Sunday, April 29, 2012

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 with 3-Inch Touchscreen

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

The Panasonic Lummox DMC-GF3 ($599.99 direct with 14-42mm kit lens) is the smallest camera in the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds family, taking many of its design cues from point-and-shoot models. The 12-megapixel camera doesn't do as well in low light as some other interchangeable lens cameras, like our Editors' Choice Sony Alpha NEX-C3 ($649.95, 4.5 stars), and its kit lens is a little larger than the one bundled with the Olympus PEN E-PM1 ($499.99, 4 stars). Despite having a larger image sensor, the camera itself is only slightly larger than the 2.4-by-4.2-by-1.2 inch, 8.3-ounce Nikon J1 ($649.95, 3.5 stars). Olympus also includes a 14-42mm lens with its Micro Four Thirds cameras, but that lens features a collapsing design that helps to cut down on its size. The GF3 is also available in a kit with that lens for $699.99.

A 3-inch, 460k-dot, touch-screen LCD dominates the rear of the camera. You can use these controls to adjust camera functions, or interact directly via its touch screen. Performance
The GF3 is a rather speedy camera. It does compare very favorably to the smallest interchangeable lens camera on the market, the Pen tax Q ($799.95, 3 stars). I used Iratest to test the sharpness and noise in images captured by the camera. The corresponding 14-42mm lens that is included with the Olympus E-PM1 is much sharper at 14mm f/3.5—it records 2,186 lines.

At 25mm the lens sharpens up a bit, scoring 1,736 lines at f/4.6 and 1,935 lines at f/5.6. At the maximum zoom setting, 42mm, the lens softened a bit, which is typical for a zoom lens. The E-PM1 lens also softened as it zoomed, dipping to 1,738 lines at 28mm and 1,508 lines at 42mm.
In terms of image noise, the camera was rather disappointing. Our Editors' Choice, the Sony Alpha NEX-C3, offers the best high-ISO performance in a compact camera—it keeps noise under 1.5 percent through ISO 6400.

The Panasonic GF3 is a nice take on the Micro Four Thirds concept—a compact camera system built around a large sensor and interchangeable lenses.

As a result, there's a learning curve to using the GF3, but for those seeking a very small compact system camera, the Lummox GF3 has a lot to offer in a very small body.
Compared to the GF2, the GF3 is smaller in width and height, but not thickness. The Panasonic GF3 measures 4.2 x 2.6 x 1.3 inches (108 x 67 x 33mm), versus 4.4 x 2.7 x 1.3 inches (113 x 68 x 33mm) on the GF2, and weight is also reduced to 9.3 ounces (264g), from the GF2's 11.3 ounces (319g). Put another way, the GF3 is 16.7 percent smaller and 16.2 percent lighter than the GF2, according to Panasonic.

While the GF2 had a total of 11 control buttons (not counting the flash pop-up button), the GF3 reduces the count to 10: Intelligent Auto, Shutter, Record, Playback, EV, White Balance, AF-point, Drive, Menu/Set, and Quick Menu/Function (the thumb-operated rear dial also served as a button on the GF2). Panasonic GF3 size comparisons

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Overview

The Panasonic GF3 features a 12.1 megapixel Micro Four Thirds-format image sensor whose output is handled by a Venus Engine FHD image processor. Base sensitivity for the GF3's imager is ISO 160 equivalent, while maximum sensitivity is unchanged from that of the GF2, at ISO 6,400 equivalent.
Panasonic rates the GF3 as capable of shooting some 3.8 frames per second, some 19% faster than the company-supplied 3.2 fps figure for the GF2. In our own lab testing, the GF3 proved capable of 3.5 fps in High Speed mode. Touch-panel display. With no accessory port on the GF3's body, all interaction is handled through its 3.0-inch touch panel LCD display.

which appears to be unchanged from that featured in the GF2. Focusing. Like the GF2 before it, the GF3 offers up a 23-point TTL contrast detection auto focusing system, as well as an autofocus assist lamp that helps when focusing in low ambient lighting conditions. As well as multi-point focusing, the GF3 also provides single, pinpoint, tracking, and face detection autofocus modes. Of course, you can also focus manually, and the GF3 offers a manual focus assist zoom that enlarges the display around the focus point, allowing precise focus tuning. The Lummox GF3 offers still image shutter speeds ranging from 1/4,000 to 60 seconds. Images are metered with the Live MOS image sensor, using a 144-segment multi-pattern metering system, and the GF3 also provides both center-weighted and spot metering modes.

Mode Access :

The DMC-GF3 provides a traditional DSLR-like experience without the need for complicated external mode dials, yet provides intuitive and quick access to common modes like Program, Shutter and Aperture Priority, Manual via a touch-enabled LCD that operates much like a smart phone. Additional quick access touch-enabled settings include three Customizable Modes that get you to your favorite camera setup quickly, multiple Scene Modes and the new LUMIX Creative Control Mode. The DMC-GF3 provides a dedicated video button that can be used to switch to video capture quickly without changing modes.

3D Capture :

LUMIX G Series Compact System Cameras utilize the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) System lens mount. When connected to the DMC-GF3, ultra fast focusing and auto subject track AF can be achieved.

Video Capture :

The LUMIX DMC-GF3 also shoots 1080/60i High Definition video using the AVCHD format (sensor output 30 fps). New near silent focusing features offered in several LUMIX Micro Four Thirds lenses help keep lens noise at bay, while the touch-enabled LCD allows you to automatically keep active subjects in focus with touch-enabled subject AF Tracking.

Faster :

The DMC-GF3 now offers the new LUMIX Light Speed Auto Focus technology developed for the highly regarded GH2.

Manual control over focus is available in the DMC-GF3 and now features a quick 4x magnification feature. This handy feature is available from both the MF Assist (Manual Focus) and AF + MF focus modes.

The DMC-GF3 now offers a large LCD touch-focus area, enabling touch-focus control from any part of the image as seen on the LCD. Once set, the DMC-GF3 will use this fine-tuned focus point to produce a sharp, detailed image.

Intelligent Auto :

The DMC-GF3’s image quality comes from a large DSLR-sized 12.1-megapixel sensor and newly advanced image processing technologies.

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