27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Certainly an improvement over the GF1 but corners have been cut,
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix GF2 Digital Camera with 14mm Lens - Black (Camera)
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.