Photokina 2010: Panasonic has announced the DMC-GH2 Micro Four Thirds camera. The successor to the GH1 continues with its 'hybrid' stills/video philosophy but adds a host of tweaks and improvements, foremost of which is a brand new 18Mp multi-aspect ratio sensor offering 16Mp output and an ISO range of 160-12800. The GH2 also inherits many features from the DMC-G2, including a revised control layout and touch-screen control. We've had a pre-production GH2 in the office for a few days, so click through to read all about it in our hands-on preview.

Click here for our Panasonic DMC-GH2 hands-on preview

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Press Release:

Panasonic Introduce new Touch-Control, Creative, HD Compact System Camera at Photokina 2010

Introducing the DMC-GH2 featuring Full HD 1920x1080/60i Movie Recording and the World’s Fastest Level of Light Speed AF* Pursuing Intuition and Enthusiasm

Today at Photokina 2010, Panasonic announced the LUMIX DMC-GH2 as the latest member of the New Generation System Camera LUMIX G Micro System. Fully compliant with the Micro Four Thirds System standard, the LUMIX G Micro System combines a downsized body with advanced functions that achieve both high performance and operational comfort.

Featuring an intuitive touch control, the new DMC-GH2 boasts its world’s fastest*1level Light Speed AF of approx. 0.1 second to capture the subject in spur-of-the-moment in sharp focus*1. The key components, including the sensor and the image processing engine, are totally refined to achieve even higher performance of the camera to render a stunning image with high resolution, beautiful gradation and high sensitivity.  

For the compact system camera, recording movie is no longer an additional function but a key feature for saving memories. The DMC-GH2 features full HD 1920x1080/60i smooth, high quality movie recording with powerful 60p output*2. The cinema-like 24p movie with the bit rate of max. 24 Mbps provides overwhelming image quality with richly expressive afterimage. Furthermore, together with the Cinema mode, which is newly added as an option of popular Film mode, 24p movie enables the movie to have a characteristic superior gradation. The new Variable Movie mode makes it possible to record motion images in variable frame rate creating a fast/slow-feed movie. Activating the newly added EX Tele Conversion function, the user can virtually extend the zoom beyond the original limit to get even closer to the subject. This options is available in both photo and movie modes. The simultaneous HDMI output while recording images is convenient for even professional users to monitor images on a separate screen.

The intuitive touch-control shooting, which is popular with the DMC-G2 for its outstanding usability, also comes with DMC-GH2. Combined with easy-to-see free-angle Intelligent LCD and the newly developed Multi Aspect Wide Screen LVF (Live View Finder), the DMC-GH2 achieves highest ever operational comfort for users to concentrate on the shooting.

Expanding variety of interchangeable lenses is another advantage of the LUMIX G Micro System which boasts a total of 11 exclusive lenses including new single focal length lens LUMIX G 14mm / F2.5 ASPH (H-H014), telephoto zoom lens LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. (H-FS100300) and 3D lens LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12 (H-FT012). The new 3D lens introduced simultaneously is the world’s first 3D interchangeable lens. Now not only seeing in 3D but also shooting in 3D is now available. The popular My Colour mode and the Film mode including new Cinema mode also adds users’ customisation to each photo and movie.

The iA (Intelligent Auto) mode is constantly evolving and the Intelligent D-range Control is newly integrated in the DMC-GH2. The Intelligent Resolution has new “EXTENDED” option for more natural looking shots when printed in large size.

Enforced by the high-performance based on the new components and advanced technologies, the creative DMC-GH2 is now offering even higher level of creative possibility and intuition for every enthusiastic user to explore realms of not only photography but also of videography at the same time.

Crystallisation of advanced technologies to exceed the limit of expressive possibility
Thanks to the high performance, the DMC-GH2 makes the photographic experience even more comfortable and fun. The camera features the world’s fastest*3 level Light Speed AF of approx. 0.1 second*3which is achieved by reducing the detection time for focusing by doubling the drive speed from 60 fps to 120 fps. Not only the accuracy but also the speed excels that of the high-end DSLRs with phase difference AF with the advanced contrast AF system in DMC-GH2. Combined with the Touch AF control, setting and focusing at the subject is incredibly easy and quick, never missing the spur-of-the-moment shot.

The newly developed 16.05-megapixel multi-aspect Live MOS Sensor adopts the high speed digital νMaicovicon. In addition to the high speed, which is an advantage of the CMOS sensor, Panasonic adds its original pixel mix technology. A dedicated process exclusively for νMaicovicon of DMC-GH2 is newly developed by applying the top-class high performance transistor and its interconnection process needed for the high speed operation of digital circuit to make low-noise photodiode and transistor with reduced wiring to achieve both high resolution and high aperture-ratio as in DMC-GH1. The result is both high resolution and excellent S/N with more than 3dB improvement of noise and 200% higher sensitivity in DMC-GH2. Plus, it helps to realize the high speed burst shooting at 5 fps in 16.05-megapixel full resolution using a mechanical shutter and max.40 fps using an electronic shutter.

