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Color reproduction

Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to see comparative boxes inside each patch.

Unusually, the GF2 has just two options available in its simplified 'Picture Adjust' control - color and black and white. The 'Color' setting gives relatively muted colors and contrast compared to many entry-level cameras (except for reds, which in typical Panasonic fashion, are designed to jump out at you), and appears identical to the 'Standard' color setting on previous Panasonic cameras. If you don't like this look, the only option you have is to adjust the saturation and/or contrast to find something you prefer.

The GF2's 'B/W' setting is the same as the old 'B&W Standard' mode, which means it's relatively low in contrast and offers little tonal distinction between different colors (technically, it appears to be simply a grayscale conversion based upon each pixel's luminance value). This is a pity - we much preferred Panasonic's old 'B&W Dynamic' mode, which was higher in contrast and rendered blues as dark grays, akin to using an orange filter with black and white film.

The camera also has a 'My Colors' mode that provides a series of fairly extreme color responses to provide dramatic images. Their titles, which include Expressive and Dynamic Art, should give a clue as the their subtlety (if you think most cameras' 'Vivid' modes aren't quite retina-popping-enough, then you'll love Expressive mode). This mode doesn't allow much manual control, so essentially you just have to hope that the default metering associated with each mode provides exactly the result you want, and the auto white balance gets things right too.

Panasonic DMC GF2 Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
ColorBlack & WhiteExpressiveRetro
PureElegantCinemaMonochrome
Dynamic ArtSilhouette

Flash

The GF2 is fairly unusual in the compact mirrorless sector in that it have a built-in flash. Given its body size, the flash is, unsurprisingly, rather small and low-powered.

Slightly frustratingly, there's no option to control the flash output - there are Auto, Forced Flash and Slow Sync options (each with the ability to engage Red-Eye reduction), but no manual settings or even flash exposure compensation, which means you can't tone the flash down if you think it's too harsh.

iResolution

The GF2 features Panasonic's Intelligent Resolution system - a context-sensitive image processing system that attempts to smooth noise in what should be even tones and sharpens what it interprets as edges and detail. Only when iResolution is turned up to 'Extended' does the additional sharpening become really obvious so for the most part there's no great harm to turning it on. The effects are subtle to say the least.

iResolution Off iResolution Extended
100% crop 100% crop

iDynamic

The GF2 also features the company's iDynamic processing that is supposed to pull up dark areas of the image to balance-out high-contrast photos. Much like Canon's Auto Lighting Optimizer, it appears to require extreme differences in brightness before the processing has any effect at all. Here we've shot a substantially back-lit scene and the camera has attempted to pull the shadow regions up a little. The difference between the various settings is subtle, but in extreme situations the highest setting will adjust the exposure (and potentially the ISO) to retain a fraction more highlight detail.

iDynamic Off - F7.1, 1/200th sec iDynamic High - F7.1, 1/250th sec
100% crop 100% crop

As with anything on the GF2 that involves brightening shadow regions, one of the effects of iDynamic is to make chroma noise more obvious. Overall it's not a function we found terribly impressive, and we'd be inclined to leave it turned off.

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