Panasonics LUMIX DMC-G3 offers the benefits of a DSLR interchangeable lens system camera with a point-and-shoot camera's compactness, light weight and simplicity. This reduction in size and weight is thanks to advancements in mirror-free viewfinder technology, and large DSLR format sensors that are more compatible with a new class of compact Micro Four Thirds (MFT) System lenses. This new class of Compact System Cameras (CSC) offers a weight and compactness not seen in traditional DSLRs, for greater portability and creative control. The DMC-G3 image resolution has been upgraded to 16.0 Megapixels from it predecessorthe DMC-G2.
Mode Dial and Hotshoe
The DMC-G3 provides a traditional DSLR-like experience with an external Mode dial for quick access to common modes like Program, Shutter and Aperture Priority, Manual. Additional dial settings include two Custom Modes, Scene Modes and the new Creative Control Mode. The DMC-G3 provides a dedicated video button that can be used to switch to video capture quickly without changing modes. Likemost DSLRs, the DMC-G3 provides a built-in flash and hotshoe for connecting optional LUMIX flashes.
Available Scene Modes: Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Architecture, Sports, Peripheral Defocus, Flower, Food, Objects, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Illuminations, Baby, Pet, Party and Sunset, which can all be controlled from the intuitive touch-enabled LCD.
Lens Options and 3D Capture
LUMIX G Series Compact System Cameras utilize the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) System mount. MFT offers greater size and weight reduction in the lens without compromising lens performance and clarity. The LUMIX G MFT System offers a selection of 11 high performance fixed focal length and variable aperture G Vario zooms, including a highly versatile 3D lens capable of capturing both 2D and 3D images at the same time. There are lens adaptors available for mounting older Leica M and Leica R lenses, including older LUMIX full Four Thirds lenses. An innovative 14-140mm HD G Vario lens provides the best of video and still-image shooting with a long 10x range and near silent high-speed focusing. When connected to the DMC-G3, ultra fast focusing and auto subject track AF can be achieved.
Many Lumix MFT lenses come with MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) built-in. This feature helps prevent blurring from hand-shake. Working together with the cameras intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motions blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves, you're sure to capture images that are sharp.
Dust Reduction System
As with many interchangeable lens cameras, dust on the sensor reduces image clarity. To eliminate this potential, The DMC-G3 uses a Dust Reduction System that uses a supersonic wave filter in front of the Live MOS sensor. Vibrating vertically around 50,000 time per second, the filter repels dust and other particles effectively.
Touch-Enabled LCD Screen
At the heart of the DMC-G3's improved functionality is a movable 3.0-inch LCD (460k- dot) that allows for intuitive touch control of menus and most shooting, focusing, playback and effects controls. Menus can be customized using simple drag-and-drop actions like those on most touch-enabled cell phones. This allows for a custom user interface, giving Quick Menu access to functions that can be tailored to any user's expertise level. Even the shutter can be triggered from the touch-enabled LCD by simply touching the subject you want focused and captured. Using the touch-screen operation, a user can lock onto a subject, enabling AF Tracking in both still and video modes. When you're ready to shoot, the subject will be in focus and ready to capture.
For many, a traditional eyelevel viewfinder is still a must have. The DMC-G3 meets this demand with an eye-level electronic viewfinder that projects a high resolution 1.44m-dot image with 100% field of view (800x600, 0.7x magnification). Color breakup has been improved vs. the DMC-G2, resulting in smooth image viewing while panning.
HD Video Capture
The LUMIX DMC-G3 also shoots 1080/60i High Definition video using the AVCHD format (sensor output 30p). It offers a built-in stereo microphone and is available with Dolby Digital Stereo Creator. Advanced video sound controls include a wind-cut function that further enhances the sound as it helps reduce noise caused by background wind, and an L/R audio meter display for controlling audio levels. Captured video can be played back in High Definition via an optional HDMI mini cable directly to an HD-compatible TV, or easily played directly on Panasonic VIERA TV via the SD card. New near silent focusing features offered in several Lumix Micro Four Thirds lenses helps keep lens noise at bay while the touch-enabled LCD allows you to automatically keep active subjects in focus with touch-enabled subject AF Tracking.
Faster, Accurate Pinpoint Focusing
Contrast Detection Auto Focus technology used in point-and-shoot and new mirrorless Compact System Cameras now approaches the speedsthat were once only available from traditional professional-level DSLRs. The DMC-G3 now offers Light Speed Auto Focus (14-140mm ~0.1sec. 14-42mm ~0.18 sec., 45-200mm ~0.15 sec.). LUMIX Light Speed AF locks onto a subject quickly so you won't suffer from "shutter lag" frustration. Contrast Auto Focusing also offers greater shot accuracy due to fewer hardware components needed vs traditional DSLR phase difference systems, thus fewer pictures will suffer from system focusing errors. (e.g. the accuracy of Contrast AF is approx. 90% while Phase Difference AF is approx. 60% at F1.4).
Now discontinued, but still available with a bit of looking, the G3 is a fine picture taker with a decent if not stellar EVF and is available for dirt cheap. I bought this one as a second body. Small, low cost, low profile... What's not to like?
I cannot find anything I would change on this model!
This camera is my first foray into the mirrorless world. My DSLR is a Pentax K-5 that, while relatively small, can still be quite a handful. I wanted a smaller camera at a reasonable price with a reasonable selection of good lenses and a view finder. This led me first to the micro 4/3 cameras and then to the Panasonic G3 and GH2. Since I don't care about video, the G3 seemed the right camera at the right price. So far I haven't been disappointed.
The touch screen is intuitive--don't let this put you off. The size and weight advantages over a DSLR are huge and airlines are ready to rip you off if you have a large camera bag and a carry-on. The ability to shoot movies with the built-in viewfinder gives the G3 a major advantage over most DSLRs and the mirror system. The Panny lenses have a nice quality feel and seem better than consumer grade Nikon-Canon glass. After years of bulky and heavy Canon and Nikon digital SLRs, I am glad I made the switch--its the size and weight that was the deal maker. My only gripe is the poor battery life--buy a generic for under $20, they are just as good as the overpriced branded unit. I live in the UK and regularly buy from Adorama--5 Star store. I rated the G3 5 stars, not because it is near-perfect but because it is a great all-rounder and for the money just cannot be beaten. I am now a converted touch-screen fan.
This is my wife's camera and our second micro-four thirds camera. My other camera is a GH2. I decided to get this for my wife so I could leverage my investment in lenses. We mostly use the 20mm F/1.7 pancake lens on the G3. It's a great camera to take along on family day trips. Light-weight, portable, versatile little camera. I've used this camera with a four-thirds adapter and an Olympus 50mm f/2.0 macro. Great combination for portraits although manual focus works better for the Olympus four-thirds lens. I've used this camera with a PocketWizard to activate off camera flash. I prefer the look of the photos taken at 800 ISO and below but with a little help from Adobe Lightroom, higher ISOa are possible up to 1600. I could be mistaken but I actually think that using 1600 ISO on the G3 gives slightly better results than 1600 ISO on the GH2. I like having the built in viewfinder and the articulated screen. It's a great camera for a great price. Wish it had a little more direct control via dials and buttons to access some settings, but the Quick Menu works well and some of the buttons can be configured.