The Panasonic G2 adds 720p HD movie capture and touchscreen LCD capabilities. What Digital Camera's Panasonic Lumix G2 review tests out how good the new kit is...
Panasonic Lumix G2 review – Features
The G2 features the same 12.1MP Live MOS sensor as found in the previous generation Lumix G1. Improvements have been made, with the now second-generation processing engine, the Venus Engine HD II, seeing faster operation, increased sensitivity to ISO 6400 and also incorporates Panasonic’s ‘Intelligent Resolution’ technology. This new feature recognises three main areas within an image – outlines, detailed texture and gradation – in order to apply specific sharpening.
One of the biggest new features the G2 has to offer is its 3in, 460k-dot touchscreen LCD screen, which can be freely rotated through 270° vertically and 180° horizontally. The G2 also has a built-in 1,440k-dot electronic viewfinder (or ‘Live View Finder’) that is activated when nearing the eyecup.
The other big addition to the feature stable is the inclusion of AVCHD Lite 720p HD movie capture at 50 frames per second (sensor outputs at 25fps PAL standard, the NTSC US release differs) for perfectly fluid motion recording, further complemented by a 2.5mm microphone jack for stereo sound capture.
In the stills department, the G2 is capable of capturing images at a burst rate of up to 3.2 frames per second to an unlimited number of images when shooting in JPEG or to a total of seven frames if shooting Raw.
With the ability to change lenses, the G2 has the entire range of Micro Four Thirds lenses at disposal. The standard kit formation features a new 14-42mm Mega OIS (Mega Optical Image Stabilisation) f/3.5-5.6 lens that replaces the former 14-45mm (as bundled with the G1).
Panasonic Lumix G2 review – Design
DSLR-like design comes in abundance, with the G2 adopting the familiar shape of the G1 with only a few slight cosmetic and practical changes. A new one-touch iA (intelligent Auto) button that illuminates blue when pressed is to be found on the camera’s top for quick access to fully automated shooting. Its visual light-up design lets you know the mode is on, so as to avoid any unwanted use. A further one-touch movie button also features.
In terms of layout, all the usual controls feature – shooting modes on the top dial; quick menu, function button, depth of field preview, main menu and a four-way d-pad on the rear; and AF-point selection on a top-dial to the left side with a new switch surrounding this to control AF mode (AF-S, AF-C or Manual). The flash pop-up switch is a bit crammed in against this second dial, though.
Perhaps surprisingly, only quick menus are committed to the touchscreen functionality. Though, realistically, this would perhaps be too fiddly to be of use as the menu system is no different in style and layout from those found in other Lumix G-series cameras. Settings and options are easily locatable and accessible, with enough quick-access buttons to encourage customisable use. If you’re an avid electronic viewfinder user then the rear screen can also be used to display all current settings instead of a live view image.