The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 is the first Micro Four Thirds (interchangeable-lens compact) camera with a touch screen. Whether this is a real benefit is a matter of personal preference: Some testers say the 3-inch, rotatable touch screen makes it easier and smoother to work manual controls while shooting, while others say they find the ordinary buttons better (the G2 has both). One of the touch screen's biggest benefits, according to some testers -- the ability to simply touch the screen to change your focus area -- becomes one of its biggest drawbacks in one test, where the reviewer can't stop accidentally hitting the screen and changing her focus while that feature is enabled. Experts say you may have to try before you see whether you like or need the touch screen. If not, Panasonic drops that feature on the less expensive Panasonic G10 (Discontinued).
Like other Micro Four Thirds cameras, the G2 is sized to fit in a jacket pocket (4.9 by 3.3 by 2.9 inches) yet allows you to change lenses like a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera. We priced the G2 with its 28 mm to 84 mm, 3x zoom kit lens, but you can also buy the body only. You can also get separate Micro Four Thirds lenses (you can use other lens types with adapters). Image quality is better than a pocket camera, but not quite as good as that of the top-rated Micro Four Thirds camera, the Olympus PEN E-PL1 (Discontinued), reviews say. The G2 uses a 12.1-megapixel image sensor, and reviews say some colors turn out a bit wrong and noise shows up at mid to high ISOs in indoor and low light. The G2 does have a built-in electronic viewfinder, unlike the Olympus, but that makes the G2 a little bulkier than the Olympus. Both cameras shoot 720p HD video and include a pop-up flash and hot shoe.
We found plenty of reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 by reliable experts, including the comprehensive tests and multi-part reviews at PhotographyBlog.com, DPReview.com, DCResource.com and TrustedReviews.com. CNET's review is more concise, but still based on expert testing. Amazon.com posts user reviews.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 is a top recommendation here. Mark Goldstein says its unique touch-screen interface "genuinely speeds up the camera's operation," and the whole experience is fun, intuitive and "DSLR-like."
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Review, Mark Goldstein, July 8, 2010
Simon Joinson finds the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2's touch screen nice, but not necessary; he winds up using the camera's ordinary buttons most of the time during his two-month test. He says the G2's sensor and kit lens could be better, but this "'real' camera" can satisfy both enthusiasts and point-and-shooters and wins the site's Silver Award.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Review, Simon Joinson, July 2010
Jeff Keller recommends the best cameras in each price range, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 is one of his favorites in its class. Like his counterpart at DPReview.com (above), Keller doesn't find the touch screen adds much to the experience, but overall the camera is "a robust performer" and fun to shoot.
Review: DCRP Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, Jeff Keller, Updated May 8, 2010
Although "you can get better results from a full-size DSLR of the same price," TrustedReviews.com awards the Panasonic Lumix G2 its Recommended tag. Reviewer Cliff Smith compares the G2 with its predecessor, the G1; the new touch screen is "just a gimmick," but he likes that the camera can now shoot video.
Review: Panasonic Lumix G2 Review, Cliff Smith, May 17, 2010
Lori Grunin likes the rotatable, touch-screen LCD on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2. Its photos "look a hair noisier and overprocessed compared with many competitors," but it's still a top pick here.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 (Black, with 14-42 mm Lens), Lori Grunin, April 26, 2010
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 earns a very high 4.5-star rating here (out of 5), but fewer than 20 owners have posted reviews of this new model. A couple of the reviews are quite lengthy and helpful.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, Contributors to Amazon.com