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Focus on Imaging 2010: Eighteen months after unveiling the worlds first Micro Four Thirds camera, Panasonic has introduced its successor- the Lumix DMC-G2, with touch control shooting. Built around the same body design as the G1, it records 720p HD videos in AVCHD Lite format and features a touch sensitive 460K dot 3.0" LCD. Its advanced touch features allows shooting by just tapping the subject on the LCD. Other features include AF tracking, a dedicated movie mode and a faster Venus Engine HD II processor. We've had a pre-production example in the office and have put together a hands-on preview.
The DMC-G2 from LUMIX G Micro System
February 7, 2010: Panasonic is pleased to announce the new DMC-G2 from Lumix G Micro System as the world’s first interchangeable lens system camera with touch-control shooting*1. The LUMIX G Micro System has been sparking revolutions in the market as its name “New-Generation System Camera” suggests.
Ever since the release of DMC-G1, the first interchangeable lens system camera based on the Micro Four Thirds System standard with dramatic downsizing of the body adopting the mirrorless structure. The GH1 realized 1920x1080 full HD (High Definition) movie recording and the GF1 brought an innovation even in the viewpoint of design with a flat, slim profile.
To develop the new DMC-G2, Panasonic focused on the operability and elevated it even higher by adoption of touch-screen that connects the sight and action most intuitively. Just a touch on the subject in the LCD lets you set AF even to release the shutter. Various advanced AF functions taking advantage of high-speed, accurate contrast AF are now as easy and comfortable as it never was with a combination of touch-screen operation. Yet the camera body is compact enough to be the world’s smallest and lightest*2.
The double Live-View function offered by the large and bright 3.0-inch 460,000-dot free-angle Intelligent LCD and 1,440,000-dot 1.4x (0.7x*2) Live View Finder makes it possible to see how settings results in the picture in advance to the shooting. The 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor and the new Venus Engine HD II integrating Intelligent Resolution technology assure high image quality in both photo and movie recording.
The DMC-G2 records high quality movie in AVCHD Lite in addition to the motion JPEG even with advanced flexibility of cutting out a high quality still image thanks to the Intelligent Resolution technology. The camera has an HDMI output capability so that the dynamic movies and photos can be played back on the large HDTV via the optional HDMI mini cable.
For stimulating the creativity of photo/videography, the popular My Color mode is succeeded from the predecessors to offer 7 color settings and 1 custom setting for both photo and movie recording. In addition, the Movie P mode lets you change the aperture to expand the expressiveness in movie recording. The DMC-G2 is also compatible with the optional external stereo microphone DMW-MS1 for high quality audio recording.
On the other hand, the iA(Intelligent Auto)mode which is popular in both Lumix system cameras and compact cameras supports easy shooting with automatic optimization according to the scenes in both photo and movie recording. It can be directly activated with the newly added iA button without trouble of setting using dial or menu.
The DMC-G2 with HD movie recording capability offers an abundance of advanced functions with an unprecedented ease of use realized by a touch control. It brings users from entry level to high amateur and even to professionals, a different surprise and joy of shooting commensurate with their photographic stage. Choose the body color that sound most right to you from three colors - black, red and blue.
The intuitive touch-control shooting- world’s first in an interchangeable lens system camera*1
To elevate its operability even higher, the DMC-G2 adopts touch-control shooting for the first time in the world as an interchangeable lens system camera. AF is immediately set to the subject by just touching it on the large, 460,000-dot LCD and you can even release the shutter.
Once you lock on the subject by a touch, the camera tracks the subject even it moves with the AF tracking function. Just a touch on the screen lets you select the part and the size of AF area with the 1-area AF and the 1-area AF in Face Detection even allows you to set finer focus on the eye while capturing human face bright and clear. The Multi-area AF allows to set a group of AF point according to the composition.
