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7 Reasons Why I’m Not Buying the Panasonic GF-2

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The Panasonic GF-2 made its rounds recently in the news after rumors kept circulating. Now that it’s gone official, I admittedly haven’t had any time with it but it seems like a step in the wrong direction for me. We reviewed the GF-1 (after other journalists took their sweet time returning it to the PR reps) and we also had the G2 for a while. Now, we liked the G2. Sadly, we didn’t totally dig the GF-1 for a couple of reasons though it seemed like it needed just a bit of improvement to make it a solid choice enough for me to want to make the purchase. The GF-2 is instead something more of a higher grade LX-5 (though the Leica version is more my style.) Here are seven reasons why I won’t be buying the GF-2.

Editor’s note: this posting reflects my opinion and doesn’t necessarily reflect those of the rest of ThePhoblographer’s staff or any other company I work with.

Smaller Isn’t Always Better

Once upon a time, I got to play with the Olympus EPL-1. I didn’t like it for ergonomic reasons. The GF-2 seems like Panasonic is just trying to get new Olympus Pen out of the spotlight. Smaller cameras mean that they’re harder to grip onto. Sure the user has that front grip now, but for it to really be any use it will require the purchase of Panasonic’s electronic viewfinder. Packing all of the features and buttons onto a smaller body also doesn’t make pushing them that much easier.

Granted, there is a touch screen: but the touch screen of the G2 is much easier to use because of the larger body that you can grip onto.

The other bad side of the touch screen is that certain settings are always harder to change without taking your eye out of the viewfinder. But if you’re only going to be changing the aperture, shutter speed and ISO you generally shouldn’t have a problem.

I Miss My Top Dial

Why, Panasonic, would you get rid of the top dial on the GF-1? I thought it was wonderful. The settings snapped in solidly and it didn’t turn that easily either to ensure that your shooting settings didn’t change easily. Sure, the touch screen will allow those settings to not be touched at all, but if you’re using the viewfinder and want to switch from Manual mode to Aperture then you’ll need to enable the screen first, then choose the shooting mode, and then re-enable the viewfinder and continue to shoot.

That sounds like a pain. If you had used the EP-2′s style of dial, it would have been much more convenient for users.

For the record, the EP-2′s dial is very small and modes are changed using a small wheel that won’t turn easily when the camera is put into your bag.

I Want More Dials

Not only did you get rid of the top dial, but I wanted more dials to begin with. The back dial for changing shutter speed and aperture is nice, but the camera really needed a front dial for even faster changing of settings. The Canon G12 has this now and it’s wonderful. It makes manipulation of settings for street photography so much easier.

And yes, there are many street photographers that adopted Micro Four Thirds bodies.

Seriously, No Microphone Jack?

You gave us 1080p video and no microphone jack? I’m very disappointed because Panasonic helped to pioneer the merging of stills and video with the GH1 and now the GH2 and AF100.

So why not give the successor to one of your most popular cameras a much better boost in the video department? For those of you that say that 1080p HD video is enough, consider the fact that film schools teach that your videos re 60% sound and 40% visual. Yes, the argument can be made that this camera was designed with the focus on still photography first, but then why not put more dials?

No 24p Video Recording

Months ago photographers, reviewers, and cinematographers were ranting that the Canon 5D Mk II needed 60p HD video and before that 24p HD video. The latter has become much more mainstay and useful over 60p (in fact, it has been for years.)

Why is there no 24p for that better cinematic look? You know that someone is going to develop a hack to put it into the camera anyway. And if that can be accomplished by the home brew community it is inexcusable for a corporation with large amounts of money to not be able to do this.

4/3rds and Micro 4/3rds Sensors Still Have to Catch Up

I’m going to admit that Olympus has made some very intriguing progress with the E-5 but that 4/3rds sensors overall need to step up their game. There is no reason why a sensor cannot be developed with amazing high ISOs, lots of detail, and a stellar dynamic range at 8MP or 10MP when Fujifilm did it years ago with an APS-C sized sensor in the S3 and S5 Pro. 4/3rds lenses are capable of resolving quite a bit of detail and Micro Four Thirds cameras can take almost any lens you can think of.

The Sony NEX-5 Has Amazing High ISOs

We reviewed the Sony NEX-5. It’s got a smaller body than the GF-2 but a slightly larger sensor. If you’ve still got this large of a camera body there should be a way to put in more processing power to keep high ISO noise down (like Canon did with the 7D and using dual DIGIC 4 processors.)

To be fair, I haven’t seen production quality images yet but Panasonic products have seemed to not change much in the image quality department for the past couple of years. That’s actually quite sad.

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