For the image processor, the new Venus Engine FHD that features exceptionally advanced signal processing capabilities in both photo and movie recording, is incorporated.  By separating chromatic noise from luminance noise even more accurately by applying the optimal noise reduction to each, you can capture clear and beautiful images even when shooting at high ISO sensitivity levels. By preventing the colour mixture which tended to occur around the edges, any chromatic noise, not only the in gradation part but also in the edge part, are described clearly. The engine also provides selective noise reduction to the outline part to let it have more naturally-balanced curve without deterioration of the resolution. The Intelligent Resolution technology is another feature of the Venus Engine FHD. With the Intelligent Resolution technology, 3 areas - outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation areas are automatically detected. The outline parts are enhanced effectively to give edges more clearness while giving a moderate accentuation to the texture areas to look more finely detailed. To the soft gradation part, superior noise reduction system of the Venus Engine FHD is applied to make it smoother. Apart from the uniform enhancement of sharpness, the innovative technology Intelligent Resolution precisely performs signal processing pixel by pixel in the most effective way.  As a result, images are naturally clear and crisp in both photo and movie recording.

Linking smoothly with the Live MOS sensor, the Venus Engine FHD processes a large amount of signals at high speed, making it possible to record high resolution consecutive shots and full-HD movie recording.

Elevating the potential of movie recording to be a “true-hybrid” digital camera
There are always two options to record spur-of-the-moment scenes – high-quality photos or movies. The user can simply choose the one that saves precious memories most beautifully with DMC-GH2. The AVCHD format features almost twice the recording time in HD quality than the conventional Motion JPEG. A special, dedicated button on the top lets the user instantly start recording movies while shooting photos without having to change any settings. Now the DMC-GH2 can record high-resolution full-HD 1920 x 1080 movies in astonishing smooth 60i, doubling the sensor output from 25p/24p to 50p/60p.*2 The DMC-GH2 also supports 1080/24p native mode with 24 Mbps, the highest in AVCHD format bringing impressive afterimage to the movie. The newly added Cinema mode option (selectable in the Film mode) gives the movie rich, cinema-like gradation. It is possible to choose the suitable frame rate of the movie among 80%, 160%, 200% and 300% according to the recorded contents with the new Variable Movie mode. The Touch AF in movie recording also lets users enjoy professional-like rack focusing. Just by pointing at the subject, the focus is shifted to it.

Now the DMC-GH2 can take a 14 megapixel photo (16:9) while recording movie by just pressing a shutter button, plus you can save a frame of movie as photo during playback.

The Extra Tele Conversion function virtually extends the zoom range up to 2.6x, thus the max.728mm in AVCHD Cinema/FSH mode, max. 1092mm in AVCHD SH mode and Motion JPEG HD / WVGA mode and max.1344mm in Motion JPEG VGA/QVGA mode is available with the LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. which is developed to be exclusively compatible with movie recording.
High quality sound can be recorded with Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator, and optional accessory Stereo Microphone (DMW-MS1) can be attached to the camera. A Wind Cut function is also available to block out most of the noise from background wind. The wash-out areas are indicated with lighting highlight when recording movie, too. Image recording is more flexible fun with the DMC-GH2

A new feature of the DMC-GH2 is also capability of image output via an optional HDMI mini cable to the external monitor, which is suitable for the professional image recording that requires serious confirmation of the images.

The intuitive touch-control changes the way of operation with dramatic freedom and comfort
By adopting touch control shooting, the focus is immediately set to the subject by just touching it on the large, 460,000-dot LCD and you can even release the shutter. Once you lock on the subject by a touch, the camera tracks the subject with the AF tracking function even if it moves. Just a touch on the screen lets you select the part and the size of AF area with the 1-area AF. The 1-area AF in Face Detection even allows you to set finer focus on the eyes while capturing human faces bright and clear. The Multi-area AF with 23 AF areas allows the user to set a group of AF points according to the composition. With the Intelligent Scene Selector in the iA mode, the camera automatically switches to the appropriate mode according to the subject touched. For example, a touch on a human face switches to the portrait mode and a touch on the background or scenery to the scenery mode. In the manual focusing, you can enlarge the part by just a touch to select 1x, 5x or 10x and smoothly move the part by dragging it on the screen. The touch operation dramatically shortcuts the action of setting in the menu. The touch-screen operation excels not only for shooting but also for playing back images with outstanding visibility. You can play back the image you want out of hundreds of stocks by touching in the thumbnails. To play back images one by one in order, you can drag the image over the screen with a finger to browse the collection of photos as you flip over the pages of the book. Max. 16x of enlargement is also operated easily with touches.

