Panasonic Lumix GF2 test: 3D photo and video Full HD

Panasonic Lumix GF2

Almost a year and a half after the popular GF1, Panasonic renews its concept of compact interchangeable lens with a larger public model, the GF2. Program: simplified ergonomics, compact size, touch interface, switch to the Full HD 3D Ready! What worried the Sony NEX-5?

The Panasonic GF2


Grip and ergonomics

Performances: responsiveness and objective

image quality and high sensitivity

3D photo and video

Note and concluded

Panasonic GF2

Main Features


Metal shell

Pixels / Max

13.06 megapixel (effective 12.1 MP)

4000 x 3000 pixels

Sensor – size

Live MOS

Micro 4/3 format 17.3 x 13 mm

pixel density

5.4 Mpix / cm²

Anti dust

Sensor cleaning by vibration


Live View (EVF or optical viewfinder and optional)


micro 4/3

pack Goals

fixed focus 14mm f: 2.5 (28mm equiv.)


according target


3 ” 460 000 pixels touch

ISO natively

100-6 ISO 400


60 s to 000 s 1/4 + B (2 min max)

White Balance

Auto + 5 + manual modes (2 500-10 000K) + 2 measures

File Formats



Up to 3.2 im / s


Pop up – Guide Number 6




owner connectivity (USB 2.0 and A / V composite), mini HDMI

supplied cables

USB, charger, A / V cable

Dimensions (nu)

Dimensions (with lens)

112.8 x 67.8 x 32.8 mm

121 x 67.8 x 59 mm

naked weight

Weight with 14 mm

310 g

366 g


DMW-BLD10E mAh battery 1010


PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 HD, SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.1 SE, Super LoiLoScope (éval 30j)

video Features

maximum quality

1920 x 080i 1 to 50 im / s (approx. 16 Mbps)

1280 x 720p at 30 frames / s

Container – codec




AF during video


stabilized video

According goal (with this kit, no)


About 649 €

Grip and ergonomics

The device shows the general appearance of the Panasonic GF1 tested in this comparison but suffered in passing two significant changes. Starting with a visible diet: the GF2 loses about 5 mm in all dimensions and 20 g on the scale. The grip does not suffer too (there is a small handful) and pockets appreciate. The finish has meanwhile not changed: the metal casing always reflects the Panasonic serious.

The GF1 beside the GF2

The other change orders also eased. Go among other modes selector, stop adjusting the engine, the AF / MF button, AF / AE Lock and depth of field test. A bare device? No, a touch interface that replaces the hard commands.

Although compact, the GF2 offers a good grip thanks to its small handle

A daring choice of Panasonic, since we know that picture on the touch is a source of significant cleavage: it has its fans but especially many critics … What about here? Well that surprises at first, if not it disturbs … But once the concept before, it copes well touch. Especially as the target passes anyway by the screen on this device type (unless you add an EVF, electronic viewfinder, optical viewfinder or optional). Accessed eg Quick Menu (quick camera settings) by a touch button. It is also possible to use physical control “Q. Menu / Fn” but it appears more appropriate to allocate to this key role “Fn”, whose function is customizable. A video is better than words …

Ergonomics remains good, if not as classic as the GF1. Always faithful to the post, the toothed wheel is appreciated, we press to switch from the opening to the speed and vice versa. Panasonic is also continue his red hot key to capture video on top of the housing. And he dedicated this time a button to auto mode “iA” (who was in on the mode dial, disappeared here) … As for the rest, mention the pop-up flash nimble (but fragile?) the flash shoe and accessory shoe connector just below (for particular EVF), the usual connectivity (USB and mini HDMI owner) and battery mAh 1010 only (1250 mAh on the GF1) .. .


