Still, at lower speeds, the GF2 produces beautifully balanced and detailed images for its class. I particularly liked the natural rendition of colours in stark contrast with the current trend among manufacturers to tweak image processing for punchier results. I find this is all too often overdone and difficult to fix later.
The drop in battery life is most likely to do with the touchscreen operation
The GF2 now sports a slightly increased continuous shooting speed, 3.2 fps, but buffer capacity remains the same at 7 RAW images and unlimited JPEGs. Start-up time is excellent at less than half a second, which includes automatic dust removal from the sensor. Unfortunately battery life has decreased by approximately 15 per cent compared to the GF1, giving the GF2 autonomy of around 300 shots.
The GF2 has RAW recording capabilities in 4 available aspect ratios, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1, but be aware of compatibility issues, as Panasonic’s own .RW2 RAW file format is not widely supported. Apple’s iPhoto 9, Aperture 3, Adobe Lightroom 3 and the latest Photoshop support it, but if you’ve earlier Adobe products then you’ll need to resort to the company’s DNG Converter.
The 14mm f/2.5 pancake lens is a nicely designed bright prime optic. It’s very compact and makes a very good match to the GF2 – it’s wide angle serving it well as a travel companion, despite suffering from some barrel distortion and occasional vignetting. I also tried out the H-FT012E, which is the first release of a 3D lens for digital interchangeable lens systems. The 12.5mm, f12 3D lens basically works by juxtaposing two images side by side on the sensor, therefore slashing resolution of the final image.
The 3D lens is hyperfocal, which means has a fixed focal plane – from 60 cm to infinity – and all objects within its range will be in focus. It also has a fixed f/12 aperture, which, unless you are content with noisy high ISO images, means that you can effectively only use it in bright daylight conditions. Furthermore, the lens cannot be used to capture video.
Shots with the H-FT012E 3D lens need aforethought to get the most from it
These limitations aside, this small lens does deliver some impressively dynamic effects when you view the images on a 3D TV screen, although the strength of the 3D effect very much depends on scene composition. Frames with a prominent foreground subject mid-distance from the camera will result in an increased sense of movement and perspective within the image and the main subject actually popping out. However, scene without a foreground object or when the main subject is too distant or too close will not really show much depth.
Next page: Seasick scenes
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.