Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Review

5.0
May 12, 2011 | Mark Goldstein |

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#1 John

Wow… I still use the old Panasonic G1, wanted to upgrade but still holding on for now and this Panasonic G3 finally seems to be an ideal upgrade for me… Now it’s time to play the waiting game again hoping for the price drop…. ^_^

9:39 am - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#2 Alex

Nice review, but reading other sources seems that the remote control input can’t be used for external microphone… where is the truth :) ?

10:55 am - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#3 rado

I found this review good,but minimally critical and more like from the Panasonic press release…

11:02 am - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#4 Benjamin Han

is it just me or did they change the lens to an all black design with a silver ring? if so, are there any other changes (lens wise)?

11:04 am - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#5 reader

Sample Movie 404 - Not Found

11:11 am - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#6 reader

Sample Movie - Error 404 Not Found, correct, please.

11:15 am - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#7 Peter

Sample Movie - Error 404 - Not Found. Please correct.

11:18 am - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#8 Hans Benndorf

Better image quality than G2? Not from what I saw so far on
Your sample gallery or the one on ‘dpreview’. Some heavy noise
at ISO 800 there. I can’t see any reason to ‘upgrade’ from G2, but
maybe interesting for touch pad fanatics and newcomers to m4/3.
G3 loses a couple of features and buttons but gains little.

12:16 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#9 JB

Did you use the G3 with an external microphone? Both the British Journal of Photography and Digital Photography Review announcements say there is no option for external mic input.

12:49 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#10 Tobias Weisserth

Hans, the size of it makes it attractive. In competition to Olympus, the G3 is an E-PL2 killer. Almost the same size, EVF integrated, better video, although no image stabilization in body. The latter will keep me waiting for what Olympus will do about their PEN range this year. Otherwise I would probably get the G3. Really attractive package for that size.

1:51 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#11 Adam S

It’s hard to see any meaningful improvement ( VIDEO EXCEPTED )since the original G1 and it’s compact version the GF-1.
I suppose the noise handling is a little better and focusing is said to be faster but the OOC images don’t sell it to me.

I consider myself lucky to have acquired an original G1 and GF-1 before Panasonic started dumbing the system down for the P&S Brigade and adding cheaper kit lenses like the 14-42mm

2:20 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#12 Joe Dasbach

Does the G3 have a different battery from the G1, G2 series?

2:27 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#13 Mad Hungarian

Made in China and Essential 5star rating? Hahaha! Panasonic can keep it…

3:06 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#14 SigEpTendo

Im curious how this stacks up the GH2… Ive been hunting for a GH2 for a while now… they seem somewhat comparable… except it seems the GH2 has quite a few more features. Im by no means a camera prosumer, but I dont want to be lacking features later…

3:28 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#15 Wu

Well, the price is great, but it’ll be even better when it comes down (hopefully).  Size is nice, the movie mode is nice, the image quality is right about what you would expect at this point from Panny. Now - I’d be very interested to see what somebody can do when they crack the firmware and make it even better.

5:06 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#16 ed g.

Joy, another camera with lumpy DSLR styling that makes it unpocketable. 

And the severe compromises in the external controls were not “born out of the necessity of shrinking the body”, they were born out of a _decision_ to shrink the body.  And the shrunken body is still too lumpy to fit in a pocket.

No sale. 

Panasonic can sell me an X100-style body with a m4/3 mount, and they can charge me an X100 price for it, too.  But this G3, like the GF2, is _not_ inexpensive, merely cheap—and a cheap camera is a waste of money.

5:12 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#17 zebarnabe

I own a GH1, looking at this camera I kinda like the high ISO results (but not enough to make me think in buying one).

