The new Panasonic Lumix GF2 is the world's smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera to come complete with a built-in flash and touchscreen technology. But how does it compare to other compact system cameras out now? The Panasonic Lumix GF2 review finds out...

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Panasonic Lumix GF2

Overall score:87%
Image Quality:85%


  • Size, design, HD video


  • no viewfinder, no physical mode dial


Panasonic Lumix GF2 Review


Price as reviewed:


Image Quality

Panasonic Lumix GF2 review – Image Quality

Panasonic GF2 – Tone & Exposure

Exposure is relatively conservative and does a good job of not blowing out highlights. Sometimes this will lead to shadow areas that are a bit too shadowy, so keep your finger at the ready to apply a bout of exposure compensation (of course this is better than losing all detail in the initial shot).


Panasonic Lumix GF2 sample image - Bath

The LCD screen does need to be viewed straight-on for an accurate exposure assessment however – tilt it to an angle and the perceived exposure is inaccurate (one of the LCD’s biggest issues).

Panasonic GF2 review – RAW vs JPEG

The Lumix GF2 comes with SilkyPix 3.1 in the box which will be needed to read the Raw files (until Adobe et al introduce patch updates for respective Raw-reading software).

The software is fairly capable, but lacks the same level of speedy response that pay-for editing software often delivers.

By default the GF2’s Raw files remain unprocessed, save for the in-camera barrel distortion correction that’s an essential to counter the shallow flange distance inherent in the G-series build. While Raw files certainly show more image noise, there’s greater overall detail to play with thanks to no processing or compression. However, the noise levels at higher ISO settings are fairly interfering to final quality.

Panasonic GF2 – Colour & White Balance

Colour is generally neutral when using Auto White Balance. It’s when selecting from the My Colour modes that there’s greater room for pronouncing colours as these in-camera adjustments also include a Custom setting option to adjust Colour, Brightness, Saturation and Contrast.

Panasonic GF2 – ISO Sensitivity & Image Noise

Panasonic Lumix GF2 sample image - ISO 100

Given how far both DSLR and Compact System Cameras have come along in the past year the Lumix GF2 has a lot to live up to, but it doesn’t especially raise the bar above and beyond its GF1 predecessor. And given that 15 months have passed a lot of the competition has begun to sail past in the quality stakes.

The main issue is that there’s some presence of noise even at the lower ISO settings and, in fact, even low ISO long exposures exhibit JPEG artefacts and more softness than anticipated.

ISO 100-200 are of a good quality, though grain becomes apparent from ISO 400 and colour noise begins to show visibly at ISO 800. Probably about a stop sooner than on some other cameras. ISO 1600-3200 are fairly noisy and the addition of ISO 6400 is to little avail given the lack of detail and significant noise. Shoot at the lower ISO settings or on auto ISO and you’ll be fine. The benefit of having a fast-aperture lens means you’re less likely to need the higher sensitivities, but a word of caution to those looking for uber-detailed low-light shots (at high ISO).

Panasonic GF2 – Sharpness & Detail

Images are fairly well defined as you’d expect from the Micro Four Thirds sensor size. There’s enough detail in shots, though the higher sensitivity ISO settings quickly diminish quality due to noise reduction processing. Plus the in-camera barrel distortion applied to the wideangle lenses is rather severe which will cause further softness particularly towards the edges.

  1. 1. Panasonic Lumix GF2 review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Movie Mode & Quality
  6. 6. Value & Verdict
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