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Customer Review

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A joy to use but it could be improved, July 14, 2010
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This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 12.1 MP Live MOS Mirrorless Digital Camera with 3-Inch Touch Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 MEGA OIS Lens (Black) (Electronics)
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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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 28, 2010, 10:11:54 AM PDT
shuTTL3bus says:
Hi Carol,

I am glad you like your G-2. I've been on the road the past 3 months and now live in Kenya. I don't get the cutting edge stuff quickly any more. I just purchased a red G1 with the good lens for $400. That's what they are charging for just the lens now. Are you sure about the sensor. I see the G10 sensor is just barely better than the G1s. I was hoping that with the price of the G2 it would have the GH1 sensor in it. It has not shown up on DXOmark yet so I don't know. I think right now the GH1 is the best deal going. $1100 which is about the right price. I really like the touch screen of the G2 but if the DXOmark is only 55 like the G10s is (G1 was 53) then it is not worth the $400 on the upgrade over the G1. GH1 is 64 for reference. The next closest is the E3 at 56.

How are those adaptors working out for you. They looked really good. I love shooting my Nikon lenses on my GH1 and have been snapping up so many D lenses while they are still available. For example Nikon 300mm f/4 with TC-2IIIE = 1200mm f/8! All very small and easy to carry. Or the 80-400mm = 160-800mm with no teleconverter. The Nikon 200mm f/4 Micro has been astounding. Since you need to manually focus macro work anyway it works wonders. The extra depth of field is also very welcome in macro.

Happy shooting and I will talk to you later. I enjoyed your review and always appreciate your insightful comments.


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2010, 12:32:14 PM PDT
Carol Stee says:
Hi Brady,

Good to hear from you after three months. I hope you enjoy living in Kenya. Are you in Kenya to shoot (pictures) of wildlife with your Nikkor telephoto zooms? It must be fun to travel around the world. I live in southern California full time and can't travel for now, but maybe things will change when the economy improves.

I feel honored that you enjoyed my review because you know much more about photography than I do, and I write from an enthusiast's point of view with little technical data that some of the reviews have.

Getting the G1 for $400 is a real bargain. Where did you find it at that price? The black G1 is selling for $499 on, outselling the G2. I realize that I could have got the G1 with the Panny 20mm f/1.7 lens for only $50 to $100 more than what I paid for the G2 but it's too late now. I was eager to get a digital camera because I was fed up with film so I got the G2 when it first came out at a $25 discount with a gift card. But next time I buy a camera I'll wait until it's out for several months after the price drops. Live and learn.

I don't regret getting the G2 because the touch screen makes focusing easier and it has the improved Venus II engine. The weakest part of the G2 is the plastic mount kit lens that one is forced to buy with the camera since it's the only lens choice and it's not available body only. I am careful in handling my gear so the lens will probably hold up but somebody who's rough with their equipment will ruin their kit lens in no time.

The G2 sensor has the same specs as the G1, GF1, and the Olympus PENs. thinks the same sensor is used in the G1 and G2, so I think it's the same one unless subtle improvements have been made for the G2. Panasonic reserves their improved sensor for the top of the line GH1, I think to give people an incentive to pay more for it and keep down the price of the others while packing them with popular, but unnecessary, features.

Regarding the sensor ratings, the Panasonic L10 scored 55, a camera that came out August 2007, which is not to be confused with the G10 that hasn't been reviewed yet. It will be interesting to see how the G2 and G10 rank. This is the first time I visited that website. Thanks for telling me about it. I used dpreview and imaging-resource to decide what camera to get but this will help in the future.