Hans Benndorf, at ISO 800/1600, G3 looks a lot cleaner and more detailed than G2 or GF1 (both in PB and dpreview) in shadow areas, where in lighter areas it has a fine, but more noticeable noise grain, I would say, the camera is applying a heavier sharpening filter on the JPEGs… I didn’t check RAW as it is not available in DPR…

Comparing it with GH2, I would say the results are pretty similar (but that noise in the lighter areas is indeed hurting the image quality on those people who like to view stuff at pixel level)

There is one question however… like GH2 - GH1 differences in real ISO values… are G3 - G2 ISO’s identical? or G2 ISO 800 requires G3 ISO 1250 for the same exposure setup?

I really appreciate the ‘improvements’ on G3 but… external mic, lack of AF/MF dial and other useful stuff, kinda degrade the useability of the camera.  Touchscreen is not a replacement for dials and buttons, I would love to have 3 dials one for ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed (where there would be some auto selection) like some old SLRs/Rangefinders had ;p

Well.. not everything is lost, but I would prefer less resolution and better high ISO performance…

5:27 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#18 ML

Yes, the GH2 seems like a great choice though this one also has a lot of features that I am after. Any thoughts?

7:25 pm - Thursday, May 12, 2011

#19 weeweeman

This is now on amazon for a great price pre-order

http://amzn.to/jNEw0E

12:27 am - Friday, May 13, 2011

#20 John

I’m a proud owner of Lumix G1, made in Japan, it was expensive back then.

I think the reason why this time around Panasonic decided to produce this model in their China factory instead, is simply because of the cost factor. Lower cost will enable them to provide this model to consumer with a more decent price acceptable in this time of slow economy.

And oh, probably also because there are less earthquake and tsunami probability in China than in Japan.

Decent price will enable them to grab more buyer especially those 1st time upgrader to DSLR.

If Panasonic continue to produced this in their Osaka, Japan factory, the retail price might be higher than the Canon 550D or 600D in which case it’s a no brainer for us to choose the Canon instead since they have more lens available at a decent price than those of Panasonic and Olympus could offer for the whole Micro 4/3 sector.

The next thing I hope for this Micro 4/3 sector is the lens price to drop further… at current price, makes me feel @_@  thus I only have the 14-45mm kit lens for now and that is the very same reason why I still keep my Canon 1000D for the sake of using the prime lens and telephoto zoom lens….

4:39 am - Friday, May 13, 2011

#21 Steve

Good review! However, as a G2 owner, I want to be certain that the overall image quality is enough of an improvement to justify the purchase. I do see less noise in the ISO 800 (and up) exposures, but I also need to confirm that the ergonomics are as nice (with the 20mmf/1.7 pancake) as with this lens on the G2. Also, need to confirm that the new sensor/engine handles “blown highlights” any better.

4:04 am - Saturday, May 14, 2011

#22 VictorF

It’s sad how the same changes gets judjed in different ways from a manufacturer/product to another… I’m referring to Sony’s 2009 line compared to 2008’s, the new DSLRs where essentially the same as the older with a clear reduction in size and weight and the loss of a standard sized grip. Now comparing the G3 to the G2 the trick is similar but I didn’t read such terrible comments as I did in the Sony’s A230-A330 reviews… just saying that similar changes/worsenings should be judged equally at least by the same website and for the same product category

10:51 am - Saturday, May 14, 2011

#23 zebarnabe

VictorF,
A230-A330 is not on the same category as G2 and G3… But I agree, the reduction in features degrades the value of the camera (perhaps a bit too much for me)

12:51 pm - Saturday, May 14, 2011

#24 David McCarthy

I had contemplated waiting for the G3 when I was ready to buy my first ‘modern’ camera (last one purchased 15 years ago). However, I bought a G2 in March. Reading the review, I am (in the round) pleased I didn’t wait for the G3 (especially as it will be more expensive). Sure it has some extras, but the handling changes have put me off. Perhaps the G4 will be more interesting!

5:42 pm - Saturday, May 14, 2011

#25 Sam

No eye sensor? Fine. Smaller grip? Good for Asians. BUT whoever suggested removing the dual-purpose connector for external mic/remote like the one in G2 should immediately get fired - G3 could have been a winner.

