Panasonic Lumix G3 Review

Pros

  • Super fast AF
  • High ISO performance
  • Image quality

Cons

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

Key Specifications

  • 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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