While previous incarnations of MILCs have leaned more towards their DSLR cousins, Panasonic's latest, the GF3, loses some features, trims a few millimeters and ounces, in order to be more attractive to the point-and-shoot crowd.
Adorama is now accepting pre-orders for the Panasonic GF3. Orders will not be charged until the camera is shipped.
Panasonic has just announced its latest mirrorless interchangeable-lens compact camera, the Lumix GF3, which weighs in at under 8 ounces—16 percent lighter than its predecessor, and nearly 17% smaller. The 12.1MP Live MOS sensor and Venus FHD remain the same while a 3-inch, touch-sensitive LCD monitor and full 1080/60i HD Video capture are new. Panasonic claims a less than 0.1 second AF rate for its Contrast AF system, resulting in very little lag time, thanks to sensor drive speed which was boosted from 60 to 120 fps.
Other than the significant downsizing, little else has been added. The GF3 uses the same effective optical image stabilization system as its predecessor, has the iA button, which selects the best shooting mode depending on the scene, as well as the ability for the photographer to select manual focus and exposure control. And the camera accepts the entire array of Micro Four Thirds lenses.
Several key GF2 features, however, were dropped from the GF3. There is a mono microphone instead of a built-in stereo mic, slowest ISO is now 160 instead of 100, the rear click dial has been removed, and the hot shoe has been replaced by a built-in flash so the optional EVF or external flash are not an option on this model.
Panasonic appears to be gambling that more while MILCs are drawing attention (and some sales) from DSLRs, there hasn't really been any effort to design one for users of point-and-shoot cameras. The GF3 may be the first one to do this.
New Leica Lens for Micro Four Thirds, via Panasonic
Along with the GF3, Panasonic introduced a new standard prime lens, a Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH, which covers the equivalent of a 50mm lens on a 35mm-format camera. Panasonic says the lens is comprised of nine elements in seven groups and uses two aspherical lenses plus one UHR (ultra-high refractive) element. Super Nano Surface Coating is claimed to minimize reflection at the entire visual light range, resulting in clearer photos with less ghosting and flare, according to Panasonic.
The GF3 will be available in July in black, white, red and brown bodies for $699.99 with the 14mm prime kit lens (28mm equivalent) starting in July, and $599 with the 14-42mm kit lens starting in August. Go here to learn more about the camera.