The Good Nice touch-screen implementation; articulated LCD; relatively fast; pretty good EVF.
The Bad Images a little noisier at midrange ISO sensitivities than they should be; too easy to accidentally move focus points with touch screen.
The Bottom Line Although the photos look a hair noisier and overprocessed compared with many competitors, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 has a lot to recommend about it--including a flip-and-twist touch-screen and speedy performance.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2
Panasonic may have been first company to market with its interchangeable-lens camera, but its early models made some missteps. Most notably, the relatively reasonably priced Lumix DMC-G1 lacked video capture capability; with this update, the Lumix DMC-G2, Panasonic adds video capture. But in a feature twist, Panasonic endowed the G2 with a touch screen as well, the first in any consumer interchangeable-lens camera, including dSLRs (medium format digital cameras have had them for a while). And the company did quite a nice job with the implementation.
The touch screen enables capabilities like touch focus and metering, which have been available in point-and-shoots for a few generations, but there are still plenty of direct-access buttons and navigation controls so that you're not stuck using touch when it's not the optimal interface. You can do almost everything both ways (except navigate the menus), and you can disable selective aspects of the touch screen operation, such as Quick Menu operation. Not only is touch focus a nice feature to have, but the G2 allows you to directly access any of the settings. Many touch-screen cameras force you to scroll through settings via onscreen navigation arrows, but with the G2 you can simply directly choose the desired setting, the way a touch screen should function.
While the touch-screen operation is pretty well done, there's one infuriatingly frustrating aspect to it. If you're in single-area AF mode and you touch the screen when it's not clear that you're going for one of the settings, the camera assumes you want to change your focus area and drops you into that interface, plus it moves the focus area to wherever you touched. You never realize how often you accidentally hit the screen until you've used this camera for an afternoon. It's almost annoying enough to have debited the camera a full point in its design rating, but I decided a strong warning would suffice. According to Panasonic, it can be rectified with a firmware update if enough people complain. So if you buy this camera and it makes you nuts, share your pain with the company.