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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £630
inc VAT

A highly capable, lightweight alternative to an SLR, but image quality isn't flawless and we miss its predecessor’s more hands-on controls


17.3x13mm 15.8-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (28-84mm equivalent), 544g

The G3 is the third generation of a camera that created a new subsection of the digital camera market. These models have large sensors and interchangeable lenses to give the image quality and flexibility of an SLR, but they omit optical viewfinders to keep their size and weight down.

The G3 is a big departure from the outgoing G2. It’s even smaller and lighter, although the zoom lens and hump for the electronic viewfinder mean that it still has SLR-like proportions. Unlike the Panasonic GF2 or its recently announced successor, the Panasonic Lumix GF3, it won’t squeeze into a pocket. We can’t say we’re impressed by the remodelled handgrip. The G2’s chunkier design felt more secure in the hand, and posed no practical problem as it was still much shorter than the kit lens. The battery is smaller, too; just 270 shots from a charge is disappointing.

We’re happy to see the same electronic viewfinder as on previous models. Its 1.4-megapixel resolution and expansive size mean it’s just as detailed as consumer SLRs’ optical viewfinders. However, there’s no longer a sensor to detect when the camera is raised to the eye, which on the G2 automatically switched between the 3in articulated LCD and the viewfinder. Having to switch manually took some getting used to, particularly when using the viewfinder to frame shots and wanting to jump quickly to the controls or touchscreen to adjust settings.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 top

On the subject of controls, there are significantly fewer this time around. The dials and switches for selecting the drive mode, focus area and auto/manual focus have disappeared. So too have the AF/AE lock and depth-of-field preview buttons, although the Disp and Q.Menu buttons can be reassigned to these functions. After doing so, the Disp and Q.Menu buttons are still available on the touchscreen.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 15.8 megapixels
CCD size 17.3x13mm
Viewfinder electronic (1,440,000 pixels)
Viewfinder magnification, coverage 1.4x, 100%
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 460,000 pixels
Articulated screen Yes
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-84mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 4,592×3,448
Maximum movie resolution 1920×1080
Movie frame rate at max quality 25fps
File formats JPEG, RAW; AVCHD, QuickTime (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied none
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 270 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI, wired remote
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material plastic
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier 2.0x
Kit lens model name Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S (H-FS014042E)
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 544g
Size 86x118x119mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £630

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 60 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range f/3.5-22 (wide), f/5.6-22 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 160 to 6400
Exposure compensation +/-5 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets with fine tuning, manual, custom
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, Intelligent Resolution, Intelligent Dynamic, colour space
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 30cm
Auto-focus modes multi, flexible spot, pinpoint, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket

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Reviews | DSLRs