GH2 begins shipping ...
In the past few days, Panasonic Japan has begun initial shipments of the GH2. For example, Amazon.com in Japan now sells it.
In the US, Amazon, Adorama, B&H and other vendors might begin selling various GH2 configurations as soon as next week, but probably only to customers who pre-ordered it weeks ago.
Unlike the GH1, body-only GH2 configurations are possible, but it's too early to say exactly which vendor will offer it, if at all. The GH2 is expected to begin selling in various European countries very soon.
Note: We don't know yet if the GH2's on-screen menu language "localization" will be restricted as it was with the GH1. For example, a GH1 sold in Japan has Japanese-only menus. So, a note of caution if you're considering purchasing a GH2 localized for a region outside your own, until we get confirmation about this.
Demand for the GH2 is expected to be high. My guess is the Silver body color will be less popular & thus more readily available than the Black body version. Myself, I have a Black version with the inexpensive Lumix 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 zoom lens* on pre-order with Amazon, Adorama and B&H. I'll let you know when hear from any of them.
Luminous Landscape has just published a very positive hands-on preview of the GH2:
LL says the GH2 has (compared to the GH1) a 1-2 stop increase in sensitivity (for both stills & video), much-improved video quality, a sharper VF, significantly faster AF, and more. FWIW, the author of the LL preview liked the pre-release GH2 so much he's ordered one for his own use.
One odd thing mentioned in the LL article: Unlike the GH1, the GH2 might not include a "battery eliminator" cable & AC adapter. According to LL, the GH2 will include an AC battery charger, but if you want to run the camera itself continuously from AC, a battery eliminator cable & charger will be available as a separate accessory. I haven't seen confirmation of this, so just a heads-up.
Panasonic US is not yet selling the GH2 directly from their own website. It remains to be seen when/if they'll allow discounted "corporate buy" purchases, for example, to employees of major American companies as they've done with the GH1 & accessories in the past.
"The Boxer" is a recent short film that apparently was shot using a pre-release GH2, but I don't know if this has been verified yet (watch the "HD" version on YouTube):
* The Lumix 14-42mm optically-stabilzed zoom lens is inexpensive enough that I decided to order it with my GH2, even though it has a plastic and probably delicate mount on the lens. I'll treat it very carefully. I'm keeping my "hacked" GH1, and I'll use the new 14-42mm lens along with the other 3 lenses I currently own (Lumix 14-140mm, Lumix 20mm f1.7 pancake, and an old Nikon 55mm f1.2 manual SLR lens).
Meanwhile, here's a very brief clip I recently shot with my GH1 on a rainy Portland morning (you can download the camera-original .MTS file). And, yes, that's a marimba you hear playing in the background. :-)
Hopefully this link to "The Boxer" on YouTube will work (watch the "HD" version on YouTube):
Pete, any definitive word on full HDMI out of the GH2? Have been hoping that Tester 13 would finally come up with a hack solution for the GH1, but nothing so far.
John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.
Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore
[John Frey] "... any definitive word on full HDMI out of the GH2? ..."
Not as far as I know.
Unfortunately, Philip Bloom was keen to test it, but the pre-release GH2 he got from Panasonic was defective, so he had to return it to Panasonic before he was able to complete his tests. The good news is he will be at Panasonic HQ very soon to work with a final release version of the GH2. Hopefully he'll have time then to test its HDMI output then.
Meanwhile, now that the GH2 has begun shipping in Japan, I suppose more info (and mis-information) about all its features will start to come out. That seems to be the way these things go. :-)