Whom the © screen

Control dial, iA button and direct access to the video ©

Controls on the back of © housing

Flash pop-up ©

Flash shoe and accessory connector ©

Connectivity ©

Battery mAh 1010

Finally, a few words on the menu, do not change. They retain some clarity (in graphics and intelligibility titles) but are still poorly organized enough (rank tabs, and page numbers). For example, the entry “Format” found on the last page of the “Config” tab, or the important image settings housed in fourth page of the first tab. Panasonic has still added a screen (that happens when you press the “Menu / Set”) lists six icons. These are the five main menu tabs over an icon to the Mode selector. Note that apart from the mode dial, the menu is not touch …


Menu 1 ©

Menu 2 ©

Menu 3 ©

Menu 4 ©

Touch the Home menu ©

Selector Touch modes

Performances: responsiveness and objective

… Quick for a compact GF2 The overall aligns good performance of its predecessor, and sometimes even beyond. The boot remains rapid (less than a DSLR but with a more compact), as is the ability to string together shots. The burst progresses, reaching 3.2 im / s on an unlimited number of views Jpeg (7 views 5 maximum RAW or RAW + JPEG). With the added bonus of a Live View remains active during the burst (the screen does not turn off).

With a fixed focal length of 14 mm, the autofocus GF2 is probably one of the fastest ever among the contrast detection devices: between 0.35 and 0.55 s, depending on the correction of development to bring! And with still relatively high trigger at a latency of 0.13 s (the good reflex are below 0.05 s). Panasonic enjoys in this area a clearly beneficial experience.

Measurements expressed in seconds: the smaller the better

A quality goal but little versatile

The device can be sold with a 14-42 mm (then called GF2K). However, the model we presented a GF2C Panasonic is delivered with a fixed focal length of 14 mm, Micro 4/3 mount. The objective opens to f: 2.5, equivalent to a wide angle of 28 mm and offers a minimum focusing distance of 18 cm item. So far there is much to celebrate in relatively good brightness (as soon as f goes below 2.8, it starts to get interesting …), as the low versatility of the lens will quickly compel acquire other targets. 28 mm fixed, you can say goodbye (or like) in many styles picture (portrait, close up, animal, sport …). No stabilization here (no big deal considering the focal length) but focusing noise.

The lack of versatility, however, is offset by good optical performance of the fixed focal length. From the grand opening, the center has a very good level of sharpness while the edges are well defined, the dive drop only arriving on the extreme edge. From f: 5 and up to f: 8, sharpness homogenizes correctly. Beyond f: 10, all (the center) begins to lose precision (diffraction phenomenon).


Centre f: 2,5 ©

Centre to f: 3.5 ©

Centre f: 5 ©

Centre f 7.1 ©

Centre f: 10 ©

Centre f: 14 ©

Board f: 2.5 ©

Board f: 3.5 ©

Board f: 5 ©

Board f: 7.1 ©

Board f: 10 ©

Board f: 14

Chromatic aberrations are well managed as usual by Panasonic. In software, through the optical system, or a little of both, we do not know … But the result is there. Side distortion, the GF2 is also doing well given its wide-angle focal length. The barrel distortion is visible but not excessively. Vignetting is notable him well to f: 2.5. He however fades closing the aperture (from f 3.5).

Distortion at 14mm. Here we see the vignetting at f: 2.5

image quality and high sensitivity

The GF2 uses the same sensor as the GF1. If the 12.1 megapixel Live MOS was a good figure in his time, it is clear that this aging machinery appears today. Certainly Panasonic GF2 has boosted its history of providing maximum sensitivity of ISO 6400 (ISO 3200 against previously). But the signal processing has not changed much otherwise. The device remains fully usable up to ISO 1600, ISO 3200 eventually if we stick to small sizes (A4 max) and operate without cropping. And yet … As for the ISO 6400 mode, it is only good at troubleshooting (or stamp format) as far too noisy.


