Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Review

5.0
December 13, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 16M Fine JPEG image size option, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. It produces noise-free images at ISO 100 to 400, with limited noise starting to appear at ISO 800. ISO 1600 and 3200 exhibit quite visible noise and loss of fine detail, and ISO 6400 is even noisier but still usable. The fastest setting of 12800 looks much better on paper than in reality though. The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening level and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results. The various Film Modes allow you to quickly and easily customise the look of the camera's JPEG images. The pop-up flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 which you can select at any time if the camera is in one of the creative shooting modes. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

JPEG

RAW

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 has 2 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Fine (6.92Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (3.05Mb) (100% Crop)

   

RAW (18.7Mb) (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting, and benefit from further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level by tweaking the Film Mode, with five different settings available.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction and Forced Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (280mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (280mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting or the Red-Eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds and there's also a Bulb option for exposures up to 4 minutes long, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 25 seconds at ISO 160. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 15 second setting the actual exposure takes 30 seconds.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Intelligent Resolution

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2's Intelligent Resolution feature identifies outlines, texture areas and soft gradation areas of the image and then automatically optimizes the edges and detailed texture areas while using noise reduction to make the soft gradation areas smoother. There are three available strengths - low, standard and high.

Off

Low

   

Standard

High

Film Modes

Panasonic's Film Modes, similarly to Nikon's Picture Styles, Canon's Picture Controls and Olympus' Picture Modes, are preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and noise reduction settings. The nine available Film Modes are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. There are also two My Film options so that you can create your own look.

Standard

Dynamic

   

Nature

Smooth

   

Nostalgic

Vibrant

   

Standard B&W

Dynamic B&W

   

Smooth B&W

Cinema

24P Cinema

The 24P Cinema mode adds a rich, cinema-like gradation to your movies.

24P Cinema On

Variable Movie

The Variable Movie mode allows the frame rate of the movie to be slowed down or speeded up (-80%, +160%, +200%, +300%).

-80%

 

+160%

 
200%
 

+300%

EX Tele Conversion

Available for both JPEG photos and movies, EX Tele Conversion extends the zoom by 2.6x beyond its original limit to get the subject even closer. In movie mode it does this by only using the central 2 megapixels of the GH2's 18.3 megapixel sensor, which is roughly equivalent to a 1920x1080 pixels movie, and subsequently there is less reduction of quality in comparison to the standard full HD mode.

EX Tele Conversion On

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hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, 16 megapixel, hdmi, compact system camera, touch-screen, lumix, touch screen, micro four thirds, touchscreen, panasonic, compact system, dmc-gh2, gh2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Review, dmc gh2

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