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