The large, high resolution with wide-viewing angle rotates 180° to the side and tilts 270° up and down offering approx. 100% of field of view. Both LCD and LED backlight are newly designed to realize vivid, impressive colour reproduction by 25%*4. The primary colours-red, blue and green- are reproduced more clearly and truer to the original natural colours.

The LUMIX G Micro System's large, bright 1,440,000-dot equivalent LVF (Live View Finder) retains the outstanding viewability of an optical viewfinder and can also display information about camera settings that the user can see without taking his or her eyes off the subject. Now the LVF is newly designed to be Multi Aspect Wide Screen LVF for the DMC-GH2. Increasing the display area to 1,530,000-dot equivalent resolution, the new Multi Aspect Wide Screen LVF boasts the 0.71 x magnification and 100% field of view. Reducing the colour breakup by half in principle, the new LVF assures stunning image view for any subject in any scenes. Achievement of 60 fps Live View is made possible by the Live MOS sensor, which takes signals directly from the image sensor and sends them continuously to the LCD, in real time. This allows the user, when composing a shot, to check the framing accurately from corner to corner. The image output between the LVF and the LCD is switched automatically with the eye sensor on the LVF, which features options of sensitivity - high, low and off - to reduce false operation during touching on the LCD.

Pursuing operational comfort, now the number of function button of DMC-GH2 is increased to directly shortcut to the frequently-used settings and also refined externally with various improvements of parts pursuing ergonomics including newly designed easy-to-hold grip.

A pallet of options for both photo and movie to stimulate photographers' creativity
With the introduction of the world’s first*5 3D interchangeable lens to make 3D shooting possible with an interchangeable lens system camera, Panasonic offers users the chance to enjoy high-quality shooting in 3D with DMC-GH2. This new compact 3D-capable interchangeable lens allows easier handling and instant 3D shooting with cameras without a special structure for 3D shooting. It produces 3D images without distortion or time lag between left and right images, even for moving objects. The 3D images, even close-up shots, taken with this lens are easy on the eyes when viewed on 3D VIERA televisions.

The DMC-GH2 provides an array of features that let users capture precisely true-to-life images and create their own beautifully expressive images. The DMC-GH2 features the My Colour mode with a total of 7 preset effects — Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, and Silhouette while inheriting the previous Custom mode, which lets users manually, set the colour, brightness and saturation levels. With the Full-time Live View function, users can see how these settings will affect the images before they shoot, which makes it easier to capture the exact mood or atmosphere desired. For even more elaborate effects, users can choose from a total of 10 Film modes including the new Cinema mode, and set the contrast, sharpness and saturation levels for each. A custom function lets users store their favourite settings in memory.

The exposure meter can be displayed in the P/A/S/M shooting modes. The correlation between shutter speed and aperture is shown, with a colour-coded warning that alerts users when the settings are not in the proper range. For newcomers to system camera photography, this makes it easy to learn proper settings both visually and logically, enhancing their photography skills.
The exposure compensation can now be set in ±5 steps and the white balance settings can be memorized in 4 patterns for finer control according to the wider range of shooting situations. Auto bracket mode can be set within ±3 steps and the Multi Aspect Bracket is also available.

Advanced iA (Intelligent Auto) mode to enhance the operability and potential of the camera
The DMC-GH2 has advanced functions that will satisfy experienced photographers, yet is easy enough for beginners to use comfortably. It's ideal for compact camera owners who want to step up to higher-quality photos — but without having to worry about the need of technique. Panasonic achieved this superb ease of use by continuing to improve iA mode — with its shooting assist functions that have proven extremely popular in LUMIX compact cameras — and adding it to the advanced imaging technologies of the LUMIX G Micro System. The iA mode is available not only in photo but also movie recording.

This iA mode is further advanced to include Intelligent D-range Control and new Intelligent Resolution for DMC-GH2. The new Intelligent D-range Control offers even more natural looking by optimizing the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully including the blue colour of the sky. An automatic backlight compensation function is activated whenever the camera detects the subject in backlight.

The new Intelligent Resolution technology allows for even more natural-looking images with better-balanced sharpness to the detail part and the edge part, suitable for printing in large size.
With AF Tracking, the DMC-GH2 can lock onto any subject and keep it in focus even if it moves — making it easy to get beautiful, clear shots when a great photo opportunity suddenly arises. Simply aim, lock, and shoot. The Face Recognition function remembers registered faces to give an appropriate AF/AE on the people. In playback, you can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using Category Playback.
In addition to the advanced functions mentioned above, the iA mode inherits fundamental functions users need in a good digital still camera. These include MEGA O.I.S., which helps prevent blurring from hand-shake, and Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves as the shot is taken. Intelligent Scene Selector automatically detects the most common shooting situations — Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery, Close-up and Sunset — and switches to the appropriate Scene mode.
The user can activate all of these useful, convenient shooting-assist functions by simply selecting the iA mode.

