Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Review

 
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Panasonic GF2 Design


(Illustration courtesy Panasonic USA)

1
Image sensor
4
Lens fitting mark
2
Self-timer indicator
5
Lens mount
AF assist lamp
6
Lens lock pin
3
Flash
7
Lens release button

The Panasonic GF2's front panel layout has changed in a couple of notable areas, since that of the GF1. While the lens release button is still in the same location, and the mount itself is unchanged, the hand grip has been reprofiled to make it more comfortable. Those with larger hands may still find the GF2 a little tiring for single-handed shooting, as the grip is quite close to the edge of the camera body, but photographers with average or smaller hands should find the GF2's more sculpted, less angular grip to be quite an improvement. The autofocus assist lamp -- which also doubles as a self-timer indicator -- has jumped across the camera body, and is now to be found directly beneath the 'GF2' branding. Also immediately noticeable here is that the GF2 lacks the hump underneath the flash hot shoe, where the speaker grille was placed in the GF1. It further drops the Mode dial, making for less protrusions and a more pocket / bag friendly design.



(Illustration courtesy Panasonic USA)

8
Flash open button
14
Menu / Set button
9
Speaker
15
Cursor buttons:
10
Rear dial
Up arrow / ISO button
11
Touch panel / LCD monitor
Right arrow / White balance button
12
Playback button
Left arrow / AF mode button
13
Q.Menu / Fn (Function) button
Down arrow / Drive mode button
Delete / Return button

Seen from the rear, the GF2 has changed a lot more significantly. There are now four less physical controls here than in the GF1, this being one of the main changes that has enabled Panasonic to reduce the overall body size. To achieve this, the LCD panel -- whose resolution, size and aspect ratio are all unchanged -- now includes a touch screen overlay, and so serves as a control device. The separate Q. Menu, Function, and Delete buttons from the GF1 are all combined into a single control, and the Down Arrow button -- which previously doubled as the Function button -- now serves as a Drive mode button in Record mode. As well as the removal of the Preview / Delete button, other dedicated external controls absent from the GF2 design include Display, AF/MF, and AF/AE Lock. One other change of note is the new seven-hole, circular speaker grille, now located just to the right of the accessory port, which still sits directly beneath the flash hot shoe.



(Illustration courtesy Panasonic USA)

16
Stereo microphone
20
Hot shoe cover
17
Shutter button
21
Camera on/off switch
18
Motion picture button
22
Status indicator
19
Focus distance reference mark
23
Intelligent Auto button

The GF2's top panel has also had quite an overhaul. As mentioned previously, the speaker grille has moved to the rear panel, and the Mode dial has been removed altogether. In the process, the Drive mode lever has also been removed, with its functionality taken up by the Down arrow button on the rear-panel four-way controller. The space previously occupied by these controls is now taken up by a relocated Power switch, and a new stereo microphone. With each half of the stereo microphone sitting underneath a 24-hole grille, it's a lot more immediately noticeable than the tiny single-port monaural mic in the GF1, but unfortunately it's still not ideally located, either for best capturing sound from your subject, or for stereo imaging. The Movie record button has grown rather in size since the GF1, and the Panasonic GF2 also now sports a dedicated iA (Intelligent Auto) button whose outer ring is illuminated in blue when the mode is active.



(Illustration courtesy Panasonic USA)

24
Shoulder strap eyelet
26
AV out / digital (USB) jack
25
HDMI jack

The GF2's external connectivity has jumped to the opposite side of the camera from that of the GF1, and is now to be found behind a rubber-hinged plastic door on the left-hand side (as seen from the rear). There are now only two ports located here -- one for HDMI high definition video output, and one that's a shared composite video output (NTSC only in US models), and a USB digital output for use with a computer. Gone is the wired remote control jack from the Panasonic GF1, as the GF2 sadly lacks any form of capture-mode remote control capability. (It does support remote control in playback mode from Viera-link compatible displays, through the high-def HDMI output, however.) The right-hand side of the GF2 -- not shown here -- is now essentially featureless, with only a second eyelet for the shoulder strap. (The GF1's left-hand side was similarly almost featureless, although it did also have a small access hatch through which the AC adapter's dummy battery cable was inserted, something the GF2 places inside the battery compartment door, instead.)



(Illustration courtesy Panasonic USA)

27
Tripod socket
29
DC coupler cover
28
Flash card / battery compartment door
30
Compartment lock release lever

Finally, the GF2's bottom panel is very similar in arrangement to that of the GF1. As just mentioned, there's a slight change, in that the access hatch for the AC adapter's dummy battery cable now sits in the middle of the battery compartment door, but otherwise there's little difference. The lockable compartment door still sits beneath the hand grip, and the metal tripod mount is still on the center axis of the lens, but rather close to the front of the camera body. (It's also still rather too close to the compartment door to allow quick battery or flash card changes with most tripods or quick release plates attached.)


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