Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 review
A highly capable, lightweight alternative to an SLR, but image quality isn't flawless and we miss its predecessor’s more hands-on controls
Review Date: 5 Jul 2011
Price when reviewed: £630
Reviewed By: Ben Pitt
The G3 is the third generation of a camera that created a new subsection of the digital camera market. These models have large sensors and interchangeable lenses to give the image quality and flexibility of an SLR, but they omit optical viewfinders to keep their size and weight down.
The G3 is a big departure from the outgoing G2. It's even smaller and lighter, although the zoom lens and hump for the electronic viewfinder mean that it still has SLR-like proportions. Unlike the Panasonic GF2 or its recently announced successor, the Panasonic Lumix GF3, it won't squeeze into a pocket. We can't say we're impressed by the remodelled handgrip. The G2’s chunkier design felt more secure in the hand, and posed no practical problem as it was still much shorter than the kit lens. The battery is smaller, too; just 270 shots from a charge is disappointing.
We're happy to see the same electronic viewfinder as on previous models. Its 1.4-megapixel resolution and expansive size mean it's just as detailed as consumer SLRs' optical viewfinders. However, there's no longer a sensor to detect when the camera is raised to the eye, which on the G2 automatically switched between the 3in articulated LCD and the viewfinder. Having to switch manually took some getting used to, particularly when using the viewfinder to frame shots and wanting to jump quickly to the controls or touchscreen to adjust settings.
On the subject of controls, there are significantly fewer this time around. The dials and switches for selecting the drive mode, focus area and auto/manual focus have disappeared. So too have the AF/AE lock and depth-of-field preview buttons, although the Disp and Q.Menu buttons can be reassigned to these functions. After doing so, the Disp and Q.Menu buttons are still available on the touchscreen.
I would just like to say that manual exposure is available on the camera via the thumb wheel. When you push the wheel in, the option changes between exposure compensation and manual settings. It even allows the selection of different aperture / shutter speed combinations in programmed mode.
Great camera. Swapped from a DSLR for lighter kit.
By carltofr on 5 Jul 2011
Interesting and helpful Review as usual. BUT... where are the pictures of the software interface? How the camera TALKS to the user is paramount. If it was in Swahili you'd crucify it. If it was in Chav you'd say Yes But....! If it was a sheer delight you'd start fingering your wallet. So why have you omitted this Vital feature? As an owner of an otherwise great Canon G12 I can vouch for the annoyance factor of a geekish and unfriendly software interface. So make your New Year Resolution a chapter with photos of the interface and make sure you test it on your Mother first, not a geekish nerd. After all, ordinary people make up the vast bulk of the market and should be respected as the underwriters of new product development.
By Tooyoo on 12 Nov 2011
Another glaring omission
A DSLR quality lens without the DSLR bulk is the obvious reason for owning this type of camera. But the user has to sacrifice the convenience of a superzoom lens. So what are the alternatives? The choice of lenses should be discussed in every Review. If there is only one other lens available above the inadequate standard lens, and even that is unsuitable for a photographer's style of use, then however good the camera it's not going to be worth a candle. Lens choice is important, as are alternatives using adaptors. You get time to play with these toys, we don't, so please tell us.
By Tooyoo on 12 Nov 2011
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