on 26 November 2011
Ive owned my GF1 for nearly a year and depending on the speed and sensitivity of SD card used it produces beautifull results.
The reason i am writing a review on the newer GF2 is because not that i wanted to change my brilliant GF1 but because i wanted the pin sharp 14mm lens.
The lens retails for close to £160 and i was always being outbid on ebay when i was after one.
Digigood that highly respected American dealer with a base here in the Uk was selling a GF2 in Red with that 14mm lens for a very respectable £265 so i had in effect a spare brand new camera body for £100 which was an offer i couldnot turn down.
The GF2 has been designed principally for those wanting to upgrade from a quality compact camera to a camera if used well can equal that of certain DSLR units.
The GF2 is indeed smaller than the GF1 it replaces and has been given a very clever touch screen that in use makes life a lot easier than the GF1.
You can take 1080 Full HD video with this camera and on comparission with my GF1 there is a clear step up in quality which also includes stereo sound.
Describing the benefits of using this touchscreen is rather difficult in practice, you actually have to use it to see how rewarding the GF2 can be in daily use.
Some have also complained that the screen is slow to respond to the users commands but i have found no such issues, and if you find the screen a bit gimmicky (HIGHLY UNLIKELY)then there are the usual touch sensitive joggle controls on the back of the camera but unlike its larger brother the GF1 the manual controls have been simplified.
For me the new Touchscreen is a very clever functional idea that both experienced and less experienced photographer will find most useful.
Granted it may be an addition to entice less experienced compact camera users of say the LX3 into the interchangeable lens high end camera market but its an addition that has improved and simplified the use of this superb camera.
One aspect i really like is the ability to centre focus on any part of your subject and by tapping the screen to instantly take your photograph.
That can be extremely usefull when taking outdoor photographs and come to think about it it's pretty usefull in any photographic situation.
It goes without saying there are many usefull facilities this screen can offer that will speed up the taking of top quality photographs and unless you have used it in practice no amount of discussion will tell you how usefull they are, they have to be used to be appreciated.
Many have claimed the new touch screen is a gimic but now that ive used it take my word for it its a joy to use and very responsive as well.
As i now own both cameras side by side i believe the original Gf1 is slightly better built.
Take the small covers on the side of the camera body that cover the cable interfaces, on the Gf1 they are made of the same quality aluminium with nice hinges.
On the GF2 they are made of rather flimsy coloured plastic which on a new camera that costs more than the original GF1 is a disappointment.
The Gf2 feels like a quality camera when you hold it, similar in certain respect to the gorgeous LX3 and LX5 and shares exactly the same digital photo sensor as the GF1 so in effect is almost the same camera as the GF1 but in a smaller body.
Where the GF2 differs to it's larger brother the GF1 is in it's ability to record in full 1080HD video with stereo sound.
There is certainly a significant difference in video quality over the GF1 so that is a step in the right direction.
The GF1 is a camera designed for the serious photographer or semi professional and if you showed both GF1 and GF2 to a novice photographer the simplicity of the GF2 controls with added touchscreen would make it the ideal camera for someone with limited knowledge of camera set up and control use.
With a menu system that is incredibly easy to use, you just choose the required setting from the small clearly labeled photograph on the touchscreen, touch the screen and there you go everything will be saved ready to take stunning photographs.
On the GF1 you have to operate the control knob on top of the camera and then adjust the settings by using the touch sensitive buttons on the back, an easy operation for someone with real photographic experience but not an easy task for a complete novice.
Remember someone who has been used to using a top quality point and shoot compact where everything has been done for them will love the simplicity of the GF2 control system.
There will be few interchangeable lens digital cameras of the quality of the GF2 that are as straight forward to set up for someone with basic knowledge of photography and Panasonic must be commended for providing us with a touchscreen that makes camera use so straightforward.
The 14mm lens by the way is so small that one is amazed to think it holds 6 highly carefully placed precision lenses and a mecanical motor in a unit that weighs in at around 55gms.
