Nearly two years after their inception, interchangeable lens cameras are starting to break into the mainstream camera market.
Strictly speaking, the G2 is a Micro Four Thirds camera but as that term doesn't really mean much to consumers, manufacturers are moving away from that label. So you might encounter names like mirrorless, interchangeable lens; EVIL, or Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens; or micro system cameras, but they all operate on the same principle.
Design and features
The Lumix G2 is the successor to the first Panasonic interchangeable lens camera, the Lumix DMC-G1, styled like an SLR. However, the G1 and G2 don't have a mirror box like a traditional SLR, which in turn means they are a lot smaller. It's also why cameras of this ilk are termed "mirrorless" cameras. Despite the near runaway success of the Lumix GF1 (an earlier camera shaped more like a traditional compact) we're not quite sure why Panasonic stuck to the SLR-style shape for this iteration in the series.
A slightly soft plastic casing surrounds the camera, with all buttons and dials finished in black. For photographers of all levels, the mode dial comes well equipped: you'll find full automatic control, scene selections and manual PASM control as standard. There's also a giant record button near the shutter, a crimson you surely can't miss.
New additions to the camera include a flip-out touchscreen, HD video, plus the controls have been reconfigured around the place. Photographers can also touch the screen to focus and take the shot. Unfortunately, there's no way to turn the touchscreen off but given the glut of physical buttons it's quite easy to forget this camera has touch control.
Click through for a complete photo gallery of images taken with the Panasonic G2 and G10.
There are a myriad of options provided from the touchscreen interface, including shooting options that can be adjusted by first pressing the Display button to enter into the shooting menu. From here, you can adjust ISO, white balance, film colour mode and flash control to name just a few.
(Credit: Leonard Goh/CNET Asia)
As with other Panasonic cameras, intelligent auto mode features here on a dedicated button that glows in an outline of blue when pressed. A dedicated external mic input and remote port has been added to the camera: it's a 2.5mm jack rather than the standard 3.5mm jack. Video recording has been added to the mix so the G2 now can record in AVCHD Lite (720p).
Kitted out with the new 14-42mm lens, the G2's autofocus is pretty quiet and wouldn't make too much of an impact on video recordings.
Here's how the G2 compares to other mirrorless cameras.
|Panasonic G2||Olympus E-P2||Samsung NX10|
|12 megapixels||12 megapixels||14 megapixels|
|3-inch, 460,000-dot touchscreen articulating LCD||3-inch, 230,000-dot fixed LCD||3-inch, 920,000-dot fixed AMOLED|
|Electronic viewfinder||Optional electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|AVCHD Lite HD video (720p, 30fps)||HD video (720p, 30fps)||HD video (720p, 30fps)|
|Pop-up flash||Optional hotshoe flash||Pop-up flash|
|AU$1299 with 14-42mm||AU$1499 with 14-42mm||AU$849 with 18-55mm|
General shooting metrics (in seconds)
- Time to first shot
- RAW shot-to-shot time
- JPEG shot-to-shot time
- Shutter lag
- Panasonic Lumix G188.8.131.52.5
- Panasonic GF10.80.90.70.5
- Samsung NX100.81.210.5
Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)
- Panasonic G23
- Panasonic GF12.8
- Samsung NX103.1
Image and video quality
Colours are punchy without being oversaturated (though there are options to tweak this in the colour and filter menus) and exposures are mostly accurate, if a little underexposed, like on the G1.
Side by side, the G1 and G2 deliver similar photos but the G2's images tend to look more processed, and with more digital artefacts. At ISO levels over 200 images also look a bit "crunchy" at full magnification. Most photographers won't find issue with this though, as at reduced magnification they look fine. The new 14-42mm lens exhibits a small amount of barrel distortion at the wide end. It delivers some fine results for a kit lens, with little flaring or other distortions visible.
The electronic viewfinder is pretty decent for regular photography purposes, but it's still not great for fast-moving subjects.
Unlike the video-centric Lumix GH1, in the G2's video mode there are no manual controls, just an exposure compensation slider. There is the ability to change the shutter speed (albeit limited though) which is documented in the manual. The camera also can't take a still image during recording using the shutter button. Video quality is good, but there is noticeable wind noise and the lens movement isn't smooth (we suggest setting a focal length and sticking to it before hitting record).
Click each image below for JPEGs straight from the Lumix G2. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos.
Exposure: 1/50, f/5.6, ISO 400
Exposure: 1/60, f/3.5, ISO 400
Exposure: 1/30, f/5.6, ISO 200
Exposure: 1/320, f/9, ISO 100
The Panasonic Lumix G2 provides an SLR-style shooting experience in a smaller, lighter body. The touchscreen implementation could do with some work and won't be the main selling point of this camera — that's left to its overall image quality.