Panasonic has announced the latest addition to its Micro Four Thirds stable - the Lumix GH2.
The new Panasonic Lumix GH2 has a 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor - making it the highest resolution Micro Four Thirds camera to be available. The sensor is made from a different base to those found in the G2 and GF1 series, and now benefits from three CPU cores and a new Venus Engine VI FHD that make it super-fast - twice as fast as the previous GH1 in fact.
As the GH2's sensor now operates at 120fps (i.e. 120 refreshes per second, raised from the GH1's 60fps) it's possible for contrast-detection autofocus to be twice as fast as before, which is excellent news for Micro Four Thirds fans bereft with comparably sluggish AF systems found in the first generation of cameras.
Movie capture also takes significant benefit, as the sensor's higher refresh rate means that a true 50i output signal can be achieved from the sensor for playback, enabling 1080p resolution at 24fps and with a 23Mbps bit rate for improved reproduction of moving subjects. A 2.5mm microphone jack for external microphone and an on-screen audio level meter also feature.
As per the G2, the Panasonic Lumix GH2's 920k-dot LCD screen is now touch-capable, but also benefits from a 40% increase in visible colour gamut for higher colour accuracy in preview. Using the HDMI output it's even possible for a tethered live preview on an external screen or HD TV. The updated electronic viewfinder now has a 1.53 million-dot resolution, making the 852x600 pixel resolution wider than previous G-series viewfinders.
Another headline feature is that the Panasonic Lumix GH2, alongside the G2 via firmware upgrade, will be compatible with the world's first interchangeable 3D lens. This new lens 12.5mm lens (equates to a 65mm equivalent in full-frame 35mm terms) is a fixed pan-focus at f/12 and produces two images on the sensor to create a 3.1MP image, saved as both a JPEG and MPO file for playback on 3D-capable HD TVs. Full HD is only 2MP, so the image size is fine for digital playback and the fixed aperture is an essential to provide resulting perceptive depth that a shallower depth of field would not realistically facilitate.
There's no final word on the Panasonic Lumix GH2's price or exact release date, but we expect to see it retail for around £1300 with the 14-140mm lens and less as a second 14-42mm kit. The 3D lens will retail for around £350.