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Panasonic Lumix G2 review

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Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Panasonic Lumix G2
  • Lumix DMC-G2 Red Digital SLR Camera Kit w/14-42mm Lens (12.1MP, 3x Opt, SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Slot)

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • SLR quality in a more compact body
  • Articulated touchscreen
  • Good quality standard lens
  • HD video with external mic input
  • Manual controls

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Video only 720p not 1080p
  • Electronic viewfinder not as good as optical one

Key Features

  • 12.1 megapixel
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • Articulated screen
  • SLR quality in a more compact body
  • Manual controls
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £418.95

Mirrorless system cameras are the new hot sector of the digital camera market. Panasonic's mirrorless format is its G Micro system, based around the Micro Four Thirds sensor and lens mount jointly developed with Olympus. Panasonic launched the first camera in this new format in 2008, the critically acclaimed and deservedly popular Lumix G1, and followed it up in 2009 with the Lumix GH1, equipped with high-definition video and stereo audio, and the compact and lightweight Lumix GF1. These three models have sold very well, so naturally this has prompted the other manufacturers to launch their own mirrorless system camera formats. Olympus has already got two models available, the stylish Pen E-P1 and its successor the E-P2, both of which have sold well. Last week we took a look at Samsung's entry into this market sector, the excellent NX10 using a larger APS-C sensor in combination with a smaller lens mount, and Sony has just announced its NEX system, the smallest mirrorless system camera so far, also using an APS size sensor.

Panasonic wants to hang on to its early market lead, so it has just launched the second generation of G Micro system cameras, the entry-level Lumix G10 and today's review camera the new G2, which takes over as the flagship model of the range. In terms of overall specification it is only a fairly minor upgrade over the G1, but it does add several new features, including the must-have HD video recording, improved maximum sensitivity, Intelligent resolution technology and a fully articulated touch-screen monitor. It also comes with a new standard zoom kit lens, a very high quality 14-42mm f/3.5-f/5.6 image stabilised unit equivalent to 28-82mm.

The G2 is quite an expensive piece of kit. It is currently selling on the high street for around £640 body-only, or £700 with the 14-42mm kit lens, although it is available for quite a bit less from some online retailers. This compares with around £490 for the kit price of the Samsung NX10, or around £480 for the 12.3MP Nikon D5000 with an 18-55mm VR lens, or £570 for the 15MP Canon EOS 500D kit. By pricing the G2 to compete with these highly regarded mid-range DSLRs Panasonic is taking a big chance, gambling that the appeal of the smaller Micro Four Thirds format will outweigh the advantage the full-size models have in specification and performance.

Externally the G2 is almost identical to the G1, with only a few minor detail changes. It has the same compact SLR-style body with a small but comfortable rubberised handgrip, pop-up flash and electronic viewfinder, and the build quality is every bit as good. The body is made of high-impact resin plastic, and is available in red, blue or the classic matt black seen here. The overall fit and finish is excellent, although the plastic plugs covering the various ports are surprisingly flimsy. One rather odd difference is the position of the SD card slot. On the G1 this was positioned beneath a metal-hinged hatch on the side of the camera, which is where you'd expect to find it on a digital SLR. However on the G2 the card slot has been moved into the battery compartment, which makes it very difficult to change the memory card when shooting on a tripod.

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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