10:39 pm - Saturday, May 14, 2011

#26 Dad

Does the internal mic keep the AF motor noise low during movies?  If so then I don’t mind about the lack of external jack.

6:37 pm - Sunday, May 15, 2011

#27 zebarnabe

#26,

If you use 20mm f/1.7 lens… it will pick the motor noise…

9:19 pm - Sunday, May 15, 2011

#28 Greg

How exactly do we see the RAW pictures? Can Silkpix opens them?

8:00 am - Monday, May 16, 2011

#29 Bee Jay

I couldn’t agree more with ed q. & David McCarthy’s comments.

I recently bought an SLR instead of a G series CSC, so have been watching new models with interest. I bought the SLR over the CSC because of image quality & funtions. If the G2 had had the G3’s improved low light performance it would have been a real contender. If CSCs want to compete for SLR buyers they need to focus on having similar features, handling, ISO performance & functions. I really wish the G3 had been left with the G2’s dimentions, with a AF/MF button and had a better button layout. The obsession with compactness will put more serious buyers off. The G2 was already a lot lighter than any SLR so why has the G3 got to be smaller? Does it now fit in your pocket? No, it still has to go over your shoulder or in a bag. The race for the smallest possible body is aimed at the wider point & shoot compact user, not at SLR users.

The G3 is still a great camera, but, like many other cameras recently, has been impaired by leaning towards those who are more interested in soundbite features, rather than on being the best camera it could be. I also think companies should focus better on what field of the market their camera is actually aimed at & promote them accordingly.

10:21 am - Monday, May 16, 2011

#30 Mark Goldstein

The broken movie link has now been fixed - apologies for the delay.

11:23 am - Monday, May 16, 2011

#31 E.S.A.

What’s the point ? This camera uses a different, smaller battery than the others in the G series, and has a shorter shooting life. I contacted Panasonic, and no extra batteries can be ordered. By the way, if you pre-order from Panasonic the price is significantly   lower than Amazon or B&H photo.
  I’m passing on this one, They may call it part of the G series, but they built a mongrel.
  Pity, I really wanted ( and needed) this.

2:10 pm - Monday, May 16, 2011

#32 Steve

Greetings! To the poster who said that the G3 cannot be bought with extra batteries, I believe he was given erroneous advice! I think that folks should relax and wait until more image quality testing can be done on a production model. If the IQ is indeed that much improved over the G2, it may be worth the upgrade! Frankly, I’m no fan of the miniaturization or megapixel wars, but rather the best image quality possible for a given sensor size. Why people think that 16 megapixels is “better” or even “necessary” for the average consumers’ needs is beyond me.

2:27 pm - Monday, May 16, 2011

#33 E.S.A.

I’n not sure the battery information you suggested is correct. I spoke with a representative over the ‘phone this morning, I could not pre-order a battery when I pre-ordered the camera. By the way the price is $509.99 if I pre-ordered from the Panasonic site, I’m telling you this to prove I actually did speak with them, I’m not making this up.
  The issue to me is this camera doesn’t fit in with the others in the G series that I own. I can use the lenses, but batteries for sure wont fit, and I’m reserving judgment on the other accessories I own. The remote control for example.
  I passed on the camera when I spoke with them this morning,  It will require way to much work to integrate the old G series with this camera. Different batteries, different battery chargers, who knows what else.
  I don’t think this is a G series camera.

3:40 pm - Monday, May 16, 2011

#34 DAVID WATSON

I have a G2 and my only grouse is that on occasions the white balance changes itself from AWB to some other setting. This is no doubt because I accidentally touch the buttons during use. This means that I have to make a correction in Photoshop which is a bit of a pain! If I didnt shoot in Raw I would have a problem!
Anyone who has an answer to this will have my gratitude!

7:35 pm - Monday, May 16, 2011

#35 john brown

Why do you not orientate the sample pictures correctly?. It is so annoying to click on a portrait format thumbnail to end up with the picture lying on its side. Have mentioned this before, but no response/action. This lack of attention to detail somewhat undercuts the value of the review.

