Panasonic g3 review

Panasonic g3 review DEFAULT

Panasonic G3 Review

G3 Summary

In addition to 15.8-megapixel stills of impressive quality, the Panasonic G3 can capture 1,920 x 1080 Full HD video at 30fps in AVCHD mode, and can also record Motion JPEG movies at 720p.

Imaging Resource rating

4.5 out of 5.0

Panasonic G3 Review

by Shawn Barnett, Dave Etchells, Zig Weidelich, and Mike Tomkins
Preview: 05/12/2011
Review: 09/07/2011

Anticipating more competition in the Compact System Camera space, Panasonic has revamped its G-series camera line, making a much smaller and lighter body that still integrates highly valued features, like an electronic viewfinder, a tilt-swivel LCD, and touchscreen control. Incorporating a new 16-megapixel sensor, Panasonic's Lumix G3 also has significantly improved image quality, now rivaling larger SLRs with larger sensors, an impressive achievement.

Incorporating a faster Venus Engine FHD processor, the Panasonic G3 has blazing fast autofocus, another impressive feature that makes using the G3 feel just like an SLR. Indeed, the Panasonic G3 feels more like an SLR than most any other compact system camera, only a very small one.

In addition to 15.8-megapixel stills of impressive quality, the Panasonic G3 can capture 1,920 x 1080 Full HD video at 30fps in AVCHD mode, and can also record Motion JPEG movies at 720p.

New features include Pinpoint AF, a touchscreen-enabled focus mode that automatically zooms in on a point to make focus point selection and confirmation easier and more precise.

Compatible with a growing selection of Micro Four Thirds lenses, the Panasonic G3 is just as adaptable to most shooting situations as an SLR. The company's 11 lenses include macro, wide-angle, telephoto zooms, and even a 3D lens. Many other lenses are available from other manufacturers.

The Panasonic G3 includes dust reduction technology, Intelligent Automatic exposure, the full complement of automatic, semi-auto, and manual exposure modes, and its kit lens includes optical image stabilization.

Expected to ship in June 2011, the Panasonic G3 will be available with the 14-42mm kit lens for a suggested retail price of US$699. The Panasonic G3's aluminum body comes in four colors: black, red, white, and brown.

There's a lot more to the Panasonic G3 than its small body reveals at a glance. Check out our hands-on preview and shooter's report below!

Panasonic G3
Hands-on Preview

Smaller, lighter, and faster: all three made the list of what we wanted from the next Panasonic G-series compact system camera, and the Panasonic G3 delivers. With the exception of the GF series, all Panasonic G models were too large to stand out from entry-level SLRs. The Panasonic G3, on the other hand, rivals the Olympus E-PL2 in size, yet it still includes an electronic viewfinder (EVF). That's exciting news for mirrorless camera lovers.

More exciting, the Panasonic G3 delivers something else: excellent image quality that rivals its APS-C competition.

Sporting a new 16-megapixel sensor, a 3-inch articulating LCD, and the same processor as the high-powered GH2, the Panasonic G3 is quite capable, yet it's about 6% lighter than the G2, and its body displaces about 25% less volume than its predecessor. While the G2 was 400 cubic centimeters, the G3 occupies only about 300cc. For those of us still using US weights, the 100cc difference equals 6.1 cubic inches of reduction. Not bad at all. Measurements are 4.5 x 3.3 x 1.8 inches (115 x 84 x 47mm), and weight is 20.6 ounces (583g), while the G2 was 4.9 x 3.3 x 2.9 inches (124 x 84 x 74mm) and 21.8 ounces (618g) (all weights include battery and kit lens).

The front end shows how dramatically the grip has been reduced, as well as the overall width. It's more of a finger grip now, with a nice inward curve and soft rubber texture that caresses the fingers. An AF-assist lamp appears in the upper right corner, a handy feature missing on many digital SLRs.

The Panasonic G3 is noticeably slimmer front to back as well, even with the articulating LCD, showing some impressive engineering here. Lens styling has changed a little for this model, to an all black design with a new chrome band around the middle, rather than the silver-gray rear bezel that shipped with the G2. Like the G2, the lens-side bayonet is plastic, though the camera's mount remains metal. The kit lens also comes with a lens hood, something omitted on most SLR kit lenses.

Most of the dials and switches are removed from the top deck, and the Mode dial is smaller with fewer settings, eight instead of 13. The hot shoe on the Panasonic G3 is also moved back quite a bit, now overhanging the LCD to make room for the stereo mics, which are absent on the G2 (it has a mono mic on the left top deck), and rather awkwardly mounted on the pop-up flash on the GH2. While the shutter button was perched out on the grip on past models, it's retreated to the confines of the top deck, leaving little room for a Record button, so that migrates once again to the rear of the Panasonic G3 (Panasonic recently moved the Record button to the top on most of its cameras, and now it's moving again). The Intelligent Auto button lights up blue when pressed, and unfortunately it's too often pressed by accident. The Power switch is well-positioned for easy activation.

On the back is the very tightly integrated tilt/swivel LCD, with a much smaller hinge and outer bezel, leaving just enough room on the upper right for a small thumbgrip that's just big enough for the center of the thumb to hold without activating the Rear dial (if you're careful). The LCD moves 180 degrees to the side and swivels 270 degress up and down, allowing it to face forward for easy self portraits.

The DISP./Fn1 button is also flush with the body, reducing the chance of accidental activation. Gone is the AF/AE Lock button, something many will miss. You can set the Fn1 button to activate AF/AE Lock, Depth-of-field Preview, or 15 other features, so it's not a total loss.

Pressing the Rear dial switches between Program shift (in Program mode) and EV compensation. In Manual exposure mode, pressing the dial switches between shutter speed and aperture settings.

The Record button on the back requires a good firm press to activate, which is somewhat annoying, since recording is slow to both start and stop. The Playback button is also hard to activate because it's so close to the protruding electronic viewfinder housing.

The Electronic viewfinder is the same gorgeous, gridless 800 x 600 design (1.44 million dots), but Panasonic has improved the design to minimize the color ghosts we've seen in the past. It's hard to notice a difference between the Panasonic G3 and the GH2 we also have in-house, with the GH2 actually looking a little better.

The Panasonic G3's LCD is the same 460,000-dot display of its predecessor, and is a touchscreen design. The Panasonic G3 leans on the touchscreen for many controls, but most menu navigation and setting selections can also be done with the four-way navigator as well. In our prerelease model, the Panasonic G3's touchscreen was a little finicky, not always obeying common gestures like swipe in Playback mode, often not registering direct touches on onscreen buttons.

More on this and other handling discussion in the Field Test below.

Panasonic G3 Technical Features

Sensor. At the heart of the Panasonic G3 is a newly developed, 4:3 aspect ratio Live MOS image sensor that yields 15.8 megapixel images, from a 16.0 effective megapixel sensor. Compared to the 12 megapixel chip from the G2, the new imager not only has slightly higher resolution, but also appears to yield improved noise performance. Panasonic says they've achieved this through noise reduction at the pixel level, and through improvements to the signal amplifiers. Panasonic claims an improvement of 6dB noise at ISO 3,200, and 9dB at ISO 6,400. This would be an impressive accomplishment: 6dB translates into two full stops of noise improvement.

In addition to the full 15.8 megapixel resolution, the Panasonic G3 also allows shooting at two reduced resolutions of approximately eight and four megapixels, respectively. The camera also offers aspect ratio options of 3:2, 16:9, and 1:1, in addition to the sensor's native 4:3 ratio.

Processor. The Panasonic Lumix G3 uses the same powerful image processor that debuted in last year's GH2 model. With three processor cores, the Panasonic Venus Engine VI FHD CPU provides improved performance over earlier generations of Venus processors. In particular, the Panasonic G3 offers a significant step forward from the previous G2 model in terms of autofocus speed. As with the GH2, the company claims that the G3 will be able to lock focus with the 14-140mm lens in an impressive 0.1 second. Of course, that's due in part to the lens itself, but the lenses offered in the two-lens kit version are also fairly fast. The 14-42mm lens should yield a focus lock in 0.18 second, and the 45-200mm lens in about 0.25 second. We measured slightly slower times in our lab tests, but we were all very pleasantly surprised by how responsive the G3 was in actual use out in the field: It easily felt the equal of any consumer-level SLR we've used in the past; an impressive accomplishment for a camera with contrast-detect autofocus.

ISO sensitivity. The Panasonic G3's ISO sensitivity range of 160 to 6,400 equivalents is unchanged from that of the G2 at the top end, but slightly contracted from the G2's lower limit of ISO 100. This is likely due to an increase in the image sensor's base sensitivity. Although the maximum sensitivity is unchanged, the higher sensitivity modes appear to be more usable, thanks to the improvement in noise performance. As with the earlier Venus Engine HD II processor in the G2, the G3's Venus FHD chip processes chroma and luminance noise separately, and is said to improve noise reduction while still retaining fine subject detail.

Burst shooting. The increased speed of the Venus Engine FHD processor also shows up in the Panasonic G3's burst performance, which is significantly improved from that of its predecessor. According to Panasonic's specifications, the G3 is capable of full-resolution burst shooting at four frames per second, fully 25% faster than the 3.2 fps claimed for the G2. (Our tests showed 3.4 frames/second, perhaps due to the late-beta status of our test sample.) If resolution is reduced to the lowest four megapixel mode, the G3 is capable of a whopping twenty frames per second, using an electronic shutter.

Focusing. As noted above, the Panasonic Lumix G3 has inherited a significant step forward in its contrast-detection autofocus speed, as seen previously in the GH2. The improvement isn't just related to the new image processor, but also hails from a doubling of the sensor drive speed from 60 to 120 frames per second. (Lens control sync is still performed at 60 frames per second, but the camera's autofocus system can check the current state of focus 120 times/second for improved responsiveness.) As with other cameras using contrast detection autofocus systems--including all Micro Four Thirds models--the G3 performs autofocus by determining the contrast level at the focus point, then making a focus adjustment, and rechecking contrast levels to see if they've increased (moved towards focus), or decreased (moved away from focus). The Panasonic G3's dwell time--the time taken to check contrast in between focus operations--is said to be halved, with respect to that of the G2. This results not only in faster autofocusing, but also in smoother AF operation, which is a major benefit for autofocus during movie capture. Of course, the lens type in use also comes into play here.

As with the G2, the Panasonic G3 has a 23-area autofocus system which also offers a Single-area mode with adjustable point size, there's also a Pinpoint mode that uses a much smaller focus point area. When Pinpoint AF is selected, the G3 automatically zooms the display by 6x around the focus point, and the focus point position can be quickly adjusted while zoomed in. This struck us as particularly useful, as it would for let you select your subject's eye and then precisely focus on this point. Another change from earlier models is that the Single-area mode now allows the focus point to be placed anywhere within the image frame, including the extreme edges. (In the G2, the AF area couldn't extend to the edges of the frame.) The Panasonic G3 also provides for focus tracking, which allows it to automatically follow your subject around the frame making focus adjustments as necessary, while a tracking lock is active.

Of course, if you prefer to focus manually, the G3 allows for this as well. To aid with precise manual adjustment of focus, the G3 provides an MF Assist zoom feature that magnifies a portion of the image frame by either 3x, 5x, or 10x. At 3x magnification, the G3 provides a new picture-in-picture MF Assist mode, which allows you to adjust focus while still keeping the overall image framing in the right area. At higher magnifications, accessed by turning the Rear dial to the right, the MF Assist view occupies the full screen, and makes it considerably easier to judge in and out-of-focus areas.

Face recognition. The Panasonic G3 also offers face-detection autofocusing, a pretty common feature these days on compact system cameras, as well as the vast majority of compact cameras, and in the live view modes of many DSLRs. The implementation on the Panasonic G3 allows it to detect as many as 15 faces in a scene simultaneously, and their locations are taken into account when determining focus and exposure variables. Panasonic goes a step further than most, though, also providing face recognition capability. When enabled, the camera attempts to locate the faces of up to six individuals whenever they appear within the image frame, and they're then prioritized over any other detected faces in the scene. You can also specify a priority order for the six faces, ensuring that your closest friends and family members are given the highest priority. Up to three recognition images can be recorded for each person, helping the camera to recognize each individual in a range of conditions. Images can also be tagged with the name and age of each person, when they're recognized in the scene--handy for quickly locating images featuring your friends in Playback mode, or with compatible software on your computer.

LCD. Like the G2 before it, the Panasonic Lumix G3 features an articulated LCD display with a side-mounted tilt / swivel mechanism. It can swivel 180 degrees and tilt 270 degrees. The LCD itself has a 3.0-inch diagonal, and a resolution of some 460,000 dots. That equates to somewhere in the region of 153,600 pixels, commonly known as HVGA (Half-size VGA), with each pixel comprising adjacent red, green, and blue-colored dots. The panel has a 3:2 aspect ratio, approximately 100% coverage, and a wide viewing angle (although Panasonic doesn't specify the actual horizontal / vertical viewing range).

