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Panasonic GH2 review
Dennis Hissink : September 21th 2010 - 10:00 CET
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PanasonicPanasonic DMC-GH2 review : The introduction of the GH1 in March of 2009 started a small digital revolution. Panasonic not only integrated a video function into its Micro Four Thirds camera, but also developed a new lens for it. This 14-140mm f/4.0-5.8 zoom lens is optimized for photo and video and therefore forms an ideal combination. A year and a half later it is time for an update and Panasonic is introducing the new Lumix DMC-GH2. The Panasonic Lumix GH2 has adopted the Panasonic G2’s intuitive touch control and is equipped with a complete newly developed image sensor and image processor. The Panasonic GH2 will be extensively demonstrated at Photokina 2010, in Germany.

Panasonic GH2 review

Panasonic GH2 review
While a large part of the competition is still behind in terms of serious video functionality, the Panasonic Lumix GH2 is one of the most elaborate, and maybe even the most serious system cameras with a video mode today. The Panasonic DMC-GH2 supports Full HD video with a resolution of 1920x1080/60i. The so-called Cinema mode is also new. When this setting is selected in the Panasonic GH2 camera, a cinema experience can be created. The Cinema mode 24p movie function delivers a bit rate of a mere 24 Mbps (maximum).

Review Panasonic GH2

Review Panasonic GH2 system camera
Panasonic has plenty of experience with the GH1, and at the same time has listened to the experiences that serious amateur and professionals have with filming. For example, it is now possible to connect the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 to an external monitor via the HDMI-output interface. The professional’s wishes are being answered by the GH2. Panasonic is introducing a new standard with its new Micro Four Thirds system camera.

Panasonic GH2

Record 3D videos with the Panasonic GH2
To complete the movie experience, it is possible to record 3D video with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 camera. Combined with the new Lumix G 12.5mm f/12 (65mm equivalent with a 35mm camera) lens, it is even possible for the consumer to create their own 3D content. The 3D lens is made up of a double optical system with which stereo images are made via a left and a right lens. A 3D image processing system ensures for the 3D recording. Due to the integration of a newly developed and powerful image sensor, among others, it is possible to shoot 3D video with the Panasonic GH2 system camera.

Panasonic DMC-GH2

Panasonic DMC-GH2 image processor
This new image processor, the Venus Engine FHD, is made up of a mere three CPUs and is capable of processing very large quantities of data so that the GH2 camera is able to process Full HD video and high resolution photos without any delay. The Venus Engine FHD uses a new image technology, such as the separation of chromatic noise and luminance noise, so that a cleaner image is possible, especially at higher ISO values. Without getting too technical, we can conclude that this new Venus Engine FHD delivers an important contribution to the final photo and video image quality of the Panasonic Lumix GH2.

Panasonic GH2 review

16 megapixel Panasonic GH2 Micro Four Thirds camera
It is not only the large amounts of video data that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 camera has to process, the resolution has also increased quite a bit. With 16.05 effective Megapixels, the Panasonic Lumix GH2 is at the top of the list of (Micro Four Thirds) system cameras in terms of resolution. The newly developed Live MOS image sensor uses new, innovative technology with which the increased resolution actually contributes to the image quality. The Live MOS sensor has an integrated digital interface with which the signal/noise ratio is effectively kept under control, among others. Additionally, a frame speed of 5 frames per second with 16.5 Megapixels resolution and the use of a mechanical shutter is possible.

Panasonic Lumix GH2 review

Action photography with the Panasonic GH2
Taking action photos with an frame speed of 5 fps will be sufficient for many action shots. In practice, focusing can be a big obstacle. Especially the system cameras generally struggle with the AF-speed, with few exceptions. Panasonic has also innovated in this area, and the Panasonic Lumix GH2 is equipped with a very fast and accurate AF system. Panasonic even claims to have a faster AF than the well-known competition’s professional DSLR cameras. It is an important piece with which Panasonic distinguishes itself. The Panasonic DMC-GH2 camera’s focus settings are extensive. If you operate the GH2 with touch control, you will quickly notice that focusing via the display is very handy in different situations.

Lumix GH2 review

Panasonic GH2 for excellent photos and videos
For years, photo and video functions often did not go together in a camera. One was always stronger than the other, and the camcorder market was a clearly separate part of the photo market. However, the past few years have seen a fast development in which these two segments could be melted together. Cameras such as the Panasonic GH2 are causing a fast evolution, and we can conclude that Panasonic is taking the lead in these developments.

Panasonic DMC-GH2 review

Panasonic Lumix GH2 for the creative photographer
It is even becoming unnecessary to make the difficult choice between photo and video. With the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 it is possible to capture a 16.5 Megapixel picture while shooting video just by pushing the shutter release button. You can also choose and save a frame of a video clip as a picture afterwards. The Panasonic DMC-GH2 is truly a camera with which you can get creative. The camera offers different settings and functions that give you the desired image result immediately. The sound of the video recordings is recorded in Dolby Digital Stereo and its quality can be increased by connecting an optional DMW-MS1 stereo microphone.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 review

Panasonic GH2 equipped with electronic viewfinder
Just like its predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is equipped with an electronic viewfinder. The viewfinder is of excellent quality and delivers an excellent display with its clear 1.440.000 dots of resolution. There is a new multi-aspect mode supported by the viewfinder with which the image ratio is shown in the viewfinder. This is made possible by increasing the display surface of the viewfinder. The Live MOS sensor supports a refresh rate of 60 frames per second and sends this signal directly to the electronic viewfinder so that the image is displayed optimally.

DMC-GH2 review

Panasonic GH2 features a 3" tilting display
The Panasonic GH2 system camera’s 3-inch, rotating and tilting display has a resolution of 460.000 dots and is equipped with the same touch screen control as the G2. It is not necessary to use the touch screen, as the Panasonic GH2 can also be operated traditionally. The LCD display has been improved and it now has an extended color gamut display (+25%), with which the display quality has been improved significantly. The display’s function gets an increasingly important role with the camera’s control, which makes it even better that Panasonic has improved the display quality.

Lumix DMC-GH2 review

Panasonic GH2 camera settings possibilities
Not only has Panasonic achieved an optimal combination of photo and video, the functions and setting possibilities are accessible for the amateur as well as the serious photographer. The effective iA mode with which difficult recording situations can be easily overcome, convinces everyone that works with it. The iA mode actually takes over all the mental work. This mode can not only be used for photos, but also for shooting video. The iA mode has been developed even further in the Panasonic GH2, and has been extended with the new intelligent D-range control. This has visibly increased the dynamic range and prevents shadows loosing details or areas that are too bright. For special effects, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 offers a mere 22 filter effects, most of which can be used for video as well as photos.

panasonic gh2 review

Panasonic GH2 review
The Panasonic Lumix GH2 is a very extensive system camera that, compared to its predecessor, has been improved and expanded in several areas. It is a true evolution and takes the lead in this fairly new segment of system cameras. It is a segment that is expected to grow fast in the coming years. Panasonic shows that it can successfully integrate high-quality and innovative techniques in a system camera. There is an impressive amount of areas in which the GH2 has improved and expanded. This camera’s development has been set forth strongly. The Panasonic Lumix GH2 is very strong, now it’s the competition’s turn!
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