Sample 1 to 100 ISO

Sample 1 to 200 ISO

Sample 1 to 400 ISO

Clip 1 at ISO 800

Clip 1 1 600 ISO

Extract 1-3 ISO 200

Extract 1-6 ISO 400

Extract 2 to 100 ISO

Extract 2 to 200 ISO

Extract 2 to 400 ISO

Excerpt 2 at ISO 800

Excerpt 2 1 600 ISO

Extract 2-3 ISO 200

Extract 2-6 ISO 400

Clip 1 1 600 ISO noise reduction in the minimum

Clip 1 1 600 ISO noise reduction in the average

Clip 1 1 600 ISO noise reduction in the maximum

Excerpt 2 1 600 ISO noise reduction in the minimum ©

Excerpt 2 1 600 ISO noise reduction in the average

Excerpt 2 1 600 ISO noise reduction in the maximum

The disappointing point is that the GF2 is showing first signs of weakness from ISO 400 (as on the GF1). While we observe less color noise but still this slight grainy frame that blends into the material instead of just sprinkle the image, and so begins to shear the edges. It is not visible to the screen (or basically annoying) but distinct zooming to 100%. And reducing the default tends to sound too smooth textures. Fortunately, this is configurable via the image adjustments (best results are obtained from -2 to -1). Ultimately, the GF2 is of course up above conventional compact, it is also better than the GF1, but the comparison with a Sony NEX-5 is clearly painful. Below in pictures …

© Sony NEX-5 sample 1 1 600 ISO Panasonic GF2 sample 1 ISO 1600 © Sony NEX-5 Extract 1-3 ISO 200 Panasonic GF2 sample 1 ISO 3200 © Sony NEX-5 extract 1-6 ISO 400 Panasonic GF2 sample 1 ISO 6400 © Sony NEX-5 Clip 2 1 600 ISO Panasonic GF2 extract 2-1600 ISO © Sony NEX-5 extract 2-3 ISO 200 Panasonic GF2 excerpt 2 ISO 3200 © Sony NEX-5 extract 2-6 ISO 400 Panasonic GF2 extract ISO 2-6400

Shot made ISO 1600 and extracts 100%

Shot made ISO 3200 and extracts 100%

But still?

The GF2 gives no surprises. White balance and exposure metering are generally accurate and reliable (especially the latter). In terms of balance, predictability rendering decreases slightly with incandescent lights, but this observation is valid for the majority of devices. However, we will blame Panasonic have limited the image settings with two modes, color or black and white, contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction (for color only). One can access other image styles via the mode selector in the entry “My Color” (expressive, retro, pure, elegant, cinema …), but of what are the effects of rendered color, and two it is not practical. Certainly the basic colorimetry proves balanced and natural, but a device of this caliber could be more generous (slide, portrait, Tri-X, sepia, turns …). Although Panasonic wished the “simplified” to make it more appealing to the general public.

Picture settings menu and a typically difficult situation that the GF2 has sun

Silkypix Another small disappointment: the disappearance of the flash power setting and curtain mode. On a machine of this caliber is a bit limited … Finally we note that, as the GF1, converting Jpeg carried by the housing is not more subtle. We get much better results from RAW files. In this regard, Panasonic provides a Silkypix Developer Studio 3.1 SE unconvincing. Already, the software is already not very easy to approach. And then, as it is not developed by Panasonic, it offers no integration of camera settings. We can not change in post processing parameters we set before shooting accurately (I.DYNAMIC, image adjustments, noise reduction …). In short, it is better to go through Lightroom for example.

original jpeg, jpeg post-treated Lightroom 3 and jpeg obtained from a RAW with the same treatment

100% extracted in the same order: RAW provides the details

3D photo and video

Features and 3D picture

The GF2 offers pretty standard features: scene modes, exposure bracketing and white balance, to extend the dynamic range function (I.DYNAMIC) and strengthening adaptive sharpness (I.Résolution) or customizable C Menu … It is finally little: no HDR or panoramic program. Yes, but the GF2 is compatible 3D, once the optical H-FT012 bonded to the frame.

Any resemblance to an existing smiley is purely coincidental … The proposed target to 249 € is a fixed focal length (65 mm equivalent) that includes two separate lenses (each composed of four elements in three groups). When mounting this UFO on the GF2, the sensor automatically splits into two zones of 1600 x 1200 pixels, each covered by a lens. The device thus produced two photos, grouped in a readable fichier.MPO stereoscopic 3D on TV or computer (for a suitable screen). useful clarification if any: the screen shows GF2 course one 2D image …

The 3D lens every angle

Before turning rendering and the question of the interest of the thing, some clarification. First, the objective of the transplant cut autofocus, for the simple reason is that there is no ring focusing on optics. How is it done? Well allowed to operate the very small aperture of f: 12, which guarantees a sufficient depth of field to be net everywhere. But that requires having a generous light to obtain a fast enough shutter time! And do not plan to ride in sensitivity, because beyond 400 ISO image (thus rendering 3D) deteriorates badly. Finally, note that the GF2 does not film in 3D, it merely pictures.

