Panasonic DMC-G2 Review
(lens section by Andy Westlake, additional content by Richard Butler and Barnaby Britton).
Panasonic's G1 was not only the first product of the Micro Four Thirds standard, it was also the world's first interchangeable lens camera to turn its back on traditional optical viewfinder designs and take a more compact-camera-like live view approach. The outward appearance may have been pure DSLR, but the G1 is likely to be remembered as the camera that marked the beginning of the end for the half-century-long dominance of the single lens reflex design in interchangeable lens cameras.
Whilst the G1 was praised for its feature set, handling and overall responsiveness, the lack of video recording capability seemed odd at a time when movie modes were starting to appear on conventional SLRs. The irony that conventional SLR designers wanting to add a movie mode have considerably bigger hurdles to jump than Panasonic with the all-digital, mirrorless G1 was compounded by the arrival of the GH1 and GF1 models a little later - both sporting movie modes.
But that was then, and this is now, and in March Panasonic announced not one, but two successor models (both with movie mode) to the G1, splitting the line into a budget version (the G10, to be reviewed later) and the model featured here, the G2. The thinking behind the decision is simple - cutting back on the expensive stuff like a super-high resolution viewfinder allows Panasonic to compete with the cut-price DLSRs that dominate the big box retailers' shelves. The G10 adds little to the G1 beyond a (MJPEG) movie mode, but loses several of the G1's defining features (big, high res EVF, swivel screen), so for us the G2 is by far the more interesting model. In both cases the physical design and the sensor inside are essentially unchanged in this upgrade.
The G2 is an evolutionary - but nonetheless solid - upgrade to the G1, that answers some of the criticisms of the original model, adding the aforementioned video mode (720p AVCHD lite or MJPEG) and tidying up and expanding the external controls. The other big news is that the G2 gets touch screen technology (seen on several Panasonic compact DSCs) - not exactly high on our list of ways in which the G1 could be improved, but in the era of the iPhone something that undoubtedly looks good on the marketing materials, if nothing else.
Touch screen cameras aren't a particularly new idea (it could be argued that they started appearing before the touch-sensitive technology or user interfaces were really ready), but this is the first interchangeable lens camera we've seen to add the feature. Crucially, the G2's touch-screen options are in addition to, rather than a replacement for, traditional controls.
Key features at a glance
- 12.1 million (effective) pixel 4/3 LiveMOS sensor
- Venus Engine HD II with intelligent auto and Intelligent Resolution
- Movie capture (720p) in AVCHD Lite or M-JPEG formats
- 3.0" multi-angle 460,000 dot touchscreen display
- 1.4 million dot Color Electronic Viewfinder
- External mic connection
The G2 features a touch-sensitive screen that can be used to select focus point, adjust camera settings and even fire the shutter. However, no conventional controls have been removed, so it can still be operated almost exactly like a G1. An oddly-shaped stylus is provided but we found the pressure-sensitive screen responsive enough to not need it.
The G2 uses the eye sensor to the right of the electronic viewfinder (inherited from the G1), to detect when your face is close to the viewfinder and disables the touchscreen, to prevent unintended nose operation.
A new kit lens
Along with the G2 and G10, Panasonic has announced a new kit lens - a lighter, larger, less rangy 14-42mm F3.5-5.6. It loses its O.I.S image stabilization switch, passing control to the camera body. Despite the lens body being 5mm longer, a plastic mount and other materials changes have helped the 14-42mm shed 30g compared to the 14-45mm's 192g.
The optical design has changed, but the basic specification of 12 elements (1 of them aspherical), in 9 groups is retained. Panasonic says the performance should be to the same standard as its predecessor; we'll look at this later in the review.
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.