Panasonic DMC-GF2: Anything new?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Camera Review
Panasonic DMC-GF2: Anything new?

The recently-launched GF2 succeeds the very popular GF1 launched more than a year ago. From the outside, the GF2 looks like a simplified version of the GF1. In the interim, the GF2 acquired a touch screen, and is now able to record full HD movies instead of the 720p footage of the GF1. As for the sensor, however, there is no change. Like the GF1, the GF2 relies on a 4/3 12 megapixels LiveMOS. But the GF2 claims to be able to reach ISO 6400 instead of 3200 for the GF1.

Use case scores: GF1 and GF2 are a perfect match.

As soon as one sees the use cases scores, the similarities between the two cameras are more than obvious. Portrait and Landscape scores are exactly the same. The Sports score is a bit higher for the GF1, but only by a mere 7 points (out of 500)—which means that the two sensors have the same limitations when the light is weak, despite the possibility for the GF2 user to select ISO 6400. Neither camera is able to rise above the “30dB noise-9EV dynamic range” limit (synonym of good image quality) above ISO 500.

SNR, dynamic range, color sensitivity: almost identical.

The rest of the metrics confirm this almost perfect similitude. The SNR graph shows that the GF2 is a tiny bit ahead from ISO 100 to 200, but the difference is here again too small to be meaningful.

DMC-GF1 vs DMC-GF2: almost identical metrics.

Conclusion

No need to spend a lot of time comparing the two generations. The sensor for each one shows almost exactly the same performance. The main difference between both cameras is purely functional, with improvements to the GF2’s video function and ergonomics.