Pros + Low light capability is amazing!
+ Lens interchangeability is great feature
+ Blazing fast auto focus
+ 40 fps 4mp shooting for up to 1 sec
+ Touch screen focusing
+ Best M4/3 sensor
Cons - Only 1/160 flash sync speed
- Only 1/4000 max shutter speed
Summary I was fortunate to have the GH2 very early in its distribution cycle in the US, so I've had time to get used to its quirks and abilities, and frankly the "Best all around camera" title is well deserved IF put into context.Edit Link
As with most pro and semi-pro cameras, the quality of output is mainly due to the PHOTOGRAPHER not the camera. I've been a pro photographer for 30 years, but gave up the craft for the past ten years or so, moving back to simpler point and shoot cameras for vacations. When it's your "job" taking photos, vacation pictures can seem too much like work. :-) The convergence of digital photography and videography finally prompted me back into the semi-pro field. And I've got to say, the GH2 has me totally excited about photography again!!
A few points to add to the other reviews made here:
1) Yes, the auto white balance is the GH2's one achilles heel. It's just not that good indoors. This can be completely fixed through RAW file conversion (more on that later) but is more of a problem with video. Just make sure to use the indoor white balance modes instead of AWB. They work fine.
2) The GH2 viewfinder is WORLDS better than most digital DSLR's, except for the full frame pro cameras that weigh and cost tons more. The APS-C DSLRS have pathetically small viewfinders. It's like looking through a toy periscope. Not so with the GH2. As an old film camera photographer, I had no problem getting used to the wysiwyg digital viewfinder, and it really helps indoors to see more detail than your naked eye can see.
3) JPG output straight from the camera can look a bit soft and muddy, but this is totally due to image settings, not the inherent data of the image. Panasonic uses a much more conservative "film like" setting, with low sharpening and contrast. It's always easier to add these items in post processing. Many newer digital cameras crank saturation, sharpening, noise reduction, and contrast up to ridiculous levels to give that "punch" so many amateurs seem to like. But remember, jpgs are "lossy" images. Every time you tweak the settings of a jpg in post processing, you reduce the quality a bit. The solution? Experiment with the in-camera settings (and there are plenty) to get the perfect image values you prefer. By altering the contrast, saturation, and sharpening settings from the menu, you can achieve a punchy shot to rival any other semi-pro camera.
4) If you're a point and shoot amateur looking for a simple camera that requires no thought or creativity to crank out mildly decent photos, then the GH2 may not be for you. In fact, stay away from digital SLR's altogether. You'll be happier. On the other hand, if you want SUPERIOR photo quality, then start shooting with RAW files. I love setting the GH2 to JPG+RAW. That way, I can punch up the jpg settings to get that "amateur" punch straight out of the camera for viewing while on vacation with friends, but I have the excellent RAW files to tweak to my heart's content later, when I want the best quality possible. And since RAW is a lossless format, you can tweak anything and everything. That's when you will really start to appreciate the professional quality possible with the GH2.
One software package I HIGHLY RECOMMEND for the GH2 is DXO Optics Pro. This post processing software is close to a miracle and has tuned modules for the GH2 and lenses. It automates most of the post processing of images, in both jpg and RAW formats. Take a RAW image and run it through DXO, and you will get an almost perfect combination of noise reduction, contrast enhancement, highlight recovery, lens distortion correction, and white balance. I find most of the images turn out perfect with the default settings. It's the "lazy mans" Photoshop without all the tweaking. Check it out at dxo.com.
5) The addition of video makes the GH2's "world's best all around camera" claim a reality. If you've never done video, like me, the option to capture 1080i video right from my digital camera is truly enlightening! The secret to good vacation (or pro) photography is to be ready for the perfect shot whenever it occurs. Having ONE camera with a 14-140 zoom (28-280 35mm equivalent) that can also take breathtaking video, ensures that you won't be fumbling around with lenses and camcorders while the action passes you by.
6) Low light capability with this camera is amazing! Just make sure to set ISO to automatic, and set the upper limit to 3200. (from the menu) You will get perfectly usable images, especially if you post process RAW files through Photoshop or DXO. But remember, a 14-140 lens on a sensor this large is never going to be a fast indoor lens. Get the 20mm 1.7 for excellent indoor images. It also makes the camera much more like a point and shoot for those indoor parties and children shots.
7) Depth of field: This may be one area where amateurs get confused and disappointed. Smaller sensor point and shoot cameras have inherently greater depth of field, making it easier to keep a video or quick photo in focus. The shallower depth of field of the GH2 and other DSLR's takes some getting used to, but it is also why the videos will look so professional when done right. Most movies use shallow depth of field as a key technique in focusing the viewer's attention. You can literally take movie quality videos with the GH2, which is why the amateur film movement has embraced it.
