Panasonic GH2 versus Panasonic GH4
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2010 and February 2014. Both the GH2 and the GH4 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixel. 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 GH2 vs Panasonic GH4
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH2 and the Panasonic GH4. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures 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 side – the GH2 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH4 is notably larger (11 percent) than the Panasonic GH2. Moreover, the GH4 is markedly heavier (27 percent) than the GH2. It is noteworthy in this context that the GH4 is splash and dust-proof, while the GH2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications|
|Panasonic GH2»||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||n||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
|Panasonic GH4«||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.3 in||19.8 oz||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499||-|
|Olympus E-M1« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||17.5 oz||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399||-|
|Panasonic GH5« »||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.4 in||25.6 oz||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
|Panasonic G85« »||5.0 in||3.5 in||2.9 in||17.8 oz||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic GM5« »||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Sep 2014||749||-|
|Panasonic G6« »||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||n||Apr 2013||599||-|
|Panasonic GM1« »||3.9 in||2.2 in||1.2 in||7.2 oz||230||n||Oct 2013||749||-|
|Panasonic GH3« »||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.2 in||19.4 oz||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299||-|
|Panasonic G3« »||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599||-|
|Panasonic GX1« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||949||-|
|Panasonic G2« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599||-|
|Panasonic G10« »||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499||-|
|Panasonic GF1« »||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||13.6 oz||380||n||Sep 2009||749||-|
|Panasonic GH1« »||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||1,499||-|
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 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: Panasonic GH2 vs Panasonic GH4
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the GH2 and the GH4 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the GH4 is much more recent (by 3 years and 4 months) than the GH2, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 GH4 offers substantially better image quality than the GH2 (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 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.
|Panasonic GH2»||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|Panasonic GH4«||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|Olympus E-M1« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|Panasonic GH5« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
|Panasonic G85« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|Panasonic GM5« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|Panasonic G6« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Panasonic GM1« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|Panasonic GH3« »||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
|Panasonic G3« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|Panasonic GX1« »||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Panasonic G2« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic G10« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic GF1« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|Panasonic GH1« »||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GH4 provides a better video resolution than the GH2. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the GH2 is limited to 1080/60i.
Feature comparison: Panasonic GH2 vs Panasonic GH4
Apart from 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 GH4 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the GH2 (2359k vs 1534k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GH2, the Panasonic GH4, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.
|Olympus E-M1« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y|
|Panasonic GH5« »||3680||n||3.2||1620||swivel||Y||8000||12.0||n||Y|
|Panasonic G85« »||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||9.0||Y||Y|
|Panasonic GM5« »||1166||n||3.0||921||fixed||Y||500||5.8||n||n|
|Panasonic G6« »||1440||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||4000||7.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic GM1« »||-||n||3.0||1036||fixed||Y||500||5.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic GH3« »||1746||n||3.0||614||swivel||Y||4000||6.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic G3« »||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||4000||4.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic GX1« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||Y||4000||4.2||Y||n|
|Panasonic G2« »||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||Y||4000||2.6||Y||n|
|Panasonic G10« »||202||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||4000||2.6||Y||n|
|Panasonic GF1« »||-||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic GH1« »||1440||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
Both the GH2 and the GH4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH2 was replaced by the Panasonic GH3, while the GH4 was followed by the Panasonic GH5.
Review summary: Panasonic GH2 vs Panasonic GH4
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GH2 or the Panasonic GH4 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2:
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 118g or 21 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2010).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1534k dots).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 330) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the GH2 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH4 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 2 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.
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 GH2 or the GH4 handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.
|Panasonic GH2»||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||-|
|Panasonic GH4«||HiRec||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499||-|
|Olympus E-M1« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399||-|
|Panasonic GH5« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|Panasonic G85« »||HiRec||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|Panasonic GM5« »||Rec||77/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749||-|
|Panasonic G6« »||HiRec||-||5/5||-||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599||-|
|Panasonic GM1« »||Rec||78/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||749||-|
|Panasonic GH3« »||HiRec||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299||-|
|Panasonic G3« »||HiRec||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599||-|
|Panasonic GX1« »||Rec||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||949||-|
|Panasonic G2« »||-||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599||-|
|Panasonic G10« »||-||70/100||4/5||-||4/5||Mar 2010||499||-|
|Panasonic GF1« »||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749||-|
|Panasonic GH1« »||HiRec||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||1,499||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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