Internally, the G3 employs an all-new 16MP LiveMOS Micro
Four Thirds sensor alongside the Venus Engine FHD (Full High Definition) image
processor. Metering is taken care of via a 144-zone multi-pattern module while autofocus
is covered via a 23-area AF system. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 160-6400, while
shutter speeds go from 1/4000sec to two minutes.
Continuous shooting speed has been upped to a very credible
4fps at full resolution or 20fps at 4MP. Full-resolution images are recorded in
the same 4:3 aspect ratio of the Micro Four Thirds sensor at 16MP, although if
you want to save memory card space, or if the images are only going to be used
small or for the internet, there are also Medium (8MP) and Small (4MP)
resolution options available.
In addition, the G3 can also crop directly from the sensor to record in 3:2 (at a choice of 14MP, 7MP & 3.5MP resolution), 16:9 (11.5MP, 6MP & 2MP) and 1:1 (11.5MP, 6MP & 3MP) aspect ratios. Images can be stored as lossless Raw (.RW2 format) or compressed JPEG files, with a further option to record each image as both a Raw and a JPEG. There are two compression settings for JPEG files – Fine and Standard.
In addition to the regular creative quartet of Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and fully Manual (PASM) shooting controls, the G3 also offers 16 individual scene modes, two user-defined custom settings, and an all-new Creative Control shooting mode.
Clicking on Creative Control accesses five shooting options: Expressive, Retro, High Key, Sepia and High Dynamic. These are all essentially digital filter effects that give images a unique albeit preset look. Choosing one of these Creative Controls puts the G3 into fully automatic mode, although you are able to control exposure compensation and alter the depth of field.
More advanced users may prefer to tinker with the G3’s six individual
Photo Styles. These used to be called Film Styles on previous Lumix
models and act in much the same way that Nikon’s Picture Controls or
Canon’s Picture Styles do, by allowing you to determine the levels of
saturation, contrast and sharpness applied to JPEGs.
Photo Style presets include: Standard, Natural, Vivid, Monochrome,
Scenery and Portrait. Accessed via the main Menu or Quick Menu, the
Photo Styles can be applied to both still images and movies. Photo
Styles can also be applied to any shooting mode, including fully manual.