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214 of 218 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2010
Verified Purchase
Panasonic G2 is a successor of G1, which is the first micro four third camera. G series focus on make the camera as small as possible without sacrificing image quality and control. G2 adds video recording and touch screen feature.

Panasonic G2 main specs

- 12 megapixel - four thirds sensor
- 3"' 460k resolution swivel and touch screen LCD
- 1,280 x 720 high-definition at 60fps
- Built-in Electronic viewfinder (1.44 million dots)

BODY DESIGN

Panasonic G2 weights 371 g / 13.09 oz body only, 593 g / 20.92 oz with battery, memory card and 14-42mm lens. It has dimension of 124 x 83.6 x 74 mm exclude protusion. Compared to regular DSLR camera, The package is significantly smaller and lightweight. Compare to advanced DSLR such as Canon 7D , G2 is approx. half the size and weight. As a result, it is more fun to carry around and it takes only a bit of room to store.

Like G1, Panasonic G2 has built-in electronic viewfinder which is helpful for composing photos, the rear 3' inch LCD is also very bright and nice to use. It can also swivel so you can compose a picture in unusual angle for example overhead or very low in the ground.

New in micro four third system, LCD screen is now equipped with touchscreen technology. You can touch the screen to select or change various settings and also you can touch the screen to set auto focus point.

Therefore, changing AF points in G2 is very fast. In regular DSLR camera, you might need to scroll around until you get AF point that you want. in G2, you just touch it. AF point could be also be enlarged or decreased for precision.

HANDLING

Panasonic G2 is nice to hold, thanks to the grip. It also has many dedicated buttons and switches. It has one main dial, camera mode dial, Release mode switch, Auto focus mode switch, metering switch, ISO button, WB button, Function button, AF/AE lock button, display button, delete button, live/lcd button, intelligent auto button, and video recording button.

As a result, control and handling is significantly better and faster than many entry level cameras where you need to dwell deep in the menu to change setting that you want.

IMAGE QUALITY

Image quality in low ISO setting is excellent. However, like all four thirds system camera, image in high ISO is not as good as regular DSLR camera that has APS-C sensor.

Image quality from ISO 100 to 800 is excellent. in ISO 1600, image starts to lose some details, sharpness and a bit of saturation. In ISO 3200, image starts to breakdown and 6400 is reserved only in emergency situation.

AUTO FOCUS PERFORMANCE

G2 is an very responsive camera. It shines in auto focus performance. AF speed is almost instantaneous whether in bright light or low light condition, I feel it can beat some beginner DSLR cameras. In G2, you can also touch the screen to set up AF point which is very convenient.

Auto focus tracking work well in slow moving subject, such as people walking, however, sometimes, it failed to track, especially fast or erratic movement. This is where the area G2 lacks compared to regular DSLR camera.

There are plenty to like about Panasonic G2

+ Small and lightweight relative to DSLR camera
+ Built-in high-res electronic viewfinder
+ Touch screen that allow you to change setting, set AF and flip image in playback
+ Swivel LCD screen help to compose photos in awkward angle
+ Fast Auto focus performance
+ Many dedicated buttons and switches
+ What you see is what you get (changing color balance, film mode shown in LCD)
+ Very good performance (responsive)

What I don't like about Panasonic G2

- Auto focus tracking is not reliable
- Image quality in ISO 1600 and above is not as good as regular DSLR
- Harder to achieve shallow depth of field (Defocus background)
- 1/2 to 1 second screen freeze after capturing photo
- Auto ISO is not very accurate and tend to stick with ISO 400

COMPETITORS

Samsung NX10 - Digital camera - prosumer - 14.6 Mpix - body only - supported memory: SD, SDHC - noble black
NX10 has bigger image sensor (APS-C) and higher-res (610k) AMOLED screen, however NX10 built-in viewfinder, body handling is not as good as Panasonic G2. G2 also slightly faster in auto focus performance.

Olympus PEN E-P2 12.3 MP Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens and Electronic View Finder
Olympus E-P2 has a smaller design and more appropriate to be compared with Panasonic GF1 instead of G2. The main advantage E-P2 has is it has built-in image stabilization, however, it falls short in many areas such as slow auto focus especially in low light condition, low res LCD screen, and no built-in flash.

