Press Release: The Panasonic GF-2 Announced!

PANASONIC INTRODUCES COMPANY’S SMALLEST AND LIGHTEST DIGITAL INTERCHANGEABLE LENS SYSTEM CAMERA WITH FLASH

New Panasonic LUMIX GF2 Features Touch-Screen Operation, Full HD Video Recording Capability and Compatible with Panasonic’s Interchangeable 3D Lens

SECAUCUS, NJ (November 4, 2010) – Panasonic today announced the LUMIX DMC-GF2, the latest of the company’s DSL Micro (DSLM) compact mirrorless cameras, which is Panasonic’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens system camera – complete with a built-in flash. The LUMIX GF2 is compatible with lenses from the Micro Four Thirds standard, meaning the system is small and compact, while not compromising ease of operation or image quality. Even more, the LUMIX GF2 is compatible with Panasonic’s new 3D interchangeable lens, the LUMIX G 12.5mm / F12, so users can take 3D photos.

“The LUMIX GF2 is key in the Panasonic DSL Micro line-up, as it’s the smallest and lightest model we offer, while still offering superb image quality, which our consumers have come to expect from LUMIX. Compared to the GF1, its predecessor, the GF2 has been reduced approximately 19% in size and approximately 7% in weight yet is still retains its signature built-in flash,” said Darin Pepple, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “We expect the LUMIX GF2 to be an attractive model for consumers who want to step up to a more powerful camera that is easy to use, and a camera that is ‘future-proof’ with its 3D capabilities.”

The LUMIX GF2 is extremely easy to operate for consumers at any level, thanks to a newly- designed user interface, which allows for the focus to be set, or shutter released, by simply touching the large 3-inch touch-screen LCD. The touch-screen LCD with a 460,000-dot-resolution makes taking great photos intuitive. Once a user locks on a subject by touch, the LUMIX GF2 tracks the subject with the AF tracking function, even if the subject moves – making it easy to take photos of moving subjects, like children playing. The contrast AF system adopted by the LUMIX DMC-GF2 is not only accurate and easy to use, but also very fast. Users can choose from a wide range of AF (Auto Focus) modes, including multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus areas, 1-area AF with a selectable focus area, Face Detection, and AF Tracking.

The touch operation also dramatically shortens the time spent navigating the menus. With the LUMIX GF2’s newly-designed Touch Q-menu, the user can customize the camera’s shortcuts with the most commonly used settings. Together with the simple button components, including dedicated buttons for video recording and iA (Intelligent Auto) mode which lights in-use, users can operate the camera intuitively with ease.

With the Intelligent Scene Selector in the iA mode, the camera automatically switches to the appropriate mode according to the subject touched. For example, a touch on a human face switches to the portrait mode and a touch on the background or scenery switches to the scenery mode, while a touch on the subject close to the camera switches to the close-up mode. With the MF assist mode for manual focusing, users can enlarge the subject by just a touch to select 1x, 5x or 10x and smoothly move the subject by dragging it on the screen. In iA mode and the Peripheral Defocus mode, the range of defocus can be adjusted by just moving the slider with a finger, something not possible with larger more complicated DSLR cameras that don’t feature touch control.

While achieving breakthroughs in compactness of design and outstanding photo and video quality, the Panasonic LUMIX GF2 can contribute its professional-level imaging performance to well-balanced engine and sensor technologies. For the image processor, the Venus Engine FHD is incorporated, featuring exceptionally high performance signal processing capabilities in both photo and movie recording. With the advanced noise reduction system employing the 3D NR and CNR (Chromatic Noise Reduction), users can capture clear, naturally-balanced images even when shooting at high ISO sensitivity levels to help prevent the color bleeding.

Panasonic’s Venus Engine FHD enables Intelligent Resolution technology, which means that three areas – outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation – are automatically detected. Then, the outline parts are enhanced effectively to give edges more clearness while giving a moderate accentuation to the texture areas to look more finely detailed. To the soft gradation part, noise reduction system is applied to make it smoother. Apart from the uniform enhancement of sharpness, the innovative technology Intelligent Resolution precisely performs signal processing pixel by pixel, resulting in images that are naturally clear and crisp in both video and photos. The 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor featured in the LUMIX GF2 offers the best of both worlds – the superb image quality of a CCD sensor, plus the lower power consumption of a CMOS sensor.

All of Panasonic’s LUMIX G-Series DSLM cameras are equipped with the highly-efficient Dust Reduction System. If dust gets inside the camera when the user changes lenses, it could cling to the image sensor and show up as a spot in photos. The Dust Reduction System helps to reduce this risk by placing a supersonic wave filter in front of the Live MOS sensor. Vibrating vertically around 50,000 times per second, the filter repels dust and other particles.

The LUMIX GF2 shoots professional-quality full High Definition (HD) videos as well as handling still photography. The LUMIX GF2 can record 1920 x 1080 videos at 60i or smooth HD 1280 x 720 movies at 60p in AVCHD. For those looking for better compatibility with computers, the LUMIX GF2 can also record HD Motion JPEG in 1280 x 720 and QVGA, VGA and WVGA. A dedicated video record button makes it easy to start shooting videos, and high quality sound is recorded with the stereo microphone for Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator. Panasonic’s iA mode extends to video recording, with the following features: Optical Image Stabilizer, Face Detection, Intelligent D-range Control and Intelligent Scene Selector.

The Panasonic LUMIX GF2 is artistic not only in form, but also in function, as it provides an array of features that lets users capture true-to-life images while also creating their own expressive, beautiful images. The LUMIX GF2 features My Color mode which is integrated with the conventional Film mode. My Color mode offers a total of eight preset effects – Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Cinema, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, Silhouette, plus Custom mode, which lets users manually set the color, brightness, saturation and contrast levels. Also, with the Full-time Live View function, users can see how these settings will affect the images before they shoot, which makes it easier to capture the exact effect desired. The LUMIX GF2 has 17 Scene modes, most which can be used during video shooting, too. The exposure meter can be displayed in the P/A/S/M shooting modes for entry-level users to visually learn the correlation between shutter speed and aperture to enhance their photography skills.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF2, with a quality and solid aluminum body, will be available in black, silver, white, and red models with the following kit options: DMC-GF2C – 14mm F2.5 Lens Kit and DMC-GF2K – 14-42mm Zoom Lens Kit. The LUMIX GF2 will be available in January 2011 and pricing will be announced approximately 30 days prior to shipment.

31 Comments

  1. I don’t understand all the fuss on the Web about the mode dial and the lack of buttons, concluding without having used the camera that it is not for “prosumers”.

    Regarding the mode dial:
    Most of the prosumers use one mode 90% of the time, either A or S. The rest of the time is divided between full automatic and full manual:
    — Full automatic is for when there’s no time to think; on the GF2, it’s directly accessible with the iA blue button on the top. Quicker than turning a dial.
    — Full manual is for when there is time to think about the desired effect. On the GF2, you only need to touch the screen twice to move from any mode to full manual — one tap on the current mode, one tap to select M. Depending on what is the current mode, that can even be faster than turning the dial (specially if the dial is locked like many prosumer cameras)!

    For the few prosumers who don’t have their habits in either A or S, it’s again only two taps on the screen… In all cases, I don’t see a big problem with no mode dial — and I’m happy that one manufacturer finally explores different ergonomics since I’ve been wondering for the last ten years: “Why such a huge dial for something that is rarely changed after the few days of learning aperture and speed?”

    Regarding the lack of buttons:
    Really? I see more buttons than ever in a camera of this budget, the whole screen can be filled with buttons, and the buttons that are readily accessible can be tailored to each of us; it’s having fully customizable buttons! The only drawback is to not have tactile feedback because touch-screen buttons are not mechanical… but tactile feedback is useful to change settings without leaving the optical viewfinder, and here there isn’t any… So given the way this camera is designed to be used most commonly (framing with LCD), the pros of customizable buttons exceed the pros of fixed buttons.

    Overall, I am pretty pleased with the body. But I’m very disappointed with the sensor: I was hoping to find GH1’s sensor, not G2’s 🙁

  2. Disappointing is the word. Unfortunately, Panasonic acts like politicians. They are in the populist thinking regardless what’s good for true photographing..

  3. This could interest me if the screen can actually be operated with gloves on.
    Steve, you tried out one of the Panasonics with touchscreen. Did you ever try it with gloves on?

    /karsten

  4. panasonic will suffer for this one…for sure, touch screen is this a cell phone or camera ? stereo mic ..are they kidding me?

    • As the NEX proved, Panasonic won’t. The mainstream consumers who aren’t serious photographers don’t really care much about getting better constrols, but rather the “cool look”.

  5. I have to agree, very disappointing. I don’t think the GF-1 needed much of an upgrade as it was, but removing the top control dial is just a horrible idea. The customizable menu is nice, but bring back the dial!

      • You’re most welcome Steve.

        When you see the GF1 & GF2 side by side right at the end sure the new camera is smaller (18% smaller in fact) but it doesn’t look that much smaller, losing the top control dial is a major boo-boo on their part I think no matter how good the touch-screen is. A few fingerprints and smears on that and the screen won’t be of much use as a VF will it?

