Like the GF1 and Olympus E-PL1, the G2 is a Micro Four Thirds camera. It looks like a traditional DSLR, though, which means it has a tough task. It doesn’t offer the size or weight reductions of other mirrorless cameras, it’s bigger and heavier than either of the Sony NEX range, and the E-PL1 and GF1, yet it doesn’t offer the same image quality as a camera with a larger APS-C sensor.
At elevated ISO settings, the G2 failed to impress. None of this month’s cameras were disasters, and the G2’s ISO 3200 setting still produced middling results, but compared with the best it was lacking.
With the ISO set to 100, however, the G2 produced an excellent set of outdoor results. The 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens remained sharp right to its corners, and showed little difference in performance set to f/5.6 or f/16.
The body is festooned with dials and controls, yet the G2 was the easiest camera to set up in this Labs. A large mode dial sits on the top-right shoulder, with an auxiliary switch sticking out of it for choosing your drive mode. Another dial on the left-hand shoulder sets the focus mode, while the direction pad on the back offers further shortcuts. The selection dial on the top-right, designed to be worked with the thumb, also clicks in, giving you another useful control.
It looks daunting at first, but if you have some experience with DSLR terminology you’ll feel at home quickly. A final flourish is the 3in, vari-angle touchscreen monitor. The hinge pivots out from the camera allowing it to face frontwards, and can also be aimed up or down for extreme angles. The touchscreen aspect is forgettable, though. With this many body-mounted controls, we simply never used it.
By the end of our testing we were fond of the G2. It’s responsive, and although it doesn’t trouble the top tier of cameras for image quality, it takes decent pictures. The problem is that for only a touch more money you can buy the Nikon D3100, which takes superb images while offering compatibility with Nikon’s formidable stock of lenses.
As good as the G2 is, we’d recommend the Nikon instead.