I got the Metabones Nikon lens to M4/3rds camera adapter on eBay. It looks similar to the Voigtländer at less than half the price. It's good quality and easy to use. A Hong Kong based vendor also sells other M4/3rds adapters. Here's the link:

The older Nikon AF D and MF lenses have an aperture ring so they can be used manually on M4/3rds cameras and they cost less because they don't have a built-in auto focus motor. Are you buying the older AF D lenses because they're being discontinued? I really hope not because I want to get more AF D Nikons to expand my lens collection. For now there aren't very many M4/3rds lenses and only one that is good in low light, the Panny 20mm f/1.7. I don't mind that the Nikons are bigger and heavier than the M4/3rds lenses because they're built to last. But I've only seen one M4/3rds lens, the Panny 14-42 kit lens, so it may be unfair to say all M/3rds lenses are built flimsily like this one.

I have three Nikon AF D lenses, an 85 mm f/1.8, a 24mm f/2.8, and a 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5, and a 50mm f/1.8 MF lens, but I use the 85mm and the 50mm the most because they're fast. When I used them on the 35mm cameras they ranged from wide angle to portrait but on the G2 they are normal to telephoto. It's hard to find wide angle lenses for M4/3rds cameras. There are two slow M4/3rds zooms, and some 4/3rds, but to get a wide angle view on a Nikon you need to use a fish eye lens that distorts the picture.

I don't mind focusing manually and setting the aperture with the Nikon lenses. It makes me think about how I want the picture to turn out so often I get better results than when I use the automated kit lens. That could be why people pay a fortune for manual Leicas. And since most of my pictures are landscapes or portraits and not moving things I don't need the auto feature very much.

Many people use Leica M mount lenses with an adapter on M4/3rds cameras because they're small and have superb optics. I am considering getting some, possibly selling my Nikon lenses to afford them. You have both Leica M mount and Nikon lenses. Do the the M mount lenses have finer optics than Nikon, and between the M mount lenses, does Leica have better optics than Zeiss and Voigtländer? Because Leica costs a lot more than the others do. Do you use your Leica M camera as much as the GH1 or G1?

The GF1 is dropping in price, which usually means a newer model is on its way. I've heard the GF2 will have an EVF on one side, like a Leica rangefinder, which sounds interesting. I probably won't get it though, unless it's significantly better than the G2.

There are rumors that Canon and Nikon will also bring out mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Canon's will have an APS-H sensor with a cropping factor of 1.3, and Nikon's will have a smaller sensor than the 4/3rds with a 2.5 cropping factor. Canon's sounds more interesting, but these are only rumors. Here are the links:

I look forward to reading more of your in depth reviews.


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2010, 11:20:17 AM PDT
shuTTL3bus says:
Hi Carol,

Well I paid $1499 for my GH1 and now it can be had for $949. The lens alone is almost worth that. That is a steal for sure. However, I have had my GH1 now for 1 year and you can't put a price on the photos I have taken with it. However, unless the GH2 is a smashing good upgrade, I too will wait the 3 or 4 months for the price to go down. The problem with the GH1 was it was so revolutionary that the price went up as high as $2400 and it was 8 months or so before the price came down.

I got my G1 from Amazon. It was listed under used but was basically an open box special. I got it for two purposes. My almost 3 year old daughter has been taking pictures with the GH1 for about 6 months. She has actually gotten pretty good with it and has taken some really nice pictures. Trouble is, it is a very expensive camera and she doesn't really understand the delicacy of electronics yet. So I wanted to get a cheaper body for her. Also, I wanted to pick up the 14-45mm lens and those are going for $400 now. So it was a no brainer to get the camera.

I like the GH2 and the touch screen is exceedingly temping. However, if they did not put the GH1 chip in there, one it is not worth it to me and two they made a huge mistake. That makes me worry about the GH2 chip. However, something that was batted around was a shutterless camera. With that setup, the flash sync speeds could be as fast as 1/2000th and that would be great. Still think I would wait though.

The GF1 replacement looked really cool with the ranger finder style evf. However, if they put the crappy G10 or GF1 EVF in there I don't think it is worth it. Also, the size the camera is more dependent on the lens than the actual camera. You stick the 14-140 on the GF1 and it becomes rather large, heavy, and unwieldy.

This is a point I think Sony and Samsung have missed with their APS-C sized sensors. The cameras may be small but the lenses are going to be bigger than a M4/3 equivalent. Therefore, you are not really gaining anything with a small camera body. Also, many times I like the slightly larger depth of field they M43 gives you as equivalent f stops. F1.4 is exceedingly small on a full frame.

As far as the wide angle goes, there really is only one choice. I like the Panasonic 7-14mm. It is very expensive but not so when compared to the Nikon. Yes it is F4 vice the F2.8 of the Nikon. But it is so much smaller and lighter that I don't really mind the loss of a stop. Take a Nikon D700 with the 14-24mm and compare it to a GH-1 with the 7-14mm and the difference in size and weight will astound you. However, you are correct as wide angle is a weak point of the m4/3. That is why it is pretty impressive they came out with the 7-14mm. What I don't understand is why they don't come out with a 300mm f/2.8. They would absolutely clean up with the bird, airplane, and wild life market. There is no reason they could not sell that for $2000. You can't even buy a 600mm f/2.8 lens but the Nikkon 600mm f5.6 is $9000 I think and is stupid heavy. I honestly don't know what they are thinking. I've looked around at alternative wide angle lenses for the m4/3 and all of them are actually pretty close in price to the Panasonic so I would save up the coin for that.

Regarding you question concerning the Leica. From everything I have read and seen, Leica makes the finest 35mm lenses in the world. However, many of them are stupid expensive $10,000 for the 50mm f0.95!?. However, whether you are going to see the difference depends a bunch on how big you are going to print. Also, because of the deeper depth of field you also loose a little subject isolation. So would I recommend Leica lenses. Yes and no. First, you can buy so older used Leica for relatively cheap. I got my 90mm f2.8 for $500 and my 135mm f/4 for $450. The big thing Leica's have going for them are corner sharpness. Well the m4/3 is not really going to use the corners of a 35mm lens anyway. So it is probably not worth paying the premium on them over Nikon. With that said the 28mm f/2.8 35mm f/2 50mm f/2 are probably some of the finest lenses in the world. They are small, the construction is amazing, the aperture rings are a joy to use, and the focus rings are buttery smooth. So the decision is up to you. Some of the Zeiss lenses are almost equal to the Leica. The Voightlander are not quite the equal to the Leica but are very nice in their own right. They are build well, feel nice, and will take great pictures. Many are smaller than their Leica cousins. I don't think you could go wrong with any of them.

I use my GH1 more than any other camera I own. In fact I sold my Leica because of some financial distress and because I didn't see myself using it as much. It was a very nice camera but I actually prefer focusing the Leica lenses on the GH1. You lose the depth of field but are able to much more precisely focus it than the range finder.

I think you can find some outstanding deals on used manual focus lenses. Most people don't want them so they can be had for cheap. Unless you plan to print really large, in which case you should have gotten the Canon T2i and some expensive lenses, then I don't think you are going to see any difference between the Nikon and other lenses especially if you are using primes. Check out Ken Rockwell for his review of Leica, Voightlander, and Nikon Lenses.

Talk to you later


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2010, 9:44:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 3, 2010, 9:46:03 PM PDT
Other wide angle choices are the Olympus M ED 9-18 made for micro four thirds, or the standard Olympus 9-18 with an adapter.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2010, 10:42:06 PM PDT
Carol Stee says:
M4/3rds cameras can use lenses, with an adapter, that have an aperture ring from most manufacturers, but few are as small and light as M4/3rds lenses. Panasonic just brought out a 14mm f/2.5 wide angle and an 8mm f/3.5 fisheye, so the wide angle lens selection is slowly improving for M4/3rds.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2010, 7:07:19 AM PDT
shuTTL3bus says:
Hi Carol,

The 8mm fisheye is a really nice lens. Lens baby now has a 160 deg fisheye for $250 so that is a pretty affordable fisheye.

