Yesterday Panasonic introduced the GF2, which appears to be a sort of hybrid between the original GF1 and the LX5. The GF2 is 17% smaller and 7% lighter than the GF1, and looks very similar to the LX5 (which of course has a fixed lens and a much smaller sensor).
Large size never seemed to be a problem with my GF1, which always seemed very "right-sized" to me. I realize that lots of manufacturers are quite worried about the success of Sony's NEX-5 camera (note for instance that on the DxOmark Sensor rankings, the little Sony—the top-ranked minicam—comes in ranked one slot above the Leica M9. Nos. 28 and 29 respectively. Who's not worried? Nobody's not worried). I've seen the NEX-5, and it's one slick little camera. It has a touch-dial. Anyway, maybe the shrunken nature of the GF2 is a response to the smallness of the NEX-5.
The press release says the GF2 is a "DSL" camera. I had to ask, and was told that "DSL" stands for "digital single lens." Right, sans reflex. And "DSLM" stands for "digital single lens Micro." Anything to avoid calling your camera evil, I guess.
The new camera has fewer buttons than the GF1, and loses its top dial. Howzat? Well, because it inherited the touchscreen controls from the G2, zat how. The camera now has full HD video capability, and of course the sensor is said to be morer/betterer. Sensor m/b is a claimed feature of every model upgrade and can be taken for granted, but shouldn't be gushed about overmuch until actual tests can determine that the m/b-ness will be a) detectable yet only b) incremental, both of which, come to think, can also be taken for granted.
I don't care much for touch screens. They seem to belong more on oven ranges than cameras. I recall a programmer friend who had a prototype touch screen PC many years ago that he was very proud of even though it barely worked. But I guess if you're going to get rid of the mirror you might as well get rid of the dials. It's all going in the same general direction.
I'm still shopping for a DSLR (a.k.a. DSL+reflex) camera these days, so I'm going in the other direction, myself. Having bought a GF1 of my very own some time ago, that itch done been scratched. Would I upgrade? What, with the X100 due in March? I'm already saving my money for that. I am a fickle bastard.
But this new camera looks very nice, even though it seems to lean distinctly more towards the mass market than the last one did. The new camera will be sold in black and silver for men and white, red, and pink for the ladies.
I kid. You can get whatever color you want. As long as it's available in your market.
Said to be coming in January, 2011.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Miserere: "There's nothing wrong with this camera; there's a lot wrong with the name. GF2 is a misnomer, it should be something like GS1 (S for simple), the first in a parallel line of simpler cameras. Olympus understood this, which is why they called their most simple MILC E-PL1 and not E-P3."
Featured Comment by Jeffrey Goggin: "Unfortunately, Panasonic has a history of introducing cameras that appeal to serious photographers (such as its first 4/3-format camera, the DMC-L1 with its stellar Leica-influenced lens) and then going downmarket with its follow-up camera (as it did with the L10 that replaced the L1), so it's not a big surprise the GF2 follows this tradition."