Over the last few weeks, I’ve had lots of discussions with people looking to buy a camera who want to know if they should wait for the Panasonic GF2 or get the GF1 now. Some of these folks are just buying a new camera. Others have a more targeted need in mind because they are going on a trip in December. Of course, since the GF2 is on the horizon, that makes the discussion more complicated. Will the GF2 be better? How much better?
These aren’t easy questions to answer without having the new camera in hand. After reading up more on the new GF2, however, it looks more and more that the GF2 is an incremental release. A sideways move. It’s not an OMG you must wait for it at all costs product. Therefore, my buying advice for the next few months is as follows:
If you want to make photos in 2010 with a wonderful new (to you) camera that kicks ass and easily goes with you in your bag or jacket, then buy the GF1 now. If you want to save a few bucks because the price has come down due to the impending arrival of the GF2, the GF1’s unadvertised price on Amazon with a 20mm lens is currently $599 (as of 11/20). That’s three hundred bucks cheaper than what I paid for it.
On the other hand, if the size difference matters more than making photos to you and you really aren’t going to take many photos anyway, then wait. Furthermore, if you’re going to feel bad for some reason that somebody will have a model with a larger number on it than you do next year, well, then by all means you should wait for the GF2.
Look, I think that the GF2 is shaping up to be an interesting camera. But I mean interesting in the way that a camera geek who likes playing with gear means interesting. I’m curious to see how this touch screen stuff will work. I’m hopeful that there will be high ISO improvements as well. The real question for me is whether it’s interesting for 30 minutes or something much more lasting. That, I can’t answer. But, I don’t think it’s interesting enough to affect your buying decision this year.
At the end of the day, this is photography we’re talking about. If you’re going to get out there and make photos this year and don’t want to carry around a big honking DSLR, get the GF1 now and don’t worry about it. Especially if you’re going to take a once in a decade trip somewhere interesting, like Australia.