- 12.1MP Resolution Live MOS Sensor
- 3″ LCD Display W/460,000-Dot Resolution
- Accepts Micro Four Thirds Lenses
- Small, Light Interchangeable Lens Camera
- Accepts 3D Interchangeable Lens
- Built-In Flash
- Use Touch-Screen for Fast Operation
- HD Video at 1920×1080
- 8 Preset My Color Modes
- Easy to Use With iA Function
Looking for a camera that’s smaller and lighter–and that still does everything the big boys do? Well, yeah, sure, but, c’mon, get real. Then, check out the Lumix DMC-GF2 Digital Micro Four Thirds Camera (Body) from Panasonic, the smallest and lightest (at time of release) interchangeable lens camera.
This Micro Four Thirds contender is 19% smaller and 7% lighter than its immediate predecessor, but still has a 12.1MP Live MOS sensor, is compatible with the full range of Micro Four Thirds lenses (including Panasonic’s 3D 12.5mm f/12 lens), has dazzling 1920 x 1080 HD video–in short, the speed and customization of an SLR camera in highly portable form.
A bright 3″ 460,000-dot LCD display for composition and review can also be used as a touch-screen for making and changing settings like focus and exposure–a touch on a human face, for instance, switches to the portrait mode and a touch on the background or scenery switches to the scenery mode, while a touch on the subject close to the camera switches to the close-up mode.
Despite its tiny size, the GF2 is packed with photo and video goodies. The My Color mode offers 7 preset imaging effects (such as Retro, Elegant, Cinema, Monochrome, Silhouette, etc.), and also allows users to customize color, brightness, and saturation on the fly. Using AVCHD Lite compression, the DMC-GF2 captures smooth 1080 HD video. The camera can also record HD video as a Motion JPEG file for drag-and-drop compatibility with many popular nonlinear editing systems. The body supports autofocus during video recording and Movie Program Mode allows for selective depth-of-field control.
Additional features of the DMC-GF2 include a built-in pop-up flash, contrast detection autofocus, integrated dust reduction technology, and high ISO 6400 sensitivity.
Smallest, Lightest System Camera
Smallest and lightest interchangeable lens system camera
12.1MP Live MOS sensor has the superb image quality of a CCD sensor, plus the lower power consumption of a CMOS sensor.
Compatible With Micro Four Thirds Lenses
Compatible with lenses from the Micro Four Thirds standard, including Panasonic’s new 3D interchangeable lens
Extremely easy to operate, with a redesigned user interface, which allows for the focus to be set, or shutter released, by simply touching the large 3″ touch-screen LCD, which has brilliant 460,000-dot resolution.
Simple Touch-Screen Operation
The touch-screen operation dramatically shortens the time spent navigating the menus. With the Touch Q-menu, the user can customize the camera’s shortcuts with the most commonly used settings. Together with the simple button components, including dedicated buttons for video recording and iA (Intelligent Auto) mode which lights in-use, users can operate the camera intuitively with ease.
iA Mode for Automatic Settings
With the Intelligent Scene Selector in the iA mode, the camera automatically switches to the appropriate mode according to the subject touched. For example, a touch on a human face switches to the portrait mode and a touch on the background or scenery switches to the scenery mode, while a touch on the subject close to the camera switches to the close-up mode.
AF Tracking System
The fast contrast AF focus system has an AF tracking function that makes it easy to take photos of moving subjects by automatically keeping the focus on your subject.
Venus Engine FHD Image Processor
The Venus Engine FHD image processor features exceptionally high performance signal processing capabilities in both photo and movie recording. With the advanced noise reduction system employing the 3D NR and CNR (Chromatic Noise Reduction), users can capture clear, naturally-balanced images even when shooting at high ISO sensitivity levels to help prevent the color bleeding.
Intelligent Resolution Technology
The Venus Engine FHD enables Intelligent Resolution technology, in which three areas–outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation–are automatically detected. Then, the outline parts are enhanced effectively to give edges more clearness while giving a moderate accentuation to the texture areas to look more finely detailed. To the soft gradation part, noise reduction is applied to make it smoother. In addition to the uniform enhancement of sharpness, Intelligent Resolution performs signal processing pixel by pixel, resulting in images that are naturally clear and crisp in both video and photos.
Highly Efficient Dust Reduction System
If dust gets inside the camera when the user changes lenses, it could cling to the image sensor and show up as a spot in photos. The highly efficient Dust Reduction System helps to reduce this risk by placing a supersonic wave filter in front of the Live MOS sensor. Vibrating vertically around 50,000 times per second, the filter repels dust and other particles.
1920×1080 HD Video
The Lumix GF2 can record JPEG videos at up to 1280 x 720, or smooth HD 1920 x 1080 movies at 60i in AVCHD. For better compatibility with computers, the Lumix GF2 can also record HD Motion JPEG in QVGA, VGA and WVGA video. A dedicated video record button makes it easy to start shooting videos, and high quality sound is recorded with the stereo microphone for Dolby Digital Stereo Creator. Panasonic’s iA mode extends to video recording, with the following features: Optical Image Stabilizer, Face Detection, Intelligent D-range Control and Intelligent Scene Selector.
My Color Mode
My Color mode offers a total of eight preset effects – Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Cinema, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, Silhouette, plus Custom mode, which lets users manually set the color, brightness, saturation and contrast levels.
There are 17 Scene modes, most of which can be used during video shooting, too.
Conclusion – Pros
- Compact body with relatively large imaging sensor
- Excellent build quality and handling
- Easy-to-use interface that allows excellent level of camera control even to novices
- Still one of the best-handling cameras in its class for enthusiasts
- Well-implemented touch-screen controls, including touch focus point selection
- Intelligent Auto mode includes both exposure compensation and background blur control (with live preview)
- Superb fully-customisable quick menu
- Fast and responsive operation
- Excellent raw image quality at ISOs up to 800
- 1080i video capability with built-in stereo microphone
- Useful level of control in movie mode – including background defocus and touch pull-focus
Conclusion – Cons
- Uninspiring JPEGs mean Raw conversion needed to get best results
- Auto White Balance can be too blue
- Sensor is starting to show its age (in terms of noise/dynamic range)
- Lack of flash exposure compensation means having to hope the camera gets it right
- Using iAuto button as a Function button would be a huge benefit
- No true manual movie control and no external microphone option