CONCLUSION

Panasonic G2 is the best flagship micro four thirds camera in 2010 with many new innovative technology such as touch screen LCD and full HD video recording. It is fun to use and carry around. However, G2 still has the same problem that has plague many four third system cameras which is image quality in high ISO setting. Despite it offers up to ISO 6400, but I recommend user to stick with ISO 800 or lower.

Subjective rating relative to mirrorless camera system 2010

Image Quality : 4/5 (with 14-42mm kit lens)
Features: 5/5
Performance: 5/5
Body / Handling: 5/5
Value for money: 3/5

For image sample and iso comparison, please visit my blog. You can find the address through my profile page. Thanks for reading.
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159 of 162 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2010
Verified Purchase
Many professional websites have quite extensive reviews on the performance of Panasonic LUMIX-G2. As a customer, I think I could offer my experience about the userability of G2.

Let me just focus on G2's touch screen. Is it really a feature I would use again and again? The short answer is definitely yes.

After owning G2 for two weeks, I invited my brother-in-law who owns a Canon 5D along with a high quality gigantic zoom lens ($$$) to my front yard for shooting some flowers together.

Did I use the touch screen to change the setting on the spot? In fact, I did quite many times. The most often used feature was exposure compensation and ISO setting, and a few white balance settings. With the slider and live view, you can decide how the picture would look like. With conventional DSLR, you need to memorize where dedicated buttons are for ISO, exposure compensation and metering method. The truth is that they can not be always at the convenient locations. I found the touch screen a very nice feature because it allows you to make the change so easily. This easiness encourages you to optimize the settings. So, below is my experience of the touch screen:

(1) Quick menu: You can access all settings with two touches. To my surprise, the screen is sensitive to my finger nail. There are several icons on the top and the bottom. If you set the shoot mode to be A (aperture priority), the aperture is shown in red which changes only when you change the zoom or turn a dial. But, everything else can be set really quickly. In the past, when I set the ISO, often I would have cycle through the option several times because I always press the button too quickly. With the on-screen quick menu, you get to see the all options at once.

(2) Focus spot: You can touch the object in the LCD screen to determine where you want to focus. Once you do that, if the object moves or the camera moves, the focus spot will try to follow the object. Amazingly, you can change the focus during video recording.

(3) Playback: When you review the pictures, the touch screen provides a very intuitive way to scroll, enlarge and pan the view. One thing I like Panasonic G2 is its color fidelity. I can have the picture on the LCD or on my computer look nearly identical to the real object.

(4) Release button: You can set it up so that you can shoot by pressing the screen. The camera will first focus to the object you just touched and capture the picture. This feature is very useful when taking the shot at an awkward position, for example, you want to shoot a flower from a hard-to-reach angle. The articulate LCD let you see the composition and by a single touch, the picture is taken. How often I would use this feature? Not very frequent. But, I can see it would not be too rare either.

Panasonic has a balanced view about the touch screen. It keeps the simplicity of the operations. It also allows the users to access all setting via buttons. I think this is necessary often times. For example, if you want to delete pictures, you will have to use buttons.

Overall, my brother-in-law agreed Panasonic G2 is more fun and more flexible to use because it is much smaller, light weigh and equipped by articulate LCD. This nicety gets you to be in the position to take nice shots. And, the iA button to turn on the auto mode is very well done. When pressed, it overrides your manual setting and a light under the button will lit, telling you its status. Many times, under a urgent situation, I simply let the camera make the decisions for me.

On the other hand, the picture quality of Canon 5D is just two notches superior. I still need to perfect my shooting skill with G2. Somehow, I feel the images were not as sharp as they could. I guess more practice would be needed before I finally conclude this.

In conclusion, if you wonder the touch screen worth the money, my review is trying to say: yes because it encourages you to optimize your camera to take nicer pictures.

Update of user interface on 7/5/2010

Before our trip to King's canyon, I gave a 15-minute tutorial to my 18-year-old son on the concept of aperture, shutter speed and ISO using Panasonic G2. When we began to hike, we discussed the object and lighting condition and the possible optimal shooting setting. He could access the control via the touch screen like he has been doing it for a few years. He was practicing photography for the entire trip and seldom let go the camera. The ease of control of the touch screen and the good quality of LCD and EVF for instant replay are very important to the beginners.

