The Verdict

The arrival of the just-mentioned ‘APS-C’ format models has undoubtedly livened up the interchangeable lens compact camera category, but the G2 shifts the focus back on the Micro Four Thirds format. Not only has Panasonic made sure that the G2 has a good story to tell – namely its excellent touch-control operation – but it has also sought to convincingly counter any suggestions that the smaller sensor may be somehow inferior in performance terms. Like the Olympus E-PL1, the G2 squeezes yet more image quality out of the MFT imager (mostly via enhanced data processing algorithms, of course) so size still doesn’t matter here.

Beyond all this, the G2 also benefits from being a second-generation model so a few rough edges have been smoothed off and the bumps ironed out. And with affordability now also on its side, the G2 has a lot more going for it than its predecessor and is arguably the best Lumix G-series camera to date. But it’s the touch screen that really makes it a winner.

Panasonic Lumix DMC­G2 $1299

Type: Fully automatic digital camera with Micro Four Thirds bayonet lens mount.
Focusing: Automatic 23-point wide-area system using contrast-detection via imaging sensor. Single focus point – with variable area size – can be moved around the image frame. Manual switching between one-shot and continuous AF modes, the latter with a tracking function. Face detection and recognition. Sensitivity range is EV 0 - 18 (ISO 100). AF assist provided by dedicated illuminator.
Metering: 144-point multi-zone, centre-weighted average, spot and TTL flash. Metering range is EV 0 to 18 (ISO 100/f2.0). Exposure Modes: Continuously-variable program with shift, shutter-priority auto, aperture-priority auto, metered manual, TTL auto flash and TTL flash. Plus 27 subject/scene programs. Subject programs also set appropriate white balance, sharpening, contrast and colour saturation. Auto scene selection in ‘Intelligent Auto’ mode (portraits, landscapes, closeup, night portrait, night scenery, sunset and baby).
Shutter: Electronic, vertical travel, metal blades, 60- 1/4000 second plus B. Flash sync to 1/160 second. Exposure compensation up to +/-3.0 EV in 1/3 stop increments.
Viewfinder: LCD EVF type with 1.44 dots resolution. Coverage = 100% vertical/horizontal. Magnification = 1.4x (50mm lens at infinity). LCD displays and focus point indicators. Eyepiece strength adjustment built-in. Auto or manual switching between EVF and external LCD monitor screen.
Flash: Built-in pop-up unit with GN 11 power (ISO 100) and 14mm coverage (equivalent to 28mm). External flash units connect via hotshoe. Flash compensation range of +/2.0 EV in 1/3 stop increments. Flash modes are auto, red-eye reduction, fill-in, off and slow speed sync.
Additional Features: Choice of body colours (red, blue or black), camera settings displayed in main monitor screen, AE/AF lock, face-detection AF/AE, auto exposure bracketing, multi-mode self-timer (2 and 10 second delays, one or three shots), audible signals, auto power-off, hard-wired remote triggering. Optical image stabilisation via packaged 14-42mm zoom lens.

DIGITAL SECTION

Sensor: 13.06 million (total) pixels Live MOS with 17.3x13.0 mm imaging area and 4:3 aspect ratio. Sensitivity equivalent to ISO 100-6400.
Focal Length Magnification: 1.97x.
Formats/Resolution: Two JPEG compression settings, RAW output (lossless compression) and RAW+JPEG capture. Three resolution settings at 4:3 aspect ratio; 4000x3000, 2816x2112 and 2048x1536 pixels. Three resolution settings at 3:2 aspect ratio; 4000x2672, 2816x1880 and 2048x1360 pixels. Three resolution settings at 16:9 aspect ratio; 4000x2248, 2816x1584 and 1920x1081 pixels. Three resolution settings at 1:1 aspect ratio; 2992x2992, 2112x2112 and 1504x1504 pixels. 24-bit RGB colour for JPEGs, 36-bit RGB colour for RAW files.
Video Recording: AVCHD Lite format at 1280x720p pixels, 50 fps and 16:9 aspect ratio (three quality levels). Quick Time Motion JPEG format at 1280x720 pixels, 25 fps and 16:9 aspect ratio. Also at 848x480, 640x480 and 320x240 pixels and 30 fps. Mono sound recording. HDV clips in Motion JPEG format limited to 2.0 GB file size which is roughly 15 minutes at maximum quality. HDV clips in AVCHD Lite limited to just over 13 hours in theory, four hours and 14 minutes with a 64 GB SDXC memory card. Recording Media: SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
Continuous Shooting: Unlimited JPEG/large/fine frames at up to 3.2 fps (JPEG/large/fine) or up to seven RAW frames. Medium (2.6 fps) and low speed modes (2.0 fps) also available.
White Balance: TTL measurement. Auto mode, five presets and two custom settings. White balance compensation (amber-to-blue and/or green-to-magenta) in all presets, and white balance bracketing. Manual colour temperature setting from 2500 to 10,000 degrees Kelvin.
Interfaces: Multi-connector (USB 2.0 and NTSC/PAL composite video), HDMI mini, stereo audio input.
Additional Digital Features: Built-in sensor cleaning, 7.62 cm LCD monitor (460,000 dots) adjustable for viewing angle (270 degrees tilt, 180 degrees swing) and with touch control, digital zoom (up to 4.0x), Adobe RGB and sRGB colour spaces, long exposure noise reduction, six colour ‘Film Modes’ (Standard, Dynamic, Nature, Smooth, Nostalgic and Vibrant), three B&W ‘Film Modes’ (Standard, Dynamic and Smooth), two user-defined ‘My Film’ modes, ‘Multi Film’ bracketing (three frames), incamera adjustment of all ‘Film Modes’ (contrast, sharpness, colour saturation and noise reduction), eight ‘My Colour’ modes (Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, Silhouette and Custom), in-camera adjustment of all ‘My Colour’ modes (hue, brightness and colour saturation), luminance/RGB histogram displays, highlight alert, adjustable image display time, auto image rotation, slide show (with variable display times and background music), playback zoom (up to 16x), 12 or 30 thumbnail displays, capture date calendar display, image resizing and cropping, DPOF support, PictBridge direct printing support.
Power: One 7.2 volt/1250 mAh rechargeable lithiumion battery pack (DMW-BLB13PP type).
Dimensions (WxHxD): body only = 124x83.6x59.45 mm.
Weight: body only = 375 grams (without battery or memory card).|
Price: $1099 body only. $1299 with Lumix Vario G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS image stabiliser zoom. $1599 for twin lens kit which adds Lumix Vario G 45-200mm f4.0-5.6 Mega OIS zoom. Available in black, blue or red body colours.