Allow me to happily introduce you to a wonderful new camera. Is it a Canon? Is it a Nikon? Why, no! It’s a good old reliable Panasonic. That’s right–they’re still in the race; and with their latest Lumix, their odds have just gotten a whole lot better.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2H is jam-packed full of features. There are 15 pre-set shooting modes to choose from, as well as several exposure and white balance modes, allowing you to quickly and easily be ready to take a great photo in any scenario (if you’ve got the time, you can do it all manually as well). There are also dozens of additional features that are amazingly handy, like 1080p Full HD movie recording and facial recognition. Now, because there are so many features and settings and options, there is a bit of a learning curve to this camera. What I mean is that you’d want to take it out for a spin and mess around with it a bit to really get to know every setting, before, say, you commit to shooting your cousin’s wedding. Don’t be intimidated though; there is, in fact, an auto setting for those of us who’d like to take gorgeous pictures, but haven’t yet taken the time to learn about all of the manual settings.
The GH2H comes with a standard 14-140mm lens–which is the equivalent of a 10x optical zoom. The lens is easy to attach and if you’ve somehow managed to miss, the camera will let you know. The camera is also compatible with Panasonic’s 3D lens. I was excited to try out the 3D lens until I suddenly realized the problem with using it: How on earth am I going to view the pictures I take? I don’t own a 3D television, and neither does anyone else I know. So, as cool as it is to line things up for a shot or just from some nice layered landscapes, it’s not possible to view these images as 3D unless you have the accompanying hardware. If only they had 3D digital frames that worked similarly to the 3DS…
As for the picture quality? Excellent. The camera powers up quickly and the kit lens matched to the the 16MP sensor combine to create crisp, clear images. I was also happy to see how well this camera did in low-light situations and how little bleeding there was with bright colors–this shouldn’t be surprising, considering the consumer line of point-and-shoot Lumix cameras also does well in these same areas. The GH2H was also well balanced (something often overlooked in camera design) and surprisingly small and light. Weighing in at just under 14 ounces, it’s very travel-friendly for on-the-go photographers. Since it is that light, I would recommend protecting it a bit more in frantic situations as it will swing and bang around more than a heavier camera. The touch screen on the GH2H was a nice addition; you can quickly adjust the camera’s settings while keeping your shot in view, as opposed to having to cycle through the menus using the buttons. The screen is also very similar to that of a camcorder; it can swing out, flip around, and go back to its original position. What I have seen in other cameras are screens that can tilt and swivel about a bit more, which is incredible useful for those tricky angled shots–so I’m a bit disappointed that this camera didn’t offer the same amount of screen manipulation, especially considering that this camera does an excellent job with video.
I want to make clear that this camera may not be for your everyday Joe who just wants a gadget that can freeze moments and put them on the computer; though there is an “auto” mode that lets the camera optimize your settings, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the small, white pictographs that the GH2H offers. This camera is great, however, for those with a bit of experience, looking for a small camera that can pack a punch–it’s also a great camera for those who want to learn all of the intricacies of photography, and is a great shooter to grow with because of the features it holds. The $1,499.00 price may be a bit high for some, but I definitely think that it’s an investment that you won’t regret.