kept saying "surely it should be as good as a camera phone or cheap, old canon elph in focusing in dim light" and all they said was it passed their diagnostics so they were sending it back. Is this a problem you are aware of with this camera? It seems like maybe your hack would help with this but I'm not sure. Maybe it is related to lack of contrast and dim light together but I still don't understand why my point and shoot and camera phone have no issue. Is this something you've experienced with the G3?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The hack won't do anything about focusing.

      What I can suggest is: do a reset. Also enable AF Assist Lamp. G3's sensor is MUCH larger than point and shoot's, i.e., much shallower depth and harder to focus. Anyway, if assist lamp is enabled and distance is longer than lens's minimum focusing range, G3 should focus on what your point and shoot can. Don't mount lens hood, because it might block the lamp.

      Delete
  28. Thanks. When I went through it before I tried reseting it and using factory defaults (which is what they told me to try) and also used AF assist lamp. Also did not use a lens hood. It was the standard kit lens that comes with the camera. The object I'm focusing on is only 6 or 7 feet away. The AF lamp comes on when I push the shutter button and it seems like it is trying to autofocus but just can't. I turn up my light in the house a little and it works fine. I love the camera except for this one issue which is a big deal to me. Really weird. Do you think the lens could be faulty or something (although the lens was with the camera when I sent it to the support factory).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then I think yours is normal.

      Delete
  29. Pretty crappy. That would mean that by design this camera needs more light to gain autofocus than my cheap phone cameras. Thanks though.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I there ! first of all thanks a lot your your work.
    the question is: do you think it will be possible to have manual mode in video on this camera (G3) soon?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, never. You need at least G6 or GX7.

      Delete
  31. Hey Sean,

    I am wanting to shoot exclusively in 24fps, so am I right in thinking that:

    1. The closest I get to this using your hack is 25fps in PAL mode?

    2. Will the mpg mode shoot in 25p when the camera is set to PAL?

    Thanks in advance!!

    Claude

    ReplyDelete
  32. hello i am newbie to photography and have learned pana \gf2 camera is pretty good starter camera, so i picked up a second hand camera and looking to improve video. I have upgraded the camera to factory 1.1 as per instructions, but am now wondering for the patching do i only need to use this last patch you have posted or do i need to download them all and apply them all. i am kind of nervous as not to brick the camera. can you help me out ? thank john - zen_now@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. I know, some years passed, but... Can You please post the hack again?! The link is dead.
    Thanks in advance!!!
    Sincerely, huge G3 fan.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for post link http://www.kots.us/data/uploads/g3hack.zip!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi,

    Is it possible to revive the link for your hack? I'm getting a GF2 ($75 on eBay! unbelievable!) and would like to try your settings.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete