Panasonic Lumix GH2: A Superhero Micro Four Thirds Camera That Dabbles In 3D

Panasonic's Lumix GH2 is a Micro Four Thirds camera that does it all: it shoots full 1080p HD video, it has a swanky new 16MP sensor and touchscreen, and even packs a secret weapon: compatibility with an interchangeable 3D lens.

Panasonic's pulling out all the stops for the GH2, which they're deeming their "most professional-level Digital Single Lens Micro camera yet." What that means is serious photo and video quality, starting with a new 16MP LIVE MOS sensor and a new Venus Engine image processor, allowing you to snap 14MP shots while recording video, as well as shoot full resolution shots at 5fps.

View gallery »

Video, which allows for touch autofocus and variable frame rate—80 through 300%—is similarly impressive. There's a 1080/60i video mode, though it can also record at 1080/24p at 24Mbps. Backing all of this up is a 3-inch, 460,000-dot swiveling LCD touchscreen, which allows for touch autofocus, menu selection, and all the rest

Panasonic's also announcing three new lenses: the $400 Lumix G 14 mm / F2.5, which they're touting as the world's lightest interchangeable single focal length lens; the $600 telephoto Lumix G Vario 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / Mega O.I.S.; and, wait for it, the $250 LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12, the world's first interchangeable 3D lens.

Panasonic Lumix GH2: A Superhero Micro Four Thirds Camera That Dabbles In 3D

It packs two optical systems in the lens itself, snapping two shots simultaneously and combining them with a 3D image processor. Panasonic says the 3D photos will look particularly crispy on your Viera 3DTV, natch.

The Panasonic Lumix GH2 will be available in early December in black and silver: $899.95 for just the body; $999.95 for a package with a 14-42mm lens; and $1499.95 for a 14-140mm bundle.

Check the press release below for full details. [Panasonic]

PANASONIC INTRODUCES LUMIX GH2 – HYBRID TOUCH-CONTROL DIGITAL CAMERA COMPATIBLE WITH WORLD'S FIRST1 INTERCHANGEABLE 3D LENS

The Panasonic LUMIX GH2's Speed Allows Full HD Video Recording and Professional-Level Photo Capabilities; While Features Like Touch-Screen Operation Make it Easy for Beginners

SECAUCUS, NJ (September 21, 2010) – Panasonic today announced the LUMIX DMC-GH2, a hybrid touch-control camera featuring full High Definition (HD) video recording and compatibility with the world's first1 interchangeable 3D lens. The LUMIX GH2 elevates the company's revolutionary LUMIX G Series, its line of Digital Single Lens Micro (DSLM) cameras that deliver professional-level features and performance in a compact and easy-to-use camera body.

Compatible with the Micro Four Thirds System standard, the lightweight LUMIX GH2 is newly designed with an easy-to-hold grip and includes a refined image processing engine and sensor that delivers fast, sharp photos, full HD video recording, and the ability to take 3D photos with Panasonic's new interchangeable 3D lens. In addition, the intuitive touch-control operation provides ease of use in shooting and playback.

"The LUMIX GH2 is Panasonic's most professional-level DSLM camera yet, giving users the option to be more creative than ever, from recording video in full HD with cinematic effects to taking 3D photos with our new lens," said Darin Pepple, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "At the same time, its compact size can fit in the palm of your hand and its faster auto focus and intuitive touch-control shooting make it possible for even new photographers to literally point-and-shoot for stunning images."

The LUMIX GH2 combines features for both the videographer and photographer, making it a true hybrid digital camera. A dedicated button on the top of the camera lets users instantly record videos while shooting photos without changing any extra settings. Building on the momentum of its successful predecessor, the LUMIX GH1 – the LUMIX GH2 can now record full HD 1920 x 1080 videos in smooth 60i, doubling the sensor output from 25p/24p to 50p/60p2. The camera also supports 1080/24p native mode at 24 Mbps, the highest in AVCHD format, for richly expressive video. Other video features in the LUMIX GH2 include:

• New Cinema mode: Record video with rich cinema-like gradation. Added as an option of popular Film mode.
• New Variable Movie mode: Record video in variable frame rate – 80, 160, 200 and 300 percent – speeding up or slowing frames for more creative videos.
• Touch auto focus (AF): Point at the subject on the screen and shift focus to make it stand out against the background.
• Still photos at (16:9): Instantly take a 14MP photo, while recording videos and also save a frame of video as a photo during playback.
• Record high quality sound: With Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator and optional accessory Stereo Microphone (DMW-MS1).
• HDMI output: Monitor images on a separate screen while still recording video.

Speed is at the core of the LUMIX GH2, with technological advancements including a new 16.05-megapixel multi-aspect LIVE MOS sensor for higher image resolution and improved signal-to-noise ratio. The LIVE MOS sensor also allows high speed burst shooting at 5 frames per second in full resolution using a mechanical shutter. Working together with the Live MOS sensor, the new Venus Engine FHD processor manages multiple signals at a high speed, making it possible to record high resolution consecutive shots and full HD video recording. The Venus Engine FHD also features advanced signal processing capabilities, including: separation of chromatic and luminance noise for clear images, prevention of color mixture and selective noise reduction for more crisp photos and video recording. The LUMIX GH2 also features faster AF, reducing detection time for focusing to approximately 0.1 second3 by doubling the drive speed from 60 frames per second to 120 frames per second.

The LUMIX GH2 features intuitive touch-control operation, made popular with the LUMIX G2 for its outstanding usability in shooting and playback. The LUMIX GH2 combines the easy-to-see free-angle Intelligent LCD with the newly developed Multi Aspect Wide Screen LVF (Live View Finder) for more comfortable shooting from any angle.
The LUMIX GH2's large 3.0-inch 460,000-dot high-resolution Intelligent LCD allows users to:
• Touch the subject on the LCD to adjust AF. Once a user locks onto a subject, the camera tracks the subject with AF tracking even if it moves. Then, with a touch of the screen, users can select the area of focus appropriate mode (e.g., portrait) and even enlarge an image (1x, 5x or 10x) by dragging it on the screen.
• Touch and view the screen from any angle, rotating the screen 180° side to side and tilting it 270° up and down for approximately 100 percent of field of view.
• Change menu settings quickly by touching the screen, shortcutting the time it would take to navigate using standard cursors.
• Touch thumbnails to play back images one by one or drag images over the screen with a finger to browse the collection of photos, as though flipping the pages of a book.
• View primary colors – red, blue and green – 25 percent more vividly when compared to the GH1, thanks to a newly designed LCD and LED backlight.

The new large, bright Multi Aspect Wide Screen LVF in the LUMIX GH2 features:
• A display area of 1,530,000-dot equivalent resolution.
• 100 percent field of view and 0.71x magnification.
• Reduced color breakup by half for stunning images at any angle.
• Live View at 60 frames-per-second because of the Live MOS sensor, which processes signals directly from the image sensor to the LCD in real time. This allows the user to check the framing accurately from corner to corner when composing a shot.

Continuing Panasonic's record of 3D technology leadership, the LUMIX GH2 can shoot in 3D (35mm camera equivalent: 65mm4) when used with the world's1 first interchangeable 3D lens LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12 (H-FT012)5, also announced today. Panasonic's new compact 3D lens for the LUMIX G Micro System features two optical systems installed within the diameter of the lens mount, creating stereo images from the left and right lenses that are then processed with a 3D image processing system. This new compact 3D-capable interchangeable lens is easy to handle and allows instant 3D shooting, without distortion or time lag between left and right images – even when shooting moving objects. The 3D images taken on this camera, even close-up shots, are easily viewed on Panasonic's 3D VIERA® televisions.

The LUMIX GH2 includes 22 different shooting modes for creative shooting options. When shooting video, users can choose from ten different modes, including the new Cinema mode, and set the contrast, sharpness and saturation levels for each. For still photos the LUMIX GH2 features the My Color mode with a total of seven preset effects – Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, and Silhouette – while also keeping the Custom mode, which lets users manually set the color, brightness and saturation levels and store their favorite settings. With the Full-time Live View function, users can see how these settings will affect the images before they shoot. The LUMIX GH2 also features more shortcut buttons for frequently used settings.

In addition to the advanced functions that will satisfy experienced photographers, the LUMIX GH2 is easy enough for beginners to use comfortably because of Panasonic's iA (Intelligent Auto) mode, a popular setting in the LUMIX point-and-shoots that automatically engages features and settings for optimal image quality by detecting the shooting environment. The LUMIX GH2 features new additions to the iA mode including Intelligent D-range Control for optimized exposure of an image and Intelligent Resolution for better-balanced sharpness in images for printing at larger sizes.

After users capture images using the LUMIX GH2, it's easy for them to enjoy their photos or HD videos easily on a Panasonic VIERA HD television. Simply remove the SD Memory Card from the camera and insert it into the VIERA Image Viewer (SD Memory Card slot) on a VIERA HDTV or Panasonic Blu-ray disc player6 to play the content. Alternatively, an optional mini HDMI™ cable can be used to output still photos and video recorded with the LUMIX GH2 directly to the Panasonic HDTV via VIERA Link™. Using the VIERA HDTV's remote control, users can take advantage of the LUMIX GH2's advanced playback and slideshow features. Photos taken with Panasonic's new interchangeable 3D lens can also be viewed in 3D via the 3D Image Viewer.

Software bundled with the LUMIX GH2 includes:
• PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 BD Edition to easily organize photos and movies.
• SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE for RAW file development.
• Super LoiloScope (trial version) for high speed HD movie editing.

The LUMIX G Series continues to expand its variety of interchangeable lenses with a total of 11 exclusive lenses, three announced today: the world's first1 interchangeable 3D lens LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12 (H-FT012), a new single focal length lens LUMIX G 14mm / F2.5 ASPH (H-H014), and new telephoto zoom lens LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. (H-FS100300).

In addition to LUMIX G lenses, the LUMIX GH2 and other LUMIX G Series digital cameras can use any interchangeable lens that complies with the Four Thirds System standard via an optional mount adaptor DMW-MA1 and with the prestigious Leica M/R Lenses via DMW-MA2M or MA3R7. Additional accessories include external flashes, filters, a stereo microphone, a remote shutter, HDMI mini cables and a variety of stylish straps and bags. For more information on LUMIX digital cameras and all available accessories, visit: www.panasonic.com/lumix.

The Panasonic LUMIX GH2 will be available in black and silver models in early December in three different kit options for a suggested retail price of: $899.95 (Body only); $999.95 (Body with lens LUMIX G VARIO 14-42 mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.); $1,499.95 (Body with lens LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S.).

PANASONIC INTRODUCES WORLD'S FIRST1 INTERCHANGEABLE 3D LENS AND WORLD'S LIGHTEST2 INTERCHANGEABLE SINGLE FOCAL LENGTH LENS FOR LUMIX G SERIES

Three new interchangeable lenses combine compact size with high optical performance

SECAUCUS, NJ (September 21, 2010) – Panasonic today announced three new interchangeable lenses for its LUMIX G Series of cameras, including the world's first1 interchangeable 3D lens, the H-FT012. The lenses, all based on the Micro Four Thirds System standard, are compact while featuring high optical performance and are compatible with Panasonic's LUMIX DSLMicro cameras, such as the newly-announced LUMIX DMC-GH2.

Furthering Panasonic's leadership in 3D technology, the new interchangeable 3D lens LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12 (H-FT012) features two optical systems installed within the diameter of the lens mount, creating stereo images from the left and right lenses that are then processed with a 3D image processing system. Panasonic's advanced technologies in optical technology, image processing systems, and lens barrel design, allow the 3D lens to be compact.

Previously, 3D shooting with an interchangeable lens system camera was possible only by using panorama systems or by combining two lenses and two CCDs. However, these systems are not ideal and have difficulty capturing moving objects. Panasonic's new 3D-capable interchangeable lens allows instant 3D shooting (35 mm camera equivalent: 65 mm3)4, without time lag between left and right images – even when shooting objects in motion. As part of Panasonic's 3D ecosystem of 3D-capable VIERA® televisions and Blu-ray™ 3D Disc Players, the 3D images taken with this lens – even close-up shots – are easily viewed on Panasonic's 3D VIERA televisions.

"Panasonic's delivery of the world's first interchangeable 3D lens speaks to our commitment to leading the 3D era,'" said Darin Pepple, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "Consumers can now enjoy shooting high-quality photos in 3D with this compact lens, from landscapes to people, while watching them back later on their 3D-capable VIERA televisions at home."

The world's lightest2 interchangeable single focal length lens LUMIX G 14 mm / F2.5 ASPH features a 14mm (35 mm camera equivalent: 28 mm) wide angle and F2.5 brightness with sharp, high contrast image rendering. The compact LUMIX G 14mm lens takes advantage of a wide viewing angle and deep depth of field for excellent shooting performance in a variety of situations, from landscapes to snapshots to indoor shooting.

The high performance lens system combines six lenses in five groups, including three aspherical lenses, for a finished product that is compact with an overall length of 20.5mm. Thanks to its minimized distortion, this single focal length lens also excels in shooting subjects with straight lines, like architecture. The integration of a stepping motor and an inner focus drive system create a quiet and high speed contrast auto focus (AF).

The new handheld telephoto zoom lens LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. can photograph ultra-telephoto zoom shots at 300mm (35 mm camera equivalent: 600 mm), but is light enough to carry easily for everyday distance shooting, like sporting events. Because of its compact size, photographers can achieve a high compression effect in distance photography without any need for a heavy tripod. Panasonic's MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) suppresses blur by compensating for hand shaking that can severely affect zoom shots.

The telephoto zoom lens combines 17 elements in 12 groups including an ED lens. By incorporating the ED lens in the first lens group, the chromatic aberration is suppressed to render sharp, high contrast images with stable optical performance over the entire zoom range. The integration of a stepping motor with an exclusive zoom tracking control system and inner focus drive system create a quiet, accurate and high speed contrast AF.

The new LUMIX G 14mm / F2.5 ASPH (H-H014) and LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. (H-FS100300) each include seven blades to give the aperture a rounded shape. This rounded aperture produces an attractively smooth effect in out-of-focus areas when shooting at larger aperture settings. A strong metal mount is durable for heavy use, and multi-coated lens elements minimize ghosts and flare.

For more information on Panasonic LUMIX digital cameras, lenses and accessories, please visit: www.panasonic.com/lumix. The new Panasonic LUMIX lenses will be available in November for suggested retail prices of:
• LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12 (H-FT012): $249.95
• LUMIX G 14mm / F2.5 ASPH (H-H014): $399.95
• LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. (H-FS100300): $599.95