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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £550
inc VAT

Extremely compact and luxurious, takes gorgeous photos and videos but currently looks overpriced next to the Sony NEX range


17.3x13mm 12.0-megapixel sensor, 1.0x zoom (28mm equivalent), 319g

£550 is a frightening amount to spend on what is primarily a point-and-shoot camera, but we expect the price to come down a little when it reaches shop shelves. As we go to press, it’s available on pre-order from Jessops with an 8GB SDHC card, shoulder bag and Gorillapod thrown in to sweeten the deal. Panasonic adds further incentives with a five-year warranty and a free copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 until 31 August 2011 (see here for details). That’s about £300 of freebies in total – and all of them genuinely useful. Meanwhile, switching the 14mm pancake lens for a 14-42mm zoom lens trims £50 off the price.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 14-42mm
The optional 14-42mm kit zoom spoils the point of the GF3’s compact size

We’d recommend sticking with the pancake lens, though. A key attraction of the GF3 is that it fits into a pocket or handbag, but switching to the zoom lens makes it much bulkier. The 14mm lens gives a fairly wide 28mm equivalent focal length, which is perfect for landscapes, general sightseeing and group shots, and while it’s not so good for individual portraits, there’s always the option to crop photos after capture. The 14mm lens also benefits from a wider f/2.5 maximum aperture, although the advantage is offset by the lack of stabilisation (the zoom lens has this built in). There’s always the option to buy another lens later, of course – and a twin-lens kit is available for £630 for those with the cash to splash.

While the freebies last, the GF3 is an extremely attractive prospect – Lightroom is a superb program that every keen photographer should own. However, after they expire, we’d be more tempted by the Sony NEX-5. The GF3 is quicker to use but the NEX-5 takes better photos in low light. Both excel for video. However, the NEX-5 currently costs just £411 from Amazon with its 16mm pancake lens. There’s also the NEX-C3 just around the corner, which is available for pre-order from Jessops for £530 with twin lenses. That might well be the one to go for – look out for our imminent review.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****
CCD effective megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 17.3x13mm
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 460,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 1.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28mm
Image stabilisation none
Maximum image resolution 4,000×3,000
Maximum movie resolution 1920×1080
Movie frame rate at max quality 25fps
File formats JPEG, RAW; AVCHD Lite, QuickTime (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied none
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 340 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material metal and plastic
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier 2.0x
Kit lens model name LUMIX G 14mm/F2.5 ASPH
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 319g
Size 67x107x58mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £550

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 60 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range f/2.5 to f/22
ISO range (at full resolution) 160 to 6400
Exposure compensation +/-3 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets with fine tuning, custom, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, Intelligent Resolution, Intelligent Dynamic, colour space
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 18cm
Auto-focus modes multi, flexible spot, pinpoint, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket