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Panasonic G2 versus Panasonic GH2

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2010 and September 2010. Both the G2 and the GH2 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The G2 has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the GH2 provides 15.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic G2 vs Panasonic GH2

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G2 and the Panasonic GH2 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the G2 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic G2 vs Panasonic GH2
G2 versus GH2 top view
G2 and GH2 rear side

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH2 is notably larger (7 percent) than the Panasonic G2. Moreover, the GH2 is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the G2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G2 nor the GH2 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the G2 gets 360 shots out of its DMW-BLB13 battery, while the GH2 can take 330 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLC12 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic G2 (⇒ rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 no 2010 599discont. check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 no 2010 1,499discont. check
Olympus E-450 (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 no 2009 499discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 no 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.2 in 19.4 oz 540 YES 2012 1,299discont. check
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 no 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 no 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 no 2011 949discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 no 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 no 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.7 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 13.6 oz 380 no 2009 749discont. check
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 no 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 no 2008 599discont. check

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G2 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 percent) than the GH2, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison: Panasonic G2 vs Panasonic GH2

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic G2 and Panasonic GH2 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the GH2 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12 MP of the G2. This megapixel advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the GH2 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 4.33μm for the G2). However, it should be noted that the GH2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the G2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

G2 versus GH2 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the GH2 has a markedly higher DXO score than the G2 (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic G2 (⇒ rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.3 493 53
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60i 21.2 11.3 655 60
Olympus E-450 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736 no 21.5 10.5 512 56
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 21.4 11.6 618 61
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 22.7 12.4 812 71
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 20.6 10 458 49
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 21 10.6 667 56
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60p 20.8 10.6 703 55
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 21.2 10.3 506 54
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.1 411 52
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.3 513 54
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/24p 21.6 11.6 772 64
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 no 21.1 10.3 463 53

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GH2 provides a better video resolution than the G2. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the G2 is limited to 720/30p.

Feature comparison: Panasonic G2 vs Panasonic GH2

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GH2 offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the G2 (1534k vs 1440k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G2 and Panasonic GH2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic G2 (⇒ rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel YES 4000 2.6 11 no
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) 1534 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 15.6 no
Olympus E-450 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.7 215 fixed no 4000 3.5 12 no
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 fixed YES 4000 4.0 6.3 no
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1746 no 3.0 614 swivel YES 4000 6.0 12 no
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 3.2 6.3 no
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel YES 4000 4.0 11 no
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 4.2 7.6 no
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 2.6 6.0 no
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 202 no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 2.6 11 no
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 3.0 6.0 no
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 10.5 no
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4001 3.0 10.5 no

Both the G2 and the GH2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G2 was replaced by the Panasonic G3, while the GH2 was followed by the Panasonic GH3.

Review summary: Panasonic G2 vs Panasonic GH2

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G2 and the Panasonic GH2? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2:

  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2010).

Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (6 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH2 is the clear winner of the contest (7 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

G2 03:07 GH2

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G2 or the GH2. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic G2 (⇒ rgt) - 72/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2010 599discont. check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) 86/100 HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2010 1,499discont. check
Olympus E-450 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4/5 2009 499discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2012 1,299discont. check
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 71/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 75/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2011 949discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 70/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 70/100 4/5 - 4/5 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 69/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2009 749discont. check
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 89/100 HiRec 72/100 HiRec 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 70/100 HiRec 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2008 599discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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