Hands-on Preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3


Cactus jACK

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[June·2011] Last month, Panasonic released the first in the line of Panasonic's 3rd generation of mirrorless compact system cameras - the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3. Then, touted as the "smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens system camera".

Today, enter the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3, their new ultra compact Lumix G Stylist Flat Design Micro System - "the world’s latest smallest and lightest system camera".


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 - front view

Similar to the refreshed G3, the refreshed GF3 too possesses more curves compared to the more boxy GF2. Aside from inheriting the new curves, the GF3 also incorporates many of the new G3 features, such as iA plus shooting mode, faster AF, full-HD video recording, and new Photo Styles & Creative Controls.

As with the GF2, the GF3 also has the 3" touch screen LCD and the 12megapixel sensor. And as the GF3 trimmed down slightly in terms of size and weight, it also lost the flash hot-shoe - this nulls the options to mount external flash and optical viewfinders. Further, the thumb dial has also been lost in preference for a rotary dial around the 5-direction buttons.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 - top view

[Highlights]
- 12.1MP Live MOS sensor
- Advanced AF system combining Light Speed AF with touch AF controls
- 460k dot 3" LCD with touch-screen
- 1080i60 AVCHD
- New "Photo Style" and "Creative Control" options

and oh, in case you didn't see it, it does still have a built-in flash... ;)
 

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Cactus jACK

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 - built-in flash

[Camera]
Recording media - SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card
Image sensor size - 17.3 x 13.0 mm (in 4:3 aspect ratio)
Sensor Type - Live MOS Sensor
Total pixels (Effective) - 13.06megapixels (12.1megapixels)
Dust reduction system - Supersonic wave filter

[Still Images]
Recording file format - Still Image: JPEG (DCF, Exif 2.3), MPO*
* when attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds standard
Image Quality - RAW, RAW+Fine, RAW+Standard, Fine, Standard, MPO+Fine, MPO+Standard
Color space - sRGB, Adobe RGB

[Aspect ratio (Setting) [File size]
[4:3] 4000 x 3000 (L) / 2816 x 2112 (M) / 2048 x 1536 (S) / 1600 x 1200 (MPO)
[3:2] 4000 x 2672 (L) / 2816 x 1880 (M) / 2048 x 1360 (S) / 1600 x 1064 (MPO)
[16:9] 4000 x 2248 (L) / 2816 x 1584 (M) / 1920 x 1080 (S) / 1600 x 904 (MPO)
[1:1] 2992 x 2992 (L) / 2112 x 2112 (M) / 1504 x 1504 (S) / 1440 x 1440 (MPO)

[Motion Image]
Quicktime - [4:3] QVGA: 320 x 240, 30fps / VGA: 640 x 480, 30fps [16:9] HD: 1280 x 720, 30fps
AVCHD-NTSC - [Full HD] 1920 x 1080, 60i (sensor output is 30p) (FSH:17Mbps) [HD] 1280 x 720, 60p (sensor output is 30p) (SH:17Mbps)
AVCHD-PAL - [Full HD] 1920 x 1080, 50i (sensor output is 25p) (FSH:17Mbps) [HD] 1280 x 720, 50p (sensor output is 25p) (SH:17Mbps)

[LCD]
Type - 460K dots TFT LCD with Touch panel
Monitor size - 3.0 inch / 3:2 Aspect / Wide viewing angle
Field of view - Approx. 100 %
Live view digital zoom - 2x, 4x

[Flash]
Type - TTL Built-in-Flash (Pop-up), GN6.3 equivalent (ISO 160)
Flash mode - Auto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On / Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync. / Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Synchronization speed - Less than 1/160 second
Flash synchronization - 1st. Curtain Sync.

[Shutter]
Type - Focal-plane shutter
Shutter speed - Still Images: 1/4000 ~ 60
Motion Image: 1/16000 ~ 1/30 (NTSC), 1/16000 ~ 1/25 (PAL)
Self timer - 10sec, 3 images / 2sec / 10sec

[Burst Mode]
Burst speed - H: 3.8 frames/sec, M: 2.8 frames/sec, L: 2 frames/sec
Number of recordable images - 7 images (RAW), Unlimited (no RAW)
 

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Cactus jACK

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GF3 with ZF Marko-Planar 100/2 using a Voigtländer F-M43 adaptor

[Focus]
Type - Contrast AF system
Focus mode - AFS / AFC / MF
AF mode - Face detection / AF Tracking / 23-area-focusing / 1-area-focusing / Pinpoint Touch (1-area-focusing in Face detection / AF Tracking / Multi-area-focusing / 1-area-focusing ) / Pinpoint
AF detective range - EV 0 - 18 (ISO100 equivalent)
AF assist lamp - YES
AF lock - Set the Fn button in custom menu to AF/AE lock
Others - Quick AF, Continuous AF (during motion image recording), AF+MF, Touch shutter, Touch MF Assist

