The Lumix GF3 is the world's smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera. What Digital Camera's Panasonic Lumix GF3 review checks if the downsizing makes for the best GF-series model yet...
Panasonic Lumix GF3 review – Movie/Video Mode
Panasonic GF3 review – Movie/Video Quality
Movie mode is quickly accessed using the one-touch button on top of the camera. The standard 4:3 ratio of stills will mean the frame re-crops to 16:9, though if your still shots are set up to the widescreen ratio then framing works exactly to the screen’s composition (there’s no cropping when hitting the record button).
The 1080i files utilise a 17Mbps data rate which crams in considerable data and results in decent capture. The interlaced ‘fields per second’ (i.e. half lines on one pass, the other half on the second pass) can create some tearing and blur when panning at speed, but is otherwise of a decent quality.
The AVCHD capture requires decoding to utilise clips outside of the camera, but this is easily possible using free programs such as iMovie or Windows Movie maker (pre-installed on current Mac and Windows systems).
Panasonic GF3 review – Movie/Video Focusing Modes
It’s possible to use single or continuous focus in conjunction with the touchscreen controls or manual focus by using the lens itself while shooting movies. Tapping onto the screen will position the focus point (whether by adding ‘weight’ to multiple areas, moving a single point to a specific location or beginning subject tracking at that location) and the focus is very smooth indeed. There are few cases of mis-focusing, which is great for high-quality playback.
It’s the touchscreen that really makes the GF3’s movie mode, and there’s very little else out there that can offer such smooth continuous autofocus.
Panasonic GF3 review – Movie/Video Manual Control
The GF3 doesn’t offer full manual control, though exposure compensation is available – however the latter can only be applied prior to capture and not adjusted during recording.
The movie menu also offers the Photo Style settings for Natural, Monochrome, Vivid and other presets.
Panasonic GF3 review – Movie/Video Sound
The GF3 records mono sound using its built in microphone, and there are no ports to connect a third party microphone. This isn’t a problem for the most part though windy conditions can cause some distortion.