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Panasonic Lumix G2 - Performance and Results

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Along with most of its features the Lumix G2 also inherits the G1's excellent performance, and even improves on it in some respects. It can start up and take a picture in about half a second, which is comfortably into DSLR territory, while its shot-to-shot time in JPEG single shot mode is approximately 0.8 seconds, while in Raw + JPEG mode it can shoot at the same rate but only for four frames. In continuous shooting mode it can maintain 2.5fps, which is actually slightly slower than the G1.

The G2 has the same contrast detection AF system as the G1, and it is still exceptionally quick and performs well in most lighting conditions. Shooting in very low light is helped by a good bright AF assist lamp with a range of approximately four metres.

Comparing the image quality results with the G1, there doesn't appear to have been any dramatic improvement. Noise control is still very good up to 400 ISO, but there is visible noise at 800 and a sudden drop-off in quality at 1600 ISO. The improved 6400 ISO maximum sensitivity is pretty poor and only for use in extreme circumstances.

Colour reproduction in JPEG mode and the Standard film type is a little over-saturated, but the dynamic range and level of fine detail are comparable with a 12MP DSLR. Unfortunately at this price level it has to compete with cameras that have 15 or 18 megapixel APS-C sensors, and even in Raw mode it struggles to keep up. Compare the test shots with those from comparably priced DSLRs such as the Nikon D5000 or the Canon EOS 500D and it's pretty obvious that the full-size cameras have a noticeable advantage in image quality.

One major highlight however is the new 14-42mm kit lens, which is a distinct improvement on the older 14-45mm lens sold with the Lumix G1. The new lens has superb corner-to-corner sharpness with no visible chromatic aberration or wide-angle distortion. If you're thinking of upgrading to a G2 it's probably worth trading in your old lens for this new one, it's that good.

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix G2 is only an incremental upgrade from the original G1, but most of the changes are for the better. The touch-screen is, as always, just a gimmick, but the video mode is good. Build quality, performance and image quality are all still of a very high standard, but you can get better results from a full-size DSLR of the same price.

Neko7

May 17, 2010, 12:44 pm

I've been looking to step up from a compact camera for a while now and my forthcoming trip to Japan is as good a catalyst as any. I've always been put off by the weight and size of traditional DSLRs and so these small form factor cameras (is that the right term?) really appeal to me. I was really hoping for a glowing review of this camera as I've had my heart set on it for a while, but now I can't decide between this and the Samsung NX10. Time to way up the pros and cons.

Noodles

May 17, 2010, 2:23 pm

Cliff, you do know the CA and distortion created by this lens is automatically corrected in camera for JPEGs, and RAW files are corrected in Panasonic's Silkypix software and also Adobe Camera RAW.





Without all this whizz-bang tech, the previous 14-45mm kit zoom created an enormous amount of distortion (5.5% at 14mm!) and a hefty load of CA too..

Caleb9ce

May 17, 2010, 2:37 pm

From the test shots, it looks like the colours are a touch warm but nothing that can't be rectified in post processing. Mid range DSLR market is the most competitive segment at the moment and I agree that the price has to come down in order to lure most consumers away from the more established brands like Nikon or Canon or even Samsung!

joose

May 17, 2010, 8:00 pm

Too expensive.. again.

Jesper

May 18, 2010, 12:41 am

@Neko7: I am in the same boat as you. I also see the great benefit with these small and capable cameras, since the best camera is really the one you have with you.


I have my heart set on the Panasonic GF-1 though, since it seems to really take advantage of this new form factor. If you haven't read the review yet, I can recommend it, it did score an almost perfect 10/10:


http://www.trustedreviews.com/...





However, with Sonys new entry into the market, I am still holding off my decision, to see if it is any good (hopefully with a nice review by Cliff), and since my trip to Japan isn't until this fall, I have plenty of time.

Zero

July 20, 2010, 1:09 am

What do you mean by the video functions? You said it does 60fps then you said the sensor does 30fps??? Could you explain that to me am dumb :)

mcrurai

November 11, 2010, 5:48 pm

This review has helped me decide the Lumix G2 is the camera for me - I am upgrading from a Canon G10 which has some manual features and scope for creativity and great fun to use and a "point & shoot" compact from Olympus (8010) which has been awfull to use with awfully bad photo results. It would appear that th G2 gives me the creative features I need when I want them and the ability to use it as a "point & shoot" camera when traveling which I do alot - the size and weight of the G2 and its ability to be a DSLR and a point & shoot compact without compromising are its strengths.

