Panasonic GH2

gh2

Average Rating (# of reviews: 7)

Body / Lens Quality:
Usability:
Features:
Image Quality:
Price:
Average:

Review List

Body / Lens Quality: 9
Usability: 9
Features: 8
Image Quality: 8
Price: 8
Average: 8.40

Fantastic. Super lens with super camera. Needs in Battery Grip to take comfortable in the hands! metal lens it’s wonderful. Panasonic-leica M43 Metall(like nokton 25mm design!) normal wide(up to 25mm?) fixed lens with less than F1.0 (0.7 or 0.5 (he he) in a dream) aperture with O.I.S and A.F. it’s my dream.

Look GH2 + Nokton 25mm F0.95 and Olympus 12mm F2.0 sample photos at:

http://lumixclub.ru/forums/blog/46/entry-38-gh2-nokton-f095-%d1%84%d0%be%d1%82%d0%be/

Body / Lens Quality: 8
Usability: 9
Features: 9
Image Quality: 8
Price: 9
Average: 8.60

+ AF speed is now at DSLR APS-C/FF level
+ high ISO improvment
+ video improvments on high-res
+ ergonomics: function buttons,touchscreen, …
+ price: price better than GH1 (<800€)

- battery performance and availability
- ajustments must be made on AWB default values
- JPG default quality

Body / Lens Quality: 9
Usability: 10
Features: 8
Image Quality: 10
Price: 9
Average: 9.20

This is prefect reportage device. Stills when needed Video when needed.
Video recording is my main task.
Small footprint, the only cloud is the missing 25p recording in PAL world.
I have used it for reportage in a 1/2 Year and its a “easy going” feeling to use it.
The sound is better then you can think when you see the mic at the top..
In general …It works all the time…
A work horse for reportage in the normal situation,
its not rugged for extreme wet or dusty places

Body / Lens Quality: 8
Usability: 9
Features: 8
Image Quality: 8
Price: 6
Average: 7.80

I am a huge fan of the micro 4/3 format: it’s a Goldilocks sort of camera for me. Point & shots are fine as such, but the lack of manual controls frustrates me as does image quality beyond a 5″x7″ print. On the other hand, a full size DSLR feels too bulky and to carry around often. I learned basic photography using a 70′s vintage Nikon FM, so the G-series size is more familiar to my hands than today’s full-size DSLRs. Moreover, in taking candids and street shots, it doesn’t feel nearly as intrusive as a 1.5+lb DSLR kit does.

This is my third G-series Panasonic camera. Without a doubt, this is the best one yet. The G1 & G2 are good cameras in their own right, but the GH2 advances the M4/3 format to whole new level. I wanted a faster camera but had too much invested in this format to look elsewhere. The GH2 is faster in every respect over the G2. AF is noticeably quicker, and better yet, accurate. I’ve yet to see it really tripped up. Shooting rate is quick; much, much faster than the G2. Unfortunately
Panasonic didn’t bump up the buffer size to keep up with the frames per second the camera’s capable of. So after about 7-10 shot burst, the camera freezes up for 5-10 seconds or more if you’re shooting RAW – and I’m using a class 10 8g card. Shooting jpeg helps some. Don’t think of using anything less than a class 6 card, even shooting jpeg. This is a shame as it keeps the camera from being a decent sports/action shooter

Handling is one of my favorite things about the GH2. It feels good in my average-sized guy hands. If you’re used to a DSLR, it may feel too light and lacking heft. Coming from point-and-shoots, it feels pretty solid and stable in hand. The thumb grip, while adequate, could be a bit bigger and stickier. The body does have a little too much of a plastic feel and sometimes seems a shade too light. Still, I never have the feeling of it slipping or squirting out of my hand.

The ergonomics are very good. Frequently used settings have manual adjustments. If not, there are now 3 function buttons to customize, as well as 3 custom modes. Or you can drive through the menus, which btw Panasonic has finally updated from a 80′s Gameboy to 90′s windows 3.x appearance. The touchscreen initially struck me as kind of superfluous: I could adjust everything without it. But after awhile, I found myself using the touchscreen much more than I thought I would. It adds another level of control. Sometimes I can’t remember where to find setting, but often within two taps of the screen I’m adjusting what I want. It’s very helpful in getting the focus point(s) just so on a tricky composition, setting white balance (see below) and reviewing shots.