They just released the DXO mark tests for the G2 and G10. Abysmal. 53 and 52 respectively. That is the G1 sensor with no improvement over 2 years of time. Stupid. Now they are going to put the same senor in the GF2 which was just announced. Panasonic could have a phenom on their hands and they keep blowing it. I don't understand why they did not put the GH1 sensor into the new bodies. GH2 gets its new sensor and everything else gets the GH1 sensor. Easy. Panasonic is making some really really stupid decisions. Hell the LX5 probably is approaching the G1 sensor.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2010, 9:30:37 AM PDT
Carol Stee says:
Hi Brady,

How good are Lensbaby optics? Some of their lenses only have two elements.

I saw the DxO tests for the G2 and the G10; they are at the bottom of the interchangeable lens heap, barely above the best P&Ss, the Canon Powershot G12 and S95 that both scored 47. The Panasonic LX5 has yet to be tested.

The GF2 is a simplified, dumb downed version of the GF1 with fewer controls, the same outdated sensor the GF1, the G1, and G2 have, and no rumored built-in EVF on it's side, rangefinder style. Few GF1 owners will want it; instead it will appeal to those upgrading from a P&S. The best thing about is that it comes with an option of the 14mm f/3.5, something lacking in the G2 and the GH2 kits.

Panasonic and Olympus are resting on their laurels; the M4/3rds format has so much potential and they are squandering it. Eventually, Canon and Nikon will give M4/3rds competition by bringing out mirrorless cameras, forcing M4/3rds to improve or go broke.

Next year when the GH2 drops in price I will get one. I don't regret getting the G2. It handles well and since June I've taken hundreds of pictures of friends, family, and landscapes that I would have missed out on if I'd waited for the GH2.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2010, 12:01:58 PM PDT
shuTTL3bus says:
Hi Carol,

The Lensbaby optics are, from what I have read, not that good. However, that is half the point. First you have the spot and the rest out of focus and then you the not very good lenses which help give the cheap camera look that is very pleasant.

I haven't liked any of the Olympus m4/3 and they are silly enough to think the 4/3 system is viable. Panasonic has really been screwing up badly. Samsung said they wanted to capture 60% of the market. They have neither the product or the vision to do that. I don't know what Panasonic wants but I do know they are blowing it. They have the product GH2 senor, Fastest Contrast Detection Auto Focus on the Planet. Researching a electronic shutter for m4/3. Take that and mix it with some fast glass and Panasonic would have single handedly made the DSLR irrelevant over night. Here is what the GH2 specs should have read, Sensor -- Same, ISO -- Same, Shutter speed - 1/16,000, Flash Sync - 1/4000+, FPS - 24+, 600mm f/2.8 equivalent smaller than current 300mm f/2.8. They would have owned the stills market and canon, nikon, and sony would have had no answer for them as the DX would be obsolete and all of their Lens Lines would be obsolete.

However, Panasonic wasted huge resources on the fad that is 3D and the niche that is pro video users of Combo Cams and have put out the severely outclassed G2, G10, and now GF2. GH2 is still a great camera but could have been so much more.

Here are my predictions:

3D - Thud. Both solutions are very limiting. Either you have to have stupid glasses or you are going to be very limited in viewing angle. 3D printing will be very expensive.

Panasonic 3D lens - Thud. That is the sound of the price falling as the market ignores it except for a few tinkerers.

Panasonic GF2 - Thud. That is the sound of the price falling as the market ignores it. It will probably do well in Japan but will be ignored here.

Panasonic G2 - Already gone thud in 4 months. You can almost buy it for the same price as the G1 and the G1. I think the G1 is better because of the better lens.

Panasonic GH2 - Big hit - More people are realizing how good this camera is. The GH1 sold for $2500 for a while. While it will be successful for Panasonic it will still be outsold by the D7000, 7D, and probably the GF2 because of the cheaper price. If Panasonic doesn't figure out what they have for stills by the G3, GH3, GF3 then m4/3 could lose out to the inferior DX that Sony, Nikon, and Canon will be pushing out.

