Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is the leader of compact cameras with interchangeable optics and it competes with middle class camcorders, and in some respects even excels. New camera announced in September 2010.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 compact camera
Sensor: 4/3″ Live MOS with dust cleaning function
Size: Micro Four Thirds 17.3 × 13 mm
Resolution: 16.1 megapixel 4608×3456 , 4:3
Frame formats: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Krop Factor: 2
Recording format: RAW, JPEG
Sensitivity: ISO 160-12,800
Video: AVCHD/QuickTime Motion JPEG, up to 1920×1080, approx. 120 min. shoots all video formats except 1:1
Viewfinder: Live View Finder equivalent to 1,533,600 dots
Frame coverage area: 100%
Display: Color Touch Screen TFT , 3″, about 460,000 dots
Shooting Speed: SH: 40 fps 4 M , H: 5 fps, M: 3 fps with Live View , L: 2 fps with Live View , JPEG until memory card is full, RAW up to 7 frames per burst
Memory cards: SD, SDHC, SDXC
Weight: 392g body
A walk along the old Arbat gave a lot of opportunities for hidden genre photography. Most of these scenes were shot with a rotating monitor. Despite the fact that the characters there are mostly used to being shot, explicit attention usually ruins the story.
Since I had to shoot from many different directions and was more concerned with what was going on in the frame than with the nature of the lighting, I immediately set the iA intelligent mode. The focus point was quickly controlled on the touch screen, allowing for instant composing and zooming in. Given the size of the camera, it is easy to cover it almost completely with the palms of your hands when you take pictures.
The performance exceeded all expectations. Having had a lot of experience shooting with different cameras I can say that I’ve never encountered a more genre-friendly camera than the virtually silent G2 and GH2 with their quality touch screen display. Sure, there are DSLRs with a rotating monitor, but their Live View focusing is usually pretty primitive, and very compact cameras rarely have fast enough response.
A series of sequences taken in the evening on the embankments of New York was shot in different formats, but the main task was to check the camera capability to smooth the high difference in brightness. iA mode was redesigned in this camera just to widen the dynamic range.
Under normal conditions, the shots against the sky were pretty good, but I wanted to see what would happen under very harsh conditions. I have to say straight away that I didn’t expect to get at least some good results in such conditions. The sun had already dropped low and was shining straight into the lens the haze could not soften the harshness . It prevented to consider any details.
Contrary to our expectations, we got a lot of interesting photos exactly in the backlight, and the format switch helped a lot by that. And when you look through it, you find quite a lot of detail in the unlit areas. The scenes shot in the absence of counter light were worked out with perfect harmony in both highlights and shadows. I liked the total absence of noise in the photos, even in the shadows. Of course, the change in image structure is noticeable at higher sensitivities, but you can ignore it within the range of 160-1600 ISO.
The new camera makes the transition to 3D in the simplest way – just install the appropriate lens, and the camera immediately reports it. Images are recorded in MPO format, but are written in parallel and JPEG with the same quality. Of course you can’t see 3D photographs on ordinary monitors, but Panasonic company produces Viera 3D TV sets suitable for comfortable watching.
There are other solutions, even 3D laptops have appeared for quite reasonable money. I should say that stereo images have been created for quite a long time: movies, photography and even drawings never surprised anybody. The low prevalence of this kind of visual production was due to the rather inconvenient way of viewing.
Only the technology of the last decade has made it possible to create high-quality playback devices which are available to the mass consumer. In particular, the first 3D TV channel in America, a joint project of Panasonic and “NTV Plus”, was launched on the air in October 2010.
Quite a few scenes were shot with the new 3D lens in various conditions. Unfortunately, it is not possible to reproduce these images in the magazine with proper effect. Nevertheless, we can draw some conclusions from the results of the survey.
Shooting with a 3D lens is in many ways much easier than with other optics. At a constant aperture of f/12 and focal length of 12.5 mm you can not think about sharpness, from 0.6 m to infinity, everything will be sharp, but the small aperture requires control of shutter speed in low light. A blurry picture is contraindicated for this kind of photography.
