Featuring a brand new sensor capable of producing 16.05-million-pixel images, could the GH2 be the pinnacle of the Micro Four Thirds system? We find out
Despite the touchscreen bringing a new dimension to how the Lumix DMC-GH2 handles, it is the processing components tucked away inside that really steal the show. These are centred around the new 18.31-million-pixel Live MOS sensor, which has an output of 16.05 million pixels. The idea behind the larger sensor is the same as that on the GH1, where the 14-million-pixel sensor provides a maximum output of only 12.1 million pixels. For more details on this, see Features in use on page 46.
Data from this 18-million-pixel sensor is processed by a new Venus FHD image processor, and an exclusive version of Panasonic’s vMaicovicon image controller. These new internal processing improvements are designed to process data signals at high speed, primarily for the capture of high-definition video.
Beyond processing and capturing video footage, the fast, progressive scanning rate of this processing system also benefits the GH2’s contrast-detection AF system. It is able to double the drive speed for the AF processing from 60fps to 120fps, meaning that the data from the sensor can be read and analysed more quickly, and contrast detection can take place much faster than we have previously been used to. In fact, the new AF system is so quick that Panasonic calls it Light Speed AF, and claims it is the world’s fastest.
When I reviewed the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 (AP 15 May 2010), I was impressed with its new touchscreen technology and it is no surprise to see its inclusion in the GH2. The main screen allows access to the camera’s quick menu, and settings can be changed by simply touching the screen.
However, it is the Touch AF and Touch Shutter that I found most useful in the G2, as these two features allow you to select the point of focus by simply touching the on-screen image; the latter function will also then fire the shutter to take an image. So, when I found out that I would be testing the GH2, I was particularly excited about seeing how these features would work with the new Light Speed AF.