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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

Today Panasonic have announced a camera that is sure to get some attention – the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 – an update to their widely acclaimed GF1 (a camera I’ve come to love myself).

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It’s being billed by Panasonic as the world’s smallest and lightest interchangable Lens system camera and it adds to the range of Micro Four Thirds cameras on the market today.

The updates on the GF2 are numerous by in general we’re seeing a smaller and simpler design here with a similar body with the extra bonus of a touch sensitive screen and full HD video. The touchscreen means there are less dials and buttons and more reliance upon touching the screen to control settings (hence they’ve redesigned the menu system to accommodate this).

Another difference is continuous shooting at 2.6 frames per second with live view, an increase to 6400 ISO, support from the new 3D lens and a smaller battery (slightly lower capacity).

Interestingly the GF2 comes with two lens packages – but neither include the popular 20mm f1.7 pancake (widely regarded as the best lens). You can get it with either the 14mm f2.5 pancake or the 14-42mm lens (or as a twin bundle).

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 comes in black, silver, red, white and pink. We’ve no news of price and expect to see the GF2 hitting stores early in 2011.

For full details – below are the official press release from Panasonic.

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Panasonic announces LUMIX DMC-GF2

World’s smallest and lightest Digital Interchangeable Lens System Camera
 
New LUMIX G Micro System camera features ease of operation and high picture quality for both still images and Full HD Movie Recording
*For an interchangeable lens system camera with a built-in flash as of November 4, 2010.
 
Sydney, 4 November, 2010 – Panasonic is unveiling the new LUMIX DMC-GF2, which provides a compelling offering for both enthusiasts and those new to system cameras – with the downsized body, easy control over creative features, and outstanding imaging that have become hallmarks of the LUMIX G Micro System range.
 
Alistair Robins, Group Marketing Manager, LUMIX, Panasonic Australia, said: “At just 265 grams, this new camera is 19% slimmer and 7% lighter than the DMC-GF1, and retains a classically styled aluminum body that is both compact and well-balanced for stable shooting.
 
“This new model adopts the touch operation now available on three models in the LUMIX G Micro System, and offers advanced movie creation with Full HD AVCHD recording.”
 
He added: “Some of the features that consumers will really appreciate are the ‘Touch-Q-menu’ that is customisable by touch, so the user can drag and drop icons and personalise their DMC-GF2 with the features that are most important to them; and the improvements in movie recording, including touch focusing for a professionally-styled result.
 
“This camera is ideal for those who want to feel confident with their first interchangeable lens system camera, while more skilled users will find it faster and easier to make settings to achieve great shots.”
 
The DMC-GF2 will be available in Australia in the New Year, with the choice of either a black or a white body. Prices will be announced closer to the launch date.
 
The pop-up flash has been redesigned, and engineered to reduce the ‘vignetting’ that can occur when there is a short distance between the flash and lens.
 
Operating the camera is extremely simple and intuitive, due to the use of touch control and a new GUI designed for the DMC-GF2. The focus is immediately set to the subject just by touching it on the 460,000-dot LCD, shutter release is also controlled by touch; and there are dedicated buttons for Intelligent Auto (iA) and movie recording.
 
The camera has a 3.0-inch Intelligent LCD with a wide viewing angle, for vivid, exceptionally detailed images both when shooting and when viewing the results. The DMC-GF2 is also compatible with an optional Live View Finder (DMW-LVF1), which provides a full-time live view function.
 
For professional image performance, the DMC-GF2 has a 12.1 megapixel Live MOS sensor and Panasonic’s Venus Engine Full HD. Movie recording is now available in Full HD 1920 x 1080 in 50i.1
 
The new camera is also compatible with Panasonic’s new interchangeable 3D lens2, allowing users to shoot their own 3D still images and enjoy watching them on their 3DTV at home.
 
The DMC-GF2 will be available in Australia in the New Year with the following lens kits:
 
Lens kits
DMC-GF2 with LUMIX G 14mm / F2.5 ASPH (H-H014)
DMC-GF2 with LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm /F3.5-5.6 ASPH / MEGA O.I.S (H-FS014042E)
DMC-GF2 twin lens kit (H-H014 and H-FS014042E)
 
Key Features
Intuitive touch control in world’s smallest and lightest body
The DMC-GF2’s dramatic reduction in size has been achieved by the downsizing of the mount unit and a reduced number of internal parts due to the integration of electrical circuits.
 
The camera offers touch-control features via the LCD for easy operation, and the ‘Touch Q-menu’ is designed to allow users to customise their menu with the most commonly-used features.
 
Touch autofocus/AF tracking, shutter and zooming all allow the novice to quickly get their shot accurately focused and framed.
 
The defocus control function allows the range of defocus to be adjusted simply by flicking the control bar from side to side – making it very easy to get great portraits with a soft background. This feature is available in both iA and My Colour modes.
 
Other touch control features include:
 
1-area AF in Face Detection
This mode lets you focus on the subject in any part of the LCD while still detecting faces in the image – just touch the screen to direct the focus point. It lets you capture creative shots, for example, focusing on a flower in front of a person, or directing the focus to a person’s eyes.
 
Multi-area AF
The camera divides the 23 AF areas into nine groups. Just touch one of the groups and the camera automatically selects the optimal area from within that group. The cursor lets you display only the part that is within the selected range.
 
Touch Operation in iA Mode
In iA (Intelligent Auto) mode, simply touch the subject on the LCD and the camera automatically selects the optimal scene mode.
 
Moveable MF Assist
When you’re in manual focus mode, touch a section of an image on the LCD and the camera shows you a zoomed view of that area – 1x, 5x or 10x – instantly. This makes it easier to check that focus is sharp.
 
Touch-Operated Playback
A variety of touch-control operations make playback quick, easy and more fun. For example, you simply slide your finger across the LCD to scroll through images, or touch a part of the image to enlarge it to as much as 16x.
 
High-quality movie recording in Full HD AVCHD
The DMC-GF2 can record high-resolution Full HD 1920 x 1080 movies at 50i3, or smooth HD 1280 x 720 movies at 50p in AVCHD (MPEG-4/H.264)4 format. HD Motion JPEG in 1280 x 720 can also be selected as an alternative movie recording format in addition to QVGA, VGA and WVGA.
 
Touch AF is available in movie recording, allowing users to create the look of professional moviemakers’ rack focusing. A dedicated movie recording button lets the user instantly start recording, and high quality sound can be achieved with the stereo microphone and Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator. A Wind Cut function is also available to block out most of the noise from background wind.
 
Popular Intelligent Auto (iA) features include the new Intelligent D-range control, which offers even more natural looking images by optimising the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully, such as the blue colour of the sky. Other iA features available when moviemaking include Optical Image Stabiliser (OIS), Face Detection and Intelligent Scene Selector.
 
Features designed for creative shooting
The DMC-GF2 features My Colour mode which is integrated with the conventional Film mode. It offers a total of 8 preset effects — Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Cinema, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, Silhouette, plus Custom mode, which lets users manually set the colour, brightness, saturation and contrast levels. With the Full-time Live View function (via the optional Live View Finder), users can see how these settings will affect the images before they shoot, which makes it easier to capture the exact mood or atmosphere desired. The DMC-GF2 also provides a total of 17 Scene modes. Most of these modes can be used when shooting movies too, letting users create movies with dramatic, theatrical effects without having to edit after they shoot.
 
The exposure meter can be displayed in the Program/Aperture Priority/Shutter Priority/Manual shooting modes. The correlation between shutter speed and aperture is shown, with a colour-coded warning that alerts users when the settings are not within the suitable range. For newcomers to system photography, this makes it easy to learn correct settings both visually and logically, enhancing their photography skills.
 
Outstanding image quality
The DMC-GF2 achieves high picture quality in both still and movie recording, with the well-balanced performance of the Venus Engine Full HD image processor; and the 4/3 type 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor.
 
The Venus Engine Full HD provides advanced signal processing capabilities and applies optimal noise reduction, so you capture clear and beautiful images even when shooting at high sensitivity levels. With Intelligent Resolution technology, three areas – outlines, detailed texture and soft gradation areas – are automatically detected. Each area is enhanced effectively for greater definition, fine detail and superior noise reduction. As a result, images are naturally clear and crisp.
 
The Live MOS sensor offers the best of both worlds – the superior image quality of a CCD sensor and the lower power consumption of a CMOS sensor. Advanced technology that makes it possible to read 4 channels of data simultaneously also helps the DMC-GF2 deliver 60 frames-per-second images to the optional Live View Finder, for smooth, high-resolution images.
 
The camera features an accurate and fast Contrast AF system with a wide range of AF modes, including multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus areas, 1-area AF with a selectable focus area, Face Detection and AF Tracking.
 
LUMIX G Micro System cameras are equipped with a highly efficient Dust Reduction system. If specks of dust or other foreign matter gets inside a camera when you’re changing lenses, it could cling to the image sensor and show up as a spot in your photos. The Dust Reduction system in the DMC-GF2 helps eliminate this possibility by placing a supersonic wave filter in front of the Live MOS sensor. Vibrating vertically about 50,000 times per second, the filter effectively repels dust and other particles.
 
VIERA Link connectivity
Both still images and AVCHD movies recorded on SD Memory Cards are easy to view on a compatible Panasonic VIERA TV, Blu-ray Disc Player or Recorder simply by inserting the card into the SDHC/SD card slot. Alternatively, an optional mini HDMI cable can be used to output still images and movies recorded with the LUMIX DMC-GF2 directly to the TV for easy VIERA Link operation using the TV remote control.
 
Rich options for further expandability
The Micro Four Thirds System products are joining today’s Four Thirds System products to provide customers with even higher levels of performance in a digital interchangeable lens camera. In addition to LUMIX G lenses, the LUMIX DMC-GF2 and LUMIX G Micro System can use any interchangeable lens that complies with the Four Thirds System standard via an optional mount adaptor DMW-MA1 and with the prestigious Leica M/R Lenses via the DMW-MA2M or MA3R.
 
Optional Accessories*
Live View Finder : DMW-LVF1
Mount Adaptor: DMW-MA1, DMW-MA2M, DMW-MA3R
External Flash: DMW-FL220 (GN22) / DMW-FL360 (GN36) / DMW-FL500 (GN50)
Battery Pack: DMW-BLD10 (NEW) $119rrp
DC Coupler: DMW-DCC9 (NEW) $99rrp
AC Adaptor: DMW-AC8 (NEW) $29.95rrp
HDMI mini Cable: RP-CDHM15/RP-CDHM30
Leather Lens Case (for GF2 with 14 mm lens)
Leather Lens Case (for GF2 with 14-42 mm lens)
Leather Body Case: DMW-CGK3
 
*Some functions on the DMC-GF2 are not available depending on the lens that is mounted.
 
Included Software
The DMC-GF2 is bundled with PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 HD Edition for easy organisation of photos and movies, the SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE for RAW file development, and Super LoiLoScope (trial version) for high speed HD movie editing.

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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