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Panasonic Lumix GH2 Review

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Panasonic has spent the last two and a half years pushing its Micro Four Thirds series as a credible alternative to the DSLR, and its models seem to have won over novices and hardened enthusiasts alike. Now, in its second generation of mirrorless cameras, the company claims to have improved on its original concept, with the benefit of user feedback from its debut offerings.

The latest GH2 picks up where its GH1 predecessor left off. The GH1 was a significant model in that it has been the first in the G-series to offer video recording, and it went beyond simply including the function as an aside to stills functionality.

With full-HD resolution, a sound-dampened kit lens, continuous autofocusing and stereo recording as standard, it was clear that Panasonic’s intentions were on the GH1 being as much about video recording as it was about still images.

Yet, with Samsung, Ricoh and Sony all having launched competitors in the meantime, the company has sensibly not rested on its achievements but updated the GH1 with a handful of improvements to create a successor.

Build and Handling

The most immediate difference between the GH2 and the model it replaces is the articulated LCD screen, a feature inherited from the G2. While still at 3-inches in size and 460,000dot in resolution, the user is free to pivot the screen around a joint on its left-hand side, turning it forward for self-portrait shots or against the camera to protect it while not in use.

By incorporating touch-screen functionality, many options may be accessed through the display, which includes setting the focus point and releasing the shutter, as well as magnifying directly into an area of the user’s choosing while manually focusing. This technology proves to be particularly helpful when shooting portraits and is far more preferable to selecting a focus stage manually, although if Face Detection is activated the camera generally has no trouble locking onto the subject anyway.

The system only falters once a captured image has been magnified, as the screen’s responsiveness tends to wane when zooming in and around the frame. Furthermore, some of the touch-sensitive controls are small and designed to be operated with the supplied stylus than a larger finger, which isn’t likely to please everyone.

Specifications

Type Hybrid
Announced 21/09/2010
Indicative price (USD) 1100
Sensor type CMOS
Resolution 4760 x 3472
Sensor photodetectors (Mpix) 16
Sensor size (mm) 13 x 17.3
Colour filter array RGB
Pixel pitch (µm)
Bits per pixel 12
Focal length multiplier 2
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
ISO latitude 160 – 12800
Shutter type mechanical
Fastest – Slowest speed (s) 1/4000 (Taking still pictures during motion picture recording: 1/16000sec) – 60 (Taking still pictures during motion picture recording: 1/30sec; bulb up to approx. 2 minutes)
Frame rate (fps) 4.5
Live view Yes
Stabilization Yes
Firmware
Dust cleaning Yes
Mount type Micro 4/3
Weight (gr)
Battery type Li-ion, Panasonic DMW-BLC12PP, 7.2V, 1200 mAh
Battery weight (gr)
Tropicalization
Camera material Plastic
Mount material Metal
Viewfinder type Electronic (1530000 dots)
Viewfinder magnification 0
Viewfinder coverage 100
Mirror lockup
Viewfinder diopter -4 to +4
Monitor type LCD
Monitor size 3
Monitor pixel 460000
Articulated screen Yes
Touch screen Yes
Contrast screen
Low-pass filter
Focus mode Yes
Autofocus modes AFS, AFC, Face detection, AF Tracking, 23-area-focusing, 1-area-focusing, Touch (1area-focusing in Face detection, AF Tracking, Multi-area-focusing, 1area-focusing), Pre AF (Quick AF/Continuous AF), AF+MF, Touch shutter
Number of autofocus points 23
Exposure bracketing
Exposure compensation
Drive modes Single, Continuous SH (40 fps, only JPGs), Continuous H (5 fps in JPG, 4.5 fps in RAW+JPG or RAW), Continuous M (3 fps), Continuous L (2 fps), Self-timer (2sec, 10 sec or 10 sec and 3 shots)
Buffer size 40 (JPG), 7 (RAW), 4-7 (JPG+RAW; the number depends on the aspect ratio, the picture size, the setting for the quality)
Recording medium SD, SDHC, SDXC
Image format JPG, RAW (RW2), MPO
White balance bracketing 3 exposures in blue/amber axis or magenta/green axis
Connectivity USB 2.0 High Speed, mini HDMI TypeC, AV (Stereo Type, NTSC)
Bluetooth No
3G No
Sound recording Yes (stereo)
External micro
Histogram Yes
GPS No
Video Yes
Maximum format image video
Full HD Yes
Live autofocus Yes
Video file format MOV, AVCHD
Video codec Motion JPEG, AVCHD
Video stabilisation Yes

Check Out: Best Lenses For Panasonic Lumix GH2

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is a new Micro Four Thirds compact system camera with a 16 megapixel multi-aspect Live MOS sensor and Full 1080p HD video with continuous autofocus at variable frame rates, including cine standard 24fps. The successor to the DMC-GH1 model, the GH2 also features extremely fast contrast-detect autofocus, a touchscreen control system with touch-based functions like Touch AF/AE and Contact Shutter, upgraded Venus Engine FHD processor, faster 60fps Live View, a multi-aspect electronic viewfinder, a 3-inch swivelling and tilting LCD screen, Optical Image Stabilisation to help combat camera-shake, ISO range of 160-12800, and a Supersonic Wave Filter to remove unwanted dust.

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