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Hands On: Panasonic Lumix G3 review

David Ludlow
12 May 2011
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We take a look at the brand new micro 4/3 camera

You can now read our full in-depth review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, complete with sample images and verdict.

One of the main reasons to opt for an interchangeable lens camera over a DSLR is to get a more compact camera that's easier to carry around with a lot of lenses. With its brand new Micro 4/3 Lumix G3, which we've managed to get our hands on for a test shoot, Panasonic has managed to make the body even smaller.

Panasonic Lumix G3

Comparing it to last year's Lumix G2, the G3 is a fraction of the depth and weighs just 336g (body only). It's pretty comfortable to hold, although the small size and low weight meant that we'd be more comfortable holding this camera with a strap round our neck for fear of dropping it.

As well as redesigning the body, Panasonic has worked on the interior to address some of the issues that we found with the G2. First, is a brand new 16-megapixel sensor, which Panasonic claims produces one-third the noise of its previous generation sensor. In addition, the camera has the Venus Engine VI FHD processing engine to the clean up the image in both video and photo modes.

The auto-focus has also been improved, with Panasonic claiming a focus time of just 0.1 seconds. In our tests, the camera was certainly very quick and didn't have to hunt through the range in order to focus correctly.

Panasonic Lumix G3 sample shot Tower Bridge

We tested the camera on a boat ride down the Thames on a bright day. Due to the camera using pre-release firmware we're not allowed to post full-size samples, so we've resized all the images here. Using the 14-42mm kit lens (28-84mm 35mm equivalent), we were impressed with our still photos. Detail was impressive and the image very sharp. In particular the detail in the brickwork of the old warehouses was excellent.

Panasonic Lumix G3 sample shot brickwork

Photos were well exposed and even across the whole image, even into the corners. The kit lens is the same as that used on the G2 and remains an impressive choice. We found chromatic aberration was kept in check and there was little distortion to the image.

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