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GF2 - Review and Humble Pie

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by soundimageplus, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    I've just bought a GF2 and 14mm kit. My intention in buying this was as a cheaper way of getting the lens, as I was intending to sell the camera on ebay. However I like the camera very much. Ironic since I was very rude about it without even seeing or trying it. My, and others, winges about it being "dumbed down" etc. were very common when it was announced. I am happy to say that I now take back everything I wrote and admit freely that I was wrong. I should perhaps have taken my own advice and refrained from "running off at the keyboard" when a more patient and circumspect reaction would have been more appropriate. I've just started a personal review and assessment of the GF2 and 14mm lens and the seven parts are linked below.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45203414@N06/5397127695/" title="Panasonic GF2 14 mm f/2.5 Pancake lens. by soundimageplus, on Flickr"> 5397127695_08a8ff2e98. "456" height="500" alt="Panasonic GF2 14 mm f/2.5 Pancake lens." /></a>


    Soundimageplus: Panasonic GF2 - 14mm f/2.5 Review - Part 1 First Impressions

    Soundimageplus: Panasonic GF2 - 14mm f/2.5 Review - Part 2 The Lens

    Soundimageplus: Panasonic GF2 - 14mm f/2.5 Review - Part 3 Other lenses

    Soundimageplus: Panasonic GF2 - 14mm f/2.5 Review - Part 4 GF2 as landscape camera

    Soundimageplus: Panasonic GF2 - 14mm f/2.5 Review - Part 5 GF1 GF2 ISO Performance

    Soundimageplus: Panasonic GF2 - 14mm f/2.5 Review - Part 6 Zoom lenses

    Soundimageplus: Panasonic GF2 - 14mm f/2.5 Review - Part 7 Video and Conclusion
     
    • Like Like x 13
  2. russell

    russell Mu-43 Regular

    98
    Dec 28, 2010
    Victoria, Australia
    Good on you for rethinking.

    How do you find the EVF and what's it like to drive with the touch screen if you're focussed on shooting through the EVF?
     
  3. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    The EVF is not great other than as a compositional aid and it helps stability when shooting. Its very tunnel like and not that sharp. I didn't quite understand this bit. "what's it like to drive with the touch screen if you're focussed on shooting through the EVF?"
     
  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    My guess was that in practice, the controls of the GF2 would be just fine, so I was one of the few who DIDN'T bash it when it was first announced. I'm glad to hear that you like it as well now that you've tried one. I don't see any reason to replace my gf1 (and I already bought the 14) but if I was just now looking for a gf style camera I would have zero hesitation about the gf2.

    You mentioned the lens with the "faster focussing" of the gf2 or something to that effect? Could you elaborate? Is the gf2 notably faster to focus than the gf1? I've been following the reports of the very fast AF on the GH2 but was not under the impression that the gf2 would be much of a change from the gf1, gh1, etc. I'd be very interested in what you've found in this regard...

    Thanks,

    -Ray
     
  5. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    Panasonic claim a 0.2sec "top speed" for AF as compared to 0.1sec for the GH2. Reviews I've read say the GF2 is faster for AF than the G2.

    In practice it obviously depends on what you focus on - how far the travel from focus point to focus point etc. but generally it feels faster than the GF1. I took both cameras out and was swapping lenses between the two. The GF2, when averaged out between shots, was noticeably quicker to lock on, though not by a huge amount. The Touchscreen focus and shoot is also very fast.

    I do however always use single spot AF.

    I have no plans to get rid of my GF1. As I said I bought the kit initially to get the lens. Because of cost cutting here in the UK I've got the camera for a really good price. In real terms its cost me about £130.

    Taking the two cameras out with different lenses on each is a nice option to have.
     
  6. andyw

    andyw Mu-43 Veteran

    410
    Jan 27, 2010
    Surrey. UK
    I was one of the 1st to 'diss' the GF-2 but i am warming to it a great deal and it's not as bad as i 1st thought so I'm wrong too. I still much prefer my E-PL2 though so I'm quite happy!
     
  7. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    Can you tell me how the AE/AF Lock is accomplished on the new GF-2?
     
  8. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    It might be a sobering lesson to us all to not let our expectations run away with us and then "kick off" when they are not meet. Since I've now got two GF1's, I can do what David does and carry them both with different lenses fitted, so again I won't be getting a GF2.