It performs incredibly well and even though i have the 14-44 mm kit lens this minature 14mm lens does produce the better picutre.
Now if the Gf1 had originally been introduced with that clever touch screen it would have been the perfect camera but i just cannot forgive Panasonic for cutting corners where it was not neccessary.
GF1 or GF2.
I think the Gf2 just wins it but not by much because the Gf1 has that all important cable release socket which comes in very handy when positioned on a tripod.
That's another area where Panasonic have cut corners but considering 98% of owners will not miss that facility then it can be excused.
The GF2 takes better quality video and with it's new venus engine software takes a slightly better photograph than the Gf1 but build quality has suffered slightly, but it will not be noticed by any potential buyer.
If you have never used a Gf1 you will probably never notice or care but i felt a bit disappointed and let down but after all when i only paid £100 for that brand new body i should not complain.
The GF2 is still a very impressive camera in every respect, and i cannot think of any current high end interchangeable lens digital camera that is as easy to operate as the GF2.
It can almost be likened to a slightly more advanced point and shoot camera because the touchscreen menu system is ever so easy to operate but as we know the GF2 can rival certain cheaper digital SLR cameras for picture quality, and with it's ability to take interchangeable lenses even from the Leica range it may be one of the best high end non SLR cameras on the market.
on 9 March 2011
Bought this little beauty after reviewing non stop on the Internet for two weeks. Couldn't make up my mind between Canon g12, G2 or the Gf2. Just having sold my Nikon reflex with all the big lenses etc, wanted quality with portability. I also have Canon point and shoot and although very portable I wanted something better.
G2, great but no real benefit on GF2 except bigger and video not full HD. Canon G12 very nice but wanted the option to swap lenses, hence Gf2.
So far can't fault my choice. I like the touch screen, having used an I Pad and I Phone. Picture quality really good. Pictures of our winter garden, wonderful. Grandchildren come out perfectly. To be honest picture quality between my old Nikon and GF2 minimal, but I am not a professional, by a long way.
All I can say is camera suits my needs perfectly. What I need now is the 80mm to 200 mm lens, which I shall order shortly.
The build quality of the camera is very solid and everything is of a high quality.
Very happy with my purchase, five stars.
on 23 May 2011
I bought this camera because I wanted a camera that I could take around more easily than the SLR camera I had. I saw a friend who had this camera and looked into other cameras of this type. I think the main choice was between this and the sony nex-5. After reading most reviews it seemed to be the case that even with a smaller sensor this generally gets better shots.
I have had this camera a week and would say the build of this camera is really good. The menus are really easy to get around and it isn't complicated.
The pros of the GF2 are: easy to take around, very quick in auto mode, has a zoom in mode automatically when on manual focus, amazing quality snaps - not much different from my nikon d80, separate buttons for video and snaps so don't have to go through a menu for that, has an HDMI socket on the side, great flash.
The cons are: no viewfinder (but you can buy one), not so responsive in low light to auto focus, have to reconvert video at highest quality when you put it to the computer.
on 9 April 2011
I'm an amateur photographer, usually shoot on an EOS 30D with 14-40L lens or 70-200L. Have done a few weddings and understand my kit, but am no pro.
I was looking for a replacement compact camera when my IXUS died. I honestly never like the IXUS. We bought it after our first daughter was born and it was just too slow to catch the moment particularly indoors - I hate full frontal flash with stark contrast, so usually get my Speedlite out and use the catchlight or bounce with the 30D for anything indoors. So when I went looking, I wanted something that could keep up with our 3 year old daughter. Something with a really fast autofocus, no shutter lag, relatively decent aperture and usable ISO800 performance that I could take anywhere, use quickly, along with a good movie mode for the new baby on the way.
