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...
Value & Verdict
Panasonic Lumix G3 review – Value
The G3 with 14-42mm kit lens will retail for £629.99 – close to the G2’s original launch price. None too shabby considering all the technology on offer, and far less than the GH2’s £800 asking price (with the same 14-42mm lens). For a body only purchase, the G3 can be picked up for £549.99.
However, considering the wider Compact System Camera market and the likes of the Samsung NX11 can be picked up (if it can be found anywhere) for between £460-550, undercutting by a notable margin. There are also other more compact-style offerings including the Sony NEX-5 and Olympus E-PL2 that, although a slightly different breed without built-in viewfinders, may also hold some weight against the likes of the G2. None of these competitors can claim to be as technologically advanced or feature-packed however, so that’s surely the G3’s trump card.
Panasonic Lumix G3 review – Verdict
The Lumix G3 has a whole lot to like: it’s small (but not too miniature), neatly designed, has superb autofocus speed, a vari-angle LCD and decent built-in electronic viewfinder.
Even image quality has been slightly improved over the Lumix G2 model despite the increase in resolution. However, image quality’s not up there with the likes of the exceptional Lumix GH2 and, although the G3 has a 1080i movie mode, this too isn’t as high-spec as it could be; it’s more of a point-and-shoot mode. That said, the autofocus during capture eases into place, providing smooth transitions for excellent final clips.
The G3’s small design will appeal to many, but this has been at the expense of some of the older G-series’ external dials and switches no longer featuring on the exterior. However, the G3’s biggest issue its new battery’s lower power: smaller may be better sometimes, but not at the expense of longevity per charge. Also, considering we’re in the age of the Smartphone and surrounded by tablet fever, the G3’s touchscreen won’t feel quite as responsive as what you may be used to and come to expect. But get to grips with it and there are plenty of features boosted by its inclusion.
All in all the advances in autofocus make the G3 one super-fast, sleek-looking camera. It’s hard not to recommend and we can certainly see this being one more step towards Micro Four Thirds dominance.