Panasonic GH2

How to Unhack the GH2

I first hacked my Panasonic GH2 in the Fall of 2011, and until recently, it’s remained that way. I would sometimes consider putting the original firmware back on it, but I never committed to the idea. Recently, a patch gave me a little trouble, so I decided to hack my camera back to its original state, just for the sake of starting fresh. Before I transplanted my camera’s brain, I needed to make 100% certain I wasn’t going to screw it up.

This, of course, required a nice long visit to personal-view.com, a destination on the internet that I both love and loathe (I elaborate on this mixed emotion in my Revisiting the GH2 Hack post).

Returning a GH2 to it’s original firmware is a basic¬†procedure. It’s not an advanced technique. To the people who visit personal-view regularly and hack their cameras over and over again, it’s a completely boring topic. However, if you’ve never done it before and are in need of clear instructions, they are nowhere to be found.

I read the forum for over an hour, trying to find these simple instructions, and the best I could do was this post, written by Vitaliy himself:

In May of 2012, Vitaliy Kiselev said:

“I think this had been answered about 100 times. Load firmware in PTool and do not touch anything (I mean patches), save firmware to other file. Load in camera. Period.”

I decided to follow Vitaliy’s simple, two sentence¬†instructions, and I was able to load the original firmware back on my camera. However, if you’re looking for more¬†thorough¬†and complete¬†instructions (so you don’t accidentally brick your expensive little camera), I provide them below:

1)¬†Download the original firmware for the GH2 onto your computer. Here’s a link to a page on personal-view.com that has a link to the original firmware download:¬†http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/330/new-gh2-firmware-leak#Item_4¬†– it will arrive as a zip file. Click on it to unzip it. When unzipped, the firmware will appear as “GH2__V10.bin” – please note that there are two underscores in its name.

2)¬†Create a new folder on your computer and put all of this stuff inside of it. Name your new folder “GH2 Original FIrmware Hack” or something obvious like that. Put it in a obvious place, like on your desktop. Put the original GH2 firmware (GH2__V10.bin) in this folder, and put the ptool exe in there (you can learn how to download the ptool in my How to Hack the GH2 post).

3)¬†Launch ptool on your computer, if you’re on a Mac, Wine will launch and present you with this dialog box:

All you have to do is click the “Go” button. That’s the only thing you have to do with WineBottler. If Wine doesn’t launch and do it’s thing, you likely need to revisit the¬†instructions¬†in my¬†How to Hack the GH2¬†post.

4)¬†Now you have to load the original firmware for the GH2 into ptool. Click on the blue “Load Firmware” button at the bottom left of the ptool interface, and navigate to the folder where you placed the original firmware that you downloaded, (remember, the name is GH2__V10.bin), highlight the firmware by clicking on it, and click Open.

5)¬†If the “Version increment” box in ptool¬†isn’t checked, click on it and check it.

6)¬†DO NOT click any of the buttons at the bottom of the ptool interface. I’m referring to the row of round buttons with letters inside of them.

7)¬†Now you have to “export” the original firmware out of ptool. Click on the green button in the bottom right corner of ptool that says “Save Firmware.” A window will open titled “Save Firmware Image.” Type in what you’re going to name the original firmware, but don’t get creative and clever with the name. See the next step…

8)¬†It’s important to name the firmware something specific, yet not identical to the other file in your folder. The orignal firmware is named¬†GH2__V10.bin so you should¬†not¬†name your new firmware the same thing. What I do is incrementally name the new firmware one digit higher, so in this case it would be GH2__V11.bin. The double underscore is important, so make sure that’s a part of your new name.

9) Save the new firmware in your folder (so you know where it is).

10)¬†Format¬†a good SD card¬†in your GH2. Make sure you’re using a freshly recharged battery (it’s really bad if the battery dies while the firmware is updating, you need to avoid this). Only use a battery, don’t use the¬†Lumix DMW-AC8 AC adapter, because a¬†power surge can interrupt the hack and screw up your camera. Some people say that it’s better to use a Panasonic Lumix lens when you’re hacking. Other people say things go smoother when you put the camera in a custom mode when hacking (the C1, C2 or C3 position on the right dial on top of the camera). I read this in other people’s instructions, so this is what I do too.