    Barrie
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Thx for sharing. It's hard to resist the GF2 when it comes attached to the 14 F2.5!

    Have you tried video yet? I'm looking for a camera that could be a credible video backup to the GH2. I'm considering the GF2 and the GH1 for the job, although I'd much rather have the GF2 if it can handle the backup duties.
     
  10. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi Grant
    The dpreview article, though not yet a full review, gives a good initial explanation of how the new controls work - see under the 'controls' section of the article.

    I admire Panasonic for trying new angles on camera controls. From what I can tell, they have really tried to make the screen controls clear and intuitive. Implementing a touchscreen as such does not seem too taxing: doing it well is another thing and it appears they have thought this through.

    The new controls certainly make manufacture simpler and clearly allow for an even more compact body.

    My personal preference for a GF1 successor would have been to retain the direct controls, improve the EVF and sensor.

    The GF2 seems great. No need for a change from a GF1, but nice nonetheless.

    For my personal preferences and uses the Panasonic changed the wrong things. It does make me wonder about the longer term for me an M4/3. I don't like the Pens I have tried, and if Panasonic go in this direction I will not have a replacement path in a few years.

    In the meantime I will just have to suffer the marvel that is my GF1...:smile:
     
  11. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    As on all other Panasonic G Series - depress shutter button and hold it - exposure and focus is then locked.
     
  12. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    I'll be trying that soon.
     
  13. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I suspect that Grant is asking about the function whereby you can lock exposure on a portion of the scene, then separately lock focus.

    On the GF1 There is a dedicated AF/AE lock button for this. From my understanding, on the GF2 you can access this by the redesigned Quick Menu (which you can tailor) or you can assign the function button to this task. So the function is still available. I may well have misunderstood what I have read on the Panasonic site and on various previews / reviews, but this is my understanding.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    Yes, that is what I mean. I very rarely set focus and exposure on the same object. So the AF/AE button is crucial to how I photograph.

    On reading DPReview it seems I could Program the Q.Menu/Function button. This is a bit clunky, but a work around. On my GF-1 I have the AF/AE Lock button set to AE toggle and the function button set to Meter Mode and I can still access Q.Menu. Then maybe Q.Menu is not needed with a touch screen.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. atrac7

    atrac7 Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Jan 13, 2011
    Would you mind discussing a case or scenario where the AF/AE lock button comes in handy? I have never really ventured to use it on my G2, but its importance seems to be heightened by reading this thread. I'm not too familiar with its use to hence my question

    Thanks,
     
  16. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    I do it all the time. The hard thing is to know what I set the exposure to as sometimes it is my hand. Some times the effect is subtle and other times very dramatic.

    For example take the image of this fish stores. It was shot during a break in a storm and I really wanted to enhance the feeling of the storm. I set the exposure, using spot metering, at the bright parts of the clouds. This drove everything to the dark side. I then focused on the building.

    5139292979_57dff6a859_z.
     
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  17. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Good example of the technique, and a really beautiful photograph.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    249
    Jun 21, 2010
    :bravo-009: Grant,
    You could not have illustrated the use of the AEL/AFL button better.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    I use other methods. Both the GF1 and GF2 have the thumbwheel on the back. Clicking this gets you onto the + & - scale. I use my forefinger to lock the focus on the shutter button and then use my thumb to move the wheel in either direction for extra or less exposure. In a situation like your image I would use this to bracket a few exposures to see which one I liked best or provided the best exposure for what I wanted to do in post-production.

    For your image you obviously needed to retain the highlights in the water, which contributes to the mood.

    In a situation where I need to be quicker I usually try to find an area to focus on and expose for in the same plane my subject. I then re-compose quickly.

    I also use the manual settings quite often on my Panasonic cameras as its quite quick and easy to use. I shoot a lot of multi-image panoramic stitches so its important to get the exposures and focus point consistent. I always use single-spot AF and re-compose as I've never yet found an AF system that "knows" what I want to focus on.

    I stopped using the AE/AF lock buttons because of the "odd" positioning of them on some cameras. I'd sometimes come back from a days shooting with an aching thumb so I got out of the habit of using them.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    I am sure you do, but the question was "Would you mind discussing a case or scenario where the AF/AE lock button comes in handy?" not about all my methods.

    For me to discuss other methods would merely obfuscate the response. My rule of thumb is when asked the time don't tell them how to build a watch.