Touch panel. The Panasonic G3 retains the touch panel interface that was introduced on the G2. This allows for control of a wide range of the camera's features by pressing on the live preview image, or on soft buttons shown on the display. It's possible not only to make settings changes through the touch panel, but also to indicate the desired subject from which the camera should determine focus or exposure, or begin focus tracking. The touch panel can also be used to control the new pinpoint focus mode, with a flick of the finger panning around the enlarged display (this was hard to do in our prerelease model; it may improve in the shipping version). You can even capture an image by pressing the touch panel, courtesy of a Touch Shutter function. The touch user interface also extends to Playback mode, where the panel can be used to switch between images with a flick, and to control the playback zoom / pan function. Of course, for those who don't like touch screens, all this can also be achieved using the camera's physical controls as well. Overall, the Panasonic G3's touch interface is one of the most natural and intuitive we've seen to date.

Viewfinder. The Panasonic G3 also retains a similar electronic viewfinder design to that of the G2, but with one significant difference: the viewfinder's resolution is still 800 x 600 pixels, with a time-multiplexed design that means each pixel illuminates sequentially in red, green, and blue, providing the perception of full color at every pixel location. (Most electronic viewfinders use more traditional LCD displays, which have separate red, green, and blue dots for each pixel.) In the G3, though, the switching speed of the electronic viewfinder has been increased significantly, giving it a greater resistance to color breakup--the rainbow effect seen with time-multiplexed displays when you blink or suddenly move your eye. While we could still make it happen if we moved our eyes very rapidly, we did find the G3's display less subject to color breakup than similar EVFs we've seen in the past. The improved EVF performance is doubtless another benefit of the G3's faster sensor readout and image processing.

As with the G2's EVF, the G3's viewfinder provides the equivalent of a 0.7x magnification on a 35mm camera (with a 50mm lens at infinity, and -1.0m-1), and offers an unusually wide -4.0 to +4.0 diopter correction. Eyepoint is 17.5mm from the eyepiece lens, just about right to see the entire image area with glasses just touching the rubber eyepiece.

Flash. The Panasonic G3 includes a built-in, popup flash strobe with a guide number of 34.5 feet (10.5 meters) at ISO 160 equivalent. Flash sync is possible at up to 1/160 second, and seven flash exposure modes are available, including Auto, Forced, and Slow-sync, all with or without red-eye reduction. Both first- and second-curtain sync modes are available, and 2.0 EV of flash exposure compensation is available in 1/3 EV steps. In addition to the built-in flash, the Panasonic G3 provides for the optional DMW-FL220, FL360 or FL500 flash strobes, courtesy of a dedicated hot shoe.

Video. The Panasonic G3's video functionality is significantly upgraded from its predecessor, and in one area even bests the GH2, although there are still some important points of differentiation where the GH2 holds an edge. The G3 now defaults to recording high-definition movies using the full AVCHD standard, rather than the more limited AVCHD Lite of the G2. It also newly allows shooting at 1,080i (aka Full HD; 1,920 x 1080 pixels), as well as the 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels) mode offered in the earlier camera. There are also VGA (640 x 480) and QVGA (320 x 240) standard-definition resolutions available, both recorded using Motion JPEG compression. The Motion JPEG compression type is also optionally available for 720p high-def capture.

In all cases, videos are recorded using 30 frames-per-second output from the image sensor. (By contrast, the Lumix GH2's sensor is read out at a full 60 frames per second.) For Motion JPEG video, the output frame rate is fixed at 30 fps, where the GH2 offers an adjustable 24 / 30 frames per second rate. 720p movies are recorded at 60 progressive-scan frames per second, and 1080i movies have 60 interlaced frames per second, although as noted above, these 60 fps modes are based on 30 fps data from the sensor. Where the G3 betters the GH2, though, is in video-mode autofocus. Unlike the earlier camera, the Panasonic G3 allows for full-time tracking autofocus during video capture.

Intelligent Auto. Panasonic has split the Intelligent Auto (iA) mode seen in earlier cameras into two distinct modes for the G3. The existing iA mode allows the user to adjust only depth-of field, with all other exposure variables remaining under automatic control. The new iA+ mode additionally allows the user to tweak exposure compensation and white balance variables, thus giving the user more creative flexibility, while still keeping most decisions in the camera's hands.

Custom modes. Where the G2 offered only one Custom position on its Mode dial, the Panasonic G3 now provides two Custom mode positions, marked as C1 and C2. Both positions allow for a variety of settings to be recalled for later use. The C1 position provides direct access to one specific Custom mode, while the C2 position allows access to a further three Custom modes, with the active set selected on-screen.

White balance. The Panasonic Lumix G3 offers a wide range of white balance control, with a healthy selection of nine scene modes including Auto, five presets, two custom positions, and a direct Kelvin white balance input. This last allows direct input of color temperatures from 2,500 to 10,000 Kelvin in 100K steps, either by clicking on an on-screen adjustment bar, using the on-screen up and down arrow buttons, or the up and down arrows on the four-way controller.

In addition, white balance can be adjusted on either a blue/amber or magenta/green axis, courtesy of a white balance adjust function. This white balance tweak can be applied either by indicating the desired position on a 2D graph using the touch screen, or using the cursor buttons. Finally, the G3 offers three-shot white balance bracketing, with all three captured images saved from a single exposure. Bracketing is possible either on the Blue / Amber axis, or the Magenta / Green axis.

Metering. The Panasonic G3 employs a 144-zone multi-pattern metering system, capable of operating in Intelligent Multiple, Center-weighted, or Spot metering modes. The metering system is capable of functioning over a range of EV 0-18, using an F/2.0 lens at ISO 100 equivalent, and the G3 provides for a wide-ranging +/-5.0 EV of exposure compensation, set in 1/3 EV steps.

An AE Lock function configured by two Custom menu settings allows the calculated exposure to be locked, either while the Function button is held in, or the lock toggled with subsequent presses of the button. Finally, the G3 allows exposure bracketing within a 3, 5, or 7 frame range, with a step size between frames of +/-3EV, in 1/3, 2/3, or 1 EV steps.

Creative controls. Panasonic has retained its two main creative control function groups from the earlier G2 model in the G3, but with new names for each.

The earlier My Color mode is now known as Creative Control, and provides access to five effects: Expressive (pop-art style), Retro (soft, tarnished effect), High Key (brighter image), Sepia, and High Dynamic (localized color and contrast enhancement).

The Film Mode function has also been renamed to Photo Style. This offers a selection of six presets, plus a custom mode, each of which can be tweaked in terms of contrast, sharpness, saturation (except in Monochrome mode, where it is replaced with a color tone adjustment), and noise reduction. Presets include Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, and Portrait. There are also 17 Scene modes that help amateurs get the results they're looking for without the need to understand shutter speeds, apertures and the like.

Storage. The Panasonic G3 stores its data on Secure Digital cards, including the latest generation SDHC and SDXC types. As well as storing still images in JPEG compressed format, the G3 can also write RAW files, either alone or alongside a JPEG copy of each image. When using Panasonic's unusual 3D lens, the G3 saves images in MPO (Multi Picture Object) format, with each MPO file containing two JPEG images with differing perspective. Movies can be stored with either AVCHD or Motion JPEG compression, depending on the resolution.

Power. The Panasonic G3 draws power from a proprietary 7.2V, 1010mAh battery pack rated as good for 270 shots on a charge when using the 14-42mm lens, based on CIPA testing standards. With the 45-200mm lens, this falls just slightly, to 250 images. As with all recent Panasonic cameras, the G3 incorporates ID-Security technology that prevents use of counterfeit or third-party batteries.

Connectivity. The Panasonic Lumix G3 offers up an array of connectors for input and output. These include a USB 2.0 High Speed data connection, high definition Type-C Mini HDMI video output with Viera Link remote control compatibility, standard definition composite NTSC / PAL audio video output (or NTSC-only for North American models), and a 2.5mm mini jack for use with the optional DMW-RSL1 tethered remote control unit.

Shooting with the Panasonic G3

by Shawn Barnett

It wasn't until Panasonic came out with the small GF1 that I got excited about the Lumix Micro Four Thirds cameras, and I gravitated instead to the Olympus Pen cameras for their simpler body design, smaller size, and better JPEG image quality. Note that I said JPEG image quality, because Panasonic's RAWs were just fine, but something was going wrong in the camera's JPEG processing and compression engine that was making the yellows green and the oranges brown, gradually worsening as ISO increased. Panasonic's faster autofocus and slightly better optics made even the GF1 a frustrating proposition because of that JPEG image quality problem. The G1, G2, GH1 and GH2 were just too big to catch my interest, their bodies not much smaller than a Rebel. Sure, the lenses are smaller, but the body had to be smaller too. The EVF was very nice, but that wasn't sufficient to overcome the large size and JPEG green shift.

Enter the Panasonic G3, sweeping all that ambivalence away. It's smaller, it's faster, it's lighter, and its image quality is really good, with only a hint of the green shift, so little that it's hardly noticeable. Printed image quality rivals the strongest contenders in both CSCs and SLRs. It makes me look on the compact system camera category very differently. A few quick comparisons will show why:

Though both of these cameras, the G3 and the Canon T3i, have a high-resolution sensor and an articulating screen, the G3 body weighs 13.6 ounces (386g) a fraction of the T3i's 20.1 ounces (570g), both with battery and card, and most of the lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system are quite a bit smaller and lighter than even Canon's EF-S line.

The G3 is also lighter and smaller than the GH2 (whose body is about the same size as the G2), which lets it fit into smaller spaces. Body weight again is 13.6 ounces (386g) vs. 16 ounces (453g), and the body's quite a bit slimmer.

Finally, the G3 feels about the same in the hand as the Olympus E-PL2, its protruding hump seems larger here, but in the hand I can hardly tell a difference. That's likely due to the similar weight, with the E-PL2 coming in at a slightly lighter 13 ounces (369g). But the G3 has an articulating screen and a built-in electronic viewfinder, two advantages for some users (I don't much miss these two things, and I'm a fan of the E-PL2, but the differences are worthy of note). The G3, though, doesn't have a collapsible lens, and its EVF housing protrudes quite a bit out the back, making it less compact overall compared to the E-PL2, so there are still tradeoffs. The point is that the new G3 competes well with all these cameras, offering a lot in a very small space.

Ergonomics. The latest truly easy to hold CSC was the Olympus E-PL2, whose grip is nicely sculpted front and back. The Panasonic G3 bests it by just a little, fitting in my hand just right, its tapered grip design meeting my skin and hand shape just about right, and the smooth, yet grippy rubber is warm to the touch. The thumbgrip on the back isn't quite as robust as the E-PL2, but my thumb finds a comfortable spot just left of the Rear dial. Those with longer fingers have found comfort curling their fingers around the grip, something that doesn't quite work for me, but no one so far has decried the grip as too small.

There are no sharp edges on the Panasonic G3, so it's also comfortable to hold with your left hand. Wide strap lugs also replace the noisy D-rings found on the larger G-series cameras, a welcome trend that we hope continues. There's less to jut into your hand, and the D-rings won't make noise that gets picked up in videos.

Flash. The Panasonic G3's flash was handy, though its close proximity to the lens gave my subject red eye even though he was looking away.

Speed. Speaking of SLRs, their chief advantages besides interchangeable lenses are an optical viewfinder, a larger sensor, and greater autofocus speed. See below for the former two, but the latter item is addressed by the Panasonic G3's surprisingly fast autofocus system. SLRs are fast because they use phase-detect autofocus, but in their new live view modes, they really lag behind even most point-and-shoot cameras. But the Panasonic G3 uses contrast-detect only and still manages to focus like an SLR. It's so fast that I often find myself refocusing just for the fun of it. Our testing shows it to be a little slower than the GH2, which is even faster in low light, but it's still remarkable to behold a live view camera focusing so quickly.

Even in low light situations, where I'd find the Canon T3i seeking for several seconds in Live View to settle on a focus position, the G3 finds focus quickly; a little slower than in normal room light, but considerably faster than any SLR in contrast-detect live view. And when the light gets really low, the Panasonic G3 has another advantage over the T3i: a bright orange AF-assist lamp. You have to be careful not to block it while holding this very small body, but it makes the G3 acquire focus faster, and you don't have to pop up the flash (the T3i pulses its flash for AF assist).

Lenses. It used to be that all Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenses were superb, but we've found the kit lens we received a little less than stellar, with the upper right corner in particular being softer than it should be. It's not a deal breaker, by any means, but we recommend checking your copy both focused near and focused far (ours is worse when focusing far than when focusing near) before your option to return or exchange the lens expires. One thing in its favor is that it's light, and it focuses pretty fast, as we've already covered.