In the same trip, a daughter of my friend, who just had her 20th birthday, brought her Canon's entry level EOS Rebel XS. She has been using it as a P&S camera for 8 months. I also gave her a quick tutorial and she got the idea very quick. But, Canon's user interface was a bit difficult to deal with when encountering the scene. It was not straightforward how to adjust the exposure compensation. We eventually figured it out. Yet, many other options were still out of reach.

For experienced photographers, the ease of control may not be very important. But, for me, the fact that I got my son interested in photography, is probably worth every dime I paid for this camera, not to mention the camera had produced many outstanding pictures from his first photography trip.

My brother-in-law's 5D continued to show its superiority in the entire trip. But, it was apparent that nobody envied him at all, seeing him carrying the big heavy DSLR stuffs.

Now, my wife is saying she likes G2 also because it is light and much easier to handle than her Canon SD970 P&S camera, even though she just uses G2's iA mode all the time.

Update of kit lens on 7/5/2010

I went ahead bought the 20mm prime lens and 45-200mm telephoto lens. I was very fond of the 20mm prime lens when shooting at home. But, during the trip, the 14mm-42mm kit lens was the main workhorse. We did change to the telephoto lens a few times. But, the choice of 14-42mm (equivalent to 28-84mm for 35mm film), is excellent for hiking trips. I uploaded several pictures of a lake view in the early morning and night. The ability of seeing the picture before shooting with very high quality in the EVF is essential to take good pictures of the highly contrast scenes. This is the advantage of EVF over OVF. I just love it.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2010
Verified Purchase
Impressive little camera! Focus very fast and the touchscreen ability is a plus! At first, I thought it was just a marketing gimmick but really adds to the overall experience allowing to change settings faster in conjuction with buttons. My only complaint is that the panasonic's jpeg engine still needs work. That's no problem for me though, because I shoot raw and process them using Lighroom 3. The body's build quality is impresse and feels very sturdy. The lens performs great but feels a little cheap in contrast with the camera body.

Great well thought product.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2010
Verified Purchase
I've had the Panasonic DMC-G2 for over a month. It's a delight to use, I'm happy with it, but it could be better. I had a big, heavy 35mm SLR that I got tired of lugging around and going out of town to develop film. I wanted to replace it with a compact, light weight camera with a built-in, live-view EVF, and interchangeable lenses, for under $1,000, and I found it all in the G2. Because it's small and light I can carry it for hours without getting tired. The auto focus is quick, which surprised me because I heard M4/3rds cameras focus slowly. The EVF is bright and is good for framing pictures accurately and for when the sunlight makes it hard to see the LCD. The swiveling LCD enables me to shoot pictures at odd angles; I can even turn it outward and forward to take a self-portrait. I can move the focus box anywhere in the frame, increasing it or decreasing it in size, by using either the touch screen or buttons on the back. And with an adapter I can use my old Nikon lenses in manual focus. Each lens weighs at least twice what the camera does (a rough estimate), but I don't mind because Nikon has a wider choice of lenses than are available for M4/3rds cameras at this time.

Now, why it could be better.
1. It has the same sensor as the one in the G1, not the improved sensor in the GH1.
2. The kit zoom isn't as good as the G1's. The G2 has a 14-42mm 3x zoom with a cheap plastic mount, downgraded from the G1's 14-45mm 3.2x zoom with a more durable metal mount.

