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G2 or GH2

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by backdoc, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. backdoc

    backdoc Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2011
    I hope this is right forum for this question....

    I'm getting ready to move into the world of 4/3. I've been researching like crazy. And, I think I have narrowed it down to either the G2 or GH2. From what I can gather, the main benefits of the GH2 over the G2 are the 16 pixels vs 12 pixels and the video capabilities (1080i vs. 720i).

    I have a Canon HG20 HD camcorder. So, getting the GH2 for the video is not a requirement. As for the pixels, my current camera is a point and shoot Canon S1, 3.1 megapixel. So, even the 12.1 would be a huge leap for me.

    As for price, B&H has the G2 with the 14-45 and 45-200 lens for $607 right now. The GH2 with the 14-45 is $999. To add the 45-200 to the GH2, I'd be at $1260. So, it's right at twice the price.

    So, I'm looking for recommendations. Would the GH2 be worth the extra money? Will the picture quality be *that* much better? Could I potentially sell my HG20 and pay the difference between the G2 and the GH2? Would it be smarter to have my video and still camera tied up together? True, it would be lighter to carry and convenient. But, there are downsides to having them in the same device. And, I've never tried using a camera to do video. Is it really even a practical replacement for a camcorder?

    I appreciate any advice. I'm hoping to place my order by noon central time tomorrow (2/10/11).

  2. john1027

    john1027 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 5, 2010
    Alexandria, VA USA
    Welcome to the forum. If I was in your position, I would get the GH2. I had the G2 last summer and it was a good device, but the GH2 is at the top of the line right now with Panasonic and the autofocus on the GH2 is very fast. There are numerous threads here that can provide you more details, but for sure the video performance of the GH2 is outstanding. Even if you have to wait on the 45-200, I don't think you would regret it. Besides, I see having your video and still image needs in one device as a positive. Good luck.
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I'd go GH2 if you can swing it. For autofocus speed and higher ISO performance alone its pretty much cutting edge for m43 (AF is cutting edge for any mirrorless camera). Also, from what I've read (haven't handled one personally), people are getting better results with lenses like the 45-200 with the GH2 because of the improved AF. Not just faster, but more hits and better precision with long lenses. I can't confirm this, but I've read it enough to be very curious and I've seen better results from people with the 45-200 than I've generally gotten. Then again, they're not gonna show the stuff that's on the cutting room floor, so its just an impression and believing what folks are saying about it. I suspect in a year, pretty much all m43 cams will surpass the G2 but the GH2 should still be in the hunt for a while...

    I've been wrong before though!

  4. backdoc

    backdoc Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    If the GH2 can be a viable replacement for my camcorder, then cost works out to be about the same. I've seen the HG20 selling used for $600. I'd sell mine for that, if the GH2 video worked well as a replacement.

    I guess what I'm thinking in the back of my mind is that I know the GH2 will be technically better. But, practically speaking, would it be enough better to justify $600? I'm not sure. I have a feeling that after the new wears off, I'd probably be pretty satisfied with the G2. I keep telling myself that, anyway.

    Before stumbling upon the m4/3 world, I was looking hard at the Nikon d3100 and the Pentax k-r. Since posting my question, I was on another site comparing the Panasonic to the D3100. I guess the d3100 beats the clarity and color, at least based on this one comparison.

    If you look closely at the yarn, the yellows are nearly indistinguishable in the Panasonic cameras. And, they appear to be a little fuzzier around the bottom ends of the loops.

    But, that's 3 different shots taken on, I am sure, 3 different days. So, there is some margin for error, I suppose.



    I think I probably place my order around lunch tomorrow. I will post back and let you know what I go with.
  5. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    $600 for the G2 and those lenses is a steal. That's definitely a price difference worth considering. I have the GH2 now and love it, but that's after spending nearly 2 years having a blast taking awesome photos with the G1 and those 2 lenses. I wouldn't be so quick to spend the extra $600 unless you are sure the autofocus, ISO, and video improvements are worth it to you. If you can replace your camcorder it might be a no brainer, but if not, that's a steep premium to pay for a few features that you may or may not be ready for anyways. I didn't know what I was missing for the first 2 years with my G1, it wasn't till I really got to know the capabilities of my G1 after shooting with it for a long time that I started to push the limits and want for some of the capabilities of the GH2. If you're new to interchangeable lens photography, a camera like the G2 will keep you very happy for a long time, long enough that by the time you're ready to move up, there will be a GH3 :)  Just playing devil's advocate here. Like I said, I love my GH2, but knowing what I know now, I'd recommend the G2 to myself 2 years ago :)  I would suggest considering the G2, and take the $600 and pick up the Panasonic 20mm and a tripod and a nice bag, spare battery, quality SDHC card(s), better strap. All of that adds up too.
  6. backdoc

    backdoc Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2011
    re-thinking things