Some functions in iA mode may not be available depending on the lens that is mounted.Enjoy watching high quality photos and movies on large HDTV — VIERA Link networking even in 3D

Both still images and motion images in AVCHD recorded on SD Memory Cards are easy to view on a Panasonic VIERA TV with dynamic HD resolution. The user simply inserts the card into the VIERA Image Viewer (SD Memory Card slot) on a VIERA TV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc Player*6 to play the content. Alternatively, an optional HDMI mini cable can be used to output still and motion images recorded with the DMC-GH2 directly to the TV for easy VIERA Link operation. This makes it possible to take maximum advantage of the camera's playback functions, including slideshows in which both still and motion images are played sequentially, or calendar displays and so on. All control is possible using only the TV's remote control. Especially, the pictures taken with the interchangeable 3D lens LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12 can be viewed in 3D via the 3D Image Viewer offering users a whole new exciting experience. 
In addition, with the included software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 BD Edition, it is easy to view and edit your recorded contents. You may also choose to upload your videos to YouTube or burn them onto a Blu-ray or DVD disc for archiving.

Rich options for further expandability
The Micro Four Thirds System products are joining today's Four Thirds System products to provide customers with even higher levels of performance in a digital interchangeable lens camera. In addition to LUMIX G lenses, the LUMIX DMC-GH2 and LUMIX G Micro System 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 MA3R. This gives the user access to the unlimited number of lens properties.
 
With the LUMIX G Micro System and the growing assortment of lenses becoming available, the expressive possibilities are unlimited. The LUMIX DMC-GH2 system camera offers a wide variety of options to choose from to match every shooting situation and shooting style.
Mount Adaptor: DMW-MA1, DMW-MA2M, DMW-MA3R
External Flash: DMW-FL220 (GN22) / DMW-FL360 (GN36) / DMW-FL500 (GN50)
PL Filter: DMW-LPL52/ LPL62
ND Filter: DMW-LND52/ LND62
MC Protector: DMW-LMC52/ LMCH62
Stereo Microphone: DMW-MS1
Zoom Lever: DMW-ZL1 [New]
Battery Pack: DMW-BLC12 [New]
DC Coupler: DMW-DCC8 [New]
AC Adaptor: DMW-AC8 [New]
Remote Shutter: DMW-RSL1
Soft Case: DMW-CG2
Soft Bag: DMW-BAG1, DMW-CZ18
Leather Bag: DMW-BAL1
Shoulder Strap (Stylish): DMW-SSTG1-A/C/R/K
Shoulder Strap (Woven): DMW-SSTG2-W
Shoulder Strap (Leather): DMW-SSTG3-T
Shoulder Strap (Leather): DMW-SSTL1
HDMI mini Cable: RP-CDHM15/RP-CDHM30

Just shooting is not the goal - Included softwares
With the DMC-GH2, PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 BD Edition for easy organization of photos and movies, the SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE for RAW file development and Super LoiloScope (trial version) come bundled.
The PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 BD Edition makes it possible to sort and organize photos not only of those newly taken but also of those stored in your PC with quick start-up and fast read-in of images. The Face Recognition function that recognizes the faces in the picture automatically sorts the photos by the registered faces without picking out each photo one by one when you only want pictures of a specific person. You can also enjoy slideshows with a variety of effects and use your iTunes music library as background music and burn it onto a Blu-ray or DVD disc in MPEG2. Motion pictures can be uploaded directly to YouTube.
The original image data in RAW file format recorded with the DMC-GH2 allows images to be developed according to your intention using highly advanced functions of the SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE software utility. It features unique combination of high resolution and extraordinary colour separation performance. The Super Loilo Scope lets you experience high speed HD movie editinng.

*1The time for focusing on the subject is measured with the DMC-GH2 attaching LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. (H-VS014140)* to move the lens to “2m” from “infinity” position. The zoom position is in wide range. Panasonic measurement method.*The firmware must be updated to Ver. 1.3 or later.
*2 Full-HD (1,920 x 1,080) movies are recorded at 60i (NTSC) / 50i (PAL). HD (1,280 x 720) movies are output and recorded by the image sensor at 60p (NTSC) / 50p (PAL).
*3The time for focusing on the subject is measured with the DMC-GH2 attaching LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. (H-VS014140)* to move the lens to “2m” from “infinity” position. The zoom position is in wide range. Panasonic measurement method.*The firmware must be updated to Ver. 1.3 or later. 
*4 In-house comparison with the previous model based on the CIE 1976 UCS Colour Temperature Coordinate
*5 For a digital interchangeable lens of September 21, 2010
*6AVCHD motion images recorded onto an SD Memory Card or a DVD cannot be played on a device that does not support the AVCHD standard.

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