Blending of Stills and Video - Will happen commercially but is not really going to happen in a big way at home or for art. See death of stills below.

Death of Stills - Way way overblown. There will always be a hugh demand for stills for the following reasons. 1) Stills capture a moment of time. This cannot be done in video as too many moments are hitting you at once. 2) Still cameras allow us to see the world in a way we can't ourselves. From the limited dynamic range to the captured moment. 3) Video is exceedingly time consuming to edit. Very few people have the time to edit video. I was recently on a 7 day trip and I took 3700 pictures. It took me about 2 hours to sort through them to pick my favorites. My days were 10 hours long so that would have been 70 hours of video to shoot. That would have required about 700 hours to edit down to my favorite clips.

Future 1/1.6" chip replaceable lens system - As you mentioned the G12 and S95 were 47 vice the G2 53. However, the G2 had a 10 stop Dynamic Range while the 2 canons had an 11 stop range. Next generation will get closer and closer. As the technology improves and processing power increases, the differences in quality between the sensor sizes will continue to shrink.

DSLRs - Obsolete in 5 years

Panasonic holds all the cards to make m4/3 an outstanding success. However, if they keep misplacing their research dollars and bringing out crap like the G2 and GF2 then they will lose to the inferior DX sized format mirrorless cameras. Can you say Betamax.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2010, 12:13:27 PM PDT
shuTTL3bus says:
When I say the G2 is crap I mean relative to what it should have been. It is basically a G1 that came 2 years too late. Now if Panasonic had put the GH1 sensor into the G2 then that would have been something.

If Panasonic had put the GH1 sensor into the GF2 and made 2 models. One with an EVF on the left and one with an EVF on the right.

If they would have done this, they would have had two absolute runaway hits on their hands.

With regard to the 14mm pancake I am completely underwhelmed with this choice. First the 28mm focal distance pretty much sucks. It is both two short and too long both at the same time. 12mm would have been brilliant. Second, Panasonic already has the 7-14, 14-42, 14-45, and 14-140. How many 14mm lenses do they think we need? Then there is the speed. 3.5! Are you kidding me? What sort of crap is that for a prime. Any your are going to charge what? $400. All I can say is pass me some of that Ganga because that must be some really good stuff. Panasonic puts out the brilliant LX3 and LX5 and sells a ton. Why? Because there are damn few cameras that shoot at 24mm and people want that length. The other reason is for the blazing fast Leica lens f2 at 24mm and f3 at 90mm. I will buy the LX5 over the GF2 any day of the week.

Also, Panasonic is so focused on size because of the NEX. However, the size of these cameras is mostly determined by the size of the lens. Anyone getting a NEX or GF2 is going to absolutely hate having a superzoom lens on the camera. It will be so unbalanced and hard to use that people won't do it. Also, the handling of the NEX and GF2 is going to suck.

Let me make some decisions for Panasonic for a day and I will have them take over the stills market and have Nikon and Canon licensing m4/3 to try to salvage some of their stills business.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2010, 4:41:23 PM PDT
Carol Stee says:
Hi Brady,

Samsung and Sony make mirrorless cameras with an APS-C sensor. The Samsung has an EVF but is awkward to use, and the Sony is compact but lacks an EVF and other features that more advanced photographers need. The Leica M8 has an APS-H sensor and the M9 has a full frame sensor, both in fairly compact rangefinder bodies, but they are manual cameras without video. Do you think it is possible to make a compact camera with an APS or full frame sensor, learning from the mistakes that Samsung and Sony made?

The Panasonic 14mm lens is f/2.5 not f/3.5. I have a Nikon 24mm f/2.8 lens that I got to go with a Nikon 35mm camera in the 1990s. It had a wide panorama with that camera but with M4/3rds it is a normal lens. I've never used a 28mm equivalent, which is 14mm with M4/3rds. Is there a noticeable difference in the breadth of field between 24mm and 28mm? What M4/3rds wide angle lens do you recommend?
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