Panasonic Lumix GF2 Review - A Compact Micro Four Thirds

Design & Handling - Physical Controls

Design & Handling - Physical Controls

A Smoother GF Camera

When compared to the GF1, the GF2 presents a more streamlined, almost more feminine body with its curves and slimmer profile. While the GF1 looked like a utilitarian box, the GF2 is more stylish. The Panasonic LX and GF series have shared similar-looking designs, so it's interesting to see the GF2 echo the curved grip first seen on the Panasonic LX5, which breaks the mold of the straight grips seen on the GF1 and LX3.

You can see the design changes between the Panasonic Lumix GF1 (top) and the GF2 (bottom) in this picture (not to scale).

We're still feeling ambivalent about the look of that curved grip though. While it does feel more natural to hold than a vertical grip, it looks out of place - like a suddenly graceful element on an otherwise straight body.

Another angle of the GF2 camera.

The other very visible change is the missing physical Mode dial, which makes the GF2's silhouette more streamlined, and more like a compact camera than a rangefinder-ish type of camera.

The always-useful iA button and video Record buttons are still here, as are a new pair of stereo speakers. What's conspicuously missing is the large Mode dial from the GF1.

How Big is the GF2 with a Standard Lens?

And while we're on the subject of streamlining, we must say that the new and slim 14mm F/2.5 lens really helps make the GF2 compact. But it's not likely that everyone will be shooting with a fixed lens, especially not someone who's looking for an all-in-one compact camera replacement. So here's a look at the difference in size between the 14mm pancake lens and the other kit lens, a telephoto 14-42mm.

While the 14mm pancake (left) reduces the GF2's size and weight, we imagine more people will want to carry the 14-42mm (right) zoom lens for more versatile shooting needs.

Another look at the differences in size between the 14-42mm kit lens (left) and the 14mm kit lens (right).


Pop-Up Flash Pops Even Further

 The innovative pop-up flash is back, but this time it extends further out than before. According to Panasonic, this helps prevent vignetting.


Never Want to Give You Up

While the Mode dial has disappeared, the all-important click-able scroll wheel remains. One of our favorite innovations from Panasonic, the scroll wheel gives you control over priority settings like aperture or shutter speed, just like on a DSLR camera. Click it, and it gives you exposure control. In Manual mode, clicking it toggles between aperture and shutter speed control. This makes manual control that much easier, and while we can live without a Mode dial, we couldn't live without this scroll wheel.

Never mind the Mode dial, we love you scroll wheel. Never go away.

But if the physical Mode dial has been removed, what replaces it? Find out on the next page.

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