12:05 am - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#36 John

To those who disappointed about the design of this model and yet applause the features improvement and at the same time give useful feedback to Panasonic for their future model, I agree with you and share your sentiment. Like some of you, I am an early adopter of the previous older model.

To those who disappointed and disagree about everything on this camera and CSC/MILC or Micro Four Third system (from Panasonic/Olympus), don’t bother and waste your time, go get other brand or other segment (traditional DSLR maybe) and hopefully you can find your perfect camera, good luck and have fun with it. This segment have their own targeted audience/market and the producer generate good income with it, they happy and move on.

To those who disappointed and disagree about the review or the opinion of the reviewer of this website, don’t bother and waste your time, go find/read other review from other website that suits your reading/review preferences, simple as that.

Every reviewer and/or website can do the review and share their opinion and say what they like or dislike about the product reviewed but that is in accordance to their personal/professional opinion based on their experience or expertise. They can love or hate any particular model(s), they can give 1 star or 10, they can judge the way they want it to be coz they also just human like many of us, sometimes they make mistake, no big deal. So if we depend fully on website review, there are pros & cons - you have to live with it.

At the end of the day, we should visit those camera shop, try the camera, check our wallet and consider if we want it or not. No website or shop can dictate our purchase decision.

The final decision is from you..

Now when will Panasonic make some sort of digital range finders (using Leica lens maybe) - something like the exciting Fujifilm X-100 and within the same price bracket ^_^  that is an interesting topic…

6:46 am - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#37 Dana

I have a GH1 which I have come to like more and more as I use it. It is made in China and seems to me to be highest quality. It is cosmetically perfect!

As far as being a photographic tool, it’s very good, though not perfect. Sometimes the pics have to be brightened up a bit, but they are almost always tack sharp. And the thing is fast! I took wedding photos of people in motion and it captured just about everything! It is responsive!

The GH1 got a 4 1/2 rating, this G3 gets a 5. It’s a temptation, but I’m still happy with the GH1 and wouldn’t want to give it up.

One severe problem with the Pana u4/3 is the lenses. They’re just too expensive. So I’ll stick with the 14-42 kit lens and hope that the 14-140 comes to a more reasonable price.

Overall, I really like these cameras, and Pana’s in general. They do a great job!! If I didn’t have the GH1, I’d go for this G3!

5:26 pm - Thursday, May 19, 2011

#38 Low Budget Dave

This looks like a good camera for me.  I am not very fast with a manual focus, and touchscreen might help me.  I borrowed an XZ-1, and liked it, but I get the impression that the IQ on the G3 is going to be a step up from any of the 1/1.7 sensors. 

I appreciate the review, and would like to hear if anyone has a chance to try one of these out.

3:02 am - Sunday, May 22, 2011

#39 M-J Jones

@JB: Came to this page ‘cos I wanted clarification about external audio.

Didn’t find it in this review but on Which website:
“A built-in stereo microphone is also new to the G3, and there’s also a 2.5mm socket to fit an external microphone to, though this also needs to be connected to the hot shoe mount on the top of the camera. ” Source: http://www.which.co.uk/technology/photography/reviews-ns/panasonic-lumix-dmc-g3/

It therefore means one should be able to use a hot shoe external mic such as Panasonic DMW-MS1E.

****************
Otherwise, many thanks to the author for this prompt review and for the 2000 ISO sample pic which convinced me that the quality/size ratio is pretty decent.
My major grudge against the Panasonic M4/3 series is the absence of body stabilization which compromises the indoor/lowlight use of an f/2.8 or so pancake.
When one thinks that Panasonic was the first company to generalize in-camera stabilization in the compact and bridge ranges, it’s surprising. Guess it’s the way Panny found to force its clients to stick to its brand lens…

If the epl-2 didn’t have such weak video, would have gone for it instead…

MJJ
http://iteractif.ch

12:50 pm - Tuesday, May 31, 2011

#40 the_engineeer

I have mailed Panasonic regarding the external mic issue, and regrettably this camera does not have that feature.
I have ordered a G3 anyway though, but I’m having a hard time finding a snug toploader bag. All the ones I find are for full-size DSLR’s… Can anyone give me some help here? I just want to fit the camera with a lens no bigger than the 14-140.

Thanks for any help!

11:30 pm - Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#41 the_engineeer

I have mailed Panasonic regarding the external mic issue, and regrettably this camera don’t have that feature.

Can someony help me find a fitting bag for this camera? All the ones I find are for full-size DSLR’s… Think Tank Digital Holster 10 seems OK, but there must be others…? I want a bag for just the camera, with a lens no longer than the 14-140.

Thanks for any input!

11:37 pm - Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#42 Dixon Hamby

I shot some sample images with G3 but cant open the raw files. Any idea where i can find something to open them with? Thank you

11:24 pm - Sunday, June 12, 2011

#43 david watson

PRESUMABLY YOU CAN USE SILKYPIX TO OPEN G3 FILES;IT WILL COME WITH THE CAMERA.
PHOTOSHOP 9 OPENS RAWS FOR THE G2; I SUPPOSE THAT EVENTUALLY THEY WILL DO IT FOR THE G3.

9:47 am - Monday, June 13, 2011

#44 Kevin

Shame you say the price is “very competitive”..

It might be in the fishbowl of a UK market but looks ludicrous when compared with most other countries..

We all know about “rip-off Britain” but I don’t expect reviewers to encourage it…

1:40 pm - Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#45 zebarnabe

@Kevin,

I ordered my Panny GH1 from UK a year ago ... why? because it cost me 1200€ instead of 1700€ in my country!
In France was at 1300€...

However if you compare the prices with US, where the same came at that time cost 1000€ and in Japan (well, Japan has a few problems right now) 850€

Europeans are being leeched by international market…

@the_engineeer,
I have a GH1 and a caselogic bridge camera type bag (I can actually fit the camera with the 14-140mm, the 20mm and the Macro filter on the bag)... there are lots of bags where the camera will fit with the 14-140mm

3:07 pm - Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#46 Tugboat

How does this camera get 5 out of 5 when the sample picture resolution looks so average? I prefer the look of the GF1 and EPL1 compared to these samples.

10:05 am - Sunday, June 19, 2011

#47 zebarnabe

Tugboat,
Remember that your are looking at a much higher resolution shots, that shows lens limits more easily.

Also, if you are to compare the pictures with other cameras, normalize it first to an identical resolution (and remember that different lens give different results).

G3 image quality is almost at GH2 level, having a slightly noticeable noise pattern right from base ISO (only visible if you are at pixel level looking at plain colors or slight gradients).

That said, I prefer the manual physical controls of the GF1, but, as I have big hands, GF1 is too small for me..

If it’s about the ‘cooking’ that the camera applies, there are several film modes that can modify JPEG output sharpness, contrast, NR and saturation as one desires. For example, I shoot in standard mode for photos and in a modified smooth mode for video in my GH1.

1:51 pm - Sunday, June 19, 2011

#48 memento

hello
nice review but i think G3 its a little expensive…
what about Samsung NX11 ? its also small enough mirorless camera…could you make a review for this camera??? thanks!

4:56 pm - Sunday, June 19, 2011

#49 zebarnabe

memento,

They did it - a long time ago, shall I add:
http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/samsung_nx11_review/

Samsung mirrorless cameras just don’t cut it… NEX has the best sensors where Micro Four Thirds have a greater and better selection of lens.

If you are looking for a cheaper mirrorless camera check the GF series from Panasonic or the E-P/E-PL series from Olympus .... Sony has the NEX cameras ... the cheapest one was discontinued, but might be found on some stores for cheap prices.

Good luck :]

5:14 pm - Sunday, June 19, 2011

#50 zebarnabe

thanks for your response
i can see that samsung has some good reviews…
it also has a bigger sensor than panasonic G3
i like the i function button in the lenses and the generally design so i thing maybe i should give a try
i am not looking for the best model but something to start with since i m a amateur beginner
i don’t like nex, but i would thing about gf or epl
thanks again :)
ps.: u got a great gallerie well done!

8:35 pm - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#51 Bruce

I bought the G3 with 100-300 lens, instead of a Canon 300 f4 L lens for my 40D. Generally was a good decision. Stabilisation is better than Canon, but evf not so good. Difficult to find fast moving things with evf. Have set to maximum iso of 400 and delighted with picture quality and stabilisation. I only shoot RAW, convert in supplied software then process in Lightroom or Bridge. Adobe RAW does not include the G3 RAW files yet. Only real problem is that the way I hold the camera, the ball of my thumb tends to operate the buttons on the back and finish up with some strange settings. Could do with some means of disabling those buttons. Very light compared to Canon and easy to carry all day, especially with a decent strap Op/Tech or JJC. My wife has a G1H with the 14-140, so was predisposed towards Panasonic. Excellent equipment, even the 14-42 kit lens. Spare battery stupidly expensive. There are alternatives available but was not prepared to risk them.

9:29 am - Monday, July 11, 2011

#52 Peter Bower

Just recently purchased a G3 body. I already have an old G1 with the 14-45 lens. Fit the older 14-45 on the G3 and be prepared to be amazed. The definition is outstanding.
Ok, Panasonic have left off a few bits and pieces like the EVF sensor to keep costs down but it hardly detracts from taking good pictures.
Set your noise filter level to low, sharpening to -1, ISO limit to 400 and you will get Jpegs as good as any Canon or Nikon Period. Just post process to get your sharpness and tone curve right. Now add on the best sensor cleaning system and stabiliser in the business, and look at some of the Olympus micro system lenses. I fitted the Oly 9-18 WOW. Be careful though with longer focul lengths as the Oly lenses are not stabilised.

No more aching neck and a pro level picture quality. Micro systems may not be the DSLR replacement but they are gaining in popularity by the day and it can only be a matter of time before the big boys follow suit.

Peter

11:07 am - Tuesday, July 12, 2011

#53 M

Good luck trying to find it.  I put in an order 2 months ago and I’m still waiting for my camera’s.  I can’t even get a ship date out of Panasonic.

8:48 pm - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#54 Glenn

This is a superb camera. I had been using a GF1 as my compact for about a year which is also an accomplished camera. I chose this because of its lightspeed focus and have been impressed. It has some superb features and the results have been very good in JPEG, but excellent to superb in RAW. The main benefit of a camera such as this, is that you have true DSLR capability in a bridge camera size, so it gets taken everywhere. The 20mm lens is brilliant and superfast. Value for money, this is an outstanding camera, add to this 5 year warranty and the Adobe Lightroom 3 and this was my easiest camera purchase ever. One niggle, sometimes when you use the EVF, you nose activates the rear buttons due to the camera size.
I have found the lighter 14-42mm zoom lens to be as good optically as the 14-45mm , however the build quality is not as good, so I must admit to keeping my older lens as standard.The other thing that is not quite as good as my GF1 is the battery life is much shorter, even when only using the EVF, so keep a spare - this is essential advice as I was caught out on my first outing.

9:00 am - Friday, July 15, 2011

#55 TommyBoy

Great review :-) ...I just bought this camera and it is fantastic, I managed to get a great deal at Panasonic Store Leicester, £509.99 with a 5 year warranty!

10:17 am - Thursday, July 28, 2011

#56 DFSWQN

Well, after all those comments, I almost felt like I couldn’t add anything. That being said, I’m an old 35mm SLR user and have access to Nikon DSLR 3100 (wife) as well as my loved Lumix FZ-100. The FZ-100 is performance nuts dream except for image quality. However, the very small 8mm sensor, just can’t handle the pixels or the low light as compared to a 22mm or 35mm sensor for serious shots. The Nikon 3100 offers good images, but it sure seems huge, even compared to my old 35mm SLR and lacks many features and performance. As Goldilocks said, “This is just right”. Very good image quality, very good features, and a very small body. With the small body, and small standard lens (14mm-42mm) it is an easy choice for a travel camera or for quality snapshots. The 100-300mm zoom offers great nature shots at a reasonable price (600 mm equivalent). Just remember that you would have to have a 450 mm zoom for the same effective zoom size for a comparable FX lens, and they are expensive (not offered by NIKON for DX). Honestly, I feel the lens selection for this camera is more than satisfactory. 

