Panasonic Lumix G3 – the perfect middle ground between features and portability
10 January 2012
Conclusion: The starting price for the Lumix G3 body is actually lower than the G2, which is another great point for the camera, and thanks to its good video mode, it might also be a good purchase for people who need a hybrid still/video camera, but who want to focus more on photography than video.
Summary: If you're looking for a camera that's not quite as big as a dSLR but doesn't skimp on hardware controls or features like an articulated LCD, EVF and stereo full HD video, the G3 is one of my top options. But performance is hit-and-miss for shooting action, so you may end up having to go with something just a bit bigger, anyway.
Pros: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 delivers great photo quality and useful features like an articulated LCD and extended bracketing in a comfortable--if somewhat big--shooting design.
Cons: While not bad, its performance is in the middle of the pack, and the battery doesn't last long enough.
Summary: Though the G3 isn’t cheap for anyone more used to a pocket snapshot of a digital camera, it is a jack of all trades device that manages to master most of what it purports to offer. We can see it going down a storm with family users who’d like more professional looking shots of their kids but who don’t want to lug around a digital SLR and separate camcorder with which to achieve it.
Pros: Approachable and user friendly, lightweight compared with a mid-range DSLR, 25% smaller and approx 10% lighter than the G2 predecessor, vari-angle LCD plus EVF
Cons: Still a tad pricey for the average Joe, smaller dimensions mean a small handgrip, clipped highlight detail in sunnier conditions, no eye sensor for switching between LCD and EVF
Summary: Once again, Panasonic has created a very impressive ILC in the G3, combining fine imaging with a well-evolved touchscreen experience. Users who want to exploit RAW shooting should take some time to experiment with noise reduction.
Summary: The G3 is a camera that is easy to use and produces excellent image quality--a step up from previous G-series models. Its overall handling and touchscreen interface have distinct appeal for users moving up from a point-and-shoot. Yet it offers the manual controls and custom parameters that enthusiasts in the market for a smaller, lighter body would expect.
Pros: Very good image quality with impressive high ISO performance, Well-implemented touchscreen interface, Fast-focusing AF system (for its class), Improved skin tone rendering, AF point can be positioned along the edge of the frame, Touch AF can be disabled, Can shoot 4fps (but sadly not in live view), Ability to define two custom function buttons, Full 1080i AVCHD video from 30fps output, iA mode allows you to adjust aperture during video capture, Picture-in-Picture manu...
Cons: Poor JPEG rendering at high ISOs, Lacks a dedicated AF/AE lock button, No eye sensor to switch between viewfinder and LCD, No external mic input, Small grip makes hand-held use of larger lenses awkward, Flush design of DISP. button makes it hard to press, Long wait times between image bursts in Raw mode, 20fps SH mode yields poor image quality, Continuous tracking performance suffers in low-light, low contrast scenarios
Excerpt: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 (priced from $599) is a compact, SLR-styled mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that uses the Micro Four Thirds standard. It's the follow-up to the DMC-G2, and its biggest changes include an even smaller body, a new Live MOS sensor and image processor, faster autofocus performance, and Full HD video recording.
Summary: It sports an excellent touch-screen interface, backed-up by a selection of physical buttons for those who prefer traditional controls. The contrast-based AF system is very snappy, giving the camera a very responsive feel which pans the Live View handling on most DSLRs. And last but by no means least, the image and video quality is right up there with the best APS-C DSLRs.
Pros: Great image quality which matches APS-C DSLRs., Articulated touch-screen with tap-focusing., HD video with quiet and fairly quick continuous AF., Very fast AF and face detection. Ideal portrait camera.
Cons: Slow continuous shooting when continuous AF is enabled., Live view not available during continuous bursts above 3fps., Traditional DSLRs better for low light or fast action photography., No external microphone input or manual movie exposures.
Summary: I've had the good fortune to review a number of the new mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras as they appeared - Sony's NEX 5 , the Samsung NX10 , Panasonic's GF1 and GF2 , and now the G3. Mirrorless interchangeables are an exciting new breed, and it's always a treat to get my hands on one and see where the technology has advanced to.
Pros: Small size and weight, Very good still image quality, Very good video performance, Quick shutter and AF acquisition times
Cons: Low battery life, Compact digital flash recycle time, Near overall DSLR performance at DSLR price
Summary: The Lumix G3 has a whole lot to like: it's small (but not too miniature), neatly designed, has superb autofocus speed, a vari-angle LCD and decent built-in electronic viewfinder. Even image quality has been slightly improved over the Lumix G2 model despite the increase in resolution.