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The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 is the newest addition to the company’s Compact Systems Cameras (CSC) series and its smallest, lightest and mirrorless digital camera with an interchangeable lens and viewfinder. The compact size makes it easy to carry. The sensor has been upgraded from 12 to 16.0 megapixels, helping digital photographers take high quality still images and full High-Definition (HD) video (1920 x 1080), with stereo sound in AVCHD. Panasonic appears to be trying to expand the market for the LUMIX DMC-G3, adding some features that will appeal to more serious photographers and eliminating others to make it easier for hobbyists to use.
Features for the traditionalist
An external mode dial for quick access to program, shutter, aperture priority and other standard modes.
Additional dial settings include two custom modes, scene modes and a creative control mode.
A dedicated video button that can be used to switch to video capture quickly without changing modes.
A built-in flash and hotshoe to connect optional LUMIX flashes.
An eye-level electronic viewfinder that projects a high-resolution 1.44m-dot image with 100% field of view (800x600, 0.7x magnification).
Easy-to-use features for the hobbyist
Touch-control shooting: Photographers can focus on the subject by simply touching it on the large, 3-inch high-resolution LCD touch screen.
Auto-Focus (AF) tracks moving subjects once they’re locked.
The new Pinpoint AF allows extremely precise near–pixel-level focus point setting at the touch of a finger.
The new precision contrast LightSpeed AF system is extremely fast. That speed is attainable because the detection time to focus has been reduced. Doubling of the Live MOS Sensor drives speed from 60 fps to 120 fps.
Significant improvement of manual focus control compared to the LUMIX DMC-G2. The subject is enlarged in a small window after touching the subject on the LCD and the magnification is first enabled at 4x. The photographer is able to see the rest of the image to adjust framing. When the magnification is greater than 4x, the small window fills the monitor, so photographers can fine-tune the focus further. This feature is accessible through the MF Assist (Manual Focus) and AF + MF focus modes.
All digital photographers will like the very bright Intelligent LCD (1,440,000-dot equivalent resolution). Able to rotate 180° to the side and tilt 270° vertically, the LCD provides approximately a 100% field of view. This expands every photographer’s creative opportunities, allowing him or her to shoot digital photos from more angles. Easy image playback is also important to many photographers; and the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 delivers. Scroll through the thumbnail images quickly to review hundreds of pictures on the screen. Another playback option is to view photos with a dragging motion, similar to turning the pages of a book.
The LUMIX DMC-G3 is not a perfect digital camera. The viewfinder does not have an eye sensor, which is included on the older G2 model. Users will have to switch manually between the viewfinder and the rear display screen. Another G2 feature that has been eliminated from the G3 is the focus point dial and focus mode lever. Although the G3 has stereo microphones, it does not allow for the connection of external microphones.
With an aluminum body and the 14–42mm Zoom Lens Kit, the suggested retail price of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 is $699.99.