But even without the improvements I mentioned this is a wonderful little camera that I hope to have for years.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2010
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I specialize in real estate photography, which means High Dynamic Range photos - with as many source files as possible - is a necessity. My primary shooter is a Pentax K-7, which will do up to five files at a time and has excellent customization and features. I was looking for a "back-up" camera that could possibly do more than five files at a time. I narrowed it down to the Lumix G2 after reading extensive reviews and searching everywhere. In fact, I didn't pay much attention to the other G2 features until I started doing my tests (same house, lighting and scene). And except for a setting mistake that originally limited me to six frames (LONG SHTR NR turn off!) I am now shooting seven frames at a time with a 2/3 stop difference. And the detail, color and vibrance are amazing. I am so pleased I am considering making the K-7 my backup. My ONLY regret is the stock zoom lens only goes wide to 14mm. The Pentax has a 10mm-20mm, which is about as wide as you can go before the "fisheye" effect. But I may use the G2 as a primary camera and shoot the ultra-wides with the Pentax. In reality, perfection is not a necessity in this business because the shots have a limited lifetime. Once the house is sold the only use for the photos is to give them to the new buyer so they can show their friends and relatives. But original impact is crucial for marketing. Studies have shown that good photography actually increases the average sales price for mid-level real estate.
Another important thing is the G2 can shoot multiple shots in .jpg and RAW - so if I do want to process something for the portfolio or a presentation example, I have it. Try to find this feature on other cameras. Even the K-7 will not shoot multiple RAW and .jpg's at the same time.
The other benefit I have found so far is how much usefulness and fun the huge fold-out screen on the back can be. I thumb through the files and check the middle shot for an idea of what the final HDR image will look like and found it really useful. Others can comment also. I recently "re-took" a fireplace shot with a lower flame because 7 shots (at the long exposure required) made it look too solid and artificial.
Another consideration is whether the 4/3 camera's frame size is a "reduction" in quality. I may not be able to settle this argument because the vast number of my shots are always reduced to 1024x680 or so for publication. Many times they are "minaturized" even further for the MLS. If you must shoot "big," I would look into that. I'm not qualified to tell you. But if anything, at the size I use, I consider the G2 files to actually be superior in some ways to my other "bigger" shots.
And you want to talk money? Many high-end Canon and Nikon cameras will do more than three multiple shots, but you pay dearly for that feature. You can use a Promote Control external actuator (as I did with an old Nikon D70s) but you get serious lag times and lens issues - depending on what you are using. Just try to find a low-priced quality camera that will produce multiple quality images like the G2. If you do, please let me know.
And by the way, I am not getting paid or acting as a shill for Panasonic. I have come across that in this field and I find it disgusting. There is nothing worse than a reviewer who won't be objective.
You'll have to do more research on this camera for your shooting style and needs. But I know one thing. If I ever get a chance to shoot a $5 million house I will take the Lumix G2...
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2010
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This is my first system camera, I've owned it for about two months. I'm a young mom with a young baby, and a point and shoot doesn't do it for me anymore, especially while taking photos of my little one who likes to run around and hide in dark spaces. This camera is just the ticket. It's lighter and smaller than my hubby's Olympus DSLR, so I am able to lug it around with a diaper bag and a toddler in tow. I love tweaking the manual settings, and this camera is packed with it. The touch screen (and the dedicated quick menu button) is awesome. Very useful for making quick adjustments, and with a subject that doesn't stay still, this comes in pretty handy. And I'm really loving the swivel screen, perfect for self portraits and odd angle photography. And when the camera isn't being used, just turn the screen inward so it's protected from scratches. The dedicated iA and movie buttons are really helpful too (although I never use iA myself, the rest of my family don't know how to use this camera and that's where the iA button comes in). I'm very satisfied with the images this camera produces. I've just recently learned to tweak it enough to produce sharp, crisp, bright and vibrant images that sometimes I hardly need to do any post processing.
I don't mind it not having an in-camera stabilization.. aside from the kit lens, the only other lens I use it with is the Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 Aspherical Pancake Lens for Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras that lacks image stabilization, but I hardly get any blurred photos because that particular lens is very fast. I'm not so sure how this camera performs with other lenses.

Two things that I think may be improved:
1. The lens mount does feel plasticky, compared to other DSLRs I've borrowed, but it seems pretty sturdy.
2. Above ISO 800, I see a lot of noise.

