Interesting camera. The high-speed movie modes are really fun to play with, and the 20x zoom is a useful addition that helps with framing difficult shots. It?s really hard to do this camera justice when I have the other two cameras (below) to use at the same time.
The FH20 has an 8mm sensor like most compact cameras, which means that no matter how good the optics and other aspects of the camera are, the resulting images are never going to compete with an SLR.
I think it?s a good point-and-shoot with excellent video capabilities. The slow-mo would be great for sports or action fans. The camera runs on 4AA batteries which is good: you can use rechargeable batteries most of the time but can also grab some alkalines in a pinch.
Others have stated correctly that spending the same money on either a still camera or a video camera would get you a better version of each, but then you?d be spending twice the amount to get maybe 1.2 times better imagery.
This is just a gorgeous little camera. The larger sensor and interchangeable lenses take it well out of the compact camera camp and on par with other entry-level SLRs.
The menus can be a little confusing at times, and it is a curious to see which controls Panasonic has promoted to dedicated buttons (Film Type for example), but all the basic camera controls fall to hand pretty well. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes very quick to change ISO, metering, and the traditional shutter/aperture/exposure settings.
The results from my basic testing are very nice. The larger sensor helps to reduce the level of noise at higher ISO settings, and provides some great detail. Click for big versions:
If you compare the Epic Beer photo to the one from the 5D below, you can see how the bigger aperture on the 5D provides a much more dramatic depth-of-field effect. The background in the G1 shot is blurred, but nowhere near as much as the 5D one.
Wow. Just: Wow. I could go into detail about this camera, but I?ll let it speak for itself with photos taken by myself (with about 2 months SLR experience), and my brother (with about 2 years SLR experience). Click the photos for huge-sized versions.
My original hypothesis was that even $6500 worth of camera and lens was not going to help an amateur photographer do anything better. I could not have been more incorrect. The shots from the 5D blow the other cameras out of the water by a considerable margin.
As usual, I?m more than happy to take questions on the cameras. Just leave a comment and I?ll answer.