The Panasonic Lumix G3 breathes new life into the G-series system with a newly designed body that's 25% smaller and 10% lighter than the previous G2 release. Can this re-think revolutionise the Compact System Camera market for the better? The What Digital Camera Panasonic Lumix G3 review finds out...
Panasonic Lumix G3 review – Features
Here at What Digital Camera we’ve been lucky enough to be handed a boxed-up Panasonic Lumix G3 straight from the production line. Ahead of its summer-time release, we’ve got the full inside info on what to expect from the Panasonic G3’s release.
Almost a year on since Lumix G2 hit the shelves, the Panasonic Lumix G3 does far more than simply re-dress one or two elements. Indeed the Panasonic Lumix G3 is much more of an overhaul and introduces a whole new design: it’s 25% smaller and 10% lighter, plus benefits from the super-fast autofocus as found in the higher-spec GH2 model. The G3’s placement in the G-series lineup will see the end of the budget Lumix G10, leaving both the G2 and G3 models to run run side-by-side at initial launch.
At the core of the Panasonic Lumix G3 is a new 16MP Live MOS sensor, upping the resolution yet another step over the G2’s 12-megapixel offering. Although the G3 may have ‘the same’ resolution to that of the high-end GH2 the two sensors are quite different – the G3 doesn’t have the larger multi-aspect ratio capability of its bigger brother.
Many may question the choice to cram yet more pixels onto the sensor’s surface, particularly given the G2’s imaging limitations. However Panasonic has added a new noise elimination circuit at the sensor level for improved processing and the company’s experience in bringing top-spec image quality from the GH2 surely shows that there’s yet more to come from a Micro Four Thirds sensor.
The Panasonic Lumix G3 also features the same Venus Engine FHD (Full High Definition) as found in the GH2, capable of shooting from ISO 160-6400 at full resolution or capturing 1080i movies at 50 fields per second (60i for the US’ NTSC standard).
On the rear is a 3in, 460k-dot LCD screen, mounted on a vari-angle bracket for rotation through any angle and fitted with a touchscreen for hands-on touch sensitivity. The screen itself is the same as the G2’s, yet the holding panel has been made slimmer to fit in with the new design.
Above the screen and the G3 has a 1.44M-dot electronic viewfinder. This is large to the eye, bright and offers a 100% field of view. The viewfinder doesn’t have an eye sensor for automatic activation, however, instead requiring the LCD/EVF button to its left side to be pressed in order to toggle between screen and viewfinder.