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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 review
|DATE REVIEWED: 21st Apr 2011||Add Camera To Comparison Chart|
|Camera Type||DSLR||Shutter Speeds||60 - 1/4000 sec|
|RRP||£1299||ISO Range||160 - 12800|
|Megapixels||16||Focal Length||By lens|
|Dimensions||12490 x 90 x 75mm (WxHxD)||Focus Distance||By lens|
|LCD Size||3 inches||Zoom (Opt)||By lens|
|Zoom (Dig)||None||Storage||SD / SDHC / SDXC|
|Max Resolution||4608 x 3456||Battery Type||Li-Ion|
While some models of the newly developed compact system camera market strive to be smaller and lighter than the competition, the new Panasonic Lumix GH2 bucks the trend. In the hand, the body and lens feel only marginally smaller than a beginner model DSLR, and this is especially true if you opt for the 14-140mm kit lens options as we did.
With the 14-140mm lens the kit costs £1,299, while the standard length kit lens (14-42mm) with body will set you back £899. While these figures are by no means diminutive, a look at the technology and features on board will soon explain the costs.
One of the key selling points is the GH2’s touch-screen functionality. Familiar to those with compacts or smartphones, this isn’t often seen on high-end models, but the appeal of the GH2 to beginner and enthusiast markets means Panasonic has been shrewd in adding this feature. For the most part it works well – it’s responsive in action and helps to speed up some aspects of handling. You can move focus points at a touch, release the shutter or access the menu to alter white balance, exposure compensation or ISO, depending on the mode you’re in.
Another headline feature is the ‘double live view’, which is what Panasonic is calling the duo of electronic live viewfinder and LCD. The viewfinder is very good, with a clear view and options like histograms to help you set up your shots while using the VF. The sensor next to the LVF turns the LCD off as you raise the camera to your eye – a nifty device, but not groundbreaking on its own. The LCD is clear and bright, with a vari-angle hinge to one side that allows shooting from low or high angles with ease.
A lot of the dials and switches on the GH2’s body will be familiar to DSLR users, with dedicated dials for drive mode, focus mode, metering and three customisable Fn buttons. The control dial, located on the rear of the body where the thumb lies, comes into its own in manual mode where it is a handy way to dial up shutter speed – depress once and it changes aperture. These little features make setting up your shots easy, even for beginners, and the shooting experience very enjoyable indeed.
And this isn’t where the GH2’s similarities to a DSLR end. The 5fps at full resolution means that wildlife and sports photographers won’t miss a thing – but if 5fps isn’t fast enough, you can lower the resolution and get up to 40 frames per second.
Like its predecessor, the GH2 also features full-HD movies at 1920 x 1080 50i, along with a stereo microphone located on the top plate. This can be supplemented further by an external stereo mic plugged into the camera’s mic jack, for professional-quality movies.
Other touches the more advanced photographer will love are the hotshoe that allows for getting creative with off-camera flash, as well as the supplied lens hood and a filter thread for screw-in camera filters.
There’s plenty to tempt the beginner photographer, too. As well as Panasonic’s iA mode, there’s a wealth of scene modes – over 20 – to choose from. These range from the normal portrait, landscape and macro, to the more creative Peripheral Defocus. If you don’t know which one to choose, by scrolling to each option and pressing the Display button you call up an in-camera Guide mode that gives a brief explanation of the feature. This proves a great way to learn what each feature does, and is unobtrusive enough that it won’t slow you down once you’ve mastered the camera.
We were lucky enough to get a few sunny days while testing the GH2, so we were able to test its ability to meter in bright conditions, which, thanks to that micro four thirds sensor, it managed very well. There was very little colour fringing at lower ISOs, and the colours produced were faithful. In terms of details the GH2 excelled, with wildlife shots, even at full telephoto, showing up every detail.
Shot-to-shot the camera was quick, even without the burst mode employed. Autofocus performed admirably, and images were ready to preview straight away when shooting best quality JPEG and only slightly slower when shooting RAW.
Playback on the camera allows you to scroll through and zoom in on your images. There’s a small brightness histogram to use while in the field, but no real editing options except cropping.
The GH2 really does seem to offer the best of both worlds. The touch-screen interface makes the camera as easy to handle as any compact, and it’s designed in a way that photographers who don’t want to use it don’t have to, with only certain features adjustable this way. Although it is responsive and makes handling sleek and simple, so most will want to utilise it.
The image and movie quality is generally excellent, with noise well controlled and the autofocus responsive in both formats.
It can’t be described as cheap, but the Panasonic GH2 does offer some amazing features for those who love to shoot both stills and movies, and want the build design of a DSLR with the intuitive handling of a compact.
The GH2 is great to use, the features are innovative and add value to the package, and stills and movies are of great quality too. A good all-rounder
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|The GH2 is great to use, the features are innovative and add value to the package, and stills and movies are of great quality too. A good all-rounder|
Debbi’s passionate about all things photographic: from the latest digital kit to the greatest techniques to capture a scene. She’s been at the helm of the photography portfolio of magazines, websites and more for three years.
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|Average Camera Rating||2.4|
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