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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Gordon Laing, February 2011

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 results : Real-life resolution (JPEG) / Real-life resolution (RAW) / High ISO Noise
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 vs Sony Alpha SLT-A33 Real-life resolution (JPEGs using default settings)

 
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To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and Sony Alpha SLT-A33 within a few moments of each other using their best-quality JPEG settings and base sensitivities; the A55 was not available at the time of testing. Scroll down this page for a comparison with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1.

Each camera was fitted with its respective kit lens, the Panasonic 14-42mm and Sony 18-55mm SAM, both set to f5.6, adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view, and focused using Live View at the highest magnification.

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 at 160 ISO with an exposure of 1/1000 and the lens set to 20mm f5.6; the original Large Fine JPEG measured 7.87MB. The crops below are taken from the area marked with a red square and presented here at 100%.

We shot this scene in the GH2's 4:3 aspect ratio which delivers the highest resolution. The Sony Alpha SLT-A33 was set to its native 3:2 aspect ratio and the lenses on both cameras adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view. As such, we're only comparing the vertical resolution of each camera here, and by only considering a 4:3 cropped area of the A33's wider 3:2 frame, it's effectively being treated as a 12 Megapixel camera.

In terms of JPEG processing using the default settings, the Panasonic Lumix GH2 delivers fairly laid-back images which may be lacking the bite of punchier consumer cameras, but equally are bereft of undesirable artefacts. The crops below from the GH2 look very natural. In contrast, the Sony Alpha SLT-A33 opts for a punchier approach with higher contrast and sharpening. The difference is most apparent in the first and especially the fourth crops, where sharpening has brought out the finest details, leaving the GH2 looking slightly muted in comparison.

Image processing is of course highly subjective and you may find yourself preferring the style of the GH2 over the A33 or vice versa. Most would however agree the GH2 would benefit from at least a small boost in sharpening to its default JPEG settings, which can either be tweaked in-camera, or better still, applied to the conversion of a RAW file. Indeed you can see how a processed RAW file compares on the next page. Either way, the good news is the images aren't over-processed and can easily handle a boost without detrimental effects.

Looking closer, the more important thing to notice is a visible advantage in resolution to the GH2. Since we're effectively comparing 16 Megapixels against 12 Megapixels (when taking 4:3 areas), you'd certainly expect the GH2 to out-resolve the A33, but it's never a foregone conclusion, and often the differences can be very subtle. Take a close look at the fine detail in the buildings and foliage in the crops below though and you'll see there's definitely an advantage to the GH2. It's the highest resolution Micro Four Thirds camera to date, and coupled with the 14-42mm kit lens, it's certainly delivering the goods here.

Now scroll down to see how the Lumix GH2 compares against its compact counterpart, the Lumix GF1. Alternatively, check out how it performs in RAW in our Panasonic Lumix GH2 Real-life Resolution RAW results, or how it compares across its sensitivity range in our Panasonic Lumix GH2 High ISO Noise results. Or if you've seen enough, head straight to our Verdict.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Panasonic H-FS014042 14-42mm
 
Sony Alpha SLT-A33 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Sony SAL1855 SAM
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO



Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 vs Lumix DMC-GF2 Real-life resolution (JPEGs using default settings)

 
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To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and Lumix DMC-GF2 within a few moments of each other using their best-quality JPEG settings and base sensitivities. Scroll up this page for a comparison with the Sony Alpha SLT-A33.

Each camera was fitted with the same kit lens: the Panasonic 14-42mm, set to f5.6, adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view, and focused using Live View at the highest magnification. Both cameras were set to record in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 at 160 ISO with an exposure of 1/1000 and the lens set to 20mm f5.6; the original Large Fine JPEG measured 7.87MB. The crops below are taken from the area marked with a red square and presented here at 100%.

Here we're comparing the 16 Megapixels of the Lumix GH2 against the 12 Megapixels of the Lumix GF2, using exactly the same kit lens. While there's obviously a difference in resolution and the size of the cropped area, the first thing which strikes you is the different approach to image processing. The Lumix GF2 is delivering a far punchier result using its default settings than the GH2. It's applied greater sharpening and contrast to bring out its finest details, for a satisfying consumer-friendly image.

The Lumix GH2 again looks a little soft and muted in comparison, but this is because it's aimed at a higher-end market that's expected to either tweak the settings or apply any boosts later in software. Again the important thing is the GH2 image does contain finer detail, but to get the most from it, you'll probably want to apply at least some extra sharpening. On the plus-side though, the GH2 image straight out of the camera does look natural and avoids electronic or digital artefacts.

In the meantime, the Lumix GF2 delivers a nice-looking images which will appeal to its market of people upgrading from a point-and-shoot camera. See our Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 preview for more details.

Now check out how the GH2 performs in RAW in our Panasonic Lumix GH2 Real-life Resolution RAW results, or how it compares across its sensitivity range in our Panasonic Lumix GH2 High ISO Noise results. Or if you've seen enough, head straight to our Verdict.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Panasonic H-FS014042 14-42mm
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Panasonic H-FS014042 14-42mm
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 results : Real-life resolution (JPEG) / Real-life resolution (RAW) / High ISO Noise



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