We have the 14-140mm lens (28-280mm equivalent) as well, which does pretty well at middle focal lengths, and we enjoyed shooting with it again. But we also had some more modern Olympus lenses, including the slim and light 14-150mm M.Zuiko lens (28-300mm equivalent), just a little longer than the Panasonic lens. We liked the image quality, and the lens focused quickly and silently, and even worked with videos quite well, as it's designed to do. The Panasonic G3 also looks and feels less overburdened by the size and weight of the 14-150mm M.Zuiko than by the 14-140mm Lumix lens.

9-18mm. The G3 works quite well with the 9-18mm M.Zuiko lens, focusing fast and shooting wide.

I also had a little fun with the 9-18mm M.Zuiko (18-36mm equivalent), which is also fast and quiet. Olympus's optical and build quality has reached the point where lenses can be swapped freely between platforms, which is good for everyone. The only disadvantage to using Olympus lenses on the Panasonic G3 is the lack of built-in image stabilization, because Olympus uses sensor-shift stabilization in their bodies, while the G3's IS is built into the lenses.

Interface. Though there are a few good reasons for the Panasonic G3's touchscreen, I prefer navigating with the buttons more than the screen. I also find the touchscreen too often gets in the way. Little educational screens delay my entry into Playback mode, for example, telling me to "Touch screen to enlarge image," yet again. Thank you.

Setting AF points, which is as easy as touching the screen, is a very good use of touchscreen technology, of course, but I still find myself frustrated with it. Scrolling around in the Pinpoint AF mode is more difficult than it should be, and the onscreen buttons are too often in the way of the view, so that I can't see if I'm getting all that I want in the frame. Getting them out of the way is impossible, unless of course you disable certain parts of the touchscreen interface. You can enable or disable the Q.Menu, the Defocus Control, Touch Shutter, Touch Display button, and Touch Autofocus. Leaving Defocus Control and Touch AF on eliminated nearly all of my irritation with the touch interface.

There's no EV Compensation button on the Panasonic G3, but I remembered to press the Rear dial down and there it was: the dial's function changed from controlling Program shift to the EV adjustment. While making either adjustment, a handy sliding scale comes up showing available shutter speed and aperture settings.

EVF. Switching from the LCD to the EVF is now only possible by pressing the EVF/LCD button left of the viewfinder; the infrared proximity sensor was removed to save space. I'm not one who requires an EVF on a small camera like this, but I did use it now and then. I found it was quite good, and it's hard to get used to the lack of the usual "grid" one sees when looking at most LCDs: This display is just a smooth image, edge to edge. While I did find the EVF handy in bright light, sometimes that ambient light was so bright that I found the EVF image seemed washed out, or else insufficiently bright to overcome the light already meeting my eyes from my surroundings.

The articulating LCD is excellent, my favorite kind for just about all purposes. It worked well enough for me in bright sunlight and was handy for shooting from a wide variety of unique angles.

Menus. While from the outside it seems like a fairly simple camera, the Panasonic G3 has a lot of options, and as such it also has a lot of menus. Moving through menus is a tedious process, requiring that you scroll through multiple screens, reading sometimes odd descriptions. It's often hard to remember under which tab a given menu item is located. It's a common problem with side-tab menu designs, one that also plagues Nikon and Olympus cameras. The Panasonic G3's menus aren't quite as deep as that, but it's a little too much all the same.

Small buttons. I didn't have much trouble with them, but I should note just how small the buttons are, as I know it'll drive some folks crazy. Also, if you're using the Panasonic G3 with gloves, you're going to have a tough time unless you take them off. Such is the burden of a small camera. One small button in particular did drive me crazy: the iA or Intelligent Auto button. Though I say it's very well designed and comfortable to use, the Panasonic G3 is very small, with very little unused surface area, so I kept pressing the iA button while shifting the G3 from hand to hand or even just bringing it up to get a shot. I'm seldom sure exactly when it happened, but I could tell when the camera started showing little icons in the upper left corner (and a little too much color overall), that I'd accidentally pressed the little button, which glows blue when active. In the Custom menu, you can change its mode of activation from Single Press to Press and Hold, which reduced my tendency to activate the Intelligent Auto mode.

Battery life. It's a little disappointing that the G3's battery is smaller. It results in fewer captured shots and fewer videos per charge. I typically shoot for about an hour at a time when photographing the kids at play, and in that time, the battery drops from three bars to two. That's way too quick. For any day long outing, you're going to need a second battery, no question.

Dynamic range. The lab found somewhat limited dynamic range, despite some excellent image quality, and I saw the same thing in a few of my shots. Skies very frequently overwhelmed the foreground, leaving it darker than I'm used to for most cameras, and mids seemed darker in bright sunlight, likely to save the highlights. We'll have to look into this a little more before we finish the review.

Artifacts at low ISO. We ran into some of the same artifacts we've seen in other Lumix G-series cameras, which we attributed to demosaicing errors. The artifacts are blue/gray, and appear in our indoor incandescent lighting test images at ISO 160 and 200. The artifacts disappear at ISO 400 and above, and only appear in JPEGs; images processed from RAW do not show the artifacts. So far we've only seen the artifacts in our INB shot, which includes a mannequin with reddish hair, captured under incandescent light. Roll over the RAW and JPEG links at right to compare the images.

Full HD movie. 1920x1080i AVCHD format. (Click image to download 20.3MB .MTS file. Click here for a 26.6MB 1280x720p version.)

Video. As noted, the Panasonic G3 also shoots 1080i video, but only in AVCHD mode, which looks pretty good in good light. We've shot some low light video as well, which we'll be looking at soon in more detail when we post our Video page. A full set of sample videos will be posted soon, but in the meantime, click on the image and link at left for a couple of video samples.

Shooting with the Panasonic G3 was an excellent experience, and while I would hesitate to recommend a larger GH or G series Panasonic to most who asked me without asking a few more questions, I will not hesitate to recommend the Panasonic G3. It's not just a lot of fun, it's capable and reliable, and satisfies the need for SLR power and quality in a very small package, finally setting itself apart from the pack.

Panasonic G3 Image Quality

Most digital SLRs will produce a reasonable ISO 100 shot, so we like to push them and see what they can do at ISO 1,600, at their default noise reduction settings. Recent advances in sensor technology have made ISO 1,600 look a lot more like ISO 100, but there are still cameras whose quality starts to fall apart at this setting. We also choose 1,600 because we like to be able to shoot at or above this level when indoors and at night. We also explore ISO 3,200, and look at the high-contrast detail of ISO 100 vs 3,200 and 6,400. Be sure to look at our Optics and Exposure pages, and our Thumbnail and Gallery pages too, to see the breadth of test shots and analysis available for your perusal; you can even download images--both JPEG and RAW--and examine them for yourself!

Panasonic G3 versus Canon T3i at ISO 1,600

Panasonic G3 at ISO 1,600

Canon T3i at ISO 1,600

The Panasonic G3 comes out swinging against the Canon T3i, a camera with an 18-megapixel, APS-C sensor, and really does a great job without as much sharpening around high contrast areas, and considerably better noise control in the shadows. Detail in the mosaic graphic isn't as distinct, but the G3 is looking a lot better than the GH2 or G2. Neither does well at the red leaf swatch, with the G3 darkening the cloth, and the T3i brightening the red and creating an imaginary impressionist view of the leaves.

Panasonic G3 versus Nikon D5100 at ISO 1,600

Panasonic G3 at ISO 1,600

Nikon D5100 at ISO 1,600

It's a pretty close match between the G3 and the Nikon D5100, with both turning out a fairly realistic looking image. The exception is the red leaf swatch, where Nikons almost always do better. This time, though, I give the shadow behind the olive oil bottle to Panasonic, it's smooth with only hints of luminance noise if you really squint at it, while the Nikon has both luminance noise and chroma blotches.

Panasonic G3 versus G2 at ISO 1,600

Panasonic G3 at ISO 1,600

Panasonic G2 at ISO 1,600

Here's an indication of why we're so excited about the G3's image quality. The crops speak volumes. The G3 is smooth, with more accurate color, while the G2 is noisy and green, with relatively dirty shadows.

Panasonic G3 versus GH2 at ISO 1,600

Panasonic G3 at ISO 1,600

Panasonic GH2 at ISO 1,600

Again, up against the GH2, it's clear that Panasonic finally heard our cries about the greenish cast their JPEGs produced.

Panasonic G3 versus Sony A560 at ISO 1,600

Panasonic G3 at ISO 1,600

Sony A560 at ISO 1,600

Going up against the 14-megapixel A560, the G3's 16-megapixel sensor does very well, with comparable detail, and less noticeable noise suppression than the Sony's treatment. The G3 has some advantage, though, due to the different framing of 4:3 vs 3:2, which makes the elements appear larger in the G3's images.

Today's ISO 3,200 is yesterday's ISO 1,600 (well, almost), so below are the same crops at ISO 3,200.

Panasonic G3 versus Canon T3i at ISO 3,200

Panasonic G3 at ISO 3,200

Canon T3i at ISO 3,200

At ISO 3,200 a lot changes for the Panasonic G3: it's images are darker, and noise suppression and sharpening start to get a bit more creative, just as we'll see in the Sony A560 image. Still, it does well against the T3i, with a little more apparent detail and still decent color. We won't even talk about the red leaf swatch at this point, but notice where the pink below has turned into more of a dark purple, where the T3i still renders a more correct pink.

Panasonic G3 versus Nikon D5100 at ISO 3,200

Panasonic G3 at ISO 3,200

Nikon D5100 at ISO 3,200

Nikon's more pointillist approach probably wins at the printer, again showing that Nikon evenness across the range of image elements. But the G3 does pretty well--until you get to the red leaf swatch, and you can see what I'm talking about with evenness.

Panasonic G3 versus G2 at ISO 3,200

Panasonic G3 at ISO 3,200

Panasonic G2 at ISO 3,200

Wow! Now you can see even more clearly why we're impressed. No other comments needed, as the G2's images tell their own sad, darkening tale.

Panasonic G3 versus GH2 at ISO 3,200

Panasonic G3 at ISO 3,200

Panasonic GH2 at ISO 3,200

And the G3 also bests its better, more costly brother in the high-ISO still contest, with more detail in both of the bottles, though the red leaf swatch does have a hint more detail.

Panasonic G3 versus Sony A560 at ISO 3,200

Panasonic G3 at ISO 3,200

Sony A560 at ISO 3,200

The Panasonic G3 does better than the A560, except in the red leaf swatch, where the A560 finds a little more detail than the G3.

Detail: Panasonic G3 vs. Canon T3i, Nikon D5100, Panasonic G2, Panasonic GH2, and Sony A560

ISO 160
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 160
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400

Detail comparison. High-contrast details are often sharper as ISO rises, so they're worth a look as well. Note the nice, distinct lines inside the big letters at ISO 160, 3,200, and even 6,400. Even the T3i doesn't get this done. Even the GH2, which has the same 4:3 ratio advantage. The G3 is clearly a step in the right direction for Panasonic. All of the Panasonics were shot with the very sharp Olympus 50mm f/2.5 Four Thirds Macro lens, but the others were shot with the very sharp Sigma 70mm f/2.8, so each has a fair shake.

The Panasonic G3 does incredibly well, raising the bar for Micro Four Thirds cameras, and overcoming the limitations of the smaller sensor size. This is exactly what we've been hoping for generation after generation from Panasonic's Lumix G-series, and they've finally done it. Print Quality results below tell the rest of the story.

Panasonic G3 Print Quality

ISO 160 shots look great at 20 x 30 inches, with good color and excellent detail. One issue does emerge at this ISO, though, captured in our INB indoor incandescent shot, where our model's red hair shows some demosaicing errors, which appear as blue/gray artifacts, and don't become negligible until the image is printed at 11 x 14 inches. Processing RAW images on a computer does not exhibit the error, by the way.

ISO 200 shots are also great at 20 x 30, with excellent color and detail. The demosaicing error is still present, but less noticeable.

ISO 400 shots, too, look surprisingly good at 20 x 30 inches. There's the slightest softening, but you have to get close and squint to see it. The demosaicing error is eliminated by the noise suppression system.

ISO 800 shots finally start to show a little more softening, but we'd still call it usable at 20 x 30 inches. There is some very slight luminance noise in the shadows, but very little. All of this returns to impressive crispness when printed at 16 x 20 inches.

ISO 1,600 images are usable at 16 x 20, though low-contrast detail in reds has begun to disappear more noticeably, and there's more noise in darker areas. Prints at 13 x 19 look great.

ISO 3,200 images usable for wall display at 13 x 19, and fine for close viewing at 11 x 14. Luminance noise in the shadows continues to increase, but it's not bad at all. Color also dims more noticeably at this setting, with a slight green cast coming into yellows, but not nearly as bad as it has on past Panasonic cameras, including the GH2.

