Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Performance, Timings and Shutter Lag

by Andy Stanton Reads (61)
Editor's Rating
9.20

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 9
    • Features
    • 10
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Expandability
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 9.20
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

PERFORMANCE
The DMC-G2’s speed of operation is very good in most respects. The camera starts up almost instantly and shot-to-shot speed is very quick. I was able to take ten shots in a row, pressing the shutter as fast as I could. However, its auto focus speed is not particularly quick compared to a DSLR’s.

The G2 uses a contrast-based AF system rather than the phase detection system used by most DSLR’s, which is often slower. However, compared to similar mirrorless cameras produced by Sony, Samsung and Olympus that also use the contrast system, the G2’s performance is quite good. I used the G2 in various lighting conditions and I found its focus to be very reliable.

Shooting Performance
Our performance tables compare the G2 with similar cameras, the Olympus E-PL1, the Sony alpha NEX-5 and the Samsung NX10. As the tables indicate, the G2 is tied for second after the Olympus when it comes to shutter lag with pre-focus, at 0.05 seconds. But the G2 is a solid first in auto focus acquisition, no pre-focus, at 0.36 seconds, and first in continuous shooting, at 3.5 frames per second. All in all, a very respectable performance.

Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)

Camera Time (seconds)
Olympus E-PL1 0.03
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 0.05
Sony alpha NEX-5 0.05
Samsung NX10 0.05

AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)

Camera Time (seconds)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 0.36
Sony alpha NEX-5 0.39
Samsung NX10 0.50
Olympus E-PL1 0.84

Continuous Shooting

Camera Frames Framerate*
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 17 3.5 fps
Samsung NX10 12 3.3 fps
Olympus E-PL1 14 3.1 fps
Sony alpha NEX-5 2.6 fps

*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.

The DMC-G2’s DMW-BLB13 lithium-ion rechargeable battery is rated by Panasonic to last for 360 shots. I recharged the battery once during the two weeks I had the camera, so Panasonic’s figures for battery life are probably accurate. Battery life is, of course, affected by the brightness level of the LCD monitor, how much you access the menus and use the touch screen, and how many minutes of video you shoot.

Panasonic G2

Lens Performance
Panasonic provided two lenses, the 14-42mm Lumix f/3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S. lens that is generally sold with the G2 and the 45-200mm Lumix f/4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.S. lens. Both lenses are optically stabilized. I found the longer lens to be somewhat large and heavy, so most of my photos were taken with the 14-42 mm lens. But most buyers of the G2 will probably consider getting the longer lens eventually, as its long reach is very useful.

Panasonic G2 Test Image
14-42mm Wide Angle
Panasonic G2 Test Image
14-42mm Telephoto
Panasonic G2 Test Image
45-200mm Wide Angle
Panasonic G2 Test Image
45-200mm Telephoto

Both lenses took good-looking pictures with sharpness maintained throughout the image. Vignetting was not a problem with either lens. Chromatic aberration (fringing) was rare, though I did notice it sometimes in high contrast shots when the image was blown up. For instance, there is a white fringe around the statue in the image below.

Panasonic G2 Test Image

There was very little evident distortion with either lens – perhaps some slight barrel distortion at the extreme wide angle position but no pin cushion distortion at maximum telephoto.

Panasonic G2 Test Image
14-42mm Wide Angle
Panasonic G2 Test Image
14-42mm Telephoto
Panasonic G2 Test Image
45-200mm Wide Angle
Panasonic G2 Test Image
45-200mm Telephoto

Video Quality
The DMC-G2 produces fluid, sharp video in AVCHD Lite format, with monaural sound, though stereo is possible with an optional microphone.

*Editor’s Note: We’re unable to post the AVCHD sample video here. The G2 also records 720p HD Motion JPEG files. Take a look at our Panasonic G10 review for a sample video recorded in this format.

Image Quality
The DMC-G2 produces sharp images with excellent white balance and strong, but natural looking color. It can shoot RAW images for those who prefer to post-process rather than leaving relying on the camera’s processor. You can direct the camera to shoot two versions of the same image, one JPEG and one RAW.

While outdoor images were consistently, good I had a problem with indoor images. I found the auto white balance function to be inaccurate. For instance, the color of the wall below has a bluish tint, but was more yellow in actuality. I tried different white balance settings but was never able to find one that captured the overall color of the scene.

Panasonic G2 Test Image

I sometimes noticed a bit of a problem with dynamic range, due to overexposure. However, the Intelligent Exposure feature of the G2 worked well to even out the contrast when a photo had very dark and bright elements.

Panasonic G2 Test Image
Intelligent Exposure On

Panasonic G2 Test Image
Intelligent Exposure Off

The camera has white balance settings for auto, blue sky, cloudy sky, shade, sunlight, white fluorescent light, incandescent light, sunrise and sunset and candlelight. As I stated, auto white balance worked well outdoors but was somewhat inaccurate indoors.

Panasonic G2 Test Image
Auto White Balance, 3200k incandescent light

As shown below, the DMC-G2 produces sharp images with low noise and good color through 800 ISO. They get softer and noisier at 1600 ISO and become much worse at 3200 ISO. The G2’s high ISO image quality may not be quite as good as that of a DSLR’s, but users accustomed to the high ISO images of point-and-shoot cameras will be very pleased with the images produced by the G2.

Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 100
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 200
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 400
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 800
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 1600
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 3200
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 6400
Panasonic G2 Test Image
ISO 6400, 100% crop

Additional Sample Images

Panasonic G2 Test Image Panasonic G2 Test Image
Panasonic G2 Test Image Panasonic G2 Test Image
Panasonic G2 Test Image Panasonic G2 Test Image
Panasonic G2 Test Image Panasonic G2 Test Image


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