[Exposure Control]
Light metering system - 144-zone multi-pattern sensing system
Light metering mode - Intelligent Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot
Metering range - EV 0 - 18 (F2.0 lens, ISO100 equivalent)
Exposure mode - Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual
ISO sensitivity - Auto / Intelligent ISO / 160 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400
Exposure compensation - 1/3 EV Step +/- 3 EV
AE lock - Set the Fn button in custom menu to AF/AE lock
AE bracket - 3,5 frame, in 1/3 or 2/3, +/- 4/3 EV

[White Balance]
White balance - Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / Flash / White Set 1, 2 / Color temperature setting (Touch operation is possible)
White balance adjustment - Blue / amber bias, Magenta / green bias
Color temperature setting - 2500 - 10000 K in 100 K
White balance bracket - 3 exposures in blue / amber axis or in magenta / green axis

[Scene Mode]
Still Image - Portrait / Soft Skin / Scenery / Architecture / Sports / Peripheral Defocus / Flower / Food / Objects / Night Portrait / Night Scenery / Illuminations / Baby 1, 2 / Pet / Party / Sunset
Video - Portrait / Soft Skin / Scenery / Architecture / Sports / Flower / Food / Objects / Low-light / Party / Sunset

[Creative Control & Photo Style]
Creative control - Expressive / Retro / High Key / Sepia / High Dynamic / Miniature
Photo Style - Standard / Vivid / Natural / Monochrome / Scenery / Portrait

[Interface]
USB - USB 2.0 High Speed
HDMI - miniHDMI TypeC / VIERA Link
Video: Auto / 1080i / 720p / 480p (576p in PAL system)
Audio: DLinear PCM
Audio video outpu - Monaural Type, NTSC / PAL
Microphone - Monaural, Wind-cut: Off / Low / Standard / High
Microphone level adjust - Lv1 / Lv2 / Lv3 / Lv4
Speaker - Monaural

[Battery Life]
Battery - Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2 V, 940 mAh)
Battery life - Approx. 320 images with 14-42 mm lens, approx. 340 images with 14mm lens

[Diamension and Weight]
Dimensions (W x H x D) - 107.7 x 67.1 x 32.5 mm / 4.24 x 2.64 x 1.28 in (excluding protrusions)
Weight - Approx. 319 g / 11.25 oz (SD card, Battery, H-H014 lens), approx. 222 g / 7.83 oz (Body only)

[Standard Accessories]
Software - PHOTOfunSTUDIO 6.2 HD Edition SILKYPIX® Developer Studio 3.1 SE, Super LoiLoScope (trial version), USB Driver
Standard accessories - Battery Charger, Body Cap, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, Shoulder Strap, Stylus Pen, CD-ROM

DMC-G3 Specifications from [URL="http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/popup/pressrelease/gf3.html[/URL]
 

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Cactus jACK

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The announcement of the GF3 also coincided with the announcement of the much anticipated Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Lens Construction - 9 elements in 7 groups (2 aspherical lenses, 1 UHR* lens)
Nano Surface Coating - Yes
Aperture Type - 7 blades / Circular aperture diaphragm
Aperture f/1.4 - f/16
Diagonal Angle of View - 47° (50mm in 35mm format equivalent)
Closest Focusing Distance - 0.3m
Filter Size φ46mm
Diameter / Length - 63mm / 54.5mm
Weight - Approx. 200g
* Ultra High Refractive

While I did not manage to get a sneak peak of new Leica DG Summilux ASPH, these were the closest things I had to it - but naturally, the DG version autofocuses on the MTF bodies.


GF3 with Leica Summilux-M 50mm ASPH using a Voigtländer M-M43 adaptor
 

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Cactus jACK

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 - LCD mode selector

[Mode Selector] The menus on the 3" touch screen is intuitive, similar to that of the entire G system. While there is no physical mode selector dial on the GF, it is available 2-clicks away in the camera menu. While this may be viewed as a bit of an inconvenience, it is a trade-off with the ultra compact size of the GF3. In reality, you would likely stick to a single mode 90% of the time, and toying with the other 10%. For the usual compact user, the intelligent Auto (iA) mode can do all the thinking work evaluating and choosing the correct scene with the intelligent Scene Selector - Portrait, Macro, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Sunset or intelligent Handheld Nightshot.

In effect, you can use 2 modes very simply without having to scroll through the menu - 1 being the iA mode and the another mode of your choice. The iA mode can be activated from your current mode by pressing the red "iA" just to the left of the trigger. Press and hold for a couple of sec to revert to your previously chosen mode.

[iA+] - The iA mode "activates detection and correction functions, so you get beautiful, clear shots" (Trust iA) - Mega O.I.S, AF Tracking, Face Detection, Face Recognition, Intellegent Exposure, and Intellegent Scene selector. iA+ is the iA with colour and brightness adjustments.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 - Q.Menu

[Q.Menu] - The Q.Menu can manipulated by the scroll dial, the 5-directional button, or by sliding your finger across the 3" touch screen LCD.
 