11) After formatting your SD card in your GH2, turn off the camera and remove the card, and load it into your computer. You can use the built-in SD card slot on a newer Mac or an external SD card reader, or you can connect the GH2 to your computer with the digital cable that came with the camera.

12)¬†Drag the new firmware that you just saved out of your folder, and drop it onto the SD card icon on your desktop. The hack will land in there and just sit beside the other folders in your SD card (you know those usual GH2 SD card folders: DCIM, MISC, and PRIVATE). Here’s what it should look like inside the SD card with the hack inside of it:

13) Eject the card from your computer (or dismount the GH2 if you connected with the cable). Put the SD card into your GH2 (make sure the camera is powered off when you insert the card).

14) Turn on your GH2. It will power up and start operating like everything is normal. Press the Play button (the button with the green arrow on it that you press to look at images and videos).

15)¬†The GH2 will go into the odd screen titled “BODY VERSION UP” that looks like this:

The words on the screen ask you “START VERSION UP?” with the option of choosing Yes or No. Press the up arrow (the ISO button) to select Yes, and press the Menu/Set button to activate the process.

16)¬†This is the most important step… While the camera is updating its firmare DO NOT TOUCH IT. Carefully set the camera down on a flat surface and let it peacefully update itself. It’s very important not to press any buttons or to turn off the camera during this process.

18)¬†When your camera completes the firmware updating process, you are essentially finished! The only thing you have to do now is to format the SD Card inside the GH2 again. If you don’t do this, the weird BODY VERSION UP? firmware update screen will appear every time you press the green Play button on the camera.

Congratulations! You now have an unhacked GH2!


If you found my instuctions helpful, you can help me out by simply clicking on the little Amazon logo below. Click on it right before you make a purchase at Amazon.com. I’ll receive a small commission, even if you’re buying a can of Cat Repellent, not a GH2. Thanks in advance!

Published by

Sam

Writer, musician, photo taker and video maker. When not writing somewhat longish articles for this blog, I write incredibly short things on Twitter: @SamMallery

24 thoughts on “How to Unhack the GH2”

  1. Thanks, Sam. I bought a new GH2 from B&H the day after Christmas 2012 for $600. I wanted to get very familiar with the camera before I hacked it, so I’ve been waiting. Last week I bought a second GH2 from eBay for about $700 shipped. It was hacked when I received it, and when I put it through it’s paces it was acting unstable. I used the information you provided to unhack the camera. My adrenaline was pumping but I followed your directions carefully. The camera seems to be acting normal again. You remind me a lot of myself and how I would have responded had I been in your shoes and been unable to find critical detailed info about unhacking. Thanks a bunch, and I’ll use your link the next time I make an Amazon purchase.

  2. Hi Sam, I enjoy your posts! I’m a newbie to DSLR’s and I’m looking for some advice. I’m setting up a small studio for a client of mine so she can create video courses on Udemy as well as HD Youtube videos etc…

    We are doing podcasting as well so currently we have a Zoom H4N for that.

    Which DSLR camera around $1000 or less (including lens) will work best with the H4N?

    Also, I was thinking of getting a Rode Videomic in addition to the mics on the H4N. What do you think?

    The more research I do, the more confused I get! I appreciate any advice you can give me.

    Thanks and I’ll be making these purchases through any links you give me.

    Matt

  3. Sam, I LOVE these breakdowns, both the hacking and the unhacking.

    THANK YOU. :)

    One question. Can you load new firmware that’s got a lower number than the previous? For instance, the latest Panny firmware is v1.1, leading to the .bin file being labeled GH2__V11.bin. I loaded the Flow Motion v2 on mine the other day, and labeled it GH2__V12.bin. Then, I needed to re-load the Panny firmware on there. I thought about just loading the version labeled GH2__V11.bin on there, but was worried that if I tried to go DOWN in increment, it would freak out. So, I ran the GH2__V11.bin through ptool, and re-named it GH2__V13.bin.

