Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

The Panasonic Lumix G2 is the successor and update to their Lumix G1 line, one of the first Micro Four Thirds cameras to hit the market. The G2 like its predecessor uses a Micro Four Thirds system. It has a 12.1 megapixel resolution on a Live MOS sensor. Outside of that, it’s capable of changing lenses and recording videos in HD using the Panasonic AVCHD Lite format. There is an mini-HDMI port that can be used to view photos and movies on an HDTV. Panasonic’s G2 features a three inch free-angle (the screen comes off of the camera) touchscreen LCD monitor. You can access Live View functions through both the LCD screen and the View Finder on the camera. It features an ISO range of 100 to 6400 and photo capture formats of JPEG and RAW. Like many Micro Four Thirds cameras the G2 doesn’t weigh much at 13.1 ounces (sans Lens).

Features List:

– Micro Four Thirds DSLR

– 12.1 Megapixels

– Live MOS sensor

– HD movie recording

– Mini-HDMI port

– 3 inch Touchscreen LCD monitor

– Dual Live View functions on the monitor and LVF

– RAW & JPEG format

– ISO 100 – 6400

– Weighs 13.1 oz.

Digital Trends’ digital camera buying tips:

What about shooting video?

Within the past few years, video has gone from a novel sideshow that yielded almost unusably bad results, to a legitimate secondary purpose for many point-and-shoot cameras. Although you probablt won’t want to replace your dedicated camcorder with a camera that also shoots video, many will do the job just fine for short, impromptu clips.

First off, pay attention to the resolution a camera can capture – VGA (640 x 480) is now common on point-and-shoot cams, while 720p is getting more frequent and 1080p sometimes crops up on DSLRs. Video in the AVCHD format – the same type real digital camcorders shoot – is preferable to other formats. Pay attention to the encoding bitrate, measured in megabits per second (mbps). The higher the rate, the more detailed the videos will look, although they will take up more space on your storage card as well.

What’s the difference between optical and digital zoom?

Like megapixels, manufacturers frequently throw around big numbers relating to digital zoom. Like megapixels, you should ignore them. Optical zoom uses real optics to get you closer to your subject, while digital zoom merely takes the same amount of pixels you would have in a standard shot and blows them up to fill the frame. The camera captures no more detail. It’s the same zooming or cropping trick you could pull in Photoshop, done in the camera on the fly. While that can sometimes be handy, image quality suffers severely as a result, and most photographers would never use digital zoom.

Don’t Buy Til You Try

One final bit of advice. Never, ever buy a camera purely on its specs or a few positive reviews. What looks good on paper, and what feels good to one person, isn’t necessarily going to be the perfect camera for you. Patronize shops that allow you to spend a lot of hands-on time with your prospective models. Cameras are extremely touchy-feely products, and the truth is that most of them include similar feature sets and take decent pictures. But they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and you’ll be spending many hours with one of them in your hands. Long-term comfort is perhaps the most important factor of all.

Key differences between SLR and Point-n-shoot

Price: According to industry analysts, the vast majority of cameras sold go for less than $200. Making the leap to a DSLR will definitely set you back, but many shoppers obviously believe that the investment is well worth it.

Speed: Speed is the one of the most critical factors. If you’ve ever used a compact digicam, you know that these devices take time to focus and save images to memory cards. During these delays, you can easily miss a smiling face or a running child. To put things in perspective: Point-and-shoot digital cameras generally capture 1 frame per second, while most DSLRs take 3 frames per second or more, making them better suited for fast action shots or sporting events. The difference between snagging the perfect picture and missing it entirely is one of the biggest factors weighing heavily in DSLR cameras’ favor.

Image quality: Compact cameras use much smaller imaging devices. By cramming so many megapixels on a small chip, digital noise is a constant problem. In our reviews, we always recommend keeping the ISO (sensitivity) of a digicam at 400 or less. DSLRs have much larger APS-C sized imagers, meaning you’ll encounter less noise in low light situations and better picture quality overall. Using one, you can shoot in more dimly lit conditions without a flash with little image degradation. In addition, if huge prints are in your future-or extensive cropping-DSLRs should be in your sights.

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