8) Lens interchangeability: This is great feature, especially for video! I have many old manual Nikon lenses that work wonders on the GH2. Yes, you lose autofocus and aperture control, but if you put the camera in aperture priority mode, and turn on auto-ISO, the camera will still expose images properly and automatically. The lack of autofocus is not that big of a deal. I've taken plenty of excellent photos during my career with manual focus. The REAL advantage comes with video though, where manual focus is an ADVANTAGE, not a liability.
So is the GH2 perfect? Of course not, any more than any other digital camera, but its flaws can be easily circumvented with post processing. You simply will not find any other camera on the market that combines so many different professional features into one, small, inexpensive package.
P.S. If you will buy this camera I suggest you have to check for best price before you decide at: www.amazon.com/exec/******/****/B0043VE31O/cnet-offer-20
Updated on Oct 20, 2011
check for best price before you decide at: www.amazon .com/exec/******/****/B0043VE31O/cnet-offer-20
Updated on Nov 20, 2011Edit URL
Check best price at: www.amazon .com/dp/B0043VE27Y/?tag=***************
Pros Fairly clean video at ISO 3200; 4 step audio gain control with on-screen audio meters; adapts to many lens mounts; touchscreen control of focus & shutter control; live HDMI out in record mode; Extended Tele Converter doubles lens focal length
Cons Availability challenges in North America; 2.5mm mic input -- most external mics have 3.5mm jacks. An unnecessary annoyance; no headphone monitoring of audio; no AC adapter (which the GH1 had); lower capacity battery than GH1
Summary Panasonic gets it right with its second mirrorless prosumer still/video hybrid camera. The GH2 is both a class-leading video camera and a very good still camera. Addressing its predecessor's video image quality challenges, the GH2 hits the sweet spot for price/performance in its category. You should buy this camera if you want to take high quality pictures or videos and want a choice between point-and-shoot ease of use or pro-level creative control -- all with the same camera. This is the "Swiss Army Knife" of interchangeable lens cameras -- for a body-only price less than $900 (if you can find one). I agree with photographyblog.com that this is a 5-star "essential" camera.
Pros Portability, build quality, ease of use, and of course excellent image quality
Cons None occurs to me
Summary I just returned from three weeks in East Africa, shooting everything from landscapes to still lifes to portraits to animals. Animals resting. Animals moving fast. Big animals. Small animals. Still and video. Day and night. The camera never let me down. The ergonomics are thoughtful and practical. Start-up and focus lock-on are quick. I happen to prefer an EVF to a mirror and screen, but using one does take some getting used to. Panasonic has responded to previous owners' and reviewers' suggestions, to produce a remarkably friendly, remarkably versatile camera.
Pros Still and movie, RAW, ease of use and REALLY light for an body which takes many lens.
Cons none for me
Summary Light and takes excellent quality still and video.
Pros -Shoots FULL HD 24 Mega Byte Video in crystal clear sharp AVCHD (Blu-Ray Quality)
-Video modes can be selected between 60fps / 50fps and 24p Cinematic Movie
-5fps Sport shooting
-IA Mod or (Intelligent Auto) Selects all the settings for you
Cons -AVCHD Video codec is an absolute nightmare to edit, especially when you want to keep a 1:1 quality ratio
-For some reason I think due to the pre-sets in the different photo shoot modes the camera gets all the color balances wrong.
Summary I worked hard to find this camera as it was such a rare camera to find because of its slow stock release from the factory. It paid off though, the quality and the amount of Technology this camera has packed into light compact lenses changer, mirror-less system.
Yes it is £1000 with the 14-140mm HD lense but you get what you pay for and if you can afford it why would want any other camera?, hey I ask you this camera is the dogs bits.
The only fault I can think of is that the battery lasts about 300 shots but if your like me don't expect to take 500 shots with video and last. Take extra battery's with you and yes you will have to get a Panasonic brand because it doesn't take AA's battery's I am afraid. The draw back is its not completely a auto point and shoot camera so don't expect it to get the perfect shot every time if you select auto mode. This good in a way because it forces you to learn how to take a good photos.
I am lucky enough to have Photo-shop CS5 because if your a keen photographer (like me) you will need it all the time to adjust the photos, for some reason it seems to get it wrong most of the time for me (color, light, exposure time). I remember using a 3.2 mega pixel camera that took the most gorgeous colorfully photos and it was a point and shoot.
If you want to edit the videos professionally like you should since this a £1000 camera.....well you are going to struggle trying to get the video to look perfect as the raw footage. Unless your a broadcaster and have a SDD Flash Drive, then of cause you can use the HDMI output that allows you to capture 100 Mega bytes per second video. This HDMI output is RAW 4:2:2 format so some professional broadcasting kit is needed if you can afford this.
The last positive comment for this camera I'd like to make is that it has a 2.6x tele converter and if you use it for video then you are going to get no degradation in quality what so ever, yes that's right....and 2.6x the zoom,- so a 14-140mm lense can go to 330mm at the press of a button. I have seen samples of people using 400mm lenses and they have gone as far as 2000mm!!
That is why you wouldn't want another camera hey!