    Which is all kind of a pain. I’d love to just be able to label a hack a certain number, and leave it, which means I’d be, occasionally, going from a higher number to a lower number.

    Thoughts? Thanks!!

    Best,

    Ian

  4. Hi, If my camera is already hacked, and I want to rehack it again with a new patch (like sanity) Do I have to unhack the camera and hack it again with this new patch (sanity)??

    Thanks

  5. The 6 January 2014 i buy a Panasonic GH 2 bran New
    they still have some out there i pay 625$ for it with the 14-42 zoom.

    I found few film was shot with the GH 2
    THE IMDB page for UPSTREAM COLOR

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2084989/

    Here the link,it’s interesting to see what could be done with a GH 2 hacked.

    http://streamcomplet.com/upstream-color/

    If this link do not work just do a research with Google with the title and asking in stream.I read this film was made with 7000.00$ ?

  6. Many thanks any superb write-up. The location in addition might any one have that sort of information and facts in these an excellent technique of producing? I’ve a speech up coming 7 days, that i’m on the seek out these information and facts.

  7. Many thanks for these clear concise instructions. They were just what I was looking for. I have been having trouble with the EOSHD ‘vanilla’ hack (44Mbps). It sometimes works fine but at other times I’d get a ‘Card speed not fast enough’ message (even though I am using a very fast card) and the clip would be lost and I’d have to take the battery out and back again to use the camera.
    I used your instructions with V1.1 of the firmware and it reverted fine. I’ll miss the unlimited recording time of the hack – and the annoying gamma shift is back – but at least I shouldn’t have any more lost clips.

  8. Hi guys
    I have been searching for about two hours now, and cant find actual firmware to download. I would like to try Flowmotion 2.02 but apparently that requires stock 1.1firmware, and an ini file (which I have) Where does one get all these firmwares, I have spent most my time on Personal-view but am scared to mention that I cant find firmware because the vitali guy is pretty nasty if you ask basic questions. I understand there is no way to get 1080p on the GH2, so I want a reliable 35mbps 720p Anyone?

  9. Sam.

    You are a life saver. Thank you for what is undoubtedly the best and most simple explanation on setting the firmware back. My GH2 hasn’t been able to record video for over a year now, and thanks to you it’s back up and running. Thank you, sir.

    – Matthew

  10. Hello I have a question,

    I hack my camera but has filed a manufacturing fault, it is still warranty.

    but I read that if you hack the camera forfeited it.

    I have already removed the hack and and installed the native operating system factory 1.0

    But I want to know if the command for service under warranty are going to realize that it has been hack before and lose the guarantee of the same

    I await your prompt response, thank you very much

  11. Hi Carlos,

    I’ve never had to do this myself, so I don’t know for sure. I just took a look at the personal-view.com forums, and I found this response to the same question:

    When it goes back for repair its highly unlikely they’ll look to see if its been hacked. One of my gh2s failed 6 months ago and they just swapped the mobo over and sent it back as new. Most warranties are serviced by third parties, they work for lots of manufacturers and just order replacement parts in. I dont think they’d know diddly squat about the workings of any one particular camera and codec

    That post is from 2012, but I imagine the situation hasn’t changed much. If you hacked a GH2, losing the warranty is a risk you likely knew you were taking. I would just send it in for repair, and if they honor your warranty… awesome! If they turn you down, it’s too bad, but that’s one of the risks we take when we hack cameras.

  12. Sam,

    Seriously. Thank you for this. It has helped me tremendously. If I can somewhere donate for this help, please let me know!

    You have enabled much art from these posts.

    -Derek

  13. Thanks Derek! If I’ve helped anyone do their art, work on their projects, make their voices heard, then I’m a happy blogger. And if I haven’t… well, I ate some chocolate ice cream tonight and it was pretty good. So I’m still a happy blogger!

    You can help me out just by clicking these links below before you shop for stuff at Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, or B&H Photo. Thanks again!

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