Panasonic Lumix G3

Score

Pros

  • Super fast AF
  • High ISO performance
  • Image quality

Cons

  • Long-winded menus
  • Poor battery performance
  • No external microphone socket

Key Features

  • Review Price: £629.99
  • 16MP LiveMOS Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • 1080p Full HD movie recording
  • Super-fast AF performance
  • Excellent high ISO performance
  • Fantastic image quality

The Lumix G3 is the latest model in Panasonic’s compact, DSLR-like Micro Four Thirds range. It’s considerably smaller and lighter than its predecessor the G2

and sports an all-new 16MP sensor, the same super-fast autofocus system as used

by the GH2, a 3-inch articulated monitor that offers responsive touch-screen

control over the camera, and Full HD movie recording capabilities.

The G3 sits above the G2 in the G-series range but doesn’t

actually replace it. Instead the G2 remains in the range, replacing the now discontinued

G10 as the budget Micro Four Thirds option. Alongside the G2, the G3 is further

book-ended by the high-end GH2

and slimline GF2.

With an official launch price of £630, pre-orders from

reputable online retailers are already popping up offering the G3 body with a

14-42mm kit lens for around £600. And as is often the case we expect some

further discounting may occur after the G3 has been out for a month or two.

From being a relatively new and therefore niche market that

was created and dominated by Panasonic and Olympus with their joint Micro Four

Thirds platform, the compact system camera market has since evolved into a much more

mass market affair, with new manufacturers keen to join the party and launch

their own models. It’s therefore a much tougher market to dominate than it was

18 months ago. Panasonic clearly understands this and hopes the G3 will keep

the company at the top of the micro system pile.

Panasonic Lumix G3 5

To do so it’ll have to compete directly against rival micro

system models such as the new 14.6MP Samsung NX11 that uses a larger APS-C sized

sensor and can be picked up for around £500, and the 14.2MP Sony NEX-5 that also

uses an APS-C sensor and can be bought for about £550.

It’s also possible to source a very well specified entry-level

DSLR for around £600, although you will of course incur a size and weight

penalty over the purposely compact and easy-to-carry micro system genre – such is the penalty of a proper optical viewfinder and the optics that go with it.

Does the G3 have what it takes to take its competitors on

and win? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

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