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
Viewfinder, LCD, Live View, Video
The GF2 doesn’t feature a viewfinder within the body, although the VF-1 electronic viewfinder can be attached via the hotshoe and connection port if required. For most users, however, the rear LCD will be their only method of composing images.
The LCD screen is a 3in, 460,000-dot display with touchscreen control. This technology has already been seen on the G2 model and remains very similar in operation.
Early touchscreen systems on cameras (as on phones) appeared to be more of a gimmick and tended to slow operation rather than improve it. On the GF2, however, as on the G2, it does feel like a benefit to the shooting process.
The fact that you are not tied to just using the touchscreen and can happily swap between it and the buttons also helps. Buttons on the screen are large and well spaced out, making it easy to avoid accidentally pressing the wrong one.
Touch focus is perhaps the best part of the system and even the touch shutter has some advantages – although, as this requires you to hold the camera with one hand, it can leave you prone to camera shake. The only frustrating part is in the reviewing process, as the sideways swipe to flip between images doesn’t always work first time and can easily zoom into the image instead.
The video functionality of the GF2 is quite advanced, offering 1080p AVCHD. This is recorded at 50 interlaced frames per second but outputted at 25fps (or 60i to 30p NTSC). The data rate is a very impressive 100Mb/s, giving a very smooth and detailed image.
It also features full stereo sound from the dual microphones in the top of the camera, although there is no further option to add an external microphone source.
The one downside of the AVCHD format is that video must be processed by video software before being viewable on most machines, as opposed to regular QuickTime formats, but the compression rate and quality do make up for it.