ISO 6,400 shots are usable at 8 x 10 and good at 5 x 7. That green shift in the yellows continues, but is still better controlled than any previous high-end Panasonic camera.

Overall, the Panasonic G3's JPEG images print amazingly well, and challenging any concern that Micro Four Thirds sensors would continue to lag in image quality behind their APS-C competition. While upcoming SLRs may do better, it's clear that Panasonic has met the challenge in the meantime. Very impressive!

Panasonic G3 Conclusion

  • Very small size, tight build
  • Soft curves make camera pleasant to hold
  • No D-Rings to make noise in videos
  • Tilt-swivel 460K-dot LCD
  • Touchscreen controls for autofocus and zoom controls
  • High-res electronic viewfinder
  • Good quality, high-resolution sensor
  • Power switch easy to activate
  • Full HD video
  • Pinpoint autofocus
  • Dust reduction built in
  • Very good detail
  • Much improved high ISO performance
  • Very fast contrast-detect autofocus; almost as fast as a typical consumer SLR
  • Adjustable noise reduction
  • Green tint issue in JPEGs better than previous G-series
  • Auto white balance performs well in tungsten lighting (though skintones and hair are too yellow)
  • 20fps burst mode (Small JPEGs only)
  • Full PASM exposure control for movies
  • Continuous AF in movies
  • SDXC support
  • Excellent print quality
  • Intelligent Auto button is too easily activated by accident
  • Record button difficult to activate
  • Movie recording is slow to start and stop
  • Many menu options can be overwhelming
  • Buttons are very small
  • Below average battery life
  • Burst mode slows above base ISO
  • Shallow buffer depths
  • Slow buffer clearing with RAW files
  • Limited dynamic range, at least in JPEGs at default settings
  • Color moire and demosaicing errors in areas of fine detail in JPEG files
  • Skintones can have orange/yellow tint, especially indoors
  • Contrast and especially Saturation adjustments don't offer much latitude
  • No wireless flash support
  • Trouble focusing in low light
  • Mediocre kit lens
  • Macro area larger-than-average

With the compact system camera market heating up, Panasonic's G3 shows that the drive is toward smaller and smaller designs, as was seen in the Sony NEX-5. While Panasonic has produced a smaller camera, the G3 marks several firsts, maintaining major big-camera features while reducing the camera's size, increasing its novelty and portability. Improving speed while maintaining the simplicity of contrast-detect autofocus is a major achievement in such an inexpensive camera, one the SLR makers have yet to match. And while shoehorning the excellent EVF and the articulating display into such a small body was a notable engineering achievement, it's the Panasonic G3's dramatic improvement in image quality that truly impresses us. Micro Four Thirds sensors have long been discounted because of their smaller overall sensor area when compared to APS-C cameras, but the quality we see in the Panasonic G3 turns that criticism on its head.

It is true that we found a flaw here and there in this prototype camera, but we can't be sure whether they'll appear in the shipping model. We're more blown away by the dramatic improvement in image quality that really vaults the $700 Panasonic G3 to the top of our favorites list.

There's more to this review! Don't forget to look at our Optics and Exposure pages, our Performance page, and our Thumbnail and Gallery pages too, to see all the shots we've taken with the camera, uploading them unmodified so you can download images--both JPEG and RAW--and examine them for yourself!

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Panasonic G3 Review

Panasonic G3 Overview

Launched in

Panasonic G3 Review - Click for Table of Contents

Panasonic G3 is a member of Panasonic's G series of cameras. Below you can see the latest models in this series and how their main specs have changed with each new version.

Panasonic G Series History

Check the link below to compare specs of the latest cameras in this series side by side:
Panasonic G100 vs G95 vs G9 vs G7 vs G6

Alternative Model names found for Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3: DMCG3, DMC G3 and G 3.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Panasonic G3 PROs and CONs Review

Now let's get in to more details of our Panasonic G3 review by analysing its specs and features and listing out its pros and cons compared to average competitor cameras in its class.


Articulating Screen
Full HD Video
Touch Screen
Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
Face Detection Focusing
23 Focus Points
336g Light Body
1440kdot Viewfinder Resolution
0.7x magnification - Large Viewfinder
3D Shooting Capability
Flash Sync Port
Selfie & Vlogger Friendly LCD Screen
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No Wireless Connection
No Sensor shift Image Stabilization
Low Screen Resolution ( 460kdots )
Low Battery Life: 270 shots
No Environmental Sealing
Poor Low Light Performance
Not so wide AE Bracketing Range: ±2 EV
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Panasonic G3 Physical Specs

Panasonic G3 weighs and has external dimensions of . Considering that the average weight of Mirrorless type cameras is 446g, Panasonic G3 is a remarkably light camera for its class. With a thickness of 47mm, it has an average thickness for its class.
Weight Comparison

Mirrorless Cameras

Thickness Comparison

Mirrorless Cameras

Here is the front and top view image of Panasonic G3 with the dimensions:

Panasonic G3 Body Size Dimensions

In order to give you a better idea about the real life size of Panasonic G3, we have added an image of how it looks next to a credit card and an AA type battery.

Panasonic G3 Body Size Compared to a Credit card and a Battery

Now let's compare Panasonic G3 size with the camera that it replaced: Panasonic G2. Panasonic G3 is 9mm narrower and 27mm thinner than Panasonic G3 but they have the same height of 84mm.

Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G2 Camera Size Comparison - Front View

Below you can find the comparison of the weight and thickness of Panasonic G3 with its main competitors:

Panasonic G3 Size Compared to Main Competitors

Weather Sealing

Panasonic G3 doesn't have any environmental sealings on its body so you got to be extra careful to protect it against water and dust. If you shoot under these conditions very often, consider checking Top Mirrorless Cameras with Weather Sealing page.

Panasonic G3 Lens Mount and Lenses

Panasonic G3 has a Micro Four Thirds lens mount and currently there are 108 native lenses available for this mount. MFT is the most mature and diverse mount in the Mirrorles camera world. Panasonic offers a big selection of MFT lenses with high optical quality. Other main contributor of the system, Olympus also offers similarly well regarded lenses. Third party lens manufacturers keeps on offering more lenses for the system every day as well.

Panasonic G3 doesn't have a sensor based image stabilization system but 31 of these lenses already comes with .

Weather Sealed Lenses for Panasonic G3

There are 34 lenses with weather sealing for Panasonic G3 but bear in mind that G3 body doesn't have weather sealings.

Here are some of the most popular Panasonic G3 Lenses on Camera Decision:

Popular Micro Four Thirds Mount Lenses for Panasonic G3

Check our Panasonic G3 Lenses page for more detailed lens search.

Panasonic G3 Sensor and Photography Features

Panasonic G3 has a 16.0MP Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm ) sized CMOS sensor and features Venus Engine FHD processor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 4592 x 3448 pixels with aspect ratios of 1:1, 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. G3 has a native ISO range of 160 - 6400 and it can save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Panasonic G3 is not the highest resolution Four Thirds camera. Panasonic G95 with its 20.3MP sensor is leading in this class. Check the comparison of Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G95 or take a look at Highest resolution Mirrorless cameras list.

Panasonic G3 DxOMark Sensor Scores

DxOMark is a benchmark that scientifically assesses image quality of camera sensors. Panasonic G3 sensor has been tested by DxO Mark and got an overall score of for its image quality. You can find the details of their analysis of Panasonic G3 here.

Let's look at how the size of the Panasonic G3's Four Thirds sensor compares with other standard sensor sizes.

Panasonic G3 Sensor Size Comparison

Panasonic G3 LCD and Viewfinder

Panasonic G3 has a LCD screen with a resolution of . Articulated screens are more video oriented compared to only tilting or fixed screens. On the other hand, photography oriented users generally prefer tilting screens. Both the screen size and the screen resolution is up to the standards of this class.

LCD is type, so you can change the settings and set the focus point with your fingertips.

Panasonic G3 back view and LCD

For those of you who loves shooting selfies, self or group photos, Panasonic G3 will make your life easier with its screen. Another group of users who will take advantage of G3's LCD screen are Vloggers and any video creators who are working in a single-person setup.

G3 has a built-in , making it easier to shoot in direct sunlight and in other situations where it might be difficult to view the LCD monitor. The viewfinder has a resolution of 1,440kdots and coverage of 100%. 100% coverage ensures that what you see in the viewfinder while shooting matches exactly what you will get later in your image, helping accurate framing your shots and minimizes the need for cropping images later. The magnification ratio of the viewfinder is (35mm equivalent).

Panasonic G3 Connectivity, Storage and Battery

You can connect G3 to compatible devices via its HDMI port or USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) port.

Panasonic G3 Battery

Panasonic G3 is powered by a proprietary battery which provides a battery life of according to CIPA standards. Considering that the average battery life of Mirrorless type cameras is 371 shots, Panasonic G3 has a short battery life for its class so we strongly recommend G3 owners to invest in some extra batteries.

Battery Life Comparison in Entry-Level Mirrorless Cameras

Samsung NX mini with its 650shots is the model with longest battery life among Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras. Check the comparison of Panasonic G3 vs Samsung NX mini or take a look at Longest Battery Life Mirrorless cameras list.

Panasonic G3 Features Compared to Main Competitors

Panasonic G3 Video Features

With Panasonic G3, you can record your videos at a highest resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps and save in AVCHD and Motion JPEG formats. Full HD resolution of Panasonic G3 will be adequate in most of the situations. But if you are after the highest resolution videos available, see our list of Top Cameras with 4K (Ultra-HD) Video.

G3 has a built-in Stereo microphone and a None speaker. On the other hand, Panasonic G3 doesn't have any connections for external microphones and headphones. If you need a Mirrorless camera with external microphone connectivity, consider Canon EOS M50 Mark II or Fujifilm X-T200 in a similar price range.

Also read:

Panasonic G3 Other Features

Max Shutter speed

Panasonic G3 can shoot continuously at max speed of and has max shutter speed of .


G3 has a built-in flash, and it also has a flash shoe to mount your external flashes too.


Panasonic G3 features a Contrast Detection autofocusing system. The AF system has 23 points to choose from. Panasonic G3 also features where it intelligently detects the faces in the frame and locks the focus automatically.

What type of Photography is Panasonic G3 Good for?

In this section, we review and score Panasonic G3 in 5 different photography areas.

Panasonic G3 for Portrait Photography

Panasonic G3 has a score of 51 for Portrait Photography which makes it an AVERAGE candidate for this type of photography. If Portrait is important for you, we recommend you to check our Top Mirrorless Cameras for Portrait Photography list.

Large Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
Good Ergonomics&Handling

Average Resolution Sensor: 16.0MP
No Image Stabilization

Read the details of how we scored Panasonic G3 for Portrait Photography

Panasonic G3 for Street Photography

Panasonic G3 has a score of 66 for Street Photography which makes it a GOOD candidate for this type of photography. If you are looking for a camera that is better suited to Street Photography, we recommend you to check our Top 10 Mirrorless Cameras for Street Photography list.

Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
Face-Detection Focusing
Fully Articulated LCD Screen

Large Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
Medium sized Body
No Image Stabilization

Read the details of how we scored Panasonic G3 for Street Photography

Panasonic G3 for Sports Photography

Panasonic G3 has a score of 62 for Sports Photography which makes it a GOOD candidate for this type of photography. If you are looking for a camera that is better suited to Sports Photography, we recommend you to check our Top 10 Mirrorless Cameras for Sports Photography list.

Fast Max shutter speed: 1/4000s
23 Focus Points
Good Ergonomics&Handling
Electronic Built-in Viewfinder

Average Continuous Shooting: 4.0fps
Environmental Sealings
Poor Battery Life: 270 shots
No Image Stabilization

Read the details of how we scored Panasonic G3 for Sports Photography

Panasonic G3 for Daily Photography

Panasonic G3 has a score of 59 for Daily Photography which makes it an AVERAGE candidate for this type of photography. If Daily is important for you, we recommend you to check our Top Mirrorless Cameras for Daily Photography list.

Large Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor
Medium size Body

Body Thickness 47mm

Read the details of how we scored Panasonic G3 for Daily Photography

Panasonic G3 for Landscape Photography

Panasonic G3 has a score of 39 for Landscape Photography which makes it a POOR candidate for this type of photography. If Landscape We strongly recommend you to check our Top Mirrorless Cameras for Landscape Photography list and consider these alternatives over theG3.

Large Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) sensor

Average Resolution Sensor: 16.0MP
No Environmental Sealings

Read the details of how we scored Panasonic G3 for Landscape Photography

Panasonic G3 Alternatives

In this section, we analyse how Panasonic G3 compares with other Mirrorless cameras within a similar price range.

Read a more detailed analysis of Panasonic G3 alternatives.

Panasonic G3 Conclusion and Scores

Currently, Panasonic G3 has an Overall Score of 60/100 which is based on our evaluation of 69 different technical parameters. Our scores are dynamically updated whenever a new camera is added to our database or when we change our ranking algorithm and the maximum score is always 100. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is ranked #146 out of 222 in Mirrorless cameras (Top 20 Mirrorless), and ranked #309 out of 1233 in all Cameras (Top 20 Overall).

out of 1233 in Top Ranking Cameras
out of 222 in Top Ranking Cameras
out of 115 in Top Ranking Cameras
out of 86 in Top Ranking Cameras
out of 174 in Top Ranking Cameras with
out of 64 in Top Ranking Cameras
out of 356 in Largest Viewfinder Magnification Cameras ()
out of 64 in Lightest Mirrorless Cameras with Four Thirds sensor(336g)
out of 129 in Top Ranking Cameras with

Main Scores
Check our Smart Finder Toolto filter, sort and compare all digital cameras.

Frequently Asked Questions about Panasonic G3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Detailed Specifications

ModelPanasonic Lumix DMC-G3
Body TypeSLR-style mirrorless
Manual Focus
Lens MountMicro Four Thirds
Number of Lenses108
Focal Length Multiplier
Macro Focus Rangen/a
Screen TypeFully Articulated
Screen TechnologyTFT Color LCD with wide-viewing angle
Screen Size3"
Screen Resolution460k dots
Live View
Touch Screen
Viewfinder Resolution1,440k dots
Viewfinder Coverage100%
Viewfinder Magnification0.7x
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed60s
Max Mechanical Shutter Speed1/4000s
Continuous Shooting4.0 fps
Shutter Priority
Aperture Priority
Manual Exposure Mode
Exposure CompensationYes
Custom White Balance
Image Stabilization
Built-in Flash
Flash Range11.00 m
Max Flash Sync1/160s
Flash ModesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
External Flash
AE Bracketing
WB Bracketing
Exposure Modes
Center Weighted
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Overall Score56
DxO Color Depth21.0
DxO Dynamic Range10.6
DxO Low Light ISO667
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Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeFour Thirds
Sensor Dimensions17.3 x 13 mm
Sensor Area224.90mm2
Sensor Resolution16 megapixels
Max Image Resolution4592 x 3448
Max Native ISO6,400
Min Native ISO160
RAW Support
AF Touch
AF Continuous
AF Single
AF Tracking
AF Selective
AF Center
AF Multi Area
AF Live View
AF Face Detection
AF Contrast Detection
AF Phase Detection
Number of Focus Points23
Number of Cross Focus PointsUnknown
Video Features
Video Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60fps) 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30fps), 320 x 240 (30fps))
Max Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Video FormatsAVCHD, Motion JPEG
Microphone Port
Headphone Port
Wireless ConnectivityNone
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental Sealing
Water Proof
Dust Proof
Shock Proof
Crush Proof
Freeze Proof
Physical Dimensions 115 x 84 x 47mm
Battery Life270 shots
Battery TypeBattery Pack
Other Features
Self TimerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Timelapse Recording
Storage TypeSD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage Slots1

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Panasonic DMC-G3 In-depth Review

The G3 heralds the start of Panasonic's third generation of mirrorless cameras. In some respects it's a refinement of previous models; its electronic viewfinder and hinged rear display screen are identical to the G1 and G2, for example. However, behind the aluminium front panel of its slimmed-down, externally-simplified body lies a completely new 16.7MP sensor. This makes it the first mass-market Micro Four Thirds model to move beyond Panasonic's 12MP chip.

While some of the new features of the G3 suggest a move upmarket, many other changes point to an attempt on Panasonic's part to make the G-series more accessible. A number of features have been removed, presumably in order to make this model both less intimidating and less expensive (the recommended price is $100 lower than the launch price of the G2).

Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras are still relatively new. As such, manufacturers are still trying to determine their target audience as well as the balance of features, capabilities and pricing that will have the widest appeal. Panasonic's Lumix DMC-G1, released back in 2008, was essentially a miniaturized version of the company's L10 DSLR, sharing similar features and appearance. More recently, however, mirrorless camera designs are looking to capitalize on the differences the technology can offer, such as compact size and seamless video integration, rather than trying to mimic conventional DSLRs.

The compact-camera-like hand grip is the first, most obvious evidence that the G3 fits into this philosophy. Gone is the prominent lump that has become standard for DSLRs, and instead we have a grip that more closely resembles that of the GF2 - a low profile rounded extension that encourages a very different hand position on the camera. In fact, the G3 is as close in size and appearance to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 (with a viewfinder) as it is to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2.

From the GF2, the G3 gains a touchscreen interface that is a vast improvement over that seen in the G2. It allows lots of control over camera settings as well as direct on-screen selection of the focus point - something that no DSLR can offer. Further distancing itself from previous G-series models, the G3 allows you to place the AF point anywhere throughout the entire frame, as opposed to just within a central portion.

The G3 also gains improved video capability, matching the GF2's ability to output either 1080i60 or 720p60 (both from 30fps sensor output). And, while this isn't up to the same specification as the video capability of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2, the G3 does gain that camera's image processor and impressive autofocus speed.

Beyond this, the bulk of the G3's new features are incremental improvements - there's a picture-in-picture manual focus magnification option so that you can focus while still viewing the overall composition, and a Pinpoint AF mode that combines a small AF area with a zoomed preview for precise focusing. The G3 also features subject-tracking AF while shooting video.

Regrettably however, much has been removed from the new model, too. Unlike the G2, the G3 doesn't have an eye sensor for its viewfinder, so you'll have to manually switch between it and the rear display screen. It also loses the G2's focus point dial and focus mode lever, along with the option for connecting an external microphone (thus ensuring that it doesn't tread on the GH2's toes).

Taken as a whole, these changes lead us to suspect that the G3 might replace both the G2 and the lower-spec'd G10 in Panasonic's lineup. It's worth noting that its suggested price also sits exactly mid-way between those two models.

Panasonic G3 specification highlights:

  • 16.7MP CMOS sensor (standard Micro Four Thirds size)
  • ISO 160-6400
  • 4 fps continuous shooting (20fps at 4MP)
  • GF2-style touch screen interface
  • 1080i60 AVCHD shooting (from 30p sensor output)
  • All-area AF point selection
  • Pinpoint AF mode (magnifies focus point to allow confirmation and fine-tune of AF position)
  • Tracking AF in video mode
  • Picture-in-picture manual focus magnification
  • 460k dot articulated LCD
  • 1.44M dot-equivalent electronic viewfinder (field sequential type)

Size compared to a typical DSLR

Placed next to the Rebel T3i / 600D - fairly typical in size for an entry-level DLSR - the size difference of the G3 becomes immediately apparent.
A top-down view further emphasizes the distinction; the G3 is considerably smaller in every dimension. Even at this size, however, the G3 is not going to fit in a pocket.
Panasonic DMC-G3 announced and previewed

Panasonic has announced the DMC-G3 Micro Four Thirds mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The G3 uses a brand new 16.6MP sensor, producing 15.8MP images and features a considerably downsized body compared to its predecessors. It pushes further towards touch-screen control in an attempt to make the camera ever-more accessible to beginners. We've had a final production standard G3 and have prepared a hands-on preview with both studio test shots and real-world samples.

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Nikon V1 vs. Panasonic G3 Shootout

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Review

The Lumix DMC-G3 becomes Panasonic’s “smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens camera with a viewfinder” following its May 2011 introduction. Anytime a camera successor pops up a year after the previous model my first question tends to be whether the new model offers more than a modest re-work or is being offered primarily as a marketing exercise. The Lumix G2 has actually been out a bit longer than a year, but the time frame is still within my window of wondering.

Panasonic Lumix G3

A quick glance from a distance at both the G2 and about-to-arrive G3 might suggest the modest re-work theory has some merit, but a closer look indicates that while Panasonic didn’t start with a clean sheet of design paper, the new camera is not merely a re-badged G2. That “smallest and lightest” tout is our first clue – the G3 comes in at 4.54 x 3.29 x 1.84 inches versus 4.88 x 3.29 x 2.91 for the G2, and ready-to-shoot weight with the 14-42 lens has dropped from 593 grams to 544. There are subtle contour changes to the body, which Panasonic notes is made of aluminum (but seems to have some composite woven into the mix) and the focus controls that occupied the top left portion of the G2 body are gone; the handgrip area of the body is less pronounced as well.

The big changes include a resolution increase to 16 megapixels (the basic user’s manual provided with the camera says 15.83 megapixel effective resolution) on the camera’s Micro Four Thirds system CMOS sensor and the inclusion of full 1080HD video, along with a dedicated video capture button that provides one-touch video capture from any shooting mode. The G3 features a new Precision Contrast LightSpeed AF system that allows the focus point of the camera to be positioned anywhere on the monitor by touch (with that point following the subject if it moves via AF tracking), a new Pinpoint AF option that allows extremely fine positioning of the AF point, as well as a more conventional 23 focus point capability.

The articulating 3.0-inch LCD monitor has picked up a bit more range of motion compared to the G2. The G3 will be offered in kit form initially, paired with the Lumix 14-42 zoom lens – and with a $700 MSRP that comes in $100 lower than the G2 when it was introduced. The camera will also be available as a body-only for $600. Here’s the view at both ends of the kit lens:

Panasonic G3 Sample Image
Wide Angle, 14mm

Panasonic G3 Sample Image
Telephoto, 42mm

That MSRP puts the G3 head-to-head with Nikon’s D3100 and right in the middle of Canon’s entry-level fleet of six Rebels. The G3 can accept SD/SDHC/SDXC memory media and Panasonic includes a battery charger and battery, body cap, AV and USB cables, a shoulder strap, stylus pen, CD-ROM software and printed basic user’s manual with each camera.

I’ve reviewed the Panasonic GF-1 and 2 for this site, but this is my first outing with a plain “G” model, and I’m as curious as you to see how it does.

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Review panasonic g3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Review


The new DMC-G3 is the seventh camera in the now extensive Lumix G Micro System range from Panasonic. The G3 is 25% smaller and 9% lighter than last year's G2 model (which continues in the range), and at the time of launch it's officially the world's smallest and lightest compact system camera with a built-in viewfinder. In addition to its small size, the Panasonic G3 features a brand new 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor with 15.8 effective megapixels, the so-called Light Speed Auto Focus System that delivers a 0.18 focus speed with the 14-42mm lens, and a 3 inch articulated LCD that provides touch-based functions like Touch AF/AE and Touch Shutter. There's also 1080/50i Full HD video recording with stereo sound in the AVCHD format, Venus Engine VI FHD processor, sensitivity range of ISO 160-6400, new Photo Style and Creative Control filters, and 4 frames per second burst shooting. Available in white, red or black, the Panasonic G3 costs £549 body only or £629.99 with the 14-42mm kit lens.

Ease of Use

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 looks very much like a G2 that's been shrunk in the wash, somehow managing to fit a 3 inch fully rotating, free-angle LCD screen and electronic viewfinder into its diminutive dimensions of 115.2 x 83.6 x 46.7mm. Weighing a svelte 336g without a lens attached, the G3 is tiny yet remarkably still a comfortable camera to use. A few compromises have been made to the design in order to make the body smaller than its predecessors (which we'll discuss later), but overall users with average-sized hands like mine will find that they can still operate the G3 comfortably. I found that I naturally gripped the camera with the thumb, middle and fourth finger of my right hand, whilst operating the shutter button with my fore-finger and supporting either the lens or camera body with my left hand.

Still very much in the DSLR mould, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is an understated, contemporary camera that looks a little more compact-camera-like than the G2, mainly due to its size but also because the G2's unique tactile rubber coating has been replaced on the G3 with a smooth, glossy plastic finish, presumably to help drive costs down. The DMC-G3 is still extremely well-built, though, with a high quality aluminium body, metal lens mount and tripod socket that belies its mid-range price point.

The G3 ships either body-only or with the 14-42mm kit lens (28-84mm equivalent in 35mm) that debuted alongside last year's G2. This optic offers a little less focal range than the previous 14-45mm kit lens and uses a plastic rather than metal mount. While the body of the G3 is remarkably small, the lenses are where Panasonic have really shrunk the overall system. The supplied 14-42mm optic is small and very light, the 20mm pancake lens has to be seen to be believed, and the 45-200mm is also pretty amazing when you consider that it offers an effective focal length of 90-400mm in 35mm terms.

The 14-42mm lens does extend quite a long way when zoomed to its maximum telephoto setting, but that's a small price to pay for such a compact package. The only downsides from a specification point of view are the relatively slow maximum apertures of f/3.5-5.6. Now that Micro Four Thirds is more established as a system, there are a wider range of lenses on offer including an ultra-wide-angle and a macro lens. You can also use regular Four Thirds lenses and even other 3rd-party lenses via optional adapters, but lenses that are not compatible with the G3's Contrast AF function can only be used with manual focusing.

Optical image stabilisation is supplied via the lens, rather than being built-in to the camera body, although the 14-42mm lens lacks the physical OIS switch of the 14-45mm lens. Instead it can be turned on and off through the DMC-G3's menu system. When enabled, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 automatically compensates for camera shake, which is a slight blurring of the image that typically occurs at slow shutter speeds when the camera is hand held. There are two different modes, Mode 1 is on all the time including image composition and Mode 2 is only on when you press the shutter button. You don't notice that the camera is actually doing anything different when anti-shake is turned on, just that you can use slower shutter speeds than normal and still take sharp photos.

On the front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is a small focus-assist and self-timer indicator lamp, lens release button, lens mount and rubberised hand-grip, which isn't as pronounced as the G2 but is still large enough to effectively aid your hold on the camera. On the bottom is a metal tripod socket, importantly in-line with the middle of the lens barrel, and the shared battery compartment and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot. The G3 manages just over 250 shots using the supplied DMW -BLD10E 7.2V 1010mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery, a 100 shot reduction on the 350 shot life offered by the G2.

On the left of the G3 is the Remote socket for use with the optional remote shutter release, and two connection ports, including a HDMI port for connecting the G3 to a HD television or monitor. Unfortunately, Panasonic don't include a HDMI cable as standard in the box, which means that you'll have to purchase one separately to take advantage of this camera's HD connectivity.

Found on top of the Panasonic DMC-G3 are the flash hotshoe and built-in pop-up flash, complete with a small manual switch to open it, on/off switch, one-touch Intelligent Auto Plus (iA+) button for quickly switching to this beginner-friendly shooting mode, and a reasonably sized, tactile shutter button. The useful combined Focus mode and Focus Area dial and burst mode / bracketing / self-timer switch from the G2 have been sacrificed in order to make the G3 25% smaller.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

There's also a traditional dial that lets you choose the different exposure modes, which again is physically smaller than the G2's dial and has less options to boot. This dial is a typical feature of SLR cameras, and enables you to quickly change between the various modes. The usual selection of Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual are available for more experienced photographers, while the more beginner-friendly Scene modes are accessed via the SCN setting. Additionally there are 2 custom modes, marked C1 and C2, which allow you to configure your favourite settings and quickly access them.

The G2's My Color mode has been replaced by the new range of Creative Controls, denoted by an artist's palette, with 5 options - Expressive, Retro, High Key, Sepia and High Dynamic Range - on offer. Some are more useful than others, and I'm not quite sure why these modes deserve their own special place on the shooting mode dial, rather than being grouped together with the Photo Styles in the Main Menu. It's presumably because you lose control of the exposure and other key settings when using the Creative Controls, whereas the 6 available Photo Styles still allow full control of the camera's settings.

The clever Intelligent Auto mode, selected via the button on top of the G3, tries to make things as easy as possible for the complete beginner, allowing them to point and shoot the camera without having to worry about choosing the right scene mode or settings. Intelligent Auto Mode automatically determines a number of key criteria when taking a picture, including selecting the most appropriate scene mode (from 5 commonly used presets) and ISO speed, and turning face detection (up to 15 faces), image stabilization and quick auto-focus on.

The Intelligent Auto Plus Mode also includes Intelligent Exposure, which increases exposure only in the under-exposed areas of the image, Digital Red-eye, which automatically detects and removes red-eye, and AF Tracking, which continually tracks a moving subject and keeps it in focus, without you having to hold the shutter button halfway down as on most other cameras. Intelligent D-range continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows, while Intelligent Resolution mode makes a standard image look like a higher resolution one.

In practice the Intelligent Auto Mode system works very well, with the G3 seamlessly choosing the most appropriate combination of settings for the current situation. The 5 available scene modes are Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Night Portrait and Night Scenery, so obviously not all situations are covered by Intelligent Auto Mode, but it does work for the majority of the time. It makes it possible for the less experienced photographer to easily take well-exposed, sharp pictures of people, scenery and close-ups by simply pointing and shooting the camera. Also catering for the beginner are a total of 17 different scene modes, including the Peripheral Defocus mode, which despite sounding rather complicated makes it easy for beginners to achieve a blurred background / sharp subject effect without having to understand what apertures are.

The G3 ups the ante when it comes to video, improving on the G2's 720p format by offering Full 1080i HD 1920 x 1080 movies at 60/50 frames per second, and 720p HD 1280 x 720 movies at 60 fps, both in the AVCHD (MPEG-4/H.264) format. In addition it can also record Motion JPEG movies at 320 x 240 at 30fps, 640 x 480 at 30fps, 848 x 480 at 30fps and 1280 x 720 at 30fps, useful as this format can currently be shared more easily. AVCHD features almost double the recording time in HD quality compared with Motion JPEG, but software support is still a little thin on the ground. Panasonic describe it as the best mode for playing back on a HD TV direct from the camera, and Motion JPEG best for email and playing on a computer. There is a limit on the length of a movie of up to 29 min 59 sec in European PAL areas, and continuous recording exceeding 2GB is not possible when recording in the motion JPEG format.

Stereo sound is recorded during video capture and you can also fit an optional external stereo microphone, as with the G2. There's also a useful wind cut function which blocks out most of the noise from background wind. The thumb-operated dedicated movie button on the rear makes it simple to start record video footage at whatever quality level is currently selected. The HDMI port allows you to connect the G3 to a high-def TV set, but only if you purchase the optional HDMI mini-cable.

The Panasonic G3's Intelligent Auto mode works for movies as well as for still photos. Simply press the iA button on top of the camera, then the Movie Record button on the rear. The Intelligent Scene Selector automatically determines the most suitable Scene mode from five options - Portrait, Scenery, Low Light and Close-up or Normal modes. Face Detection automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts the focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion. Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows. The Optical Image Stabilizer helps prevent blurring from hand-shake when using a compatible lens.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3
FrontSwivelling LCD Screen

You can use any zoom lens during recording with focusing set as for still images. On the negative side, you'll find that if you choose continuous auto-focus, areas of the video will be blurred before becoming sharp again as the camera tries to refocus. On a more positive note, the the G3 is quite fast at re-focusing (although not as fast as for still images), and having this system is much better than not being able to auto-focus at all, as with most current DSLR cameras that offer video recording. Hand-holding the G3 during movie recording inevitably leads to obvious shake, despite the optical image stabilizer on compatible lenses, so for best results you'll need a dedicated video tripod. One great benefit of the touch-screen control system is that Touch Auto Focusing is available in movie recording, enabling pro-level rack-like focusing simply by pointing at the subject on the LCD screen.

The rear of the Lumix DMC-G3 is dominated by the large 3 inch LCD screen. The rotating, free-angle LCD monitor, which is hinged on the left side of the camera (looking from the rear), can be rotated 180 degrees for side to side and flipped out and twisted through 270 degrees. You can use the screen as a waist-level viewfinder, holding the camera overhead, and even for turning the G3 on yourself for arm-length self-portraits. There's also the added benefit of folding the screen away against the camera body to protect it when stored in a camera bag, preventing it from becoming marked or scratched.

The 460K pixel high-resolution screen coped admirably with the majority of lighting conditions. This screen is a great improvement on cameras with the usual 230K dot resolution, even being nice to use in low-light. The Auto Power LCD function automatically detects the current lighting conditions and boosts the LCD backlighting by up to 40% when shooting outdoors in bright sunshine, helping to keep the screen visible. The high-res, free-angle LCD screen is much more than just a novelty - it's a lot more versatile than the usual combination of optical viewfinder and fixed LCD, providing new angles of view and enhancing your overall creativity. Above all, it's a fun way of composing your images.

The G3 inherits the G2's clever touchscreen interface. Panasonic have wisely restricted the amount of things that you can do by interacting with the screen, and indeed you can still operate everything on the camera without having to push and prod the LCD at all. You would be missing out on a lot of genuinely useful functionality, though, which really improves the overall shooting experience.

The most immediately noticeable function is the ability to use the 1-area AF mode to focus on your main subject simply by touching it on the LCD. If the subject then moves, the G3 cleverly follows it around the screen using the the AF tracking function. If the subject exits the frame entirely, simply recompose and tap it again to start focusing. Impressive stuff that makes focusing on off-center subjects fast and intuitive. It is a little too easy to accidentally press the screen and set the focus point to the wrong area for the current subject, but a simple tap in the middle of the LCD will center the AF point (or you can turn this feature off altogether).

The size of the AF point itself can also be changed via an interactive onscreen slider. If Face Detection is enabled, the 1-area AF point can be manually set to a person's eye to help ensure that the most important part of a portrait is in focus. If Multi-area AF rather than 1-area AF is enabled, then you can select a group of 4, 5 or 6 AF points from 9 different areas, again providing some manual control over what is traditionally a rather hit and miss affair.

When Intelligent Auto is switched on, the G3 changes the scene mode used when you touch the subject, for example selecting portrait mode if you touch a face and macro mode if you touch a close-up flower. If you prefer to manually focus rather than use the snappy AF, you can magnify any part of the subject by 1x, 5x or 10x by simply dragging the image around the screen. The final touchscreen ability from an image composition point of view is the ability to release the shutter, with a small icon on the right hand screen enabling this functionality, and then a single on-screen tap all that's required to take the picture.

Most of the menu options can be changed via the touchscreen interface, notably the Quick Menu and the Info Display menu - the main exception to this rule is the Main Menu, which is still mostly controlled via the navigation buttons. You can also control image playback by touching the screen, with the ability to tap a thumbnail to see the full-size version, scroll through your images by dragging them from side to side, and magnifying them up to 16x.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Instead of the bulky optical viewfinder of a conventional DSLR, the Panasonic G3 has a smaller electronic viewfinder. The electronic viewfinder on the G3 is identical to the G2's excellent EVF, which in turn was the same as the original G1. Despite its age this viewfinder is still on a par with any comparable system, with the exception perhaps of the Fujifilm X100's innovative hybrid viewfinder. It has a large 1.4x (0.7x on 35mm equiv.) magnification, 100% field of view, and a 1,440,000 dot equivalent resolution, resulting in a very usable display that won't leave you cursing. The EVF (and also the main LCD screen) operates at 60fps, twice the usual speed, which helps make it relatively flicker-free (although it is still noticeable).

As the EVF is reading the same signal from the image sensor as the rear LCD screen, it can also display similar information - for example, you can view and operate the G3's Quick Menu, giving quick access to all the key camera settings while it's held up to your eye. The various icons used to represent the camera settings are clear and legible. The G3 does lack the G2's clever built-in eye sensor, which automatically switches on the viewfinder when you look into it, then switches it off and turns on the LCD monitor when you look away. Instead there's only an LVF/LCD button for manually switching between the two viewing methods.

The main downside of the G3's EVF system occurs indoors in low light, as it has to "gain-up" to produce a usable picture, resulting in a noticeably grainier picture. In all other situations, however, the electronic viewfinder on the G3 is the equal of and in many areas better than a DSLR's optical viewfinder, particularly those found on entry-level models which are typically dim and offer limited scene coverage. The truest testament to the G3 is that I mostly used it by holding it up to eye-level, something that I wouldn't do unless the EVF was of sufficient quality.

Positioned to the right of the EVF are a Playback button and the afore-mentioned Movie Record button, which has unfortunately replaced the G2's very useful AF/AE Lock button, one of the few compromises that that the G3 has made to become smaller and more compact. Another compromise is the smaller thumb-operated control dial, which is harder to locate with your right thumb than on the older G2.

This grey dial is used for, amongst other things, changing the aperture and shutter speed by turning from left to right and back again. This is a common feature found on DSLR cameras, so you'll be right at home if you've used any DSLR before - compact camera users will need to get used to using this dial, although it is possible (but rather long-winded) to set the aperture/shutter speed via the LCD screen. The control dial can also be pressed inwards to switch to setting exposure compensation.

Below this is the Display button, which cycles through the various LCD views. As you can also access this via the touchscreen interface, I'd suggest that you change this to the Fn1 setting instead, which amongst other things can be mapped to the AF/AE Lock setting, or one of 16 other options. Underneath again is a traditional 4-way navigation pad system with a Menu/Set button in the centre. Pressing left, up, right and down on the D-Pad buttons selects AF Mode, ISO, White Balance and Burst mode / Bracketing / Self-timer options respectively.

The Q.Menu button provides quick access to most of the principal controls, including ISO speed, image size, image quality and white balance. Just like the shared Display/Fn1 button, as you can also access the Quick Menu via the touchscreen interface, I'd suggest that you change this button to the Fn2 setting instead, which again can be mapped to one of 17 options. This multitalented button also quadruples up as the Delete and Back button during image playback. The G2's Preview button, which cleverly toggles between showing a live preview of the effects of the current aperture (effectively a digital version of Depth of Field Preview), is now one of the options that can be selected for the Fn1 or Fn2 buttons.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3
Memory Card SlotBattery Compartment

The main menu system on the DMC-G3 is straight-forward to use and is accessed by pressing the Menu/Set button in the middle of the navigation D-Pad. There are five main menus represented by large icons, Record, Motion Picture, Custom, Setup and Playback. As an indication of how configurable the G3 is, the Custom menu has 32 different options, allowing you to fine-tune this camera to suit your way of working. If you have never used a digital camera before, or you're upgrading from a more basic model, reading the easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea. Unfortunately Panasonic have only chosen to supply a basic guide in printed format, with the full manual only available as a PDF on the product CD.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3's Intelligent Resolution mode makes a standard image look like a higher resolution one by processing the contour areas, texture areas and smooth areas individually. There are three available strengths - low, standard and high - and an Extended option which increase the zoom range. Despite all the clever behind-the-scenes processing, it's fairly easy to tell which image was taken with Intelligent Resolution turned on and which one with it turned off due to unwanted artifacts appearing, particularly if viewing onscreen at 100% magnification. While the difference isn't quite so apparent on a print up to A3 in size, I'm not convinced enough to recommend regularly using it.

Intelligent Dynamic adjusts the exposure setting to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three strengths available - low, standard and high. It's actually very effective for high-contrast scenes when the camera tends to blow-out the highlights and block-up the shadows. You can see some examples for both Intelligent Resolution and Intelligent Dynamic on the Image Quality page.

Unlike a conventional DSLR camera which uses a phase detection auto-focus system, the DMC-G3 employs the same Contrast AF that is commonly used by compact cameras. As with the EVF, experienced photographers will now be tutting loudly at the thought of having to use a traditionally slower system. I'm happy to be able to report that this decision hasn't resulted in a slow and unpredictable AF - quite the opposite in fact. Panasonic have published marketing data which suggests that the G3's AF is as fast, if not faster, than a typical DSLR camera's, with a claimed speed of less than 0.1 second when used with certain lenses, and a still impressive 0.18 second with the 14-42mm kit lens. In practice I noticed very little difference in speed between the G3 and a DSLR, and there were also very few occasions when the G3 failed to lock onto the subject, especially when using the centre AF point. There are a wide range of AF 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. The G3 also has a useful Quick AF function that begins focusing as soon as you point the camera.

The start-up time from turning the Lumix DMC-G3 on to being ready to take a photo is very impressive at less than 0.5 seconds. It takes about 1 second to store a JPEG image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card - there is a barely perceptible LCD blackout between each image. Storing a single RAW image takes around 4 seconds, but thankfully it doesn't lock up the camera in any way - you can use the menu system or shoot another image while the first file is being written to memory. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 has a pretty good Burst mode which enables you to take 4 frames per second for an unlimited number of JPEG images at the highest image quality, or 7 RAW images. There's also a faster 20fps mode, but the images are only recorded at 4 megapixels.

Once you have captured a photo, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 has an average range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (up to 30 onscreen at the same time and in a Calendar view), zoom in and out up to 16x magnification, view slideshows, delete, protect, trim, resize, copy and rotate an image. You can also select favourite images, change an image's aspect ratio, divide a video and set the print order. The Display button toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed, and there is a small brightness histogram available during shooting and RGBY histogram during playback if enabled in the menu. You can also turn on guide-lines to help with composition and flashing highlights which indicate any over-exposed areas of the image.

In summary, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is a smaller and lighter evolution of the previous G2 model which thankfully doesn't make too many usability sacrifices in order to achieve its diminutive size. Can the G3 also take great images with its new 15.8 megapixel Live MOS sensor? Let's take a look on the next page...

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 15.8 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. It produces noise-free images at ISO 100 to 800, with limited noise starting to appear at ISO 1600. ISO 3200 exhibits quite visible noise and loss of fine detail, and the fastest setting of ISO 6400 is even noisier but still usable.

The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening level and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results. The various Creative Controls and Photo Styles allow you to quickly and easily customise the look of the camera's JPEG images. The pop-up flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure.

The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light. We struggled to see any differences between the Intelligent Resolution settings, but Intelligent D-range is an effective new feature for capturing more detail in the shadows and highlights.


There are 7 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 has 2 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.



Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting, and benefit from further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level by tweaking the Film Mode, with five different settings available.


The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction and Forced Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting or the Red-Eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds and there's also a Bulb option for exposures up to 4 minutes long, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 160. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 15 second setting the actual exposure takes 30 seconds.


Intelligent Resolution

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3's Intelligent Resolution feature identifies outlines, texture areas and soft gradation areas of the image and then automatically optimizes the edges and detailed texture areas while using noise reduction to make the soft gradation areas smoother. There are three available strengths - low, standard and high.

Intelligent D-Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3's new Intelligent D-range adjusts the exposure setting to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three strengths available - low, standard and high.

Photo Styles

Panasonic's Film Modes, similarly to Nikon's Picture Styles, Canon's Picture Controls and Olympus' Picture Modes, are preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and noise reduction settings. The nine available Film Modes are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. There are also two My Film options so that you can create your own look.

Creative Controls

The Panasonic G3 has a new range of Creative Controls, denoted by an artist's palette on the shooting mode dial, with 5 options - Expressive, Retro, High Key, Sepia and High Dynamic Range - on offer.

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 camera, which were all taken using the 15.8 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Panasonic RAW (RW2) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movie & Video

Product Images

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Isometric View

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Front of the Camera / Pop-up Flash

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Rear of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Rear of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Rear of the Camera / Record Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Rear of the Camera / Quick Menu

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Rear of the Camera / Touchscreen LCD

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Rear of the Camera / Touchscreen LCD

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Swivelling LCD Screen

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Swivelling LCD Screen

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Swivelling LCD Screen

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Top of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Bottom of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Side of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Side of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Front of the Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Memory Card Slot

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Battery Compartment


The Lumix DMC-G3 is the most well-rounded Panasonic compact system camera to date, offering a great mix of cutting-edge features, improved image quality, intuitive and customisable handling, and a very competitive price. It's also a genuine contender to the likes of the Nikon D5100 and Canon EOS 600D, not quite matching them in terms of image quality but certainly giving them a run for their money in most other departments, all wrapped up in a tiny, lightweight body that's remarkably comparable in size to the company's GF1 model (which didn't have a built-in viewfinder or fold-out LCD screen).

The new 15.8 megapixel Live MOS sensor achieves the very neat trick of increasing the resolution and improving the image quality at the same time, in particular moving things on in the ISO stakes, with noise not rearing its ugly head until ISO 1600. Recent DSLR users probably won't be impressed by this feat, but in the world of Micro Four Thirds it's a big advancement. Coupled with its sheer portability and all-round feature-set, this makes the G3 a great carry-everywhere camera, and also a very discrete one to boot.

The touch-sensitive screen helps to deliver all the convenience and more of a compact camera shooting experience in a DSLR-like package that is smaller and lighter than all current DSLRs. Panasonic have wisely ensured that only certain key features can be configured by tapping the screen, rather than simply making everything accessible in this way, creating a hybrid interface that genuinely speeds up the camera's operation. You don't have to use the touchscreen at all, but you'd be mad not to. The free-angle, rotating LCD and high-resolution electronic view-finder of the original G1 may sound like old-hat, but they've just shown how ahead of the game Panasonic actually were, not looking out of place even in 2011.

Completing the G3's impressive bag of tricks are the super-fast auto-focusing system, with times of under 0.2 seconds with the standard kit lens and even reaching 0.1 seconds with certain lenses, and the improved 1080/50i Full HD video mode (only bettered by the GH2), complete with stereo sound. The 4 frames per second burst shooting is respectable enough, while the new Photo Style and Creative Control filters add a certain artistic flair to the G3. There are a few things that we don't like about the G3, mainly concerning the reduced number of external controls and the lack of the G2's useful eye-sensor for seamlessly switching between the EVF and LCD screen. Born out of the neccessity of shrinking the body, this has resulted in a simpler, more compact-like interface with more reliance on shared controls. Thankfully there are numerous ways in which the camera can be customised, so you should be able to find a way to make it work for you.

All of this comes at a price - remarkably a cheap one. £549 body only or £629.99 with the 14-42mm kit lens for such an accomplished camera is great value in anyone's book. For us, the new G3 offers the best balance between the even tinier GF2, the slightly better handling G2, and the videographer-friendly GH2, adding the best still image quality of all G-series cameras, and it's also a cheaper and for many users simply a better alternative to a full-fledged DSLR. Essential!

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Image quality5
Value for money5


