The lens supplied for testing is the current 14-45mm G-series kit lens and isn’t the one that will be supplied with G2 and G10 kits – that will be the new Lumix G Vario 14-42mm/f3.5-5.6. So, the focal range will differ slightly to that seen in the various sample images here. Even so, the autofocus was responsive and fairly quiet too, which is helpful given that the AF works when video recording too. Admittedly, there is a bit of lag to the responsiveness here, but plan your shots and pan at a leisurely pace and it will play nice most of the time.
Touchscreen focus pulling effect test and resulting video
Available to view in HD
Can't see the video? Download FlashPlayer from Adobe.com
Incidentally, the touchscreen comes into its own for focusing tasks during video recording by offering a form of focus pulling. By simply touching on different areas of the screen the focusing smoothly transitions from one point in the field of view to the next. You can see this in action in the video clips that show activating these changes on-screen and the resulting video recording.
Setting this up with the G2 guidebook in the foreground and lighting props in the background revealed that selecting the foreground object could, literally, be a bit hit or miss. The issue appeared to be that there wasn’t enough of the guidebook visible for the touch-enabled focusing area square to latch onto. Using the G2’s scroll wheel varies the size of the focusing square, so it can be dragged further over to the edges of the display, despite being somewhat keen to resist attempts to do so.
Still images can be set up for touchscreen focusing tricks too, with AF tracking performed by tapping on the relevant item. Again, tests proved inconsistent. The issue this time was that where the small focusing square would end up wasn’t where I thought I’d pointed.
It was a similar experience to that of using a BlackBerry Storm 2, in that the alignment of the contact with the screen doesn’t match user expectations of where the finger was pointing to. Still, with the G2 you get there in the end and there’s no doubt a knack to it that you get familiar with.
Finger trouble? Firm presses are needed to toggle between tracking and capture modes
Available to view in HD
Another useful feature is touch control shutter. This combines focusing on the point you press on the screen and instantaneously taking a photo. An icon on the right of the LCD panel toggles between this function and AF tracking. In use, I found myself taking numerous unwanted photos as I tried to switch back to AF tracking and, likewise, set up new tracking points when I was trying to activate the touch control shutter feature.
Not really a competitor
And costs about a grand more for the body only (assuming G2 prices are similar to current G1).
Having said that, the 550D looks a decent alternative for not much more. A lot bigger and heavier though...
zero video on the 7D?
Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse, since you have a 7D and I only have the Reg's review and the Canon product page*I'll have to defer to your experience of a lack of video on the 7D.
All it needs now ..
.. is a decent remote control so that you could hook it up to a decent size monitor and control it.
I fear the touch screen idea won't work for me, because that typically relies on a display that won't move any further away when you press it (i.e. at the end of range for the hinge), unless you handle it with 2 hands (or "thumb" control it). I like the idea, but not sure how that is going to "pan out" (cough) in reality..
Anyway, nice preview, thanks.
I'll stick with my...
EOS 7D thanks as it's all camera and zero gimmiky video game.
That's a very slick bit of interface design.
However, firm presses don't sound great for stability, especially when hand holding- I like to take a lot of pictures in rubbish light and hate tripods, so that would worry me.
The other thing that would worry me is if you're expected to chimp off the back screen while using it- one of the things that most represents a tradeup for me with a DSLR over my compacts is being able to use the viewfinder, and top LCD, and have nicely laid-out physical controls. That's actually half the value of the format for me- being able to do 99% of the things that I need without having to turn the rear LCD on, which messes with battery life terribly, and is extra-nasty on sunny days.
Still, it is a lovely bit of interface design!