The mirrorless/interchangeable lens class shows no sign of slowing down as Panasonic and Samsung are both introducing their second generation offerings while speculation is that Nikon is about to enter the fray.
Panasonic’s GF2 represents a measured approach to upgrades over the GF1: video goes to the full HD standard, 1080i; a 3D capture capability is offered via a new 12mm 3D lens and a touch screen operation with new user interface round out the major differences in the new camera. Panasonic wisely stuck to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy, and there wasn’t anything broken on the GF1. The good image quality returns, continuous shooting rates are up a bit and the new touch screen/user interface is functional and mostly well thought-out. The new camera is even a bit smaller and lighter than the GF1, which was the world’s smallest mirrorless, and shows, if nothing else, that Panasonic is willing to pursue any avenue in order to improve the breed.
I’d like them to pursue building a bit more battery capacity into the next one – the GF2 shoots even less on a single charge than the GF1, which wasn’t setting the world on fire in the first place. Panasonic hasn’t published an MSRP on the GF2 yet, but expect the camera and kit lens to run about what the GF1 cost, some $900. And as with the GF1, if you want the adapters to allow the use of Four Thirds or Leica lenses, those will set you back about $670 for all 3. At this point your expenditure level is such that you could be getting into a DSLR and some decent glass for the same outlay. Even forgetting the adapters, the GF2 is commanding entry level DSLR prices and that’s the major decision facing folks moving up from a compact: go mirrorless or go for the top of the camera food chain.
As a long-time Nikon shooter I’ve been following the rumors of a mirrorless Nikon for some time now, and while it’s not necessarily a camera I’d have much use for, if Nikon comes out with something as capable as the GF2 I’d be hard pressed to pass it by.
- A bit smaller and lighter than predecessor
- Same great image quality
- Full HD video
- Functional and intuitive touch screen interface
- Good AF and shutter reaction times
- Battery life disappointing
- Costs as much as DSLR
- High ISO noise performance trails best DSLRs