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Panasonic GH1 versus Panasonic GH2

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2009 and September 2010. Both the GH1 and the GH2 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The GH1 has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the GH2 provides 15.9 MP.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH1 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GH1 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Panasonic GH1 vs Panasonic GH2 front
GH1 versus GH2 top view
GH1 and GH2 rear side
Body view (GH1 on the left)

In this particular case, the Panasonic GH1 and the Panasonic GH2 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the GH2 is markedly heavier (15 percent) than the GH1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GH1 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.

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 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 GH1 (⇒ rgt) 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g .. no 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 no 2010 1,499discont. check
Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 93 mm 84 mm 560 g 500 YES 2014 1,499discont. check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 99 mm 60 mm 36 mm 211 g 220 no 2014 749discont. check
Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 115 mm 66 mm 55 mm 393 g 300 no 2014 899 latest check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 no 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 99 mm 55 mm 30 mm 204 g 230 no 2013 749discont. check
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 93 mm 82 mm 550 g 540 YES 2012 1,299discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g .. no 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g .. no 2011 949discont. check
Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g .. no 2010 599discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g .. no 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 no 2008 599discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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 GH1 and Panasonic GH2 sensor measures
Sensor size
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Sensor size

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 GH1. 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 GH1). However, it should be noted that the GH2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the GH1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

GH1 versus GH2 MP
Sensor resolution
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Sensor resolution

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the GH1 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the GH2 (overall score 4 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/24p 21.6 11.6 772 64
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60i 21.2 11.3 655 60
Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 4K/30p 23.2 12.8 791 74
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60p 22.1 11.7 721 66
Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.7 4112 3088 4K/30p 22.3 12.5 553 67
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 21.3 11.5 639 61
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 22.3 11.7 660 66
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p 22.7 12.4 812 71
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 G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.3 493 53
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 720/30p 21.2 10.1 411 52
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 can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GH2 provides a faster frame rate than the GH1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the GH1 is limited to 1080/24p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety 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 GH1 (1534k vs 1440k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GH1 and Panasonic GH2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. 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 GH1 (⇒ rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 10.5 no
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) 1534 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 15.6 no
Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1036 swivel YES 8000 12.0 17 no
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1166 no 3.0 921 fixed YES 500 5.8 no no
Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2764 no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 11.0 7 no
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1036 swivel YES 4000 7.0 10.5 no
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1036 fixed YES 500 5.0 4 no
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1746 no 3.0 614 swivel YES 4000 6.0 12 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 G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel YES 4000 2.6 11 no
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 202 no 3.0 460 fixed no 4000 2.6 11 no
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4001 3.0 10.5 no

Both the GH1 and the GH2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The GH1 was replaced by the Panasonic GH2 , while the GH2 was followed by the Panasonic GH3.

Summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Panasonic GH1 better than the Panasonic GH2 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 57g or 13 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2009).

Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i vs 1080/24p).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 6 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (3 points each). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features.

GH1 03:03 GH2

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GH1 or the GH2 handle or perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ rgt) 89/100 HiRec 72/100 HiRec 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft) 86/100 HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2010 1,499discont. check
Panasonic GH4 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 5/5 5/5 5/5 2014 1,499discont. check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2014 749discont. check
Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 5/5 4/5 5/5 2014 899 latest check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 78/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 749discont. check
Panasonic GH3 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2012 1,299discont. 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 G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 72/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2010 599discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 70/100 4/5 - 4/5 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 70/100 HiRec 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2008 599discont. check

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Other comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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