Panasonic GH2

Quest for the Best Lightweight DSLR that Shoots HD 1080p Video – Panasonic GH2

I’m a camera junkie… must be genetic.  I have a half dozen or so and more lenses than I can carry.  So do you know what I want right now?  That’s right I’m anxiously awaiting the Panasonic GH2.  Why the Panasonic GH2 you ask... or don’t ask.  Well I want it for the VIDEO!  The Panasonic GH1 is a pretty amazing camera in it’s own right.  And it’s video capabilities are among the best you’ll find in a Digital Camera. But the Panasonic is rumored to be even better and offer full 1080P recording.  The 4/3rds systems mean nice lightweight versatile shooting with more cinematic control over the depth of field compared to consumer camcorders.

While the GH1 is a nice Camera… the GH2 should actually be a huge step forward as it is supposedly going to integrate a digital shutter – or more appropriately – lack of mechanical shutter.  I’ve been reading all I can on the Panasonic GH2, but so far nearly everything is just speculation and vaporware as this camera does not yet exist.

And while people extol the benefits of flash sync possibilities from the shutter less design, lower cost to manufacturer, and low weight again I’m sold on the video aspects.

Panasonic is calling it’s shutter less design “Global Shutter” and with any luck we should find out more in a very short time.  This “Global Shutter” design will be used on camcorders and high end cameras.  There is also a rumor that Canon is working on a similar design.  The downside to the Global Shutter is heat.  If you leave a sensor on all the time you generate heat and you use power… both very bad for cameras.

There are so many issues to address when it comes to video inside a digital camera body.  The first is lenses.  You need a lens that works for both video and still photography.  The lens needs to be able to be zoomed – power zoom – while working and create zero noise that is picked up by microphones. Speaking of microphones – it will need good external stereo jacks with size standardized connectors.  I’m getting pretty tired of all these electronic companies coming out with their own proprietary cables and weird sized.  Standardize!  Obviously for still photography noise created by the camera lens doesn’t matter.  Another issue is autofocus which must be both razor sharp and lightening fast.  The last thing you need is to be filming video and have your lens hunt on you.  And of course we all want low light capability so we don’t have to rely on external lighting.  And for good measure the camera should incorporate wireless flash, wireless remote, and a battery compartment that doesn’t interfere with the tripod mount.

Now battery life comes into play.  How long will your battery last while filming?  How long can you take video clips?  What speed cards are needed?  What format of cards? There are so many things to consider beyond just the technical aspects.  4/3rd’s sensors get beat up all the time in Forums for not being able to capture enough detail compared to their full frame competitors.  But the 4/3rds sensors in cameras are actually much larger than those in camcorders.  So it’s a big win when it can be incorporated. And for my purposes I’m not going to be shooting images to blow up to poster size.

I want a small, lightweight camera that can shoot video and high resolution images for web publication.  I want this camera to have a very solid build and durable weatherproof body.  I want a grip that fits normal sized hands with buttons and controls that are easy to use and do not change when accidently bumped.  I like dual dial controls with an LCD on top. I want an independent video record button to start and stop video.  I want I want I want.  The more I think about it… the more I realize I’m not even touching the tip of the features iceberg.  And of course I want this to be very easy to use.

And one more important feature set to me is a super high resolution OLED articulating screen with lightening fast real time “live view”.  And I also want an electronic viewfinder that doesn’t suck!  This camera again needs to be small and lightweight but not so small that it’s inconvenient to hold.

I think Panasonic is really on to something with video and look forward to the GH2.  I hope I’m not let down.  I’m not a technical expert and much of the camera talk from a technical perspective can go over my head… but as a consumer I sure know quality images when I see them, and I when I like the “Feel” of a product.  I’ve been let down too often by my Canon Cameras so I’m ready to make a jump to Panasonic.  Now if they would just get over themselves and their proprietary super expensive batteries.

Anyone got any insights on the Panasonic GH2… post a comment.

Panasonic GH2

Pictured:  Panasonic GH1... but the GH2 should be very similar
Pictured: Panasonic GH1... but the GH2 should be very similar

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