The GF2 is Panasonic’s smallest and lightest compact system camera, yet it has some of the most advanced features on the market. Mat Gallagher discovers just what the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 has to offer
When the G2 was introduced last year, it boasted a staggeringly fast AF for a contrast-detection system, against what was generally fairly slow competition.
The GF2, with its new Venus Engine FHD processor, is even quicker – although the GH2, which uses the same processor, is claimed to be quicker still. Performance in good light is close to instant and, thanks to the AF illuminator, closer focusing in low light can be just as quick.
To put this focusing head to head with a phase-detection system of an SLR would still see faster focusing at times with the SLR, but against its direct competitors it really does stand out as an example of how good contrast-detection AF can be – and offers a real alternative, at least for the entry-level/amateur market.
One advantage of a contrast-detection AF system is that you are not tied to a set number of focus points. From the menu you have a choice of 23-area AF, which selects points of focus for you, or 1-area, which allows you to touch precisely on the screen where you want to focus, with the exception of the very outer edges of the frame. You can also change the size of the AF area from large to regular.
The tracking mode allows you to choose your subject by touch, or by half-pressing the shutter with your subject centrally positioned, and will then maintain a lock on it as it moves around the frame. Face detection and recognition are also available and the camera can retain information on up to six faces.
Colours are bright and punchy but skin tones remain natural, shown here with some fill-in flash
Manual focus is aided by a magnified display (4x or 8x) on the LCD screen, which allows for precise focusing, and the magnified area can be selected from anywhere, with the exception of the outer edges of the frame.