I always will miss an optical viewfinder, but the GH2′s EVF is about as good a substitute as it gets. Smearing and rainbow effect are negligible and only appear in very poor light conditions, as does, not surprisingly, a lot of noise. Otherwise it does fine, even during a fast pan.

I’ve never been much interested in shooting video, but in the little experimenting I’ve done, the image quality is absolutely amazing. A number of GH2 owners have posted vids on youtube. Some of these really got me salivating, even though I’m not a video guy. I suspect this may be the camera’s better/stronger half.

As for still images, Panasonic is closing in on DSLR quality. The dynamic range and low light speed are much, much improved since the G1, especially daylight, high contrast scenes. Blown highlights are pretty rare. Low light image quality is now quite good at ISO 1600. I can get usable shots up to about ISO 3200, at which point noise is really becoming prevalent. Image stabilization is fine, I suppose: I’ve not noticed it one way or the other. The new Venus engine seems to render colors closer to their true values than earlier G-series were able to. Images out of the camera (once the WB is properly set, see below), seem sharper and more vivid than the slightly soft look Panasonic cameras I’ve owned tended to produce.

However, there are two image related issues. First is the auto white balance. It’s the camera’s greatest weakness. AWB does a pretty good job in ordinary outdoor light, if on occasion a little bit off. Indoors, it’s middling at best. In general, inside AWB is too warm, yellow actually. Moreover, the preset modes, ie, cloudy, incandescent, etc, are quite off and are all but useless. I either set the balance myself — this is where the touchscreen is very handy — or use my custom presets. This bothers me less than it sounds. I’ve learned what to expect and adjust accordingly.

The second issue is really more an issue of preference than a problem. When I’m feeling slow on the draw or just lazy, I’ll select the full-on point-and-shoot mode, aka intelligent auto. Shots are consistent and just fine. However, here again, AWB can be a little off. ISO 400 seems to be the default daylight speed when 100 or 200 would be much better, and images once in awhile are little overexposed. Most of which can be addressed post process. But in semi-auto modes where the camera selects the ISO, having it default to ISO 400 when 100 or 200 is warranted, is annoying. But to be fair, in full iA mode, the camera will almost always choose the correct scene — portrait, children, landscape, etc — that you’re trying to capture and produce pleasing results. Perhaps a firmware update will correct the WB issues and have a better algorithm for the auto ISO.

I can’t say I’m enamored of the the kit lens. It’s the same lens my G2 came with. I didn’t care for its particularly plasticky feel and look. One good bump and it looks like the plastic casing will crack. In operation I think it felt a little cheap too. Given I already had several M43 lenses, I had no need for a kit lens so I ordered the body only. I highly recommend either of the Pany pancake lenses: the 14mm f2.5 or the 20mm f1.7. Both bring out a little something extra from the camera that I can’t describe. Images just seem to have a depth, clarity, and tone that other lenses seem to miss. Plus fitted with a pancake lens the camera is small enough to fit in a large coat pocket.

The owner’s manual is still as wretched as the G1′s. It manages to offer too much information in too few words scattered over too many sections. Best just to take the camera out of the box and play with it for a few days, then refer to the manual with specific questions.

The issues with the white balance and the small buffer keep me from giving the GH2 an unqualified recommendation. However, overall I enjoy this camera like none other I’ve owned, even more than the G1 and 2 I had. It’s not perfect, but the fact that I happily carry it around more than any other camera says a lot and relieves the bit of guilt I felt shelling out this much money.

Body / Lens Quality: 7
Usability: 8
Features: 9
Image Quality: 7
Price: 6
Average: 7.40

Being a user used to the JPG output of E-P1/2, it does get some getting used to on the GH2. Despite the improve in image quality of higher ISO, the lack of IBIS, something inherent to all Panasonic camera, does means that I am still spending a large proportion of my photography time on my E-P2, as I much prefer using my legacy lens and other non-stabilized prime (e.g. 20mm 1.7).

The two camera make good supplement to each other however, as it is the GH2 that would give me the DSLR focusing ability and abundance of manual controls.

Body / Lens Quality: 9
Usability: 10
Features: 8
Image Quality: 8
Price: 6
Average: 8.20

After I owned and used the G1 and GH1 bodies each for over year, the GH2 was a worthwhile upgrade. While image quality has not improved signifcantly at low ISO the improvement at higher ISO (800 to 3200) is remarkable. ISO 3200 is now very usable (provided the image is properly exposed) and helps a lot to keep the shutter speed fast, when using the 100-300mm lens.

Although the body has nearly the same shape as the predecessor, it has a lot of advantages, which justify the upgrade. The EVF has been improved a lot: it has now more dynamic range, flickers less, and is less noisy. The control layout of the GH2 has been greatly improved as well, by moving the click wheel to the rear part and by including the new controls introduced already with the G2. Also the new customizable buttons are a welcome addition. The touch screen operation gives some opportunities, I use the classic quick menu much less now, and change settings more often via touch screen. It is good that Panasonic kept the touch operation in good balance to the classic operation.

The new surface of the camera is better than the rubber material. The camera feels – for its size – very good in hand, one can operate the camera still with the right hand and keep the left hand at the lens, while looking through the view finder. The camera should not get any smaller, Panasonic should get praised for not following the trend of further miniaturization with this model line.

The performance of the camera is good, however, I expected better performance with regard to burst rate and buffer. You can make only 7 raws in a row and even at JPEG, the camera slows down after around 10 images – quite poor. AF fullfills the high expectations, although in low light some DSLRs are still snappier.

I mostly shoot raw, so all this discussion, if Panasonic colors are anything good or not, is not relevant for me, and I think its overrated anyway. With Lightroom 3, I can get great results and base ISO noise is really no problem.

It is possible to get very good prints from the camera thanks to the rather good Panasonic lenses, I print up to A2 size with my Epson 3800.

In summary, the camera has only very few issues. It is currently the most versatile m4/3 package on the market. Anybody interested in a small camera system should look at the GH2, if size – the only benefits of the PENs and the GF series – is not paramount.

As I do not shoot video a lot, my review is based on the GH2 as a stills camera. Contrary to many voices, who claim that real benefits are only relevant for videographers, I think that the GH2 improvements apply even more to the stills photographer.

  • http://www.43rumors.com/members/tgutgu/ Thomas Gülden

    I forget to mention that the Gh2 has fair battery life. After some charging cycles it is possible to get up to around 600 images from one charge, a number I could never reached with my G1 and GH1 bodies.

Body / Lens Quality: 8
Usability: 8
Features: 7
Image Quality: 7
Price: 6
Average: 7.20

A new sensor with more megapixels, better ISO performance etc.
This made me to upgrade from a GF1 to a GH2.
Second reason: I wanted a camera with a EVF.
Third reason: The Voigtlander 25mm and legacy lenses feels too heavy in combi with the small GF1

Was is worth the upgrade? Well…I like the EVF very much, but there isn’t much changed in picture quality. I only shoot RAW, so I know there’s no noise reduction active. But even at base ISO 160 there’s noise in dark parts. Adobe’s Lightroom helps me to get rit of it…but I think it should not be there in that amount. Not for a camera at such a high price.

My other irritations:
- No creative scenemodes like HDR
- Not enough settings in AEB (Why is three shots -2, 0, +2 not possible!)
- EVF gets very noisy when light is low
- Getting SD card out (You have to have small fingers. Door is in the way
- White balance indoors is (still) wrong in auto mode

Maybe I’ll get to like the GH2 in a few weeks and just have to play more with it. But for now its a bit of a disappointment and it may end up on Ebay.

Is the micro 4/3 sensor on its end? Are these the best specs possible?

Maybe the Fujifilm X100 with a bigger APS-C sensor is an alternative…hmmmm

Freddie
The Netherlands

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