Tin City

April 20, 2013, 4:26 pm

This is one awesome camera. Just bought my lumix from Amazon and
got an awesome deal. Anyone can use my promo code here: www .amzn.to/15rCz77

Linda

July 14, 2014, 10:18 am

I have a Lumix G2 which is a couple of years old. I've been trying to take close up photos of flowers "Macro". As soon as i zoom in on the flower and i focused my camera and click to take the picture the lens is automatically zooming back out. Please can someone help!! I'm not sure what settings i should be using.. I'm new to photography..

Paul C. Dickie

April 13, 2015, 10:48 am

In my experience, the "Macro" setting on the G2 does little or nothing to the way the lens focusses. I use an automatic (ie electrically connected) extension tube when shooting flowers with my G2 cameras. Yes, I have two - I've been playing with stereoscopic or 3D photography.

I bought the extension tubes via eBay; they were not expensive at less than £10 per set - but make sure you get the electrically connected version which still allows the auto-focus and image stabilisation features to work.

Paul C. Dickie

April 13, 2015, 11:29 am

Some comments in the review seemed just a bit silly. For example, one comment is that it is difficult to replace the SD card when the camera is mounted on a tripod. This is actually impossible, as one would need to remove the camera from the tripod but, with 8Gb or 16Gb cards, how likely is it that one would need to change a card in the middle of a shoot?

Another complaint I have is the bald declaration that the electronic viewfinder is "not as good"" as an optical viewfinder - presumably on a DSLR. This seems like someone saying that a carrot is not as sweet as a pineapple!

I started serious photography 40 years ago, on a twin lens reflex camera that was older than me and have owned various cameras since. I've kept most of them and, from interest in their design, I've added a few more film cameras since I abandoned wet photography in favour of digital. Most have an eye level viewfinder and the Mamiya 645 has a prism finder I can fit to replace the waist level finder, but the MPP Mk VIII view camera does not. With the MPP, one composes and focusses the image on the ground glass screen at the back of the camera, before locking the focus, setting the aperture and shutter, inserting the film (or fitting the roll film back) and taking the photo. Perhaps Cliff would consider that was also "not as good" as an optical viewfinder.

On the G2 cameras, I compose (and, if necessary, manually focus) my images using the articulated viewing screens; I only use the electronic viewfinders very occasionally, such as in bright light conditions when I have left my dark cloth (from the MPP outfit) at home. To shoot 3D photos, both cameras are mounted on a tripod and, if I am using 'heritage' lenses, I focus manually using the built-in magnification provided by pressing the adjustment wheel. I'll fit both cameras with a wireless remote receiver, so that one press of the wireless transmitter button will actuate both cameras at exactly the same moment.

I would say that, though superseded, the G2 is still a fine camera. It is not the only camera I use, as it will not shoot high speed video or interesting multiple exposure shots, for which tricks I still use a Casio EX-FH20, nor can it capture the high resolution shots I now currently crave. But it is good enough for A4 prints, perhaps even for A3 prints, it is readily portable and quite affordable now. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of how little or how much they know about photography.

Mary

May 29, 2015, 3:23 pm

Hi Paul with regard to your post on Macro I have a G2 and very pleased with it. I am just new to photography. Could you please post what exactly you purchased ie extension tubes. Many thanks as I dont have a clue as to what to purchase. I am really interested in Macro but dont want to spend a lot on lenses just now. Many thanks. Mary

Paul C. Dickie

May 31, 2015, 2:11 am

I'm also delighted with the G2; indeed, I use a pair of them for taking 3D photographs, such as the example you can see at http://j.mp/pcd-pix

Not all those were taken on the G2; some were taken with a Casio Exilim FH20, whilst the shot of the two glasses was taken on an MPP MkVIII on 4x5" FP4 rated at 160 ISO and printed on Ilfobrom Gallerie, Grade 3. The shot of the thistles was taken with a G2, using a 10mm, auto focusing extension tube - that is, the extension tube connects the lens contacts to the contacts on the camera body, thereby allowing the camera to focus automatically as if the lens was mounted directly on the camera body. I find this type of extension tube to be worth the little extra one has to pay for it, though the type without the electrical contacts also has its uses - I intend to make myself an adapter to fit a G2 body on the back of the MPP MkVIII.

Whatever you use for close up photography, I would recommend that you put the camera on a tripod, preferably using a "4 way" focusing slide which allows side to side and front to back adjustment, and use a wired or a wireless remote trigger to take the exposure. A small spirit level, mounted in the hot shoe, will tell you if the camera is level.

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