GF2…A downgrade??

Ok, I normally won’t post my thoughts, especially negative on a camera unless I have spent some time on it. I will make the exception this time.

Watch the video above…or at least let it run while you read this. Give notice to the way this dude holds the camera, manipulates its settings, and takes pictures in general.

Is it just me…or is this so wrong on several levels?

Lets back up. Panasonic released the GF1 camera when this Micro 4/3 business started taking off. Great little camera. Fast focus for what it was, good quality, small, light weight, decent lenses…not bad. Panasonic had a winner. The controls were decent too. I tried hard to love it. Almost bought one on three different occasions. I have spent time with it, as well as having shot a lot of comparison shots with it. I just struggled to love the 2x crop. As a camera it is wonderful. It just could not give me the look I was after. Who knows…I may end up with one anyways, especially at their current price which is dropping every day.

Panasonic released the GF2 last night. The successor to the GF1. Better video capture, clean control layout, even smaller and lighter body, and a tiny 14mm lens. (28mm view on the 2x) After watching the video, I am beginning to wonder if this GF2 is not an upgrade, but a very expensive downgrade.

This dude is holding the camera in his left hand and poking the touch screen with his right. Out the window goes stability and control. Is someone actually going to fire the shutter from the touch screen? What happened to practicing breathing, control, and release of a shutter to suppress vibration? So now not only do we hold the camera away from our bodies, but we have to poke at it to adjust focus, and shoot? Want to quickly change a setting…start using the camera like an ipad! I just can’t see how this adds to the tool. How does this get out of your way to allow shooting to happen?

Worst of all…you need to look at the camera! Will you be able to adjust settings with the camera by your side in preparation of a coming shot? Can you change settings while shooting to grab variations of successive moments and expressions? Shooting is not about our camera. It is about our subjects. This camera seems like it calls too much attention to its use which in turn diverts us from our subject. Is it only me…or is that completely backwards? I prefer being able to use a camera by feel. (and not feel as in feeling the screen!)

Will you be able to use this camera in manual mode and simply rely on the shutter and control dial? Or will it be crippled in some way by features that are nonadjustable unless you adjust how you hold and view the camera so you can swipe icons across the screen?

I guess I was hoping the GF2 was going to be moving in the direction of the Fuji X100. Yes, we want smaller and lighter cameras with big sensor quality. Camera makers have proven it is possible. Why can’t they just make a small GF sized camera that is control intuitive without all the bells and whistles?

I can’t imagine the market for M4/3 cameras would collapse if they didn’t have “touch me focus” and “poke your favorite white balance setting.”

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2 responses on "GF2…A downgrade??"

  1. I believe the general problem with the GF2 is not the camera itself (which, by the way, I find a clever idea if the goal is to get compact users and other newbies to MFT), but people’s expectation. Everyone was hoping for a rangefinder-style camera with integrated EVF yet a small body like the GF1. But what Panasonic did was to bring a model that would sell.

    Business is about what sells first. And if we want Panasonic to bring us a fancy rangefinder-style MFT camera, we need to allow them to produce models that will sell, so they can reroute money to developing something that won’t sell – at least not in business terms. Sure, RF-like MFT camera would have its fans, but the majority of occasional hobby shooters out there want something simple and intuitional, something they understand.

    We fanboys and die-hards are the exception, unfortunately, and we have to resort to what we are being offered. So, until the fancy MFT camera comes, I will continue enjoying my fabulous E-P1 (as it is fabulous for what it is), and my fancy-enough M8, which is also fabulous for what it is.

    I do, though, sincerely hope that one day we’ll see that GF3 we’re all hoping for …

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