Not all it’s cracked up to be.
The Micro four-thirds system (first seen in the Olympus Pen) were the first to jump on to the mirror-less interchangeable lens camera (ILC) segment, bridging the gap between the DSLR and the high end P&S cameras. Panasonic, with their extensive range (G1, GF1 & GH1) were a step ahead of their competitors and with their second generation updates (G2, GF2 & GH2) and were able to consolidate their strong position in the niche market. At the time of writing, Panasonic has already moved forward with the third generation updates in the form of the G3 and GF3.
Never having been a fan of the four-thirds system, trying out the Panasonic GH2 was a bit of a challenge as I tried keeping my personal opinion aside. The GH2 is the most DSLR-like in the range with its rather large body, features and price tag.
Some of the main features on the GF2 are
• 18.3 megapixels 4/3 live MOS sensor.
• 16.0 effective megapixels.
• Micro Four Thirds lens mount with Four Thirds mount via adapter.
• 3 inch touch-sensitive TFT LCD display.
• Electronic viewfinder.
• Full HD video mode with stereo microphone.
• 3D capabilities.
You can buy the GH2 in three different packages which is the body only, the body and the 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 OIS lens (GH2K kit), or the body and the 14-140mm f4-f5.8 OIS lens (GH2H kit). For this review, we were provided with the GH2H kit. You’ll also find a DMW-BLC12 lithium-ion battery and the charger for it, body cap, shoulder strap, stylus pen, USB and A/V cable, CD-ROM containing PhotoFunStudio, SilkiPix Developer Studio and Super LoiloScope trial and a printed camera manual. You’ll also get a lens front and rear cap with a pouch with the GH2K and GH2H kits.
An SD card is not provided nor does the GH2 have any built-in memory. The camera is compatible to SD (8M-2GB), SDHC (4GB-32GB), and SDXC (48GB, 64GB) memory cards. For still photographers, a 4GB or 8GB card should be adequate, though for movie shooters, anything over 8GB would be advisable.
The DMW-BLC12 battery takes over 2 hours to charge but lasts for about 150 shots under normal LCD and OIS usage, which was disappointing. The manufacturer claims a 320 shots battery life which is either too ambitious or maybe I was doing something wrong (mostly not).