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
Viewfinder, LCD, Live View and Video
Image: In overcast conditions, the GH2 tended to underexpose images. However, it is possible to brighten raw images and still retain detail in the sky
Although the 3in articulated, 460,000-dot screen of the GH2 is identical to that used in the GH1, there has been an upgrade made to the electronic viewfinder (EVF). It is a slightly larger, 1,533,600-dot equivalent LCD viewfinder, offering 100% coverage. Like the multi-aspect sensor, this larger LCD viewfinder is used to ensure that the display is still of a high resolution when alternative aspect ratios are used.
Although the rear LCD screen is good, a higher resolution 920,000-dot screen would have really complemented the GH2’s position as the pinnacle of the Panasonic G series, and put it on par with its APS-C-format competitors.
Of the two viewing methods, it is the EVF that really stands out. Anyone who is concerned that an EVF can’t match an optical viewfinder should try the one on the GH2.
The resolution is high, but more importantly the refresh rate is very fast, meaning there is no image lag, blur or wobble as the camera is panned. It is the best EVF I have used. It really does set the standard, although I expect most manufacturers to match it, or even better it, within the next 12 months.
What really sets the GH2 apart from Panasonic’s own GF2 and G2 models is its video mode. The powerful processor means that the footage is captured progressively, but can be saved in the broadcast-compatible interlaced format.
When saving video for PAL TV output, footage can be saved with the AVCHD file format at 1080i or 720p. However, for budding film makers there is a special cinema mode that saves footage at 1080p at 24fps, imitating the frame rate and look of shooting moving footage on film.
While all this is impressive, it is perhaps the variable frame rate that is one of the most interesting features. This allows the footage saved to be at 80%, 160%, 200% or 300% of the speed of the actual footage, which makes it great for slightly slowed or speeded-up movement.
Due to the powerful video-processing system, the continuous AF works well when panning slowly. Yet it is the single AF mode that really excels, with the ability to use touch AF to select the point of focus.
This allows the focus to be easily changed from foreground to background for a very professional-looking effect. The AF even slows down when you do this so that it doesn’t snap into focus, but rather moves steadily and slowly.