The GF2 gets consistently negative or indifferent reviews around the internet. But what I started to notice was that these negative reviews are never from anyone that actually owns a GF2. So this review takes the form of an extended rebuttal to the most common complaints:
“The touchscreen removed the manual control”
– The only manual control removed was the mode dial. In day-to-day shooting the modes you use will be either manual (M) or full auto (iA). To switch between these you just set the camera to manual and then use the blue iA button to turn iA on and off. So no real loss with the removal of the mode dial. The complaints about the loss of the mode dial are a classic tip that a reviewer only played with a camera in the store (where you want to check out the modes).
“There are no dials to control Shutter, Aperture and Iso”
– The dial on the GF2 is on the top right of the back of the camera (under your thumb). It is a nice smooth dial with a robust click for each step. When you press in the dial it clicks from changing Aperture to changing Shutter Speed. This is so easy and fast for manual control that I now prefer it to 2 dials because I can do it one handed. The Iso is changed using the dedicated Iso button on the back of the camera.
“The touchscreen is useless in day-to-day shooting”
– It takes about 5 mins to tweak the quick menu which appears on the touchscreen (accessed from a dedicated button) I chose Shutter Speed, Aperture, Iso and Focus mode as the shortcuts but you could choose whichever you wanted. The touchscreen is also excellent for reviewing images by flicking through them. But most of the time you forget that it’s there because you can run the camera from the buttons and dial.
“JPG’s are cr_p”
– Yes they are, if you are pixel peeping. In which case, what are you doing shooting JPGs? Shoot RAW. For the occasional quick happy-snap the jpgs are nice and the intelligent dynamic plus intelligent sharpness make for easy and tidy JPGs. But you really got into micro 43 to shoot RAW didn’t you?
Why the GF2 is so important:
– Micro 43 is all about the ‘prosumer’ market. It’s amateurs that want professional style kit and professionals that want a fast/light kit for a particular need. The GH and G are great mini-slrs but they let us sometimes forget that the micro 43 is a rebirth of the rangefinder ethos. Micro 43 was born for street photography and the GF2 feels like a no nonsense street camera. The PENs have their moments as street cameras but if you harbour a residual Panasonic/Leica association then the GF2 is going to deliver a solid street photography experience and will pair well with the Panasonic Prime lenses.
Shoot Wide, Shoot Prime, Shoot Raw.
Photo samples from the first week with the GF2: