Panasonic Lumix GF3  12 MP Compact System Camera and 14-42mm Zoom Lens

Longtime readers know I am a big fan of Panasonic’s Lumix line of cameras with their Leica lenses. The Lumix GF3 is a serious DSLR for the enthusiast, and it addresses the biggest single complaint about the small point and shoot digital cams: Interchangeable lens. Last time we mentioned this camera, it was over $300.

Here are the details:

12 Megapixel Ultra Compact System Camera
Micro Four Thirds 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zoom Lens
3.0″ Free Angle Touch Enabled LCD
1080/60i High Definition video using the AVCHD format
Multiple Lens Options including 3D Still Lens
Innovative mode thumb wheel
6400 ISO for low light photos (even without a flash)
Built-in Popup Flash
Light Speed Auto Focus technology (no shutter lag)
12 high performance fixed focal length & variable aperture G Vario zooms
3D lens capable of simultaneous capture of 2D and 3D images
Optical Image Stabilization
new mirror-free camera technology

If you want a high quality camera beyond the usual point & shoot, but don’t want to drop a small fortune on a Nikon D5, have a look at the Lumix.

Review after the jump . . .

Review:

With the GF3, Panasonic continues to court the mass-market, with a camera that furthers its trend of simplification and new-user befriending. It’s a gentle refresh of the GF2 but one from which even more controls (as well as size and weight) have been removed. It’s still a 12MP camera but the addition of the latest three-core Venus Engine FHD processor gives it the impressive speed of its G3 and GH2 siblings.Building on the simple touchscreen design of the GF2, the GF3 loses Panasonic’s signature rear click-dial, instead making do instead with a compact camera-style dial around the four-way controller. This and the loss of both the flash hot shoe and rear accessory port underline Panasonic’s determination to keep things small, simple, unthreatening and inexpensive. The stereo mics of its predecessor have also gone, further casualties of the downsizing process.

The GF3 is a well-specified camera, which is characterized by hassle-free ergonomics, and is capable of very satisfying results. As such, it is well-placed to lure owners of compact cameras who desire better image quality and the opportunity to begin exploring advanced exposure controls and camera settings. Ultimately the GF3 succeeds in offering these users a range of features which may be completely new to them but in a package that is neither intimidating nor prohibitively costly.

-DP Review

Category: Technology, Weekend

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4 Responses to “Panasonic Lumix GF3: $299”

  1. add’l info..

    “…Announced just eight months after the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2, the GF3 is as much about omission as addition. With the removal of the EVF port and hotshoe, the GF3 stands as the only G-series camera on which neither an electronic nor optical viewfinder can be used. Other prominent changes include the loss of the signature Panasonic rear click-dial and the camera body’s sleeker, more rounded edges. These alterations give the GF3 an appearance more in line with that of a high-end compact camera than of its predecessor, the GF2.

    Indeed, with the GF3, Panasonic offers a seamless upgrade path for compact camera users seeking higher image quality and more advanced shooting options. And perhaps for these users, the lack of a flash hotshoe and the downgrade from a stereo to mono microphone for video recording are sacrifices easily made in exchange for a smaller, lower-priced camera. In terms of features and performance, there is precious little in the GF3 that was not seen in either the GF2 or the more recently released Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3…”
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcgf3/

  2. Moopheus says:

    I wouldn’t get too excited about the Leica name on the lens. Sure, Leica engineers designed it, but they designed it to be just what it is: a relatively inexpensive, mass-production lens that is manufactured in Japan in a highly-automated machine-driven process. Which is to say, it’s not very much different from any other lens in its price range. I’m sure it’s fine, but I’d be surprised if it’s going to seriously outperform similar offerings from Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc.

  3. As a Sony fan, I do like that panasonic’s model is inexpensive. Sony leads in the ILC market with its NEX-series. Prices for new models are quite high, but the entry-level models should be looked at in comparison.

  4. Gasper says:

    Olympus PENs are way better :)

    http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympus-PEN-E-PL5-E-PM2/

    ~~~

    BR: It better be — its more than double the price!