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Seeing as I have now owned this camera for a couple of years, I thought it would be useful to update my review on it to see if there is anything I have missed or found out since the last review. I spent hours online researching what would be the best camera for me as I wanted to upgrade from a compact camera I bought three years ago and my friend mentioned this camera to me, so I decided to have a look at it. I should mention that the Panasonic Lumix G2 is technically not a proper DSLR, unlike a lot of the Nikon and Canon cameras. Instead of having a Pentaprism or Pentamirror in the view finder, it is fact just digital. I suppose this eliminates some of the bulk you would expect to get in a DSLR and the shutter will not break after so many actuations as well. Moreover, If you have no previous experience with cameras or don't like learning various features, then it can be a bit daunting once you see just how many buttons are put onto this camera, however it is a very user friendly camera. To give you a rough idea of this camera's basic specs, here they are:
- 12.1MP (Megapixels) - Comes with a standard kit lens14-42mm (f 3.5 - 5.6) - Maximum resolution 4000 x 3000 - Over 10 scene modes - 3 inch LCD touch screen - Burst shooting 2.7 fps - 1/4000 fastest shutter speed - 60 seconds + (bulb)
For more detailed specifications, there are plenty of websites out there. Snapsort is a great website.
When I first got this camera, I did not have much of a clue about photography, but I can honestly say that this is the camera that got me into photography in the first place. At the time that I bought this, 12.1 megapixels was quite impressive, however technology develops very quickly and you are able to get consumer compact cameras nowadays with 18 megapixels or more and for less money. However, I should point out that megapixels of a camera are allegedly a ploy by advertisers to attract you into buying the camera. Megapixels does make a difference in that the more megapixels a camera has, the larger you can blow the photo up for printing and the more you can zoom into a photo on a computer without losing as much image quality, however this is not everything. In fact, in most cases, it is the size of the sensor in the camera which determines the quality of the image.
The sensor size of this camera is Micro Four Thirds, so it is the perfect sized sensor for decent images without having to break the bank for it. I won't go into all the detail regarding sensor specs and what difference it makes, but it is important just to be aware of this factor: The larger the sensor, the better the image quality. This is one thing the DSLR cameras have over on the Compact cameras. Compact cameras, although incredibly useful for taking point-and-shoot photos, are quite limited compared to the DSLR's. Compacts are smaller, which makes them easier to carry, but that means that everything is being crammed into a tiny encasing, which obviously affects the size of the sensor. Now if I am going to compare the Lumix G2 to a Full-Frame camera (Pro DSLR) this camera is a lot smaller and lighter. Can you see a pattern emerging? So to conclude, those cameras which look huge, difficult to carry and heavy, are actually the best ones out there!
Battery and Storage
The battery life is around 450 shots depending on what settings you use and how often it gets switched on and off. It takes about 2 hours to recharge. On the highest quality format JPEG, with a 16GB memory card you can take about 3500 photos - which is sufficient, but if you feel you want to take more photos than that, then I'd recommend getting another memory card or buying a camera which contains two storage slots. Something like the Nikon D7000 (but for a higher price!). Shooting on RAW means the battery life will be significantly less. The manual guide has been commented as being terrible, but I haven't had too much trouble with it and if I am unsure about something, I can look it up online. If you don't know what shutter speed, aperture and ISO is or do then maybe read a little about how they work. If you're a complete beginner and you want to start taking photos as soon as you take it out the box then this is possible! There is an automatic mode which completely adjusts everything for you and you should be happy with results - I definitely was.
My opinion of this camera has definitely changed over time. Initially, when I got it back in 2010, I was overwhelmed by it and so I shot all of my photos on 'Auto' or 'P' mode for fear of changing a setting and not knowing how to change it back. Also, I did not know much about photography and just the amount of available options out there. Looking back, I made the perfect choice because it suited myself and my expectations. Despite the look and complexity of the buttons, once you have learnt your way around, it is relatively simple. But this is after hours of research and experimentation. After spending hours going out and taking photos, I am slowly improving my photography and I am thinking about upgrading to a better non-consumer camera. If I am to compare this camera to other DSLR's right now, this is right at the bottom of the pile. At the time, it was a great consumer camera, but even now a couple of years on, you can get better consumer cameras for cheaper. So because of its stiff competition, and new versions of the G cameras coming out every year, I'd recommend this camera if money is tight because it should be pretty 'cheap' by now, especially on Ebay. I took a risk in buying this camera before trying it, but I wasn't disappointed. I wouldn't normally have the confidence to do so, but after having seen some photos online of it's picture quality, I was convinced. Unfortunately the files of the photos I've taken are too big so I can't upload them. I guess that shows its quality!
Summary: If you are a complete beginner to photography, buy it. If not, then maybe have a look at newer versions of the 'G' camera.