Panasonic Unveils GH2, New 3D Lens

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Secaucus, N.J. - Continuing to add to the 3D content options available to purchasers of its new Viera 3D plasma sets,


unveiled Tuesday a next-generation G-series Micro Four Thirds camera and a 3D lens option that will enable it to capture 3D still images for playback on the new TVs.


The DMC-GH2, which is the new model in Panasonic's Lumix G-Series mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera line, will ship to dealers in late November at a $900 suggested retail for the body only, $1,000 for a kit with the GH2 and a 14-42mm lens or $1,500 for a kit with a 14-140mm lens. The new unit is positioned as a complement to the G2, which will remain in the line.

The camera is said to have been designed with a new easy-to-hold grip and includes a refined image processing engine and sensor that delivers fast, sharp photos, and full HD video recording. It also adds touch-control operation.

  About the same time, Panasonic said it will release a new twin-barrel lens  that will attach to the camera to capture 3D stereoscopic images - the Lumix G 12.5mm / F12 (H-FT012).

The GH2 will ship with firmware ready to accept the new 3D lens, said Darin Pepple, Panasonic imaging senior product manager.

The 3D lens will have a constant f/12 aperture setting and carry a $250 suggested retail when it ships in November.

Using the lens, the GH2 will capture stereoscopic 3D still images, but not 3D videos, Panasonic said.

The lens will offer a fixed field of focus and the dual optics will capture left- and right-eye image perspectives.

Images are assembled in the camera and can be played back by connecting the GH2 via the included HDMI input to a Panasonic Viera 3D TV or 3D Blu-ray standard-compliant 3DTVs from other manufacturers.

The 3D stereoscopic images can also be made into lenticular prints, the company said.

Meanwhile, key features in the new GH2 camera include a 16.05-megapixel high-speed Live MOS image sensor, Venus Engine VI FHD image processor, up to 12,800 ISO intelligent resolution, 5 fps burst shooting in JPEG, two RAW modes (compressed and uncompressed), and a variable angle articulating LCD touch-screen monitor panel.

The GH2 has a 3-inch 460,000-dot high-resolution Intelligent LED backlit LCD touchscreen that allows the user to touch the subject on the LCD to adjust AF. Once a user locks onto a subject, the camera tracks the subject with AF tracking even if it moves. Then, with a touch of the screen, users can select the area of focus appropriate mode (e.g., portrait) and enlarge an image (1x, 5x or 10x) by dragging it on the screen.

The system also allows touching and viewing the screen from any angle, by rotating it 180 degrees side to side and tilting it 270 degrees up and down for approximately 100 percent of field of view.

Menu settings can be changed quickly by touching the screen, without having to navigate using cursors. 

To playback images, users can touch on the thumbnail they would like to enlarge or drag images over the screen with a finger to browse the collection of photos.

The camera also includes a high-resolution 600 by 852 dot LCD electronic viewfinder, which was expanded slightly to accommodate 16:9 and 3:2 widescreen aspect ratio framing. Viewfinder images are processed by the Venus Engine VI to produce clearer images.

Video is captured in up to FullHD 1080 resolution, in smooth 60i, doubling the sensor output from 25p/24p to 50p/60p.

Using a new Variable Movie mode the camera will record video in variable frame rates of 80, 160, 200 and 300 percent - speeding up or slowing frames for more creative videos.

The video bit rate is said to allow full 23Mbps standard of the AVCHD spec, and a new cinema mode is able to record images with rich film-like gradation, added as an option of popular Film mode.

In addition, sound can be recorded with Dolby Digital Stereo Creator and an optional accessory stereo microphone.

The camera also includes a new multi-aspect ratio-bracketing mode to capture pictures in four different dimensions from one exposure.

The GH2 includes 22 different shooting modes for creative shooting options. When shooting video, users can choose from 10 different modes, including the new Cinema mode, and set the contrast, sharpness and saturation levels for each.

For still photos the camera features the My Color mode with a total of seven preset effects - Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, and Silhouette. It also keeps a Custom mode, which lets users manually set the color, brightness and saturation levels and store their favorite settings.


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