    These are all really good points. I hadn't thought about the 20mm lens. I'm curious why you recommend adding it to my arsenal. I have about 3 different carts with stuff in them at B&H. I had already added an extra battery and a 64GB SDXC. I have a bag. But, if I get the G2, I will reside to carrying 2 cameras. So, I'd probably need a larger bag. B&H sells the 64 GB card for $129. Newegg sells it for around $250. I normally buy from Newegg, but not this time.

    I have narrowed down my search to these two cameras because I like the camera bodies. I like the swivel LCD, the dial and the face recognition. It looks easy to switch to a manual mode. I might have missed the forest for the trees. After looking closer at the images on the links in my last email, I'm beginning to get concerned with the color. The Panasonic yellows all look the same (or close). I looked at the Olympus, and it has decent color and good quality at higher ISO's. Now, I'm beginning to question my decision to go with Panasonic.

    I also settled on the m4/3 because I like the live view mode and the point and shoot like features they include. Otherwise, I'd probably be looking at the DSLRs. I know that I have outgrown the point and shoots. I am tired of the autofocus focusing on the chain link fence when my subject is on the field.

    I'm not completely new to interchangeable lenses. I bought a Canon AE-1 Program back when it was new (yeah, I'm in my 40's - got it when I was about 15). Later, I bought a Pentax 35mm. But, when digital cameras came out, it became way too obvious to make the switch. But, I longed for the control and interchangeable lenses. I could never justify the cost of a DSLR and all of the lenses.

    Photography is not really a hobby, in and of itself, for me - but I've always been interested in it. It's a means to an end. Having said that, I am excited about experimenting with the manual modes and making some interesting photos. With 35mm film, I could never experiment. The doors opening up might cause me to get more interested in it as a hobby.
  7. daimos

    daimos Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 23, 2010
    with interchangeable lenses, you can get creative at video too.
    like the lensbaby tilt transformer.
  8. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    I had the same dilemma right before the New Year.

    I had to choose between G2 kit + 20mm f/1.7 pancake and GH2 kit alone. I decided to go for the former and I think it was the right decision. Panasonic 20mm lens is awesome. GH2's improved High ISO performance is great, but I rarely need to take pictures above ISO 800, especially with the 20mm lens.
  9. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    The 20mm lens is very sharp and very good in low light, so most consider it a must have. It's a great indoor lens, and all around in lower light.

    As for the Olympus vs Panasonic, much has been said about the differences in their JPG engine. Olympus is considered one of the best. However, if you shoot RAW, you can get better results out of either, and the best out of the GH2 with it's best in class sensor. If you only want to shoot JPG for the convenience, you can tweak the settings on the Panasonic to make it look more saturated like the Olympus is out of the box. If you like the panasonic mini-dslr form factor (as I do) then that should be your main consideration because it's fairly trivial to tweak the colors to your liking. Don't get too wrapped up in minor diffs on the test shots, they all take stunning photos at the end of the day, especially if you invest a little time in learning them and how to tweak to your liking.
  10. backdoc

    backdoc Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2011
    I decided the G2 would suit me. I went B&H to finish my order, damned if the $600 kit hadn't sold out. I guess that was a good deal. I should have jumped on it.

    I tried to just go ahead and order the GH2. I have doubts about it. I guess it's better to "have and not want" than to "want and not have". But, I ran into trouble with the Bill Me Later folks. Hopefully, I will be able to complete the order tomorrow morning when B&H opens. I have to call because they still have my order # from 2 days ago.

    I'm going to continue to look for the $600 deal. Since the GH2 is backordered, maybe I can find it before the GH2 return period expires.

