Panasonic GF2 Announced

What you see is what you get, including photography, displays, and video equipment.

Moderators: Dposcorp, SpotTheCat

Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:33 pm

Panasonic clearly catered this new camera to the Japanese market as Sony's NEX cameras have been kicking ass there. Reviews so far say that the touch screen interface works really well, but it's not awesome. I'm just wondering how much fiddling I need to do to get to a setting. The way I generally shoot is to stay in Aperture priority mode and adjust the aperture to get the depth of field I want, using the EV compensation button to adjust for the lighting.

Any thoughts? Was thinking of holding out for this but might now get a heavily discounted GF1 instead. The 14mm doesn't seem as useful as the 20mm for a regular walkaround lens.
*yawn*
etilena
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2002 7:43 am
Location: .ozziefied.

Re: Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:24 pm

Definitely gets a thumbs down from me. After the furor that fans made over the NEX's UI shortcomings at launch (many of which were addressed in a firmware patch btw), Panasonic went and repeated the same mistakes sony did. Lack of mode dial is annoying, but what is the deal killer for me is the loss of the AE/AF Lock button. On a MFT camera with its poor dynamic range, that is almost a necessity.

Also, the RRP on the 14mm lens is ridiculous. $400 for a 28mm-equivalent? That's twice the price canon, sony and nikon charge for their 28mm primes. Having said that, the 14mm *is* a nice lens, just not worth 4 Franklins IMO.

Right now, the GF1 can be had with 20/1.7 for around $550-650, and is a more usable device (although touchscreen focus point selection is pretty nifty on the GF2). It has the same sensor, and with tester13's firmware hack, is also capable of 1080p video. The only caveat is that I don't know if they've locked down the firmware of more recent production bodies like they have with the GH1.

At this point, though, I have to express my disappointment with the micro four thirds format. They've been stuck on the same sensor for 3 years, have a very small lens lineup made primarily of slow expensive lenses, and are soundly beaten on value by entry level DSLRs and their mirrorless competitors from Sony and Samsung. Their only saving grace is that Sony and Samsung have their own shortcomings - NEX still only has 3 lenses: 2 oversized zooms and a cheap, nasty 24mm equivalent prime. And while Samsung has a couple of great lenses (the 30/2 and likely the upcoming 20/2), its sensor isn't that great.

At least it's luckier than Four Thirds, which finally (inevitably?) saw the sword of Damocles drop. And while MFT got the 14mm prime and upcoming 12mm, 4/3 never even got a single wide angle prime (!).

If you're shopping for a small camera now, my pick is probably the Sony A55 SLT, which is not great for video but has DSLR-level AF and a huge selection of Sony and Zeiss lenses. The Pentax K-r is another possibility, but mainly if you're smitten by Pentax's lens lineup (FA Limited, yum). There are still areas where the GF1 requits itself very well - hacked AVCHD video, the 20mm lens is a beaut, and specialty lenses like voigtlaender's 25/0.95 are still great reasons to get the camera/format, but it really seems like MFT has to survive in spite of Panasonic sometimes.
Wind, Sand and Stars.
Voldenuit
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:10 pm

Re: Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:02 am

After thinking a bit, the GF1 still seems to be the way to go. My interest in m4/3 is just so that I can have a small camera with decent image quality. The GF1 picked itself with the better AF and the 20mm pancake when compared with the Olympus alternatives. I am not really interested in any of the zoom lenses for if I want to take serious photography, I bring out my Nikon D300. The GF1 is for those casual engagements where the D300 just looks plain silly. I feel embarrassed to use it at times when it's just a simple get together. :P

I have tried the NEX-5 and too few buttons doing too many things makes it hard for me to change settings. I suppose you get used to it over time but there are times you just need to be quick to get the image. Only plus is the gorgeous LCD and very easy manual focus because of the screen.

As for the m4/3 system, since my use is only with smallish primes, I'd be quite happy to get the 14mm, 20mm and 45mm for most of my photographing needs. Have seen the Voigtlander 25mm 0.95 and that's a beauty, but due to its weight is not quite suited for the GF1 in terms of balance.

Still contemplating it. :)
*yawn*
etilena
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2002 7:43 am
Location: .ozziefied.

Re: Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:23 am

Well, it does sound as if the GF1 might be the perfect fit for you then. I am generally quite hesitant to recommend it because it comes with a list of caveats if you are looking to use it as your only system, but as a complement to an existing FF/high end APS-C camera, it is still a very good photographic tool.

Just be aware that the format can suck your money more than you might want from a second system: 14/2.5 (RRP $400), 20/1.7 (RRP $350), ME45/2.8 (RRP $900).

I have a GF1 with the 7-14/4, 20/1.7 and ME45/2.8 (and a legacy SMC Takumar 50/1.4 for shallow DOF) , and I am very happy with the results and usability of my setup. It is a lot more accessible and less intimidating than a DSLR in social situations, and I get candids and socials I wouldn't get with my 20D + 24-70/2.8, not to mention a much lighter load on my shoulders.

