Panasonic announces the successor to its Lumix GF1 Micro Four Thirds camera with the Lumix GF2 today. Keeping the same rangefinder-esque form factor, it adds a 3.0-inch touch screen and several color options.
Panasonic claims to have reduced the GF2's camera body size by 19% as compared to the GF1. A 3.0-inch touch panel LCD of 460k-dot resolution has been added, similar to those used by the GH2 and the G2. Users can add their preferred often-accessed settings to the Touch Q-menu as shortcuts.
The new Venus Engine FHD handles image processing, including Panasonic's new Intelligent Resolution technology. Intelligent Resolution aims to boost image quality by enhancing detail in areas of outline, detailed texture and gradation.
In addition to the 720p HD video offered in the GF1, the Lumix GF2 will record 1080 HD video at 60i (with a sensor output of 30p) in AVCHD. Motion JPEG can also be used with resolutions of 720p and less. And, of course, the GF2 is equipped with all the necessary technology to create 3D images if you should choose to purchase it with Panasonic's 3D Lumix lens.
Other features have been kept largely the same. The GF2 offers the same 23-area contrast-based AF system as the GF1, an assortment of eight in-camera art filters, iA intelligent auto mode and manual exposure modes for photographers of varying skill level. The pop-up flash of the GF1 is back, and it's been modified slightly. Users can now bend it backwards by 90 degrees or so to bounce the light emitted.
This GF iteration is clearly pitched against the Sony NEX system. Panasonic asserts that features like a built-in flash and touch screen will steer consumers toward its Lumix brand. But does Sony's bigger sensor do enough talking to bring new customers its way? There's still a lot more room for growth for mirrorless cameras in the US, but if and when they do catch on, consumers will let their dollars do the talking.
Pricing and availability
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 is slated to arrive in January 2011 in four color options - black, silver white and red. The GF2 will be sold as a kit with the 14mm f/2.5 prime or with 14-42mm zoom lens. Panasonic has not released pricing at this time, promising to make that announcement 30 days before the camera arrives on store shelves.