Hoping Nikon Steps Up to the Challenge of a Disappointing GF2
Panasonic recently announced the new GF2 and I am sorely disappointed. Here’s why. I fell in love with the GF1 for several reasons. It was reasonably small (not too small), has interchangeable lenses, has some (not enough) out of menu, manual controls, produces extremely high quality RAW files, has almost no shutter lag and has the feel and build of a Leica rangefinder To me it was a phenomenal first step for Panasonic and their efforts to enter the SERIOUS still photography market. However, as much as I love the GF1 it isn’t perfect and Panasonic had the chance to fix all of that in the GF2. I was hoping desperately the new improvements would take the Panasonic line of mirrorless cameras to the next level. With the announcement of the GF2 Panasonic seems to have taken two steps back when they could have gone two steps forward.
Problems with the GF1 Panasonic could have fixed include a miserable selection of buttons on the back of the camera that don’t allow quick operation. As an example, no button for easy exposure compensation for flash. You have to dig in the menu. A less than adequate way to lock and hold focus that is easy to understand and operate. Nikon is an example of how to do it as good as it gets. No wireless flash, mediocre high ISO capabilities, lousy options for moving the AF sensor quickly when using the additional finder and numerous other items that just don’t cut it for professional shooting.
We had all heard that Panasonic was feeling the heat from Sony’s NEX cameras and the new GF2 would be an answer to that concern. It’s obvious that was the case with this new version of the GF2. What is difficult for me to understand is how blind Panasonic apparently is to what made the GF1 so popular. Why they worried about the NEX cameras is not clear since many of the sales of the GF1 were to serious pros and enthusiasts who don’t consider the NEX cameras to be in the same league as far as operation is concerned. With the release of the GF2 they threw away many of the features and opportunities to improve the GF1 and continue to set it apart from all other cameras on the market. Instead they choose to COPY what Sony was doing and now we have two examples of mediocre cameras with no options to buy what could have been a continuation of a revolution in design and function for serious shooting.
The only positive aspect of Panasonic’s lack of understanding of what they were doing right is the opportunity this opens for either Nikon or Canon to step up and take the lead. Nikon is legendary for building quality products and making most of the right decisions for serious image capture. Panasonic had the opportunity to join the ranks of the leaders in the still photography market. In my opinion they took themselves out of the game with the direction the GF2. Now if Nikon will just get off the bench and hit the home run I know they have the skills for.
Here’s a link to my first impressions of the GF1 from about a year ago. http://naturalexposures.com/?p=560