Craigmod has some very nice galleries of his GF1 here and here, and I have my flickr stream here as well (nothing special, but nothing I'd be ashamed of either).
Wind, Sand and Stars.
Voldenuit
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:10 pm

Re: Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:50 am

Some of the shots I've taken with the GF1:

Image
GF1+ SMC-Takumar 50/1.4

Image
GF1+ SMC-Takumar 50/1.4 (pano stich)

Image
GF1+ SMC-Takumar 50/1.4

Image
GF1+20/1.7

Image
GF1 + ME45/2.8

Image
GF1 + ME45/2.8

Image
GF1+7-14/4

Image
GF1+20/1.7 (pano stitch)

Image
GF1+20/1.7

Image
GF1 + ME45/2.8

Image
GF1 + ME45/2.8

I'm just scratching the potential of the system, to be honest. Yes, there are things it certainly doesn't do as well as a DSLR - compressed dynamic range, poor high ISO (although I've found Lightroom 3's NR engine to be a boon in this regard), less DOF control, slower AF. But it's not all that far off a DSLR for IQ, especially if you're not printing large (and you probably won't for social snaps).

At $900 launch price, it's not competitive, but at $599 (sadly, these prices will only last until Panny clears their inventory), it's almost a bargain for a small magnesium-body ILC.
Wind, Sand and Stars.
Voldenuit
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:10 pm

Re: Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:54 am

Yeah, Panasonic went the wrong way for me as I am looking for something a bit better than my long in the tooth G1. The GF2 would essentially be a cross-grade. I am peeping at a GH2 but waiting for reviews before I even consider it, but I am not a big fan of dealing with video (or exorbitant price).

There is a rumor of a GP# more pro-ish series coming, which I can only assume is the GH2 sensor in a smaller GF#-like body geared more towards stills. If Panasonic can somehow pull of Sony-A55 performance in that body (which they almost MUST do to compete at their asking price) I may stick with the Panasonic u4/3, but boy, that A55 is right up my alley.

The only drawback for me on the Sony A55 is the ghosting for high dynamic range images. I take star shots, lightning shots. and long-exposure night shots on occasion. All of these scenarios produce ghosting from reflections in the special mirror. It does turn out you can remove the mirror relatively easily, but how to store it without contamination? I could buy a secondary body and leave it for those special uses, but I am not made of money.

Man though, that new Pentax looks like it has some serious potential! Just too big.

-Mark
liquidsquid
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 10:49 am
Location: New York

Re: Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:17 am

Yeah, ghosting is a definite issue with the A55. It's a shame it doesn't have a mirror lockup function (even the ability to manually flip the mirror out of the way).

If you're doing a lot of star shots, have you considered a system that allows tethering and remote PC control? That's definitely one area that MFT lacks compared to Canon and Nikon (I believe sony only has tethering in the A750 and higher), and Pentax perversely removed tethering in the K7. I suppose I can take solace that Panasonic is not the only camera manufacturer making bonehead moves. :P
Wind, Sand and Stars.
Voldenuit
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:10 pm

Re: Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:43 am

Voldenuit, I like your photos, you shoot a lot in available light. I have been restricted to indoor and evening shots of late, only because that's the only time I'm free to pick up a camera.

Read the reviews by Craig Mod, one of the reasons I was smitten by the GF1 to begin with. In Australia, importing from overseas will probably set me back about AUD$660 for the GF1 + 20mm. It's still $999 here despite nearly 1 to 1 exchange rate with the US dollar.

At the moment the plus is that it's very suitable for the casual social event, shoots video and an adapter will fit a whole slew of my existing Nikon lenses, like my MF 50mm 1.2, without adding too much bulk. It even works with my flash gun, even if it's just in manual mode.

Might just get it before stocks run out for the new GF2.
*yawn*
etilena
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2002 7:43 am
Location: .ozziefied.

Re: Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:06 am

Thanks for the compliment!

Yeah, available light is pretty essential to the GF1 - the metering on the internal flash is rubbish, and my FL-360 flashgun is nearly as big as the body, so I usually leave it at home unless I'm shooting macro (on an extension cable) or outdoor portraits with fill flash. I tend to prefer natural lighting anyway, as I think too much setup takes away from the authenticity and spontaneity of the capture. Or maybe I just suck at lighting :P.

The acceptable noise cutoff for me on the GF1 used to be ISO800, but once I upgraded to Lightroom 3, I found I could get decent results at ISO1000 to 1200 with the improved noise engine (definition of "decent" varies, of course). ISO 100 has a slightly narrower dynamic range than ISO 200, but not to the extent that Oly's MFT cameras have (partly because it's really "ISO 125" as the camera understates its ISO by 1/3 stop). At any setting, though, you can find diffuse noise in even colour planes (like the sky) and there is some black level clipping. RAW highlight recovery is possible, but not to the same degree as a DSLR. Not a big deal once you adjust your expectations to the camera.

I think you'll like it for your purposes.
Wind, Sand and Stars.
Voldenuit
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:10 pm

Re: Panasonic GF2 Announced

Postposted on Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:39 pm

Voldenuit wrote:Yeah, ghosting is a definite issue with the A55. It's a shame it doesn't have a mirror lockup function (even the ability to manually flip the mirror out of the way).

If you're doing a lot of star shots, have you considered a system that allows tethering and remote PC control? That's definitely one area that MFT lacks compared to Canon and Nikon (I believe sony only has tethering in the A750 and higher), and Pentax perversely removed tethering in the K7. I suppose I can take solace that Panasonic is not the only camera manufacturer making bonehead moves. :P


There are intervalometers for the Panasonic on E-bay which accomplish the same thing. Not much of a fan of having a laptop out with the scope due to light, but that A55's new sensor has unbelievable response to hydrogen in nebula without any mods. I have never been a fan of modding my cameras, but the temptation to take an A55 and convert it to manual only is extreme, but I have to live with my wife ;-).

-Mark
liquidsquid
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 10:49 am
Location: New York


Return to Visual Haven

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests