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Panasonic DMC-G2

Micro Four Thirds hands-on with test pics and video

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

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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.

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