        • too true cidereye! i’m really anal(!!) when it comes to a nice clean screen so don’t fancy the idea of constantly having to wipe off greasy smears and smudges 24/7. though perhaps the screen has some some sort of smudge-proof coating on it.

  6. Really happy I picked up the GF1 earlier this year; the GF2 just isn’t something I’d go for. I like having the weighty feel and the good grip on the GF1, and with the 20mm lens, it’s jacket-pocketable anyway. I couldn’t imagine I’d like it without the mode dial either. Certainly not a win this time around Panasonic.

  7. wow, unless IQ and noise has been improved I don’t see why they even bothered with this new version. Lets hope the price is gonna be attractive.

  8. I’m all for a nice touch screen with well implemented menus. But the deletion of the mode dial button is a huge mistake. If Panny is trying to appeal to the point and shoot crowd that gets intimidated by a mode dial button, Panny might as well focus on making a smaller and touch screen version of the LX series. Most point and shooters that I know want small cameras with a “zoom” lens. They don’t want prime lens. They don’t want to have to change lens (or carry additional lens). Plus, stick a Panny 14-42 or even an Oly m14-42 on a GF2 and it gets bigger than even a Canon G12. In short, IMO, a m4/3 camera like the GF series ought to be marketed at the enthusiast. I hope Max is right about Panny perhaps having another camera up it’s sleeve styled like a rangefinder.

  9. Having read the reviews and seen video walkthroughs available so far, I actually like the camera. The usability of touch screen is debatable, but let’s not jump to conclusions. We’ll have to wait and see. On the demo videos it looks pretty neat.

  10. So full HD…my GF-13 already has this, at a higher bit rate and manual control, thanks to Tester13! No microphone socket, no filcky out screen, so nothing there for any one using them for video. No improvements I can see for still shooting, so a bit of a pointless upgrade. But good news for those after a GF-1 as the “have to upgrade” types will mean a better price on the second hand market and Panasonic never made a hack proof firmware (unlike the later GH-1’s) so you could even get a discounted new one. Great camera, for stills better than the GH-1. Get a body only deal as it comes into its own with manual lenses. (although the 20mm f1.7 is a bargain if you must have AF)

  11. Guys, this is clearly not a camera aimed at the comparatively low-profit enthusiast market. I hope that panasonic is doing what they are rumoured to be doing and splitting their rangefinder-style M4/3s cameras into two lines: a popular consumer line (GF2), and a high-quality, built in EVF, fully manual line (Gxx). Hopefully the second line will be out next year and will be an interchangeable lens competitor to the fixed-lens Fuji Finepix X100. They’d be mad not to, right?

    Also, from the look of the videos I’ve seen of the GF2’s operation, it does seem to be the most user-friendly (i.e. anti-nex) touch screen control system I’ve ever seen on a camera. So let’s suspend judgement on the controls…

    The stupidest thing about it is that Panasonic have lost the marketing cache of having the smallest interchangeable lens camera in the world to the NEX 5 and still haven’t got it back! Despite having a smaller sensor which supposed to result in the smallest cameras. They now have to refer to the GF2 in their marketing as ‘the smallest interchangeable lens camera with a flash’. Fail.

    We should all wish this camera to sell as well as possible because it yields higher R&D budgets for the sort of high-end (low profit) prosumer M4/3 most readers of this website wish to buy…

  12. Wow. I think its pretty cool. Reminds me of a pentax 110. The only down fall for this camera is the 2X crop factor. Its great you can mount all kinds of lens, but its a killer that their focal length is doubled. I don’t care about the feature its missing because I would probably never use them…

    But the quality should be pretty good right out of the box

  13. No EVF
    No mode dial (with the lovely C modes)
    No new (preferably multi aspect) sensor

    I’m disappointed. 🙁 But my wife is happy as I won’t spend our money to one more camrea. 🙂

  14. Looks like they’ve blown it with this one I think for serious photogs. I’m sure it will sell in droves though for P&S upgraders.

  15. Just tinkering with the GF-1, in itself a disappointing camera. I bought one hoping it could be my everyday walkabout camera, but no. The absence of stabilisation with the (m4/3 signature) Lumix 20mm f/1.7 lens has left it unused on a shelf whilst my Olympus E-P1 gets regular workouts. For low light shooting, no contest.

  16. I bought the GF1 one week ago (when prices dropped slightly). I was weary though because I knew that a GF2 would come out shortly. But I sort of needed a small, quality camera for a project. Now when I see the GF2 I no longer have any doubts. The GF1 is tactile with buttons for every major function. I will keep the GF1/20mm over that. Only thing I would wish for from the GF2 is the ISO/noise ratio (if it is any good).

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