Touchscreen technology seems to be all the rage, but does it work in a Micro Four Thirds camera? Richard Sibley reviews the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and finds out
Like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, the G2 features a 12.1-million-effective pixel Live MOS Four Thirds-size sensor. The sensor is capable of producing images measuring up to 4000×3000 pixels, as well as 1280×720 HD video. Video isn’t a feature of the original G1; it is instead included in the more expensive GH1, which also has Full HD (1920×1080-pixel) video capture from a specially designed 12.1-million-pixel sensor.
As before, Panasonic has fitted the G2 with a Supersonic Wave Filter, which uses supersonic sound waves to vibrate and shift dust particles away from the sensor.
Also inherited from the G1 is the Free-angle, articulated, 3in, 460,000-dot screen. However, as already mentioned, the screen is now touch sensitive, and allows the current shooting settings to be changed on-screen. It also allows the user to use the touchscreen to scroll through and zoom into images when reviewing them in playback mode.
As a Micro Four Thirds interchangeable-lens hybrid camera, there is no optical viewfinder in the G2, so images must be composed either using the screen or the electronic viewfinder, but more on these two features later.
Unlike the Olympus Pen range of Micro Four Thirds cameras, none of the Panasonic G-series cameras include in-camera sensor stabilisation; instead, some lenses feature Mega OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation). One such lens is the new 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, which can be purchased in a kit with the camera. This lens is slightly larger than the 14-45mm optic that served as the
kit lens for the G1. Instead of having the Mega OIS switch on the new lens, switching it on and off is now done in the camera’s menu settings.
Like Panasonic’s range of compact cameras, the G2 has an Intelligent Auto (iA) mode, which recognises particular scenes and adjusts the camera settings accordingly. For example, if it sees a very bright blue area at the top of an image it can predict that you are taking a landscape. However, if a face was to appear in this scene, then the camera’s face detection mode would be activated, ensuring that the camera switches to portrait mode and that the focusing prioritises the face. Handily, iA works in both still and moving-image modes and should help amateur photographers more used to compact cameras take a lot of the guesswork out of taking photographs.
With your pictures taken, the G2 makes it easy to present them to a captive audience via the inclusion of a mini HDMI socket. This allows the camera to be connected to a high-definition television, and if you are fortunate enough to own a Panasonic Viera television the TV’s remote control can be used to control the play back of images from the camera.
It was initially thought that the Micro Four Thirds format would appeal to those photographers wanting to advance from a compact camera, but who don’t want the specification of a DSLR. However, it quickly became obvious that the smaller, lighter Micro Four Thirds cameras could also appeal to those who already own DSLRs but want a lighter camera for day-to-day use or when travelling. With this in mind, the reasonably high specification of the Lumix DMC-G2 should appeal to a large number of different photographers, and even videographers.