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 the a touch on the background or a scenery to the scenery mode while a touch on the subject close to the camera to the close-up mode. In the manual focusing, you can enlarge the part by just a touch to select 1x, 5x or 10x and smoothly move the part by dragging it on the screen. The touch operation dramatically shortcuts the action of setting in the menu, too.
The touch-screen operation excels not only for shooting but also for playing back images with outstanding visibility. You can play back the image you want out of hundreds of stocks by touching on the one in the thumbnail. To play back images one by one in order, you can drag the image across the screen with a finger to browse the collection of photos as you flip over the pages of the book. Max.16x of enlargement is also easy with touches.
The large, high resolution LCD with wide viewing angle rotates 180° from side to and tilts 270° up and down offers approx.100% of field of view. The free-angle LCD with a touch-screen operation makes both monitoring and touching at any physical position.
Despite the incorporation of high-performance LCD, the DMC-G2 is the world’s smallest and lightest to offer excellent portability*2.
The LUMIX G Micro System identity
With the LUMIX DMC-G1, Panasonic has developed an entirely new concept in digital cameras that comply with the Micro Four Thirds System standard by taking even greater advantage of the compactness and light weight that are made possible by eliminating the mirror box and optical viewfinder unit. By increasing the number of electrical contacts between the camera body and the lens, the camera's expandability is also dramatically increased to maximize future potential.
The LUMIX G Micro System's large, bright 1,440,000-dot equivalent Live View Finder retains the outstanding viewability of an optical viewfinder and can also display information about camera settings that the user can see without taking his or her eye from the subject.
A clever built-in eye sensor automatically switches on the viewfinder when the user looks into it, then switches it off and turns on the free-angle 3.0-inch large 460,000-dot high-resolution LCD (which boasts a wide viewing angle) when the user looks away from the viewfinder.
The 60-frames-per-second Live View is made possible by the Live MOS sensor, which takes signals directly from the image sensor and sends them continuously to the LCD, in real time. Both the Live View Finder and LCD provide approx. 100% field of view. This allows the user, when composing a shot, to check the framing accurately from corner to corner.
The contrast AF system*4 adopted by the LUMIX DMC-G2 is not only accurate and easy to use, but also very fast. Users can choose from a wide range of AF modes, including AF Tracking, 1-area AF, Face Detection AF/AE and 23-area area.
High image quality as an interchangeable lens system camera
While achieving breakthroughs in advanced functions and compactness of design, Panasonic also refined its comprehensive digital imaging technologies for every cameras of LUMIX G Micro System to raise the level of image quality that rivals or even surpasses D-SLR cameras. The 4/3-type 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor featured in the DMC-G2 offers the best of both worlds -- the superior image quality of a CCD sensor, and the lower power consumption of a CMOS sensor. Advanced technology that makes it possible to read 4 channels of data simultaneously also helps the G2 deliver 60 frames-per-second Full-time Live View images, while faithfully reproducing high-resolution images with fine detail and rich gradation.
The new Venus Engine HD II features exceptionally advanced signal processing capabilities. This sophisticated LSI separates chromatic noise from luminance noise and applies the optimal noise reduction to each, so you capture clear and beautiful images even when shooting at high ISO sensitivity levels. The Venus Engine HD II also provides independent gradation control for each of the R, G and B colors, so even delicate color nuances are reproduced faithfully. Linking smoothly with the Live MOS sensor, the Venus Engine HD II records stunning high-resolution 12.1-megapixel images with exceptional accuracy. Signals containing a large amount of image data are sent from the Live MOS sensor to the Live View Finder at 60 fps, resulting in clear, smooth live view.
The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine HD has been re-engineered to compile the new image processing technology "Intelligent Resolution". It enables the recording of beautiful photo and high-definition movie with higher quality signal processing. With the Intelligent Resolution technology, 3 areas — outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation areas are automatically detected. 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, superior noise reduction system of the Venus Engine HD II is applied to make it smoother. Apart from the uniform enhancement of sharpness, the innovative technology Intelligent Resolution precisely performs signal processing pixel by pixel in the most effective way for it. As a result, images are naturally clear and crisp in both photo and movie recording.
Cameras of LUMIX G Micro System are equipped with highly efficient Dust Reduction System. If dust or other foreign matter gets inside the camera when you're changing lenses, it could cling to the image sensor and show up as a spot in your photos. The Dust Reduction System in the G2 helps eliminate this possibility 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 effectively.
Take motion picture recording to the next-level with new generation AVCHD Lite
The DMC-G2 can record 1280 x 720 high-definition motion picture in AVCHD Lite that features long recording time and high compatibility with audio-visual equipments. Users can enjoy recording HD motion images taking maximum advantage of lens' descriptiveness and interchangeability or the large sensor size.
The action starts at a single press of a dedicated button on the top while most of the settings for photo recording are succeeded, which is convenient when you record the same subject at the same situation in both photo and movie. HD Motion JPEG in 1280 x 720 can also be selected as an alternative movie recording format in addition to QVGA, VGA and WVGA, which is more compatible with PCs. High quality sound can be recorded with Dolby Digital Creator and optional accessory Stereo Microphone (DMW-MS1) can be attached to the G2. A Wind Cut function is also available to block out most of the noise from background wind.
Even video beginner can record excellent movies with DMC-G2 because the popular iA (Intelligent Auto) is also available in motion image recording. Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) helps prevent handshake when using high-powered zoom. Face Detection automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion on it so it always turns out beautifully. Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows. And Intelligent Scene Selector automatically switches between Portrait, Scenery, Close-up and Low Light modes according to the situation to optimize visual quality.
The G2 also provides a My Color mode, Film mode and carries over a variety of scene modes from photo scene modes in movie recording. Motion picture P mode that lets you change the aperture for more creative HD movie recording. You can try professional-like movie recording with these variety of options like you do with photo recording.
Now the DMC-G2 can take photo while recording movie by just pressing a shutter button. Plus you can save a frame of movie as photo during playback. Newly added Video Divide function lets you split a video into two at the point you desire. This makes it possible to delete the unwanted part by cutting it off.
A pallet of options to stimulate photographers' creativity
The DMC-G2 is artistic not only in form, but also in function. It provides an array of features that let users either capture precisely true-to-life images or create their own beautifully expressive images. The G2 features My Color mode with a total of seven preset effects -- Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, and Silhouette while inheriting the previous Custom mode, which lets users manually set the color, brightness and saturation levels.
With the Full-time Live View function, users can see how these settings will affect the images before they shoot, making it easier to capture the exact mood or atmosphere desired. For even more elaborate effects, users can choose from a total of nine Film modes, and set the contrast, sharpness and saturation levels for each. A custom function lets users store their favorite settings in memory. The G2 also provides a total of 26 Scene modes including the Peripheral Defocus mode. Most of these modes can be used when shooting motion images too, letting users create movies with dramatic, theatrical effects without having to edit after they shoot.
The exposure meter can be displayed in the P/A/S/M shooting modes. The correlation between shutter speed and aperture is shown, with a color-coded warning that alerts users when the settings are not in the proper range. For newcomers to system camera photography, this makes it easy to learn proper settings both visually and logically, enhancing their photography skills.
Great photography is not only from a professional photographer -- iA (Intelligent Auto) mode
The DMC-G2 has advanced functions that will satisfy experienced photographers, yet is easy enough for beginners to use comfortably. It's ideal for compact camera owners who want to step up to higher-quality photos -- but without having to worry about the need of technique. Panasonic achieved this superb ease of use by continuing to improve iA mode -- with its shooting assist functions that have proven extremely popular in LUMIX compact cameras -- and adding it to the LUMIX G Micro System's advanced imaging technologies. iA mode is available not only in photo but also movie recording.
With AF Tracking, the G2 can lock onto any subject and keep it in focus even if it moves -- making it easy to get beautiful, clear shots when a great photo opportunity suddenly arises. Simply aim, lock, and shoot. The Face Recognition*5 function remembers registered faces to give an appropriate AF/AE on the people. In playback, you can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using Category Playback.
In addition to the advanced functions mentioned above, the iA mode inherits fundamental functions users need in a good digital still camera. These include MEGA O.I.S., which helps prevent blurring from hand-shake, and Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves as the shot is taken. Intelligent Exposure optimizes the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully. It also features an automatic backlight compensation function that activates whenever the camera detects the subject is in backlight. Intelligent Scene Selector automatically detects the most common shooting situations -- Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery, Close-up and Sunset -- and switches to the appropriate Scene mode. The user can activate all of these useful, convenient shooting-assist functions by simply selecting iA mode.
Enjoy watching high quality photos and movies on large HDTV - VIERA Link networking
Both still images and motion images in AVCHD Lite recorded on SD Memory Cards are easy to view on a Panasonic VIERA TV with dynamic HD resolution. The user simply inserts the card into the VIERA Image Viewer (SD Memory Card slot) on a VIERA TV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc Player*6 to play the content. Alternatively, an optional mini HDMI cable can be used to output still and motion images recorded with the DMC-G2 directly to the TV for easy VIERA Link operation. This makes it possible to take maximum advantage of the camera's playback functions, including slideshows in which both still and motion images are played sequentially, or calendar displays and so on. All control is possible using only the TV's remote control.
In addition, with the included software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition, it is easy to view and edit your recorded contents. You may also choose to upload your videos to YouTube or burn them to a DVD disc for archiving.
Rich options for expandability
The Micro Four Thirds System products are joining today's Four Thirds System products to provide customers with even higher levels of performance in a digital interchangeable lens camera. In addition to LUMIX G lenses, the LUMIX DMC-G2 and LUMIX G Micro System can use any interchangeable lens that complies with the Four Thirds standard via an optional mount adaptor DMW-MA1 and with the prestigious Leica M/R Lenses via DMW-MA2M or MA3R. This gives the user access to the unlimited number of lens properties.
With the LUMIX G Micro System and the growing assortment of lenses becoming available, the expressive possibilities are unlimited. The LUMIX DMC-G2 system camera offers a wide variety of options to choose from to match every shooting situation and shooting style. Some accessories are not available in some countries.
With the DMC-G2, PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition for easy organization of photos and movies and the SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE for RAW file development come bundled.
The PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition makes it possible to sort and organize photos not only of those newly taken but also of those stored in your PC with quick start-up and fast read-in of images. The Face Recognition function that recognizes the faces in the picture to automatically sort the photos by the registered faces without picking out each photo one by one when you only want pictures of a specific person.
You can also enjoy slideshows with a variety of effects and use your iTunes music library as background music and burn it onto a DVD disc in MPEG2. Motion pictures can be uploaded directly to YouTube using the built-in YouTube uploader even in HD quality. It also lets you create a 360-degree rotation panorama file in MOV, which is especially easy if Panorama Assist mode in the camera is used. The software is of course compatible with the Windows 7.
The original image data in RAW file format recorded with the G2 allows images to be developed according to your intention using highly advanced functions of the SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE software utility. It features unique combination of high resolution and extraordinary color separation performance.
*1 For an interchangeable lens system camera with movable LCD as of March 7, 2010
*2 For an interchangeable lens system camera with movable LCD as of March 7, 2010. There are some limitations to other functions depending on the lens to attach.
*3 35mm camera equivalent.
*4 Lenses that are not compatible with the contrast AF function can be used with manual focusing.There are some limitations to other functions depending on the lens to attach.
*5 Turn Face Recognition item ON and register the person with full-face portrait on the shooting menu in advance. Some functions in iA mode may not be available depending on the lens that is mounted.
*6 AVCHD Lite motion images recorded onto an SD Memory Card or a DVD cannot be played on a device that does not support the AVCHD standard.