|1. Customizable function buttons provide easy access to favorite settings. 2. The large electronic viewfinder offers easy eye-level viewing for still and movie shooting. 3. You can save images and video on SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
ESTIMATED STREET PRICE: $1,499 (with 14-140mm HD zoom)
Panasonic's top mirrorless Micro Four Thirds System camera, the GH2 is a "mini-DSLR-type" model that improves on its popular GH1 predecessor in a number of ways. Featuring a 16.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor, the GH2 provides ISO settings from 160 to 12,800 (up from 100-3200 for the GH1), fast Light Speed contrast-based AF and a 3.0-inch, 460,000-dot tilt-swivel LCD monitor that doubles as a touch-screen: You can set camera functions, select the focus point and even trip the shutter just by touching the screen.
The GH1 was the first Panasonic Micro Four Thirds System model to provide video capability and quickly became a hit because of it. The GH2 retains its predecessor's excellent video features, including eye-level as well as LCD monitor operation and continuous AF while shooting AVCHD and Motion JPEG video. The GH2 can do 1920x1080 full HD video at 60p and 60i, and 1280x720 HD video at 60p in AVCHD format. It can do 1280x720, 848x480, 640x480 and 320x240 Motion JPEG video at 30 fps. There also are variable frame rates to produce slow-motion and accelerated-motion videos. You can record stereo sound via a built-in microphone or an external mic through the provided jack. The maximum still-image shooting rate is 5 fps at full resolution and 40 fps at 4 megapixels.
The GH2 is compatible with Panasonic's unique 12.5mm ƒ/12 3D lens, which produces 3D images, even of moving subjects, viewable on Panasonic Viera 3D HDTVs using 3D eyewear. The camera also can use all Micro Four Thirds System lenses, standard Four Thirds System lenses and others via adapters.
A number of cameras can shoot images in several aspect ratios, but the GH2 (like its GH1 predecessor) can do it while maintaining the same angle of view for a given lens because its 16.1-megapixel sensor really has 18.3 megapixels, so it doesn't have to crop into the image to change the aspect ratio. You can shoot in 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and even 1:1 square format.