I was looking at the S95 and the LX5. But then I saw the GF2. I read about it. It was more expensive, but I liked the fact the sensor was bigger than the compacts and with the pancake 14mm f/2.5 lens figured it would force me into using the camera more than being lazy with a point and shoot zoom that I always used at the wide angle lens anyway.
So then I went to the shop to try it. Man was it fast! I could not believe both how fast it was at autofocus and how instantaneous the shutter was (with a simulated SLR noise as there's no internal shutter - the sensor is sitting right there under the lens mount). I tried it against the LX5 and the S95, the LX5 seemed the most responsive - it was much better than my old Ixus... but not as fast as the GF2 - it really feels pretty much as responsive as my 30D - bear in mind that's a digital contrast based system on the GF2 compared to the normal operation of my 30D I am still somewhat taken aback.
I waited a week and read some more, then got the lens kit just in time for Grandpas party where the kids would be running about all over the place.
I honestly cannot believe the sharpness and quality of the photos for such a little camera. What I really mean by this is that I honestly cannot believe the hit rate on fast moving close subjects of kids running around. I hadn't had time to read the manual, I set it to continuous autofocus and tracking mode which took some getting used to but quickly became easy to use, half shutter button to lock on a target, then it follows the target as they race about the screen! I was getting 80% of the shots, in focus, sharp, kids running across the frame, kids running towards the camera. In comparison to the 30D, using on AI servo and with predictive autofocus, I was only getting about 20-30% of these shots. Admittedly with the APS-C size sensor on the 30D, when you zoom into the image, there is less noise and smoother results. But on screen up to 1900 pixels wide and in print, there really is little comparison.
I was worried about DPreview site saying the JPEGS weren't that great on the GF2, but I haven't had any problem and skin tones are rendered really well (4 weeks use). I haven't shot in RAW yet as I would have to upgrade Aperture to v3 and I'm only on v2.
There's some really nice features on the GF2 that I would only have expected on an SLR, even with a 10 or 2 second self-timer and the option to have 3 photos taken one after the other on the 10 sec self timer.
The flash is fine for it's size and you can hold down the hinge and bounce the flash with nice results indoors if you have a relatively low white ceilng around. I haven't tried it much indoors in low light, but it's not that much different to my 30D with internal flash. When there's not enough light, you either need a full frame sensor and a wider aperture or to add more light if you want really stunning results so I'll keep to my 30D with a speedlite for outdoor night shots or indoors with little light at the moment.
I still don't have any idea why camera manufacturers don't let internal flashes use second-curtain sync as standard, and this option isn't available unfortunately on the GF2.
The touch screen system is brilliant. It's quick, responsive, easy to use. Most of the things you need are available right to hand via the customisable quick menu, albeit I'd like another layer of 'quick menu' to get at some functions which are only available in the SET menu. The touch focus and focus tracking by touching the screen are simply fantastic and are part of what makes this camera so unique and fun, while being so incredibly responsive and fast.
Now my big disappointment... there is no aperture control on the movie mode apart from in the iAuto modes and it's kind of a fudge as you have to fiddle with the on screen defocus setting. Considering everything is sitting there right in front of you, you have the camera, the mode setting, the lens... It's a huge disappointment to me. The problem that it presents is thus:
I just do movies of the kids. My daughter moves around even when she is sitting still. In any of the PASM modes, the aperture is locked down to f/2.5. Now the GF2 is a marvel at continuous autofocusing while recording. It's fast and it's responsive and it doesn't hunt. But using the 14mm lens means that moving 5cm backward or forward once it's focus and it needs to refocus. Now it's silent, and it's fast, but with something that's continuously moving, like my daughter, it's almost constantly needing to refocus at f2.5.
If I could simply force it to slow the shutter speed and shoot at f/5.6 or f/8, I'd have greater depth of field and she wouldn't be in and out of focus so often. Now this doens't make the movie mode unusable, the results are stunning at f2.5 when they are in focus, and when she's not within 5 metres of the camera lens all is fine, but due to the shallow depth of field at f2.5 it just means it is often tracking for focus and I WISH it would lock at a higher aperture.
In iAuto mode, you can touch the defocus control before you start the video, then set less background blur, then take the video, but it's way too fiddly and where there isn't much light it doesn't work anyway as the camera won't let you change the aperture. Now if I use the 14-42 f3.5 it's a bit better, but the point of buying this is that I don't want the bigger lens on all the time, my default is the 14mm. Surely Panasonic, you can let me lock the aperture down to give greater depth of field on the movie mode?
It's definitely not a deal breaker, but it is annoying to know you have the power in your hands but you can't use it. And the quality of the HD is outstanding. (PS you can use iMovie to import AVCHD onto a Mac, but I can't get it work in Final Cut Express despite hours of trying different tweaks)
Hope this helps someone - great camera - am so impressed by the results, so responsive and fast to use, really feels like a mini SLR, solid build, beautifully made, lovely responsive touch screen, great photos that are very sharp considering the size of the lens, a relatively nice big sensor, great fun to use, great movie mode, just a big shame about lack of aperture and shutter control. Given that's my only niggle, it's very impressive, albeit for me it's a big one for getting better movies.
on 24 March 2011
This is my first Lumix camera (I own also some Nikon DSLRs and a tiny Canon pocket camera) and I extremely impressed by it. The body is small and when using the 14mm the camera is still extremely portable. Quality of the pictures in raw format is great and the comments on the net of a not great quality JPG format can easily be ignored if you shoot raw.
The GF2 camera is very well built and the touch screen, while perhaps a little perplexing at the beginning, is just as fast to operate, and perhaps even faster, than the old style manual mode selection knob. The touch screen interface is very intuitive and can be learned quickly. The capability to indicated by touching on the screen the object to set the focus is just great.
Focusing is fast, the iAuto mode is great and very clever in detecting the appropriate mode of operation. All manual controls are available via the screen interface easily, if you want. Battery life is perhaps a bit on the short side, and you have to live with that.
As a comparison, I have had a Canon G10 before, but the pictures out of the GF2 are far superior.
I believe that the 4/3 format is a great compromise if you want to have a portable camera for traveling light and you don't want to carry the much bigger SLR (and lenses) with you while looking for better quality than the typical point-and-shoot cameras.
on 26 June 2011
Lightweight, sharp as a tack using old FD 50mm lenses. The battery life is excellent and I shot a whole day on one battery. Beware of cheap batteries that don't show the battery capacity left, or only work for 10 mins. It's worth just getting an extra Lumix brand and trying to find a deal that has an extra battery. The 2 kit lenses are good, but the prime is sharper. The zoom can be reversed and used as a macro with a £20 adapter (not included). For a fully detailed review, try DPREVIEW website. Overall excellent and I also shoot with a Canon 5D MKII and L lenses, and now I use this more often. Only gripe is the touch screen often reacts when you're holding it and changes to set your white balance. A small niggle. I do prefer the GF1 over this, and worth considering if you only shoot RAW as they share the same sensor.
on 6 March 2011
I got interested in the GF1 a year ago, but decided to wait to see if any new models came out. When the GF2 came out, and was offered at this great price (578 GBP) including two lenses, I ordered it.
In Sweden, this camera did not sell for that price, even with only one lens, so I was glad to find it on Amazon UK.
I had to pay extra tax (5%) as Amazon has to pay Swedish tax, but it's still much cheaper.
Delivery was really quick! I ordered on February 7 and received the package on February 11. Delivered to Sweden.
The camera is amazing. Together with the 14mm it is an impressively small package and takes sharp, crisp, colorful pictures. The 14-42 is a good complement, but I mainly use the 14mm. It is the perfect lens for casual shooting so if you're only getting one lens, I recommend that.
The manual is a bit hard to read, but fortunately you don't need it that much as the menus are quite clear.