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Panasonic Lumix GF3 review

Audley Jarvis




Our Score:


User Score:


  • Super-fast AF performance
  • Touch AF and Touch Shutter control
  • Intuitive touch-screen controls


  • Hot-shoe connection has been removed
  • Pop-up flash a bit delicate
  • It's not cheap

Key Features

  • 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • 3in, 460k-dot touch-screen LCD
  • Super-fast AF system
  • 1080i Full HD movie recording
  • Full manual control
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £419.00

Barely two years have elapsed since Panasonic and Olympus kick-started the compact system camera (CSC) genre with the introduction of their jointly-developed Micro Four Thirds standard. The response from consumers has been extremely positive and in the past twelve months the CSC market has seen the fastest rate growth of any sector within the digital camera market.

This has been helped no end by the entrance of other manufacturers into the market, bringing with them an increasing number of models and styles to choose from. Having gained a useful head-start on its rivals, Panasonic has established itself as the market leader, although the company is under no illusions that this position will be harder to maintain as the competition continues to get tougher.

Enter then the GF3 – Panasonic’s latest consumer-orientated compact system model, and the camera Panasonic hopes will help to keep it in the Number One spot. Pitched very much at the lifestyle end of the market, Panasonic is marketing it as the most user-friendly, style-driven option within their G-series range. As such it’s designed to appeal directly to anyone looking for a camera that offers compact-like portability and ease-of-use, but is capable of delivering DSLR-like image quality.Panasonic Lumix GF3

While the GF3 targets the consumer and lifestyle end of the market, the G3 is aimed more at enthusiasts and those photographers looking for the added practicality of an electronic viewfinder, articulated LCD monitor and hot-shoe connection. The older G2, meanwhile, will now fill the budget slot, while the GH2 remains as the flagship G-series video-oriented model.

The new GF3 inherits the same lightening-fast AF system that was introduced in the G3, along with a 3in, 460k-dot touch-screen monitor. In addition, it also benefits from Touch AF and Touch Shutter technology, Full HD movie recording, and a range of digital filter Creative Controls.

Panasonic Lumix GF3

As if this wasn’t enough, Panasonic has proudly declared the GF3 to be both 17% smaller and 15% lighter than its predecessor – the already quite small GF2. Indeed, Panasonic even claims that the GF3 is the “world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera body with a built-in flash”.

Of course, Sony has also claimed a “world’s smallest” crown for its recently launched NEX-C3 (which uses a larger, APS-C sized sensor), prompting the question – which of the two is smaller? Well, on paper at least the GF3 appears to be marginally smaller in terms of width and depth, but is also marginally taller than the Sony.

The soon-to-be-released Olympus E-PM1, meanwhile, is comparable in size to both the GF3 and the NEX-C3, although it does lack a built-in flash. Either way, all three models would happily sit inside a coat pocket with the right lens attached, and all three are quite some way smaller than even the smallest of DSLRs.

So does the GF3 have what it takes to keep Panasonic top of the compact system pile? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

A Scotland

June 13, 2011, 4:06 pm

No rating?


June 13, 2011, 5:05 pm

@A Scotland. We don't give out ratings for hands-on previews such as this. Hopefully we'll have a full production sample in for review soon, and we'll score that in full.


June 13, 2011, 5:39 pm

Cute little camera and impressive that the kit lens is 14mm at the wide end (as opposed to Canon and Nikon's kit lenses which start at 18mm).


June 13, 2011, 7:43 pm

This is a micro-four third camera. So 14mm means 28mm in FX standards. The crop factor for Four third/Micro Four third is 2x, where as APSC (Am I correct?) format has 1.5x. Hence 18mm means 27 or 28mm. as found in Canon/Nikon/Sony etc.

Mike B

April 15, 2012, 9:30 pm

Now you can pick one up for £200 it is a real bargain.

If you want the best compact experience then get the GF3X version as this comes with the X Vario PZ 14-42mm lens which is as small as the 20mm pancake! Again available for about £325, down from £550!

Images not quite as good as the GX1 but not far off.

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