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Panasonic G2 vs GF1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2010 and September 2009. Both the G2 and the GF1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Panasonic G2
versus
Panasonic GF1
Panasonic G2   Panasonic GF1
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
12 MP – Four Thirds sensor 12 MP – Four Thirds sensor
720/30p Video 720/30p Video
ISO 100-6,400 ISO 100-3,200
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD – 460k dots 3.0" LCD – 460k dots
Swivel touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.6 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
360 shots per battery charge380 shots per battery charge
124 x 84 x 74 mm, 428 g 119 x 71 x 36 mm, 385 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G2 and the Panasonic GF1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The G2 can be obtained in three different colors (black, blue, red), while the GF1 is only available in black.

Size Panasonic G2 vs Panasonic GF1
Compare G2 versus GF1 top
Comparison G2 or GF1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF1 is notably smaller (19 percent) than the Panasonic G2. Moreover, the GF1 is markedly lighter (10 percent) than the G2. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G2 nor the GF1 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic GF1 119 mm 71 mm 36 mm 385 g 380 n Sep 2009 749ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599ebay.com
4.
 
Panasonic GF5 108 mm 67 mm 37 mm 267 g 360 n Apr 2012 499ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599ebay.com
6.
 
Panasonic GF3 108 mm 67 mm 32 mm 264 g 300 n Jun 2011 549ebay.com
7.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699ebay.com
8.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499ebay.com
9.
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic GH2 124 mm 90 mm 76 mm 442 g 330 n Sep 2010 899ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic GH1 124 mm 90 mm 45 mm 385 g 300 n Mar 2009 899ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The G2 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the GF1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic G2 and Panasonic GF1 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the G2 and the GF1 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the G2 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the GF1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

G2 versus GF1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
2.
 
Panasonic GF1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354
3.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
4.
 
Panasonic GF5 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
5.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
6.
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
7.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
8.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
9.
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
10.
 
Panasonic GH2 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
11.
 
Panasonic GH1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
12.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (720/30p).

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G2 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the GF1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the DMW-LVF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic G2, the Panasonic GF1, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Panasonic G21440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
2.
 
Panasonic GF1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Panasonic GF5none n3.0 / 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
5.
 
Panasonic G31440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
6.
 
Panasonic GF3none n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2/s Y n
7.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
8.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
9.
 
Panasonic GF2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
10.
 
Panasonic GH21534 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Panasonic GH11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
12.
 
Panasonic G11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G2 has a touchscreen, while the GF1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The G2 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the GF1 does not have a selfie-screen.

The G2 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the GF1 uses SDHC cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Panasonic GF1Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
4.
 
Panasonic GF5-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Panasonic GF3-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
9.
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Panasonic GH2Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic GH1Ystereo / -Y-mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic G1Y- / ---mini2.0---

Both the G2 and the GF1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The GF1 was replaced by the Panasonic DMC-GF2, while the G2 was followed by the Panasonic G3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Panasonic G2 better than the Panasonic GF1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the GF1).


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (119x71mm vs 124x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2009).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G2 emerges as the winner of the contest (6 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G2 06:03 GF1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G2 and the Panasonic GF1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G2 or the GF1 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic G2......72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599ebay.com
2.
 
Panasonic GF1..85/100..69/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749ebay.com
3.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/100..71/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599ebay.com
4.
 
Panasonic GF53/5......4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +..75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599ebay.com
6.
 
Panasonic GF33/582/100..71/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549ebay.com
7.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699ebay.com
8.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499ebay.com
9.
 
Panasonic GF23/582/100..70/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549ebay.com
10.
 
Panasonic GH25/5+ +..79/1004.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic GH1..+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +..70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Panasonic G2 vs Panasonic GF1

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Panasonic G2 Panasonic GF1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date March 2010 September 2009
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Panasonic G2 Panasonic GF1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.33 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 5.34 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/30p Video 720/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor Venus HD II Venus HD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 53 54
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.2 21.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.3 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 493 513
    Screen Specs Panasonic G2 Panasonic GF1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic G2 Panasonic GF1
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.6 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic G2 Panasonic GF1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic G2 Panasonic GF1
    Battery Type DMW-BLB13 DMW-BLB13
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge380 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 124 x 84 x 74 mm
    (4.9 x 3.3 x 2.9 in)
    119 x 71 x 36 mm
    (4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 428 g (15.1 oz) 385 g (13.6 oz)
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