Panasonic's newest addition to its LUMIX Micro Four Thirds camera range squeezes a host of new features into a frame that's a good deal lighter and smaller than its predecessor. The company has given the DMC-GF2 a more powerful image processor, increased its sensitivity, and added touchscreen interactivity. Like the model before it, the camera has a built-in flash and high definition movie recording, although users now get a choice of 720 progressive or 1080 interlaced.

The newest member of Panasonic's interchangeable lens system is also its smallest and lightest, shrinking 19 per cent and losing 7 per cent of the weight of the DMC-GF1 that came before it. In addition to being compatible with Micro Four Thirds lenses, the newly announced LUMIX DMC-GF2 can also operate with the company's new 3D interchangeable lens.

There's also a new touchscreen user interface that's said to make the camera easier to operate, allowing one-touch focus and shutter release, and a new customizable Touch Q-menu – all the action taking place on the 3-inch, 460,000 dot resolution LCD display.

Housed within its 4.44 x 2.67 x 1.29-inch (112 x 67 x 32mm) aluminum body, the GF2's 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor is reported to offer "the superb image quality of a CCD sensor, plus the lower power consumption of a CMOS sensor." Panasonic claims both advanced noise reduction and high sensitivity, the latter ranging from ISO100 to ISO6400. Amongst its duties, the Venus Engine FHD image processor oversees the Intelligent Resolution feature which takes a pixel-by-pixel approach to enhancing outlines and detailed texture areas, and applies noise reduction to soft gradation areas.

The camera benefits from optical image stabilization, and the Dust Reduction System vibrates at 50,000 times per second to keep the sensor free of image-ruining particles. There are numerous autofocus modes on offer, "including multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus areas, 1-area AF with a selectable focus area, Face Detection, and AF Tracking" and the company reports burst shooting of up to 3.2 frames per second.

Intelligent Auto features a scene selector mode which changes the camera's shooting mode depending on the subject chosen by the user – "for example, a touch on a human face switches to the portrait mode and a touch on the background or scenery switches to the scenery mode, while a touch on the subject close to the camera switches to the close-up mode."

Hitting the dedicated movie record button puts high definition movie recording at your command, with up to 1920 x 1080 videos at 60i or 1280 x 720 movies at 60p in AVCHD format on offer, both recorded at 30 frames per second. Onward viewing on a big-screen television is possible via the included HDMI-out port, and the GF2 also features a stereo microphone with wind-cut technology.

Images and video are stored to SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards and the Li-ion battery is said to be good for 300 or more stills.

Panasonic is keeping tight-lipped on pricing for the moment but have indicated a shipping window in January 2011. The DMC-GF2 is listed now on Panasonic's Interchangeable Lens Camera page and will come in a choice of black, white, silver or red, and in a couple of lens options too – either a 14mm F2.5 Lens Kit or a 14-42mm Zoom Lens Kit.

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