Although its manufacturer has claimed the GF2's grip is an improvement over the GF1, we were a little disappointed to find that the gentle bulge it masquerades as is still rather small and insubstantial. Holding the camera in the right hand, there's barely enough room to wrap your middle finger around it, as your thumb rests on a pad at the back , while the forefinger hovers over the shutter release button.
Most noticeable of any changes to existing GF1 owners will be the fact that the handy shooting mode dial on the top plate has disappeared - but not entirely. Its options now exist in the virtual realm; for the GF2 offers up touch panel operation via its 3-inch, 460k-dot resolution back plate LCD, said screen also acting as viewfinder in the expected absence of additional optical or electronic viewfinder (EVF).
The latter is however available as an optional extra, attaching via the same accessory port introduced on the GF1, which is again located directly above the LCD. An accessory flash can further be utilised, with the caveat that there's no room for both this and EVF at the same time. Still, we found the screen to be an able compositional tool, its size and clarity sufficient to check critical focus at the points of capture and review. That said, if we could put in a request for future generations it would be for an angle adjustable screen, as found on Canon's PowerShot G12 and Samsung EX1, to further extend usability.
While the screen is impressively clear and the icons presented therein sensitive and immediately responsive to each inquisitive prod, these could have been made larger still on occasion. Also, it quickly becomes apparent that, apart from needing to view the options, you don't actually have to use the GF2's LCD as a touch screen at all if you don't want to. This is because there are enough actual physical controls alongside it to enable users to tab, scroll through and effect functions and shooting options. To do so though would mean missing out on funky features such as the ability to fire the shutter or bias focus by simply tapping your intended subject on screen. With the screen shutter mode active it's rather too easy to fire off a shot by accident however, as your fingers inevitably and inadvertently stray onto the screen when handling the camera.