Resolution of 1920×1280 should not be regarded as cut down, it is more than enough for playback on 3D monitors or TVs. However, keep in mind: 3D does not improve non-transparent photos! Moreover chaotic photos sometimes make a very bad impression. You should follow some simple rules to make a good 3D effect.
Space in a photo should be divided into clearly perceived depth plans – front, middle and far, acting as a background. Subjects with only far-away subjects have no pronounced effect. Images in which the closest objects have no clear contours look no better, either. But interesting, vivid pictures in surround playback really win.
Despite the fact that the previous model is still up to date, Panasonic decided to release a new one. The resulting camera is very handy, functionally rich and easy to operate, with excellent image quality, high focus speed and good overall speed.
Very exact and fast autofocus in combination with vibration suppression system provides maximum amount of sharp shots. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 deserves the highest mark and is the undoubted leader in its class.
The editorial team would like to thank the New York office of Panasonic company for the camera they made available for testing.
Tests in pictures
Overcast weather is detrimental to most subjects, especially if they have an unsaturated color scheme. In this case, the natural brightness gradient gave me a juicy enough shot f/6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 400, 14-42mm lens, focal length of 14mm .
The same scene in two formats – 16:9 and 4:3. Vertical panorama format allowed me to fine-tune the composition f/5.6, 1/160 sec, ISO 400, 14-42mm lens, 19/24mm focal length .
Arbat, street graffiti wall. There were actually quite a few people on the street, but it took quite a while to wait for a passerby who matched the silhouette. Also panoramic, monochrome mode. Reprocessing increased contrast slightly, for a more graphic effect f/5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO 400, 14-42mm lens, 14mm focal length .
Eight frames were shot for this one. Shot in covert mode with a pivoting monitor. In the end the character noticed the camera and covered himself with the magazine. The penultimate shot was the best f/5.6, 1/100sec, ISO 400, 14-42mm lens, 42mm focal length .
Quite an ordinary scene. iA Intelligent Mode, shooting against the light from a low point, touching the focus point on the touch screen f/5.6, 1/125 seconds, ISO 400, 14-42mm lens, 42mm focal length .
“What an encounter!”Continuous Shooting, the characters were moving quickly and there were passersby in the shooting field, but the quick response of the camera helped this shot f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 400, 14-42mm lens, 33mm focal length .
“Arbat Walk.”. The scene was spotted out of the corner of my eye. Turned the camera around, took two shots, the first one came out. No delay after shutter release, autofocus instantaneous! f/5.6, 1/100sec, ISO 400, 14-42mm lens, 34mm focal length .
It’s not backlit. Control shot at an angle, with no light source in the frame. This is a real counter light, in which the details should disappear. The “sun highlight” is quite natural, but the picture looks interesting f/18, 1/1250 seconds, ISO 400, 14-42mm lens, focal length 33mm .
The composition fit perfectly into the square 1:1 format. iA mode, extended dynamic range provided tonal transitions even with such a complicated light pattern f/11, 1/500 s, ISO 400, 14-42 mm lens, focal length 33 mm .
The picture was taken in the same place as the previous ones, only with a different light direction. Very subtle color reproduction, especially in the bright parts of the sky f/8, 1/250 s, ISO 400, 14-42 mm lens, 23 mm focal length .
Shot with a 3D lens. A far away shot without any objects at close range. There’s almost no sense of volume, and it’s only the tone that emphasizes the depth. Even the characteristic double image caused by the overlapping of the left and right images is actually absent f/12, 1/60 s, ISO 200, 12.5 mm 3D lens .
Another shot with a 3D lens. Clearly defined foreground and background. The “double entendre” is especially noticeable in the foreground, an indirect indication that the three-dimensional effect is at its best. In addition, the volume is emphasized by the bright working area in the scene f/12, 1/30 s, ISO 800, 3D lens 12.5 mm .
Camera tests from other manufacturers:
Nikon J1 compact camera test: white balance near the samovar turned out perfect
Test of the Sony NEX-5N compact camera: When shooting the Baba Yaga swamp, I went unnoticed
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Compact Camera Test: Beyond the Horizon