To accompany the announcement of the latest additions to its G-Micro range of system cameras, the Lumix DMC-G2 and Lumix DMC-G10, Panasonic invited us to the Focus On Imaging show, currently being held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, for some hands-on time with the DMC-G2.
The G2 and the G10 are further variations on the theme started by the G1 and as such, if you've seen or used the G1 or GH1, then the size, control layout, and general feel of these new cameras will be familiar.
All of these cameras take on the form of a very small SLR with a large hand-grip on the right edge, a digital viewfinder mounted centrally above the screen, an accessory hot-shoe on the top, and of course the lens mount for the interchangeable lenses on the front. However, the models differ in what they can actually do.
Cliff covers most of the details of the G10 in his news story, but essentially it's the entry-level model of the range. So rather than use an articulated screen, it has a fixed screen, and it also has a lower resolution viewfinder. Conversely, unlike the G1, it does have video recording capabilities and thanks to a new image processor, has a faster shot-to-shot time of 3.2fps. The image sensor is also the same 12.1-megapixel one used in the G1 and GF1.
As for the G2, it has the same 100 per cent FOV, 0.7x magnification, 1.44 million dot viewfinder; the same articulated 3in 460k dot LCD screen; and the same image sensor as the G1 and GF1. However, it adds touchscreen abilities to the LCD and can also shoot video at up to 720p resolution at 50fps (60fps for the NTSC version). Furthermore, it has a built in mono microphone and input for a stereo microphone, so it's a very capable video shooter.
As mentioned above, apart from the GF1, the G-Micro range all have the same basic body. It's designed to be as small as possible without losing core features like a hand grip and viewfinder for what is still ostensibly a high-end camera. The compromise for the most part works pretty well and these cameras, with their more compact lenses, are certainly significantly smaller and lighter than any entry-level SLR. Spending an effortless hour walking round the Focus On Imaging show with the G2 was testament to that! However, the G2 is certainly far from being pocketable and if you do have big hands, it can feel a little cramped. Of course, there isn't really a solution to this; if you want something smaller and lighter it's going to be, well, smaller and lighter.