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Cactus jACK

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[LCD] The 460k dot 3" LCD with touch-screen is easy to use. The view of the LCD is approx 100%, so what you see is pretty much what you get. Selection of focus point and touch capture can be used to to facilitate quick snaps. The LCD is also wonderful to view your photos, magnify, pan, and browsing can all be done on the touch screen.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 - LCD live view


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 - Sample shot


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 - LCD preview
 

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Cactus jACK

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[Summary] Panasonic's announcement of the GF3, on the foot of the G3, is indeed exciting news for Pana fans. The GF3 inheriting some of the distinctive curves from the G3. The GF3 also boasts high image quality with the enhanced Venus Engine FHD and the 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor. Coupled with a pancake lens, the GF3 can easliy slip into pants or jacket pockets without any protrusions to hinder.

However, the reduced size does come with some compromise - specifically, the lost of the hot-shoe is unfortunate, but the GF3 appears to be targeted at the compact user who is thinking of taking a "skip" into a more advance system. It certainly handles like a compact, but with many of the key G features. The GF3 can feel a little small in large hands, but can fit nicely in smaller hands. The GF3 can still be used with the full right hand grip with the finger grips in the front comes of the body.

While I was not able to do more complete test on the WB and ISO performance, based on the samples I took over the weekend I had it - it performed very capably up to iso800. I didn't use anything above that, even though the iso can go up another 3-stops to iso6400.

Similar to the G3 and GH2, the 3" touch-screen LCD and the iA mode make the GF3 very easy to use in most situations. The 3 lines complement each other very well, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3's stylish and sexy curves indeed fits the "Stylist Flat Design" moniker.

[Samples]


A, 14mm, 1/25sec, f/2.5, iso800


A, 14mm, 1/60sec, f/2.5, iso640


A, 100mm, 1/125sec, f/1.4, iso160 - Leica Summilux-M 50mm ASPH


A, 14mm, 1/60sec, f/2.5, iso800


A - macro, 14mm, 1/60sec, f/2.5, iso800
 

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rhino123

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#11
Sorry to have this as the first reply..

..Are the designers serious about this design for GF3?!
What is wrong with the design? I kind of like it... except that it didn't have a hotshoe, which I find very useful when I want to have an optional digital viewfinder because at times LCD is very difficult to see in bright sunlight.
 

loneWolff

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#12
Personally I would not use this camera but give it to a petite lady "friend" as it is probably all that they even needed.
Yes, it doesn't have zoom like a compact... can't zoom into that yangdao over at the other side of the road but how many times does one need to do that.
If need to, she can always pull out that 14-42mm she placed in a small side pocket in her oversized bag (guys think it is oversized but have we looked at our turtle bags recently).
Don't think you can do that with a DSLR unless she abandon that iPad inside her Prada bag.
No hotshoe, don't think it matters to them... Imagine attaching a FL360 (don't even mention the FL500) to the miniscule GF3 and wondering if the hotshoe will break off since the flash looks heavier.
Digital viewfinder... nice to have in bright sunlight condition but the OL will probably prefer a big big LCD screen so that they can see and touch focus just like an iPhone (raise your hand if you own an iPhone and love the camera functions with the apps).
Design-wise they are similar to Sony Nex C3 so pretty... maybe not, lousy design... don't think so.
Final note, the 14mm is slimmer than the 20mm but the latter is way faster that even my five year niece likes to use it to take pictures with.
 

Cactus jACK

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#13
..Are the designers serious about this design for GF3?!
What is wrong with the design? I kind of like it... except that it didn't have a hotshoe...
Personally I would not use this camera but give it to a petite lady "friend" as it is probably all that they even needed.
manufactures all spend lots of time, money and effort in trying to understand their customers and what their customers want or what might appeal to them. it is impossible to develop a camera that will suit everyone. even within the G-series, from their initial G1 in 2008, Pana has developed 3 pretty distinct lines to satisfy different customer types.

although i'm a "square peg" kind of guy, i sort of like the size and form of the camera. it doesn't have any protrusions, so it slips into tight areas very neatly. it slings on the around the wrist, neck or body very discretely. with your choice of camera mode (i usually use iA or aperture priority mode), it is really easy to take photos with. and the interchangeable lenses provide you with a wide scope of photography options.

personally, i can't wait to see how this couples with the Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH :devil:
 

obfuscate

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#14
Does this camera have any flash compensation?
 

Cactus jACK

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#15
Does this camera have any flash compensation?
unfortunately, i don't have the camera anymore to check, the press release appears silent on this, so i cannot say for sure. but what we do know (unfortunately) is that this feature was last seen on the GF1 and absent from the GF2...
 

Ouverture

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#16
My concern is that does the JPEG engine, esp for high ISO above 800 remains similar to GF2 (which is really bad) or nearer to the newer G3 (which seems good till ISO3200)?
 

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