Additionally, if you choose to opt for the compact £250 3D H-FT012 lens announced by its maker, available as a standalone purchase, MPO files can also be generated, though only viewed in their stereoscopic glory with the aid of a 3D-equipped TV or monitor. MPO and JPEG can handily be shot in tandem if a more readily viewable back up is required, any extended writing time hardly noticeable and file numbers the same yet with a different extension. Though, of course, 3D shots are naturally composed and framed in a different way to 2D, so results don’t always work equally well in both formats. Then there’s also the fact that resulting JPEGs are a lowly 1,600 x 1,200 pixels when the 3D optic is in use.
Current kit lens options for the GF2 on launch, and which we were able to have a play with, include the camera body plus image stabilised 14-42mm zoom body with non-stabilised 14mm ‘pancake’ lens for those wanting a solution that will actually squeeze into a jacket pocket, or the body with both lenses, with prices rising incrementally at each stage.
That said, the least expensive set-up option is still around £200 less than the GF1 was on launch, at £600 for GF2 plus the all-encompassing starter option of the 14-42mm zoom, equivalent to 28-84mm in 35mm terms because of the unique properties of the Four Thirds sensor in use. There’s no body only purchase option for anyone thinking of swapping their GF1 for the GF2 yet retaining existing lenses, as its maker clearly believes that’s not one option likely to be taken.
It’s not only on price that Panasonic is looking to broaden the GF series’ appeal. Though it reassuringly sports the same heavyweight feel, mostly metal build, the new camera is officially 19 per cent smaller than its forebear, whilst being seven per cent lighter overall. On initial handling it will still appear a bit of a brick to anyone trading up from a slender pocket snapshot – surely the camera’s ideal audience. To disguise this a GF camera is available in a range of colours for the first time; not just the sophisticated black of our review sample, but also silver or red in the UK, white and pink overseas. The campaign starts here to bring the really rather stylish white version to the UK.