So what is it worth? We connect the GF2 our Samsung LE40C750 TV HDMI to have the heart net. First impression, after a slight adjustment of the depth of the 3D effect on the TV: stereoscopy is well made and most photos captured. Unlike the Fujifilm W3 impose numerous constraints shooting (no close-up, rear long shot, many subjects, night pictures, geometric shapes …) and causes francs failures if we do the violating the GF2 manages to get results at least acceptable if not convincing in most situations. Situations where you could shoot at f: 12 course …

Lumix 3D interface on the TV, view display in 2D and 3D

Now look more closely, the 3D is not striking. If the foreground is generally well off (and seems to move when moving the head), the middle to the background it is no more depth. And even rather a settling of perspective that gives a record of ‘cardboard paste “settings. The spacing of the two lenses obviously not reproduce the parallax of human vision. By breaking the two images of DFO, it is clear that the prospect varies little from one image to another.

Image left, then right and then recomposed

Image left, then right and then recomposed

Finally, the 3D picture is nice and interesting idea, but it will still have to move to make you want to spend € 250 in a practice dedicated to this goal.

And the video?

If there is one area where the GF2 can get everyone to agree, it is that of the video. Indeed, the device excels in this area. Mainly for two reasons: the excellent image quality on one hand and the great performance of the autofocus on the other.

As usual with Panasonic, two encodings are available: AVCHD for direct playback on TV, PC mount facing the Motion Jpeg. In maximum quality, the first format produced MTS files to 1920 x 1080 pixels, interlaced at 50 im / s encoded at about 16 Mbps. While the second generates des.MOV in 1280 x 720 pixels, with a progressive picture sequencing 30 im / s encoding at 27 Mbps or so.

If the encoding quality is very good in both cases, we regret however that Panasonic limit 1 080i in AVCHD, a still unmanageable format on PC. For proof, the manufacturer provides a small Super LoiLoScope trial version software to edit these videos, PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.0 HD is unable to take care of AVCHD (nor does it publishes RAW …). Same for the sound, captured in stereo in both cases, but in AC-3 48 kHz to 192 Kbps for Full HD and only PCM 16 kHz to 512 Kbps for HD … It’s good to let the choice of format, but if it clearly favors one over the other, it loses its appeal …

The good point is that in both cases, the autofocus works very well. His adjustments are very quiet, fast and accurate. If the lack of manual controls do not mind, the GF2 is probably one of the best devices of the moment to capture the video in high definition!

Full HD videos in AVCHD download

Panasonic Lumix GF2: test video in FullHD

Panasonic Lumix GF2: video of a real train in FullHD

Conclusion The Panasonic GF2 marks the return of the compact interchangeable lens, it was time. And we can not help but find that this update has a perfume against attack against the NEX-5. The GF2 resumes anyway elements that made the success of the Sony case, namely a simple operation (just to reach more users) and reduced dimensions. Panasonic has opted for a touch interface, purifying the body until the point. Suddenly, the GF2 is positioned far enough from the classicism of his illustrious predecessor, the GF1. Fortunately, ergonomics remains effective for a purist. A change in the form, that is clear. But basically, we may regret that so few Panasonic changed the heart of imagery. There is nothing dramatic, the GF2 is still well above that offer all compact market. But next to the NEX-5, the GF2 image processing appears winded, down sharply. And Sony NEX should reconsider before that Panasonic GF3 offers: careful not to accumulate too late! The GF2 is catching up however on the video where it exceeds the NEX-5. And 3D photo? The feature makes pretty good but as usual, there are reservations … A good entertainment if it digests the purchase of dedicated optics! current marketing February to 649 € with 14 mm.

Panasonic Lumix GF2 Most Compact + / + Wealth usable touch RAW / measurement reliable expo Piqué + 14 mm / + 3D compatible picture quality of HD video – FullHD Less – Imaging virtually unchanged since GF1 – 14 mm quality but not versatile – simplified ergonomics / settings missing – no HDR or panoramic 3 Image quality Responsiveness Usability Features

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Edited on 11/07/2012 at 3:58 p.m.