The GH2 is the latest Micro Four Thirds camera to market. With its new 16MP sensor, touchscreen LCD, 'Light Speed' Autofocus and 1080p movie mode is it a true DSLR-beater? The What Digital Camera Panasonic GH2 review...

Product Overview

Overall rating:

89%

Panasonic Lumix GH2

Overall score:89%
Features:95%
Value:80%
Performance:90%
Image Quality:90%
Design:90%

Pros:

  • Current best contrast-detection-based AF speed of any camera, impressive image quality, movie quality

Cons:

  • 2.5mm mic jack (3.5mm preferred), plasticy finish, image processing from ISO 1600 still leaves detail to be desired

Product:

Panasonic Lumix GH2 Review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,120.00

Best Price from Reevoo

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The Panasonic Lumix GH2 supersedes the GH1 model from back in 2009. So what has a year and a half of behind the scenes development time meant for the latest Micro Four Thirds camera? The Lumix GH2 adds a new multi-aspect ratio 16MP sensor, faster ‘light speed autofocus’, a touch-enabled LCD and an even more impressive 1080p movie capture mode. Can these upgrades lead the Panasonic GH2 to be the first Compact System Camera to truly hold its weight in both performance and image quality terms against the enthusiast DSLR market?

Panasonic Lumix GH2 review – Features

The GH2 is far more than a GH1 with a quick lick of paint. Indeed, one look at the brand new 16.05MP LiveMOS sensor reveals that upgrades have taken place. We were perhaps a little surprised at the increase in resolution, given the smaller size of the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensor, but this latest sensor is actually physically slightly larger than other MFT sensors. The ‘multi-aspect ratio’ means it’s a little wider in order to accommodate 16:9, as well as 4:3, 3:2 and 1:1.

 

Panasonic Lumix GH2 review sample image WEB version

 

Processing also sees a major overhaul as the GH2 has three CPU cores that provide a variety of benefits: on the first hand the sensor is able to output at twice the speed, upping from 60 fields per second to 120 fields per second. In reality this means there’s twice as much information that can be utilised during autofocus, thus ‘light speed autofocus’ being twice as fast as before. It’s also a benefit for churning through data at great speed – something required to sustain the 5fps continuous shooting mode and high quality 1080p movie. Now dubbed the Venus Engine VI FHD it’s possible to shoot from ISO 160 all the way through to ISO 12,800 at full resolution. And, should you own Panasonic’s 3D lens, then the GH2 can capture 3MP 3D images as MPO files to display on your 3D TV or device too.

In tandem with the change in sensor the new 100% field of view electronic viewfinder has an increased resolution over the previous GH1 model, though this doesn’t provide a greater pixel density as such, rather more the extra pixels to encompass the wider format. To complement this is a vari-angle LCD screen with a 460k-dot resolution that, as per the previous generation GH1, can rotate through 180degrees horizontally and 270degrees vertically for full coverage at any angle. However the GH2’s screen technology is better and can display a colour gamut some 40% larger than its predecessor for more accurate colour reciprocation.

In addition to fully manual control, the GH2 also has point-and-shoot Scene modes and Film Modes, as well as intelligent Auto (iA) and a one-touch movie button to make all the action easy to capture whatever your level of ability. But the technology here is certainly aimed at the more serious enthusiast, something that the Compact System Camera hasn’t particularly dabbled in with great success… until now.

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Movie/Video Mode Quality
  6. 6. Value & Verdict
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