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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Review

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Review

My Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 review shows a very small interchangeable lens camera that's a lot of fun to use.

Panasonic

The Bottom Line

If you want the power and image quality of an interchangeable lens camera, but you don't want the bulk of a DSLR camera, you'll want to consider a digital interchangeable lens (DIL) model. And the smallest DIL on the market is Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GF2.

For advanced photographers, the GF2 probably won't provide enough features or power. However, for those looking to move from a beginner camera, the GF2 almost certainly should make your short list of contenders. It offers a decent value (at about $700 with a starter lens), and it's available in four different body colors, which is interesting for an advanced model.

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Pros

  • Very sharp autofocus
  • Extremely easy to use
  • Small camera body can be used one-handed
  • LCD is sharp and touch screen is handy
  • Nice design, and four body colors is nice for an advanced camera

Cons

  • A viewfinder would be nice in some circumstances
  • Camera can be uncomfortable to hold when popup flash is extended
  • Maximum resolution only available in 4:3 ratio
  • LCD can be a little tough to see in bright sunlight
  • Advanced photographers will want more advanced features than GF2 has

Description

  • Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: N/A, uses interchangeable lenses
  • LCD: 3.0-inch touch screen, 460,000 pixels
  • Maximum image size: 4000 x 3000 pixels
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion
  • Dimensions: 2.67 x 4.44 x 1.29 inches
  • Weight: 16.75 ounces (with lens, battery, and memory card)
  • Image sensor: 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS
  • Movie modes: Full HD, 1080/60i

Guide Review - Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Review

Image Quality

I primarily tested the GF2 with a small, fixed 14mm lens. As you know, with an interchangeable lens camera, a large portion of the success of your image quality depends on the quality of your lens.

Still, the GF2 produces extremely sharp, vibrant images with each lens I used. Its autofocus is extremely accurate, and, if the camera cannot quite nail down the focus, it will warn you with a flashing light on the LCD. The GF2 also produces accurate exposures the majority of the time.

You'll have great image quality with this camera, whether you're shooting in fully automatic mode or in a manual-control mode.

With the GF2, you'll have the option of shooting at four aspect ratios -- 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, or 16:9. However, you only can shoot at the camera's maximum 12MP resolution when shooting at the 4:3 ratio.

Performance

The GF2 offers some extremely fast response times. It's ready to shoot pretty quickly after pressing the power button. The GF2 has almost no shot to shot delays, and its autofocus works quickly most of the time.

The GF2 is a nice camera for those new to more advanced photography, as it works well in both automatic and manual modes. With the GF2, you have acess to a variety of manual modes, including Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual Exposure.

For beginners, the GF2 excels, too. It has a dedicated "iA" button (intelligent auto), making it easy to jump from any mode into fully automatic. The GF2 contains 17 scene modes, which makes shooting in a variety of lighting conditions an easy process.

Design

It's tough to go wrong with the small DIL camera designs, and the GF2 is another good-looking DIL camera. It is available in black, silver, red, or white camera bodies.

The GF2's 3-inch LCD screen is extremely sharp. It also is a touch screen unit, which makes the GF2 even easier to use. In addition, when shooting in macro mode, the LCD magnifies the image, allowing you to ensure extreme sharpness in your focus. The LCD can be a little tough to see in direct sunlight, although you can adjust the LCD's brightness level to compensate. I also found the GF2's touch screen LCD seemed to collect fingerprints moreso than other touch screen LCDs I've tested, so keep a microfiber cloth handy.

Unfortunately, the GF2 does not contain a viewfinder, which would be handy in certain situations. You will find a hot shoe on the GF2, allowing you to add a few different accessories to the camera, including a flash unit.

Panasonic managed to shrink the GF2's camera body a little bit versus its small DMC-GF1 model. Even though it is a small camera, it should be easy and comfortable to hold for most people. The only problem I experienced occurred when I had the popup flash extended. The sharp edge that is exposed when the flash is in use can make holding the camera with your left hand a little uncomfortable.

Unlike most interchangeable lens cameras, I found the GF2 was easy to use one-handed, especially with the small 14mm fixed lens.

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