If you are a mom like me looking to take great pictures of your kids, and like to mess around with manual settings (because this camera is complicated -- at least from a beginner's perspective), I'm pretty sure this camera will suit your needs, and I highly recommend it.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
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The camera was easy to learn to use. I do like the auto bracket feature as I learn the exposure characteristics of the new machine. I wish I could have bought just the camera body. The lens that came with the camera really is too limiting for a zoom and I am not impressed with a plastic lens mount on the lens. There should be other lens & camera package options that you can choose. The LCD screen was nice and bright and I enjoy it's flexible viewing positions. The built in viewfinder was nice and bright and easy to manually focus with. The camera was very user friendly with the quick movie button to start the video mode quickly and spontaneously. The video quality was excellent. As far as still image quality, the JPEGs did have a lot of noise in them and the color was not as lush and rich as I hoped. But by shooting the combo JPEG / RAW, I found the RAW images when processed with the included Silkypix Software really saved the day. I was able to achieve very nice depth and colors with the RAW.
I primarily am using the 20mm F/1.7 lens which is the best possible lens to use with this camera, allowing some very silky smooth blurred backgrounds and excellent sharpness where needed. The lens is wonderfully light and small and makes the viewfinder even brighter. I also am using the Panasonic 14-140mm zoom lens. This lens has it's place for a lot images that require the tele effect and the images are usually very sharp. The color is good but not at all as intense as the Pany 20mm lens. I am hoping that Panasonic will come out with a constant aperture lens for this camera that is in the zoom range of 12-70mm with a constant aperture of at least F/4. This lens and the 20mm would be all I need to do what I do with pictures everyday.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2010
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I waited 7 years for DSLRs to get small enough to be usable for me. It didn't happen. Then Micro 4/3 came along. It's not really fair to compare this camera to entry level DSLRs because their functionality and performance is typically deliberately hamstrung by the manufacturers, who need to entice buyers with extra features that justify the price of the high-end models. So the Panasonic is smaller than the smallest entry level DSLR, but with the features of much more expensive models that weigh 2-3x as much, like HD video with autofocus.
Out of the box, the drawbacks were ease of use, low-light quality, and autofocus speed. Ease of use because I was accustomed to the Nikon/Canon interface and had to adjust, but as others have mentioned, the touch-screen actually improves performance by enabling really quick adjustments. Low-light quality and autofocus were mainly hindered by the kit lens, which is decent but not great. For indoor shooting, get the 20mm lens and you will seldom need a flash or need to adjust ISO. It takes great pictures of motion in poor light, like my kids as they leap from the furniture after dinner. For video, the 14-140 lens, while expensive and heavy, focuses as fast as a dedicated high-end HD digital camcorder. So the kit itself is worth buying over a DSLR but add a couple of good lenses and you will never look back.
The bottom line is this: 95% of the people who buy mid-range DSLRs like D90/D7000 ought to be buying a Micro 4/3 instead. Nothing against Nikon and Canon, they make fantastic cameras, but you can get the features that 95% of us rely on in a package half the size.
Pros: small, light, awesome image quality.
Cons: expensive body, expensive lenses.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2010
I acquired the Panasonic Lumix G2 for travel and stock imaging. So far, I am most impressed with many aspects of this m4/3 system camera, including the following: build quality, portability (size/weight), ease of use, array of customizable settings, full manual control, super high-def EVF, high-res LCD display, responsiveness, and overall system components, especially lenses! Although AF speed is pretty quick, I probably would not want to shoot the Olympics with it. For what I shoot (products, landscapes, nature, macro), it is near perfect. If I had to nitpick, I could say that a PC Sync socket for us studio shooters would be handy. Also, having the self timer control on the same dial as the exposure/bracket modes means that you cannot use, say, auto-bracketing and the self-timer at the same time. However, don't worry...there is a workaround: Use a remote shutter release (i.e., Satechi MA-D1)! That frees up your exposure/bracket mode dial. As for image quality, I would say that it is much better than any point and shoot or compact camera in terms of noise, sharpness, tonality and dynamic range. However, as most reviews suggest, it is probably just shy of an APS-C sensor system in overall image quality. But in terms of portability and ease of use, I really think it is superb! I did make a 16x22 inch custom print from the G2 with the 14-42 kit lens, and it came out quite sharp, detailed, and with good dynamic range. (It was shot on a tripod at ISO 100, using the aforementioned shutter release.) The Lumix 20mm pancake is even sharper, and a sweet travel lens, albeit with no optical image stabilization. So, with good technique, one can obtain quality images with this system.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2010
Verified Purchase
Before buying this camera, I had researched other cameras for about 6 months (including G1). I used a lot of websites and tried the other cameras that my friends had.

I compared it with Nikon D5000, Rebel T2i and Alpha 550. This one stood out as a clear winner. The swivel LCD, fast autofocus, HD Video and above all, the compactness of the camera and reduced sizes of the lenses (thanks to micro 4-3rds) puts this camera above the others I have seen.

When I compared the looks of this camera with other cameras on the internet, the pictures do not do justice to how cute this thing really is. You have to hold it in your hands to realize how sweet this cameara is and I guarentee that you will instantly fall in love.

I have also given due consideration to the APS-C based mirrorless designs. My hummble openion is that there is no value in just reducing the size of the body by eleminating the mirror and the prism. That way the camera is knocked out of balance. 4-3rds and micro 4-3rds have done a great job of optimizing all aspects of a camera to take best advantage of digital technology.

You have to see it to believe it!!!
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