Panasonic Lumix GF2 Review - A Compact Micro Four Thirds


Introduction

A Micro Four Thirds Camera for the Compact Shooter

Note: Since publishing the preview of the Panasonic GF2 prototype on November 11th, we've gotten our hands on a production unit and given it a spin. As the body design and handling remains the same, we've left the all this information intact, and added on the image quality results with sample photographs for downloads. With all this, we were able to pen a formal conclusion and update the original preview article to a full fledged review.

It has been 14 months since the release of the Panasonic Lumix GF1, arguably Panasonic's most successful Micro Four Thirds camera to date. In fact, the GF1 - despite its limitations - was one of our favorite cameras in 2009, landing in HWM's top 20 gadgets of the year for its image quality, portability and ease of use. So it should come as no surprise that the GF2 lands amidst a great deal of anticipation and expectations. We've had a prototype of the GF2 over the long weekend and have a few first impressions of the camera.

What's New?

The GF2 is smaller and lighter, when compared to the GF1 the size of the GF2 has been reduced by an impressive 19%, and the weight by 7%. Impressively, that's not been done by shaving off features. In fact, the GF2 packs more features than the GF1. It now includes a touch-screen for touch controls including Touch AF and Touch Shutter. And where the GF1 only recorded 720p video to AVCHD Lite, the GF2 records full 1080i HD video in AVCHD format with stereo sound. Other notable notable mentions:-

  • A Venus Engine FHD promises faster performance with 3 CPUs.
  • Intelligent D-Range Control optimizes the dynamic range in an image so that both light and dark areas are captured.
  • Intelligent Resolution Technology promises to produce sharper images.

What's missing though is the Mode dial, which has probably been left out to reduce size. There's no USB port, so you can only transfer files using the memory card. The size reduction has also hit the battery, from a 9Wh battery in the GF1 to a new 7.3Wh battery in the GF2.

Read on to find out how the new body handles, if the new touch-screen works, and how the GF2 subtly shifts focus from the targeting the enthusiast, to the mainstream consumer.

9.0
Performance
9
Design
9
Features
9
User-Friendliness
9.5
The Good
Smaller and lighter than the GF1
Convenient and usable touch-screen
Fast and accurate auto-focus
Smart Intelligent Auto mode
High resolution images
The Bad
Average ISO performance
Smaller capacity battery