The Bottom Line
Panasonic has done a good job of mixing intermediate photography features with easy-to-use features in the Lumix G2, making it an ideal entry-level DIL camera.
If the G2's price was just a bit lower ($799 MSRP, camera body only), it would be almost impossible to pass up this model.
- Image quality is outstanding
- Camera layout is good, important features are accessible by "one touch"
- Quick autofocus and good response times
- LCD can rotate away from the camera, can shoot photos with touch on LCD
- EVF is extremely bright and sharp
- Will take some time to learn all of the features
- LCD is a little tough to see in direct sunlight
- Price seems a little high
- Touch-screen LCD is easy to smudge
- Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
- Optical zoom: N/A, uses interchangeable lenses
- LCD: 3.0-inch, 460,000 pixels
- Maximum image size: 4000 x 3000 pixels
- Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion
- Dimensions: 3.29 x 4.88 x 2.91 inches
- Weight: 20.92 ounces (including battery, memory card, and 14-42 mm lens)
- Image sensor: Live MOS
- Movie modes: AVCHD Lite and motion JPEG
Guide Review - Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 DIL Review
As with most interchangeable lens cameras, the Lumix G2 shoots beautiful photos, with excellent color accuracy and sharpness. Surprisingly, there were several times when the "intelligent auto" feature of the camera -- marked with an "iA" button near the shutter button -- shot better photos than some of the camera's other settings.
One very nice feature of the G2 is the ability to shoot at a variety of ratios (including 4:3, 16:9, 1:1, and 3:2), and you can select up to three resolution sizes within each ratio. You'll have no problem selecting the perfect resolution and ratio for each scene you're shooting.
A variety of Micro Four Thirds lenses are available for the mirror-less G2. I used both a 45-200 mm lens and a 14-45 mm lens during my Lumix G2 review, and both lenses performed very well.
The G2's autofocus works quickly and accurately, meaning you won't miss many action photos. You also can manually focus the G2's lenses.
As with most of the G2's features, shooting AVCHD Lite video with the G2 is as easy as pushing one button. You also can shoot motion JPEG video, which is good for sharing via e-mail.
With nearly every shooting mode on the G2, you can select "creative," which allows you to apply some special effects to the photo as you shoot. You also can choose various special effect color options, including monochrome, retro, and dynamic art.
Shooting with either the EVF or LCD is very easy, but the EVF is especially impressive in sharpness and brightness. The LCD is a little tough to see in direct sunlight, which is a little disappointing, but it does twist and swivel away from the camera, hopefully allowing you to find a good angle to avoid direct sunlight.
Although the G2 is a little bigger than the small Panasonic Lumix GF1, which I reviewed recently, the G2 is smaller than many DSLRs because of its mirror-less design. The G2 is not technically a DSLR camera, instead called a DIL or an EVIL camera. The G2 is smaller than another DIL camera, Samsung NX10, which I also have reviewed.
Panasonic has included a large number of buttons and dials on the back panel and top panel of the G2. It's great to have so many shooting features within reach, but it will take you a little while to learn the exact location of each of the different features. In addition, you can access every other feature found with the G2 through the camera's on-screen menus. However, I didn't like the size and shape of the navigational buttons, as my finger often slipped.
Finally, the touch-screen LCD is a pretty cool feature. You can scroll through your stored photos, set the autofocus, shoot photos, access menus, or adjust the camera's settings through the touch-screen LCD. Shooting photos by touching the LCD sometimes leads to blurry images (because pressing the LCD can cause a slight camera shake). Most of the time, you'll want to shoot photos the traditional way, by pressing the shutter button, but having another option is cool.