Having just unwrapped the new Panasonic GH2, my first real question was, will this camera replace my Olympus E3/E5 camera..? This seems like a reasonable question since I have a sizeable collection of profesional Olympus lenses. The quick answer is NO not yet... Keep reading for more of my reasoning on this.
Only way to figure this out is simple, start sticking my Olympus Pro series lenses on the GH2. This is done with a Olympus adapter which mounts a standard 43 lens on a m43 camera. Sounds easy yes.?
Problem is that it apears the camera switches to a different focusing mode, and the world comes screeching to a halt the moment you try to focus these babies. My belowed 150mm 2.0 which snaps into focus on the E4/5 like a crack of a whip, well basically it works at a distance at a crawling speed and it is plainly faster to focus it manually.
Things go a bit better with the 12-60, but strangely this lens is also not snapping to focus like it should. So as far as moving to m43 to preserve your 43 investment, that idea is basically a joke. Even the best spec GH2 do not make this a inviting option for me. However I would have not concerns about using the GH2 for a photojob inside its capabilities, im just saying it is not replacing a E5 for users in this system.
GH2 with 150mm 2.0 - FULLSIZE IMAGE
NO really I do feed my dog - GH2 with Olympus 150mm 2.0 FULLSIZE IMAGE.
This have gotten me to worry a bit, because I was kind of expecting to slowly migrate to a future m43 camera. this morning Iw as a big shell shocked, staring at my lenses and my girlfriends new GH2, ouch.
So what is next? The good news is that rumors seems strong that Olympus plans to announce a "pro" m43 camera in 2011, yeah, I have no doubth what so ever, that part of the "pro" spec, will include stronger support for the backbone of what people love about Olympus, their great pro lenses. With a little luck the Olympus "pro" spec m43, will be somewhat weather sealed and support my 150mm 2.0 - I will be 100% satisfied with that... anything more is icing on the cake.
Just "how bad" is the GH2, well it is not bad at all, actually it is pretty darn awesome. The camera with the kit lens and other m43 lenses is the fastest m43 camera I have ever used, the viewfinder is the best m43 viewfinder so far, and more importantly the files are beautiful. BUT I am not convinced they are significantly better than a E5 in terms of resolution, the files seems a bit painterly, there seems to be a very strong AA filter and I lust for more snap in the files. To be fair, I am normally a M9 shooter and comparing a M9 file to a GH2 file is just not pretty, but lets get real, what did we expect, comparing a $700 body to a $7000.
This bring me to one of the other thoughts about resolution, while we are adding megapixels, getting up from 12megapix to 16 don't get a lot of return on the investment, and am sure other more qualified than me will do the actual testing of the E5 vs the GH2, but my gut feeling is that there is not much more resolving power in the GH2. This was confirmed while I was doing some research on the D3 and found the D3x review from Thom Hogan, he confirms that the 24megapix file is superior to the 12megapix file, but only be a very small practical margin.
The GH2 have pretty good snap at base iso, but as soon as the iso raise up to 800 things start looking like a art-show, I know not everybody will agree and that is OK. Don't trust me, go shoot a E5 at say 1600iso and then shoot a GH2 at 1600iso and compare. Sorry guys, the GH2 have not replaced the pro E cameras - yet - I have no doubt that soon enough m43 will snatch the crown for resolving power and the GH2 probably do already in some ways. But in a lot of ways Thom Hogan's review of the D3x speaks clearly about what to expect between the E5 and the GH2.
Remember the GH2 have a sensor half the size of a full-frame, and for all intents and purposes the camera have four times the pixel density as my M9, that means "if" this was a full-frame sensor the GH2 would be packing roughly 64megapixels, this can only be noisy at any iso other than base iso, and it is.
EDIT: Thank you to Ray for correcting me, I wrongly said the fullframe is only twice the area, it is not two but four times as much real-estate, the fullframe equivalent GH2 FF sensor would be 64 megapixels. Wikipedia Sensor sizes.
So for now, my girlfriend love her GH2 to pieces, it is a faboulous camera, a real engineering feat, but it is not replacing the E5 at the moment. and I am optimistically looking forward to a Olympus Pro m43 camera.
EDIT: I should hurry up and say, I have not related at all to the video features as I am a straight still photographer, and have no particular interest in video, some of my friends are indie film makers and to them the GH2 is a Hollywood rock-star. For me the only point here is that at the moment the E5 and the E3 is not rocked by the GH2, and the E5 resolution of 12megapixels are at a very interesting cross-road where additional resolution really is not getting very much bang for the buck.
EDIT: Anyone other than me noticed that the famed Nikon D3s is still famed and still 12megapix with fairly pedestrian video at 720p 24fps only, yawn. ;-)
Thom Hogan - differene between the Nikon D3s 12megapix and the D3x 24megapix click to read.
GH2 m43 with leica 35mm 1.4 - de-focus animation click to read.