    I looked at the 20mm lens. That seems like a lot of money for a fixed lens. And, I need the 45-200. So, I guess I won't be able to swing that lens. If I could get it instead of the 14-42, I might would get it since it comes highly recommended. But, otherwise I will have to wait on it.

    So, the verdict it is GH2, until or unless I can find the same deal on the G2.

    Thanks for all your help and really well thought out advice. I suppose it will be 2 - 4 weeks before my camera gets here. When it does, I'll try to post some worthwhile photos. At that point, I'll be a bonafide member of the growing 4/3's community.
  11. Dan Ka

    Dan Ka Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 11, 2011
    Northeastern Ohio
    Take a look at Amazon. There's a G2 body for $500, a G2 w/ 14-42 kit for $580, a G2 w/ 20mm, f1.7 for $888. There was also one w/ the 3d lens and I think I passed by one with a 14mm, F1.2. Good luck. I've had a G2 for 5 months now and loving it.

    edit: saw a GH2 for a grand also.

  12. backdoc

    backdoc Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2011
    Thanks. I have been looking on Amazon. But, the deal bh photo had was a 2 lens kit for $606. It would have been more, but there was a $200 nstant rebate. Really, that seems like a good deal, that I haven't been able to match.

    If I get lucky enough to find the same deal, I will post it.
  13. xiaofeng

    xiaofeng New to Mu-43

    Jan 24, 2011
    I think that I like to GH2.
  14. youry

    youry Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2010
    Winston Salem, NC
    Have you considered a GH1? Brand new bodies can be found for $400 here or on fredmiranda. A hacked body gives you unreal video for a little more than a new GH1 and believe me, as I had a GH2 already, the hacked GH1 is much better than a GH2 on thr video side. You can easily shoot 50-60 Mbps while the gh2 shoots only 17Mbps or 24Mbps in 24p mode. Picture wise they are close, a little noisy at base iso on GH2.
  15. backdoc

    backdoc Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2011
    Actually, no I haven't really looked at it. I'm interested in a swivel lcd. To my knowledge, that only comes with the G2 or GH2. I placed the order for the GH2, but it is on backorder. So, I have plenty of time to reconsider before it is even shipped.

    If I could get a really good picture, I wouldn't necessarily care about video. I have a Canon HG20 that I'm using for video. But, if the video turns out to be good enough, I will sell the HG20. And, in that case, video becomes a primary concern. So, I guess video is either no concern, or paramount but, not in between.
  16. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Are you sure about this? Most of the sources I've read say the GH2 is quite an improvement over even the hacked GH1. There's more to video quality than bit rate and resolution. You can have dramatically different quality at any given bit rate.

    Most of what I've read is along these lines:

    GH2 Tests (with a gh13 perspective))
  17. I think all the G's and GH's have the swivel LCD, except maybe the G10.
  18. cucco

    cucco Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    A few thoughts...

    I have 2 HF20s and an HG20 for location based video shooting. I just recently got the GH2 and it blows my Canon camcorders out of the water. The advantage of the larger sensor is unbelievable. Also, a few good lenses will make it a way more capable video experience. The other issue is that the Canons don't shoot a straight 24P video. They seem to add some strange pulldown that is a pain in the butt to reverse out and fast motion videos show serious problems with deinterlacing. (there are ways around this but it takes up sooooo much hard drive space to deal with it.)

    The GH2 itself is an amazing camera too. I would not hesitate to use it as a dual purpose camera/camcorder - in fact, I do quite often. If I can get go it soon enough, i just shot a 3 angle concert performance using two HF20s and the GH2. Once it's done with post production, I'll put up a clip and let you know which angle is the GH2.

  19. youry

    youry Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2010
    Winston Salem, NC
    Interesting thread, first time I see it but in my opinion that is not a fair test. First of all he uses two different lenses, not the same setup. Second, the gh1 footage is overexposed while the gh2's seems right on. Done on purpose? Third, he doesn't say anything about his ptool settings. Hard to compare both cameras when the game starts unfair. Even using the same camera one can get good and bad results using different settings and lenses.
    I have another GH2 on order (sold the first one) and I'll give it a another try.

  20. cucco

    cucco Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    I would also point out, with regards to the GH1 - yes, you can get insane bit rates on the hacked GH1. Just be prepared to deal with the storage and editing consequences of doing so!
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