If you are looking to use higher bitrates and ISO settings while filming with your GH2, here’s a tutorial to get you started. This article references PTool v3.64d, the most current tool for this at the time of writing.
If you are still trying to figure out whether there is a difference between using higher bitrate patches and the default factory settings, you might want to check out this video.
“Unscientific ISO 10,000 Comparison Under Changing Lighting Conditions”
But before you can start the tutorial, you will need a few things.
1) A Panasonic GH2 with a fully charged battery.
2) An empty SD card.
3) A computer running Windows, equipped with a card reader.
If you’ve got all of those, then this tutorial is for you.
UPDATE June 2012: If you want to hack your GH2 using a Mac, I suggest you consult THIS TUTORIAL by Ryan E. Walter’s He’s not just knowledgeable, he’s a nice guy that’s done good work with several other cameras as well. Plus, he helped set me up with the Promote Control that I’ve used to make so many of the landscape photos on this site.
Disclaimer: While neither I, nor any of my colleagues, have experienced any difficulty while using the following steps, I cannot guarantee that nothing will happen to your camera and will not be held liable if something does. I do, however, outline any precautions I personally take so that you can do the same.
The first place you will need to go is http://www.gh1-hack.info/wiki/PToolSoftware
Here you will find a link to the original firmware (which you will be modifying) and the software you will use to load and modify patches.
The former is found under the heading “GH2 firmware” (more specifically “GH2 firmware v1.0E” at the time of writing).
The latter is found under the heading “Firmware manipulation tool”.
Download both and then head to “http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/953/gh2-patch-vault-most-popular-patches-in-one-place”. You will need to register with the site in order to download any patches. My reccomendations (for 24 frames per second modes) would be to try one of Nick Drifwood’s patches. At the time of writing, there are 4 useful patches at the link below.
Save any (or all) of these ZIP files (taking care to rename the file with the patch name Driftwood uses, so that you can find them easily later).
Updating Your Firmware Using PTool
1 ) Click “load firmware” and select the version 1.0 firmware (“GH2__V10.bin”) you downloaded earlier.
2 ) Hold down “CTRL” and click on any letter from A to J.
3 ) Find and select the zip file for the patch you want to load (such as SeAQuake or Quantum).
4 ) Click on the letter you just selected. A small text box saying “settings loaded” should briefly pop-up over the letter you selected.
5 ) Click “save firmware” and name the file “GH2__V11.bin” (you can change the last digit from “1″ to any value you want).
6 ) Copy this new .bin file you saved to the memory card, make sure you have a fully charged battery and then insert the memory card into your GH2.
7 ) Turn on your GH2 and hit the play button.
*Before proceeding to step 8, make sure that your GH2 is in a safe position where buttons will not accidentally be pressed and nothing will bump into the camera. Step 8 is the only point at which the camera is “vulnerable” so to speak.*
8 ) Select the option to update firmware. A green progress bar will pop-up to show how far along the process is.
9 ) After the process completes, your camera will switch back to its normal shooting display. Often you will need to format the card before you can shoot with it.