Is the Panasonic GH2 the Next Great HDSLR?
Short answer: no, because it's not technically a DSLR! The Panasonic GH2, like the GH1 before it, is an EVIL camera with no optical viewfinder, which disqualifies it from the titular question. Going beyond this technicality, however, the GH2 looks like it's going to be the one to get when it comes out later this month (or possibly in early January).
I haven't gotten my hands on the camera, but the initial reviews are extremely positive. To sum it up, EOSHD has this to say about the GH2 versus the Canon 60D: "I recommend the GH2 over the 60D in every respect, even if you have Canon lenses." The camera's video processing is apparently worlds better, offering a "true" 1080p signal with an uncompressed HDMI output (allowing shooters to use an external recorder like the Nanoflash or Ki Pro Mini). The GH2 offers an innovative 1:1 sensor crop mode, allowing for telephoto images with no loss in light. It has far less aliasing than a Canon DSLR, and Panasonic has apparently fixed the banding and noise issues from the GH1 (I got my hands on a GH1, but it was one of the latter-day models and could not be hacked).
It really seems like Panasonic has taken the torch from Canon and run with it, as Canon's DSLRs have not fixed the aliasing issue since the 5D Mark II came out two years ago. Don't get me wrong -- all of the Canon HDSLRs are an incredible value, and whatever it is you want to shoot, you'll be well-served by the camera (they're good enough to shoot feature films that get into Sundance and win the SXSW Grand Prize). Also keep in mind that the GH2's Micro 4/3 sensor is slightly smaller than the one found in Canon DSLRs, but in this case I would guess that the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks. The GH2, at $999 including a kit lens, is certainly an appealing package. Be sure to check out the great two-part review at EOSHD below.
Here's a video Andrew Reid shot with the GH2:
And a comparison of the GH2, GH1, and Canon 60D:
Another GH2 video from Philip Bloom: