New Panasonic DMC-GH2 announced at Photokina '10
Panasonic announced at Photokina 2010 today their new DMC-GH2 Micro Four Thirds hybrid digital still & HD video camera, the long-anticipated replacement for their popular DMC-GH1 model.
Panasonic's GH2 website:
Some GH2 product intro videos:
Digital Photography Review has some additional GH2 info and an early product preview:
A GH2 discussion thread on DVXuser:
I'm still reading what I can find online about the new GH2 camera, but my initial impression is generally positive. "On paper" the GH2 appears to offer many useful features.
For example, unlike the GH1, the GH2 supports live HDMI output for monitoring including when in record mode. However, we don't have confirmation yet about the quality of the HDMI signal. So, it may be appropriate for basic monitoring (e.g.: focus/framing), but not intended for high quality recording to an external device such as a AJA KiPro MINI, nanoFlash, etc.
The GH2 supports a degree of manual adjustment audio record levels, but details are forthcoming. On a related note, I haven't seen confirmation as to whether or not the camera supports live audio monitoring while in record mode.
The GH2 supports 1080p24 @ 24 megabits/sec. AVCHD (true progressive w/o interlacing), plus several other recording modes as described on Panasonic's website above. Early indications are that the codec is a fuller implementation of AVCHD compared to the GH1. For example, the GH2 may use "B-frames" in its encoding, resulting in improved video quality compared to the original GH1.
The GH2 supports recording full HD video using a small portion of its sensor if desired. Details of this are yet to be determined, but in addition to it being useful as a high quality form of optical zoom -- adding telephoto power to any lens -- it may also allow a lens with a small image circle (such as many C-mount lenses) to be used w/o vignetting.
According to Panasonic, the GH2 has a new, improved higher-res sensor compared to the GH1. The GH2's m43 lens mount is compatible with lenses compatible with the GH1 and other m43 cameras. According to Panasonic, the GH2 LCD & EVF are also improved, and the GH2's LCD features a touch-screen interface. I've seen at least one report that use of the touch-screen UI is optional; it's not required to operate the camera.
Panasonic will sell the GH2 in various configurations around the world, possibly including a body-only config in the US starting at approx. $900 US. Stay tuned for price & availability confirmation. Shipments of the GH2 are expected to begin by December 2010, but it's unknown at this time if supplies will be limited.
I'll post more GH2 info as I learn more.
Micro 4/3rd chips - that's like a 2x crop factor on 35mm glass, right? Not very usable if you need to go wide with existing glass...
Richard van den Boogaard
cameraman / editor / video marketing consultant
Hi Richard: Yes, the m43 sensor in the new GH2 camera (like Panasonic's previous GH1 model & the new AF100 camcorder) has a 2x crop factor compared to full-frame photographic still camera format.
The full-frame photographic still format has an angle of view approx. equivalent to VistaVision 35mm motion picture film. It's wide, very wide. However, because the full-frame format allows extremely narrow depth of field, it's relatively difficult to accurately pull focus when shooting motion video. Not impossible, but definitely more challenging.
The m4/3 16:9 HD video format angle of view is very close to that of standard 35mm motion picture film (not S35). Compared to standard 35mm motion picture film, the m4/3 HD video crop factor is 1.18, not 2x. As with standard 35mm motion picture film, relatively wide-angle shots are not difficult to obtain using appropriate lenses.
Likewise, the DOF characteristics of m4/3 are very close to that of standard 35mm motion picture film. Although pulling focus with 35mm motion picture film (or m4/3) isn't a walk in the park, it's certainly much easier than with a VistaVision movie camera or a full-frame 35mm digital still camera used for motion video.
Certainly, if one is limited to lenses designed for full-frame digital still cameras, the 2x crop factor is an issue at the wide end.
But luckily m4/3 cameras aren't limited to these lenses. In addition to lenses designed specifically for the m4/3 mount, it's easy and relatively inexpensive to adapt almost any lens & lens mount to m4/3, including many 3rd party digital still lenses, legacy 35mm photographic still lenses, and PL mount 35mm motion picture film camera lenses -- including wide angle lenses.
For HD video work, the m4/3 format's 1.18x crop factor (relative to standard 35mm motion picture film) is quite up to the task.
As a follow-up to my previous post, attached is a photo showing the relative size of the GH1, GH2 & AF100 multi-aspect m4/3 sensor compared to a piece of standard 35mm motion picture film, illustrating the 1.18x crop factor:
I guess if I use my Tokina 11-16mm on a 43rd camera, the crop factor is much less than my other L-Series lenses for the 5D full frame sensor.
Pulling focus at anything below F2.8 does become a challenge due to the shallow DoF. Simple solution is just to stop down, provided you have enough available light.
Nonetheless, I AM in the market for a camera with XLR inputs/SDI output. Whenever I have an assignment with lots of vox-pops, I prefer not having to record audio separately and re-sync in post. I just hope that some manufacturer will be smart enough to create a camera with a cropped sensor so that I can re-use my existing Canon glass and a crop factor comparable to the 7D.
Alternatively, if Canon were to create an extension box with XLR in and SDI out (bypassing the H264 encoder) that I can attach tot the 5D/7D (comparable to the current dual battery system), I will buy one instantly. That way, they can continue to satisfy both market segments - photographers and DSLR shooters.
Richard van den Boogaard
cameraman / editor / video marketing consultant
Hi Richard: There are early reports that the GH2 will output full-res, uncluttered HD video out its HDMI port including during recording. However, this hasn't been independently verified. Here's a detailed report based on info supplied by Panasonic reps at Photokina:
The new Panasonic AF100 m4/3 camcorder has uncompressed 4:2:2 HD-SDI output and dual XLR audio inputs among its many pro features.
Concerning your Canon EOS lenses, Birger has announced they're coming out with an electronic lens mount interface for EOS-to-m4/3:
Although announced in conjunction with the AF100 m4/3 camcorder, I suppose it's possible this mount adapter may also work with the GH2. Refer to Birger for details.
Here's a nice video shot by Bruce Dale using a GH2 (watch the "1080p HD" version on YouTube):
Note: Although this video looks quite good, please keep in mind that video compressed for the web is notorious for being screwed-up in various ways. In general, camera-original video files look better than those compressed for web viewing. Also, this particular video was shot with a pre-production, not-final version of the GH2. The final shipping version of the GH2 may be able to produce video which is better looking than this.
P.S.: The URL for the main GH2 discussion thread on DVXuser has changed; here's the current link:
Here's another video shot by Bruce Dale using a pre-release GH2 camera.
The usual caveats apply: The final release version of the GH2 may or may not perform better; compressed-for-the-web video often doesn't look anywhere near as good as the camera-original files; we don't know what settings were used to shoot or post-process the files; etc.