The GF2’s main novelty is the touchscreen technology introduced in the DMC-G2. It’s the same 3in, 460,000 pixels LCD, albeit improved by a new anti-reflective coating. While I’m a self-confessed iPhone fan, I never thought the combination of touchscreen interface and photography was an especially inspired and useful one, but getting to use the GF2 did bring about quite a change of heart.
Touch focusing appeared on the DMC-G2 but hasn't lost its appeal
Compared to other touchscreen compacts I have used before, the expanded and user-friendly functionality of the technology employed by this camera does make the shooting a more instinctive, hands-on experience than fiddling with mechanical controls could ever be. Aside from being able to access and change most of the Quick Menu and Info Display options directly on the screen, the new interface allows you to manage a number of key settings and features in a much more intuitive fashion than going through the menu.
A case in point is interactive focus control, where you can focus on any part of the photo by just tapping the corresponding portion of the screen, thus assigning the one-area AF point to your selected subject. If AF tracking is active, that AF area will then be continuously tracked by the camera. You can also adjust the size of the AF point by using an on-screen slider and, with Face Detection enabled, you can even set the AF point directly onto your subject’s eye for sharp, piercing portraits.
In Multi-area AF mode you can manually select a group of up to six AF points in the key sections of its 23 available areas. Manual focus is also aided by the technology – turning the focus ring on the lens the screen displays a magnified view that you can then interactively move around to your desired focus subject or further enlarge for even more accurate results. Also, in Peripheral Defocus, you can set the selective focal plane by using the virtual slider appearing on the screen.
When it comes to recording movies the touchscreen capabilities of the camera make shifting focus from fore to background or vice-versa dead easy, which can be quite difficult to achieve even on professional camcorders. All you have to do is tap the area of the frame you want in focus and the camera smoothly refocuses accordingly. The great news is that not only the new technology is blissfully intuitive but it is very accurate and fast too.
The pop up flash is not the brightest, but fine for a fill
Despite using the same contrast AF system generally used in compacts, the GF2 is very swift to lock on to the desired subject, even in dim lighting conditions. In Intelligent Auto mode you can direct the camera to the correct scene mode by tapping your the related mode icon. You can even release the shutter by just tapping the screen, if the function is enabled, and re-arrange the onscreen menu to customise it to your needs by dragging and dropping the relevant icons.
Next page: Art for art's sake
It's not just for the outdoors...
A viewfinder is a boon to those of us who need reading glasses.
What's more, the to-the-eye method of holding a camera is always going to be the most stable way of hand-holding it.
Looked at the 3d pics on my 3ds, and the 3d wasn't extremely apparent. Some almost looked 2D, while some you could see some of the difference. For the record I've viewed other 3d camera images on my 3ds, and the 3d was way more defined.
2D the pics look really nice though
I'll pass - I won't pay for that overpriced optional viewfinder, and I won't buy a camera of this level without a viewfinder. I take alot of outdoor pictures, and there are times when the LCD screen is useless.
I found 3D camcorder video practically useless. Anaglyphs recorded on DVD cannot be properly displayed on TV even if you bend over backwards and try to optimise them for reduced ghosting. And crosseyed video is much more tiring to watch than stills.
Stills are OK though, but you need an audience who can learn how to watch them.
Have _you_ looked up stereo?
A Blumlein pair does stereo from microphones that are zero inches apart. I'm not suggesting that this is using a Blumlein pair, or that the audio through the built-in mics is even particularly good, but you can certainly achieve stereo from two mics close together. You can even get a half-decent surround sound from a bunch of mics clustered together if you do some tricksy processing. Built-in mics are typically much crappier than a decent external mic, but they can certainly manage stereo.
I'm not sure why you think there's a problem with placing them both on the same side of the camera, either.