Panasonic GH2 review

Panasonic's latest Micro Four Thirds camera is good - but pricey

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Panasonic lumix dmc gh2 flash

In averagely-lit conditions, raw images display no visible noise up until around ISO 800 where slight coloured patches begins to develop in shadow areas. Noise levels continue to rise steadily until ISO 6400 where dense chrominance noise begins to obscure details, and this becomes particularly heavy at the maximum sensitivity of 12,800.

Despite this cast, images details are still visible, just obstructed rather than destructed. For such a densely populated sensor, it's remarkable that images are able to maintain such quality at these settings, although, predictably, any attempts at processing away this noise require that some detail be taken with it.

In-camera JPEG processing does an excellent job of removing virtually all chroma noise from high-sensitivity images, though images lose a little of their bite because of this. Even so, the overall standard of JPEGs is above average, with fine details compromised to a lesser degree than perhaps expected.

We found JPEGs also show pleasing and accurate colour, with the Standard Film mode providing a welcome boost in contrast over Raw files. The choice of black and white modes is also sure to please monochrome enthusiasts, particularly the Dynamic Black and White option which produces high-contrast, atmospheric images straight out of the camera.

Exposures are balanced and consistent in a range of situations, and even when challenged with tricky scenarios the metering system can only be persuaded to slightly underexpose. The camera's auto white balance system can also be relied upon to provide consistent results in natural lighting, although some may find the more faithful results lacking a little of the punch of other cameras, where images are optimised a little to be more pleasing to the eye.

Under tungsten lighting the camera does impressively well and records the scene as it appears, and even under a mixture of different sources the camera makes good judgements as to an agreeable balance. Only certain fluorescent sources seem to lead the camera's auto white balance astray, although in this respect the GH2 is hardly alone.

The camera is available with the Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/4.0-5.8 lens as part of a kit option, and not only does it offer a capable focal range but it proves its worth as an all-purpose lens. Its detail resolution is excellent, particularly at the centre of the frame, and sharpness is maintained at slower shutter speeds thanks to the lens-based MEGA OIS image stabilisation system.

At its telephoto extreme, the system produces sharp images at up to 1/25sec with ease, and even manages a few reasonably sharp results at 1/13sec. When the focal length conversion of the Micro Four Thirds system is taken into account, the represents an advantage of between three to four stops of usable shutter speed past the usual limits, which is on a par with comparable systems.

Panasonic GH2 ISO performance - Raw files

Pencils

ISO 160

ISO 160

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 6400

ISO 12800

ISO 12,800

Panasonic GH2 ISO performance - JPEGs

ISO 160

ISO 160

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 1600

ISO 12800

ISO 12,800

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenYes
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
USBYes
HDMIYes
Wide AngleNo
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyLumix G
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom3x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesFace Detection, Live View, External Flash Shoe, Aperture Priority, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime Motion JPEG
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)392 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Image Sensor Size4/3" (17.30 mm x 13 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height89.6 mm
Width124 mm
Depth75.8 mm
Product SeriesG
Focal Length14 mm to 42 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-GH2
Product NameLumix DMC-GH2 Mirrorless Camera
Product LineLumix
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMCGH2KEBK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

The high speed Live MOS Sensor realizes burst shooting in 16.05-megapixel full resolution at 5 fps with mechanical shutter and even 40 fps in 4-megapixel recording mode. The DMC-GH2 also features fast, accurate Light Speed AF. The DMC-GH2 employs an 18.31 mega total pixel sensor. Using only about a 16.05-megapixel area of sensor makes it possible to give three aspect ratios - 16:9, 3:2, and 4:3 - the same angle of view. The image processing LSI, Venus Engine FHD assures high picture quality in both photo and movie recording.

Package Contents
  • Lumix DMC-GH2 Mirrorless Camera
  • H-FS014042E Lens
  • Battery Charger
  • Battery Pack
  • Body Cap
  • AV Cable
  • USB Connection Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Stylus Pen
  • CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year