Disclaimer: I'm not a professional. I'm just an amateur photographer who is also a gadget-freak/gadget-geek/gearhead/camera luster. These are just my opinions, and I'm sure I have probably written something wrong in this review. ============================================ I recently got a GH2 and 14-140 at the local camera shop. Here is my short review of the GH2. I will compare and contrast with the Sony A55, which I had until last week before I donated it to Dad. I may also compare it with the Oly EP2, which I still have. ERGONOMICS I love the ergonomics of the GH2. It's small, but the shape of the grip fits my medium sized hand perfectly. I have long skinny fingers, but I have no trouble holding the GH2. The buttons are placed nearly perfectly for me, and I like the rear control dial. The A55 is slightly larger than the GH2, but not by a whole lot. Unfortunately, it has a front control dial, and I never got used to it coming from rear dial cameras such as the Olympus E410, 510 and 620. OPERATION The GH2 has a left control dial which controls focus points and focus modes. Under the PASM dial, there is also a lever to control the drive mode (single shot, multi-shot, etc). I like having physical controls of certain functions. In the A55, focus point and drive modes (with the exception of the 10 fps setting) are controlled via menu. What really sets the GH2 apart from the A55 are 3 fully customizable function buttons. If I remember correctly, there are no customizable function buttons other than one DOF preview button. And if I remember correctly, there is only one other function that the user can use the DOF button for in the A55. BUILT Both cameras have lots of plastic. But the GH2 feels sturdier, and there's less rattling. EVF The GH2 and A55 both have very good EVF's. I have no complaints. The refresh rate in both is usable even in low light conditions. The EVF for the EP2 is probably the best one though. To my eyes, it's slightly brighter and bigger than both the GH2 and A55's EVF. LCD The A55's LCD seems to have better deeper colors than the GH2's. However, in terms of detail, I can't tell the difference between the A55's 900,000+ dots vs. the 460,000 in the GH2. I prefer the side-hinged swivel LCD of the GH2, over the bottom hinged LCD of the A55. The hinge in the GH2 also feels more robust and sturdier than the A55's. I haven't really used the touch screen feature of the GH2. So I can't really comment on it. PERFORMANCE The AF on both cameras is pretty fast, whether via the EVF or the LCD. The A55 seems to be more sure of itself, though. The GH2 does a small back and forth right before it locks on. It’s not very noticeable on the 14-140 lens, but it’s more pronounced on the 20/1.7. Even with the back and forth, the GH2 doesn’t feel slower than the A55 though. The GH2 has a focus assist lamp. Turning it off doesn’t seem to detract from its focus speed. If I recall correctly, the A55 uses the strobing flash as its focus assist lamp. Low light focus on both cameras is much better than my old Olympus E620 or the Olympus EP2. I would give the slight edge to the A55 over the GH2 though. The A55 does a better job of giving the user a “what you see is what you get” on the LCD and EVF as it relates to exposure and metering. There is a continuous preview setting on the GH2. But the GH2 doesn’t seem to always seem to get it right as the LCD/EVF tend to make the image look brighter than the actual exposure. The GH2 photo review is quicker than the A55. I had to turn off the A55’s photo review, because it slows the camera down. The A55 beats the pants off the GH2 in continuous shooting at 10 frames per second. But I haven’t really used either camera significantly in the continuous shutter mode to have an opinion about the cameras’ abilities to track the subject during the continuous shooting. IMAGE QUALITY I primarily use RAW and develop the file in Lightroom 3.3. So most of my comments regarding IQ are in reference to RAW files. The IQ of the GH2 using the 14-140 seems a little bit sharper and more detailed than the A55 with the Sony/Zeiss 16-80 all the way from base ISO to 800. The noise levels are pretty much even at this time. Above ISO 800, the GH2 gets a whole lot noisier than the A55, but it’s still usable at 1600 with some application of noise reduction. At 3200, a good dosage of noise reduction is necessary, but at the cost of detail. At 6400, it’s pretty tough to get a good clean image without massive loss of detail. I have not tried the max ISO 12800 setting on the GH2. On the A55, I had no hesitation using 6400 with some noise reduction application. Things get difficult at 12800, but with a good dosage of noise reduction, the image is usable for small photos. But the A55 also has the multi-shot noise reduction mode (in JPG only), which takes six photos in a quick burst, and superimposes the images on top of the other to reduce the noise. For static subjects, this actually works really well. With this mode, max ISO is 25600. In my opinion, in this mode, ISO 25600 is almost as good as ISO 6400 in the “normal” mode. In my opinion, the A55 is probably one stop better than the GH2 in noise control at higher ISO. However, at low ISO, the GH2 seems to render more detail to my eyes. Relative to the EP2, the GH2’s image quality clearly renders more detail at all levels. The GH2’s noise levels are about the same as the EP2 at low ISO, and maybe half a stop better in ISO 1600 – 6400. The dynamic range of the A55 seems to be wider than the GH2 with better retention of highlight. Haven't looked at that too closely though. VIDEO AND MISCELLANEOUS I don’t use video, so I can’t comment other than repeating what I’ve read and heard elsewhere. The GH2 is supposedly the ultimate camera for videos. The A55 overheats after a number of minutes while using video. The A55 has a couple of cool modes other than multi-shot noise reduction. It has a sweep panorama mode that automatically stitches photos, and which is quite effective. It also has an auto-HDR mode, which also works well. These modes only work in JPG. Last but not least, just about any lens ever made can be used on the GH2 with the right adapter. Just imagine sticking a Noctilux on the GH2. I wish I could get a hold on one of those Voigtlander 25/0.95 (made for m4/3 cameras) too! CONCLUSION (preliminary) I really like the GH2. It fits my hand very well. It feels quite sturdy even though it’s mostly plastic (I think). The GH2’s built is almost like a mid-level DSLR, and it is priced as one at $1000 with the 14-42 lens. The A55 is built more like an entry level DSLR. The GH2 is light. Mount the 20/1.7 on it, and the GH2 becomes a super light package, allowing easy one handed operation. The weakness is clearly the sensor. While it appears to be an improvement over the 12 megapixel sensor in the EP2, it still lags slightly behind the newest APS-C sensors at higher sensitivities, especially if you like to pixel-peep (i.e. me). However, I was impressed that it rendered more detail and was sharper (to my eyes anyway) than the A55 at lower ISO’s. A smaller weakness is the m4/3 lens lineup. While there is a good number of lenses now, m4/3 cameras need smaller lenses so that the user can fully take advantage of the smaller camera sizes. In my opinion, a lens as big as the 100-300 defeats the "raison d'etre" of m4/3 cameras. Give us more pancake or small sized fast primes please! The GH2 is keeper for me in spite of the high ISO weakness. Unfortunately, my Dad was complaining about the A55 (there’s no “Made in Germany” on it), and he may give it back to me. If he does, then I really have no excuse to keep the GH2 as I have way too many cameras. PS: I’ve also been lusting after a Pentax K-5, which is supposedly even better at high ISO than the A55. It has all those cool small prime lenses too. Here's a couple of photos taken with the GH2. They were both shot in RAW and resized to 1024 pixels at their long edge. The first was with the 14-140 with ISO 500 or 600, with minimal PP. The second was with the 20/1.7 with ISO 3200 with noise reduction applied.