TYPETypeDigital interchangeable lens system camera
Recording mediaSD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card
Image sensor size17.3 x 13.0 mm (in 4:3 aspect ratio)
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds mount
Total pixels16.6 Megapixels??
Camera effective pixels16.0 Megapixels???
Color filterPrimary color filter
Dust reduction systemSupersonic wave filter
RECORDING SYSTEMRecording file formatStill Image: JPEG(DCF, Exif 2.3), RAW, DPOF compatible???
MPO (When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds standard)
Motion Image: AVCHD / QuickTime Motion JPEG
Aspect ratio4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Image qualityRAW, RAW+Fine, RAW+Standard, Fine, Standard,
MPO+Fine, MPO+Standard (with 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds System standard)
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
File size(Pixels) Still Image[4:3] 4592x3448(L)[16M] / 3232x2424(M) [8M] / 2272x1704(S) [4M] / 1824x1368(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
[3:2] 4576x3056(L) [14M] / 3232x2160(M)[7M] / 2272x1520(S)[3.5M] / 1824x1216(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
[16:9] 4576x2576(L) [11.5M] / 3232x1824(M) [6M] / 1920x1080(S) [2M] / 1824x1024(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
[1:1] 3424 x 3424 (L) [11.5M] / 2416 x 2416 (M) [6M] / 1712 x 1712 (S)[3M] / 1712x1712(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
Motion ImageMotion JPEG*1[4:3] QVGA : 320 x 240, 30fps / VGA : 640 x 480, 30fps
[16:9] HD : 1280 x 720, 30fps
AVCHD*2NTSC[Full HD] 1920×1080, 60i (sensor output is 30p) (FSH:17Mbps)
[HD] 1280 x 720, 60p (sensor output is 30p)?SH:17Mbps)
PAL[Full HD] 1920×1080, 50i (sensor output is 25p) (FSH:17Mbps)
[HD] 1280 x 720, 50p (sensor output is 25p)?SH:17Mbps)
Continuous recordable time (Motion images)AVCHD with picture quality set to [FSH]: Approx. 110 min with H-FS014042 / Approx. 100 min with H-FS045200
Motion Jpeg with picture quality set to [HD]: Approx. 120 min with H-FS014042 / Approx. 110 min with H-FS045200
Actual recordable time (Motion images)AVCHD with picture quality set to [FSH]: Approx. 55 min with H-FS014042 / Approx. 50 min with H-FS045200
Motion Jpeg with picture quality set to [HD]: Approx. 60 min with H-FS014042 / Approx. 55 min with H-FS045200
VIEWFINDERTypeLive View Finder (1,440,000 dots equivalent)
Field of viewApprox. 100%
MagnificationApprox. 1.4x / 0.7x (35mm camera equivalent) with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
Eye pointApprox.17.5mm from eyepiece lens
Diopter adjustment-4.0~+4.0?dpt?
FOCUSTypeContrast AF system
Focus modeAFS/ AFC/ MF
AF modeFace detection / AF Tracking / 23-area-focusing / 1-area-focusing / Pinpoint
Touch (1- area-focusing in Face detection / AF Tracking / Multi-area-focusing / 1-area-focusing / Pinpoint)
AF detective rangeEV 0-18 (ISO100 equivalent)
AF assist lampYES
AF lockSet the Fn button in custom menu to AF/AE lock
OthersQuick AF, Continuous AF (during motion image recording), AF+MF, Touch shutter, Touch MF Assist,
EXPOSURE CONTROLLight metering system144-zone multi-pattern sensing system
Light metering modeIntelligent Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot
Metering rangeEV 0-18 (F2.0 lens, ISO100 equivalent)
Exposure modeProgram AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual
ISO sensitivity(Standard Output Sensitivity)Auto / Intelligent ISO / 160 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 (Changeable to 1/3 EV step)
Exposure compensation1/3EV Step ±5EV
AE lockSet the Fn button in custom menu to AF/AE lock
AE bracket3,5,7 frame, in 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV Step, ±3 EV
WHITE BALANCEWhite balanceAuto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / Flash / White Set 1, 2 / Color temperature setting (Touch operation is possible)
White balance adjustmentBlue/amber bias, Magenta/green bias
Color temperature setting2500-10000K in 100K
White balance bracket3 exposures in blue/amber axis or in magenta/green axis
SHUTTERTypeFocal-plane shutter
Shutter speedStill Images: 1/4000 ~ 60 and Bulb (up to approx. 120 seconds)
Motion image: 1/16000 ~ 1/30 (NTSC), 1/16000 ~ 1/25 (PAL)
Self timer10sec, 3 images/10sec, 2sec
Remote controlRemote control with bulb function by DMW-RSL1 (Optional)
SCENE MODEStill Image SCN modePortrait / Soft Skin / Scenery / Architecture / Sports / Peripheral Defocus / Flower / Food / Objects / /Night Portrait / Night Scenery / Illiminatioms / Baby 1, 2 / Pet / Party / Sunset
Movie SCN modePortrait / Soft Skin / Scenery / Architecture / Sports / Flower / Food / Objects / Low-light / Party / Sunset??
(Activated by selecting Still Image SCN mode then pressing Movie Button. Still Image SCN modes without corresponding Movie SCN mode is recorded in mode suitable for the recording situation.)
CREATIVE CONTROLCreative control(Still image & Motion image) Expressive / Retro / High key / Sepia / High Dyamic
BURST SHOOTINGBurst speedSH: 20 frames/sec(4M), H: 4 frames/sec, M: 3 frames/sec (with Live View), L: 2 frames/sec (with Live View)
Number of recordable images7 images (when there are RAW files with the particular speed)
Unlimited consecutive shooting (when there are no RAW files)
(depending on memory card size, battery power, picture size, and compression)
BUILT-IN-FLASHTypeTTL Built-in-Flash, GN10.5 equivalent (ISO 160 ?m), Built-in Pop-up
Flash modeAuto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction,
Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Synchronization speedLess than 1/160 second
Flash output adjustment1/3EV Step ±2EV
Flash synchronization1st. Curtain Sync, 2nd Curtain Sync.
Hot shoeTTL Auto with FL220/FL360/FL500(Optional)
LCD MONITORTypeTFT LCD with Touch panel
Monitor sizeFree-angle 7.5cm (3.0inch) / 3:2 Aspect / Wide viewing angle
Pixels460K dots
Field of viewApprox. 100%
Monitor adjustmentBrightness (7 levels), Cnotrast and Saturation (7 levels), Red tint (7 levels), Blue tint (7 levels)
LIVE VIEWDigital zoom2x, 4x
Extra Tele Conversion Still image: Max.2x (Not effective with L size recording. Magnification ratio depends on the recording pixels and aspect ratio.)
Motion image: Max.4.8x (Magnification ratio depends on the recording quality and aspect ratio.)
Other functionsGuide Lines (3 patterns)
Real-time Histogram
PHOTO STYLEColorStandard / Vivid / Natural / Monochrome / Scenery / Portrait / Custom
PLAYBACKPlayback modeNormal playback, 30-thumbnail display, 12-thumbnail display, Calendar display, Zoomed playback (16x Max.), Slideshow (duration & effect is selectable), Playback Mode (Normal/Picture/AVCHD/Motion JPEG/3D/Category/Favorite), Title Edit, Text Stamp, Video Divide, Resize, Cropping, Aspect Conversion, Rotate, Rotate Display, Favorite, Print Set, Protect, Face Rec Edit
IMAGE PROTECTION / ERASEProtectionSingle / Multi, Single in Burst Group / Multi in Burst Group, Cancel
EraseSingle / Multi / All / Except Favorite
PRINTDirect printPictBridge compatible?Print size, Layout, Date setting are selectable ?
HDMIminiHDMI TypeC / VIErA Link
Video: Auto / 1080i / 720p / 480p (576p in PAL system)
Audio: Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator
Audio video outputStereo Type, NTSC/PAL, NTSC only for North America
*Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the products that are available in your market.
Remote< class="6"> inputφ2.5mm. stereo mini jack
MicrophoneStereo, Wind-cut: Off / Low / Standard / High, Mic level adjustable (4 levels)
LANGUAGEOSD languageEnglish, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Russian, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified),
Dutch, Thai, Korean, Turkish, Portuguese, Arabic, Persian, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Greek
*Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the OSD languages on the products that are available in your market.
POWERBatteryID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1010mAh) (Included)
Battery Charger
Battery life (CIPA standard)Approx. 270 images (When using the LCD / LVF) with H-FS014042
Approx. 250 images (When using the LCD / LVF) with H-FS045200
DIMENSIONS / WEIGHTDimensions (W x H x D)115.2 x 83.6 x 46.7mm / 4.54 x 3.29 x 1.84 in?(excluding protrusions)
WeightApprox.544g / 19.20 oz ?SD card, Battery, 14-42mm lens included)
Approx. 761g / 26.88 oz ?SD card, Battery, 14-140mm lens included)
Approx. 336g / 11.84 oz ?Body only?
OPERATING ENVIRONMENTOperating temperature0? to 40? (32°F to 104°F)
Operating humidity10% to 80?
SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE
Super LoiLoScope (trial version)
USB Driver
Standard accessoriesBattery Charger, Battery Pack, Body Cap,
AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, Shoulder Strap, Stylus pen, CD-ROM
*1 Use a card with SD Speed Class with "Class6" or higher
*2 Use a card with SD Speed Class with "Class4" or higher

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Panasonic GF3 Hands-on Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 at a glance:

  • 15.8-million-pixel Live MOS sensor
  • ISO 160–6400
  • 3in articulated LCD touchscreen
  • Small body
  • 1.44-million-dot EVF
  • 4fps shooting rate
  • Pinpoint AF
  • 1920×1080 HD video with AF tracking
  • Street price around £620 with 14-42mm kit lens

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 review – Introduction

It has been just over a year since Panasonic launched the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, the first of the company’s second-generation micro four thirds cameras. This model was notable for refinements such as the introduction of a touch-sensitive screen, but the most significant leap forward for the micro four thirds system came last September with the release of the top-of-the-range GH2. In the GH2, Panasonic had for the first time fitted a sensor with a 16.05-million-pixel resolution rather than its usual 12-million-pixel unit.

Now the company has brought out the first of its third-generation micro four thirds cameras, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3. Although aimed at entry-level photographers, among its features is a sensor capable of producing 15.8-million-pixel images at a shooting rate of 4fps, as well as an improved contrast-detection AF system. All these features have been packed into a body smaller than we have previously seen from a DSLR-style G-series camera.

By including the improved AF from the GH2, and increasing the image resolution and shooting rate, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 looks to have raised the bar for entry-level micro four thirds-system cameras. So, with these factors in mind, I wanted to see how the G3 performed, particularly when shooting moving subjects such as wildlife. In the past, the slower contrast-detection AF of compact system cameras has made this difficult to carry out successfully, but the new G3’s AF system and faster frame rate should help make this more feasible.

  • External mic: No
  • Dioptre Adjustment: ±4
  • White Balance: Auto, 7 presets, 2 custom, Kelvin, all with fine-tuning
  • Built-in Flash: Yes, GN 10.5m @ ISO 160 (8.75m @ ISO 100)
  • Memory Card: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Shutter Type: Focal-plane shutter
  • Viewfinder Type: EVF with 1,533,600 dots equivalent
  • Output Size: 4608x3456 pixels (15.8 million pixels)
  • LCD: 3in, 460,000-dot touchscreen LCD
  • Field of View: 100% on LCD
  • AF Points: 23-area and touch focus anywhere in the frame
  • Sensor: 16-million-effective-pixel Live MOS
  • White Balance Bracket: 3 frames
  • Focal Length Mag: 2x
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/160sec
  • Exposure Modes: Program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, iA+, 17 scene modes
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV in 1/3 steps
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • Connectivity / Interface: Mini HDMI, digital/video out, remote release
  • Metering System: 144-zone multi-pattern sensing system
  • Dimensions: 115.2x83.6x46.7mm
  • DoF Preview: Yes, with shutter speed simulation
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: 4fps for 7 frames in raw, or unlimited JPEGs. 20fps at a reduced 4 million pixel resolution
  • Shutter Speeds: 60-1/4000sec
  • File Format: JPEG, RW2 (raw), raw + JPEG, MPO (when attaching 3D lens in micro four thirds-system standard), AVCHD
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Weight: 336g (body only)
  • Lens Mount: Micro four thirds
  • ISO: 160-6400
  • Focusing Modes: Single, continuous, manual, face detection, AF tracking, 23-area, 1-area-focusing, pinpoint, touch
  • Tested as: Compact system camera
  • Video: Full 1920×1080, 60i AVCHD, 1280x720, 30fps MJPEG

Now discussing:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3

Design and features

The G3 comes with an electronic viewfinder (EVF) as well as a 3-inch flip-out touchscreen. Unfortunately, there's no longer a sensor that automatically detects when the camera has been moved towards and away from your eye, switching between the EVF and LCD. There's a stereo mic on top of the camera, just in front of the hotshoe. However, this means that Panasonic hasn't included an external mic jack on the camera, so you'll have to rely on the in-built units.

Fortunately, the touchscreen has been refined from the version found on the earlier G2. It's much more responsive and has a few extra enjoyable features. Now, you can touch to focus on pretty much any part of the screen — even at the extreme edges. Pinpoint focus enlarges the portion of the image you want to focus on for more precise results. Never fear if touchscreen controls aren't your thing, though, as the G3 is also well endowed with physical buttons for the main controls. A PASM mode dial sits at the top of the camera, housing controls for some custom settings, as well as some picture effects and scene modes.

Inside, things look quite different, too. The sensor is a 16-megapixel Live MOS monster, which is similar but definitely not the same as the one found on the GH2. Panasonic also claims that the Light Speed AF system is able to seek and achieve focus within 0.1 second.

Connectivity is via a mini-HDMI port, mini-USB port and a remote port.

Compared to

Olympus E-P3Panasonic Lumix G3Samsung NX11Sony NEX-5N
12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor (four-thirds type)16-megapixel Live MOS sensor (four-thirds type)14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor (APS-C size)16.1-megapixel Exmor HD CMOS sensor (APS-C size)
3-inch, 610,000-dot touchscreen OLED3-inch, 460,000-dot touchscreen LCD3-inch, 920,000-dot AMOLED3-inch, 921,600-dot touchscreen LCD
Full HD video (1080i, 24fps)Full HD video (1080i, 30fps)HD video (720p, 30fps)Full HD video (1080p, 25ps)
35-point AF23-point AF15-point AF25-point AF


General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • RAW shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • Panasonic G30.
  • Olympus E-P30.
  • Samsung NX111.
  • Sony NEX-5N1.40.710.5

Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)

  • Panasonic G33.5
  • Olympus E-P33.2
  • Samsung NX113
  • Sony NEX-5N10

Panasonic rates the battery at 270 shots. In super high burst mode (with Live View turned off), the G3 can capture 40 shots in 2.5 seconds using the electronic shutter, and images are captured at 4 megapixels. You may notice that in the comparison table above, the G3 can shoot 4fps — this is Panasonic's claim, and we unfortunately couldn't get our review camera to perform that quickly.

Image quality

The G3 produces some excellent images with the kit lens, and very clean JPEGs as well. Its image quality is the closest to SLR (and APS-C sensor size) quality we've seen so far from Micro Four Thirds cameras. Its images are far better than those produced on the G2 particularly at high ISO levels.

A comparison between images taken on the Canon EOS 600D and Panasonic G3, with 100 per cent crop inset.
(Credit: CBSi)

Colours are very pleasing on default settings, and plenty of photographers will enjoy the punchy, slightly over-saturated colours the G3 delivers. Exposure is accurate and automatic white balance when shooting JPEG also gets things right in the majority of situations, apart from a slight shift to more blue hues in outdoor and natural light. It's hardly noticeable, though. As the camera also comes with intelligent auto plus mode (iA+), you can easily adjust colours and other shooting parameters with easy sliders on the screen. This is on top of the photo filters such as expressive, high key and sepia that are built-in to the camera.

The detail able to be resolved by the 14-42mm lens is pretty good considering it's a kit lens, but there still are some elements of fringing and also subtle distortions visible. Most photographers won't find this an issue except when reviewing images at 100 per cent magnification.

Video quality is impressive, and users have the choice of shooting at 1080i (AVCHD) or 720p (Motion JPEG). You can set photo styles and adjust colours before shooting video. Quality is very good for a camera of this class, with decent sound from the built-in mics, but we would have liked a little more separation in place.

Image samples

Exposure: 1/125, f/3.5, ISO 160

Exposure: 1/1300, f/3.5, ISO 160

Exposure: 1/250, f/6.3, ISO 160

Exposure: 1/200, f/7.1, ISO 160

(Credit: CBSi)


The G3 is a great addition to the already-strong range of Panasonic interchangeable lens cameras, with a few notable omissions holding it back from being top notch.

The G3 is available in black, red and white for AU$899 as body only, AU$1099 for the 14-42mm kit lens and AU$1399 for the twin-lens 14-42mm and 45-200mm kit.


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