Admittedly, when I first got my hands on it, it seemed too small. As I started shooting, however, it kept getting more comfortable, and soon I was more than happy with the size.

If I had a G1 or G2/GH2, I probably wouldn’t trade up, but I might consider getting the G3 just for the size and the shared lenses.

10:36 pm - Saturday, July 30, 2011

#57 Glenn

After a couple of thousand shots I am still very pleased with the G3 but it does have some flaws. In my old comment I mentioned the battery life, this is a pain as the meter is not accurate, it drops from 2 bars to dead in around 20 mins. The ISO button is a annoyance as it gets knocked so easily when using the EVF and when shooting at ISO above 400 against a backlit image the artifacts are poor. So that is most of the bad bits, at ISO160, it produces crisp images that are very very good, shoot in RAW as the in camera processing is average rather than good. At the price I paid with the Adobe Lightroom 3 and the 5 year warranty, I am stunned by the value, if you look at an equivelent like the G12, this is leaps and bounds ahead and with the 20mm fitted, street work is an absolute joy. Focus is super fast in good light but only just good in low light. Even with the niggles, this is a big step up from the GF-1 or G1 bar the battery life.

8:42 am - Tuesday, August 2, 2011

#58 G3 is disappointing

I was disappointed to find that the G3 can’t cope with blown highlights (light bulbs, daylight coming in through a window, candles etc.) - you can’t always expose your way out of trouble and when the sensor falls on its face, monstrous yellow and purple banding can result. I think I’ll hang onto my GF1 with its ability to cope correctly with blown patches…

10:03 pm - Sunday, August 7, 2011

#59 G3 is disappointing

To be fair, I should say that in all other respects the G3 is a great little camera and you can probably postprocess your way out of trouble if you run into the highlight/banding problem on an awkward shot. It should be interesting to see what kind of results can be obtained from Lightroom once Adobe get round to adding support for the G3…

11:35 pm - Sunday, August 7, 2011

#60 JOSE FURTADO

I think a viewfinder (optical or electronic) is essential if you don’t want to shoot completely blind in bright sunlight…

6:30 pm - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

#61 Jill

I am new to my G3.

Should the wide angle reduce when using apperture priority rather than a SCN setting? If so why?

Also the view looks well lit through the view finder but images are very under exposed. Where am I going wrong?

4:54 pm - Friday, August 19, 2011

#62 zebarnabe

Jill,

Aperture should not mess with focal length, however, at smaller apertures more stuff will be in focus, meaning that the focus point for a given unchanged subject could vary.

Some lens change the FOV with focusing (14-140mm does that quite noticeable at 140mm), this is called ‘focus breathing’ and is a natural effect of the lens design. The change is usually more noticeable at the extremes, but it depends on lens design.

About the live view showing something different, it’s normal if the aperture changes to exist some slight changes… (you are previewing at f4.0, but the photo is set to f/2.0 for example - you have no control over the normal live view aperture) In the extreme, with the 20mm f/1.7, at f/1.7 I got underexposed images sometimes (as much as 1 stop), I think the camera has a calibration mechanism though, as I have not taken underexposed photos with it for a few months now.

I don’t know if G3 has it, my GH1, has a preview button that sets the aperture and shutter speed to the settings of the photo, this usually is more accurate as a preview of bokeh, motion blur and focus depth, but shows the exposure as it should be recorded.

Also, the live view uses digital gain to help you in dark scenes, it can show you an image at ISO1600 and you have the ISO limit at 400, photo will be taken at meaning it could show a different exposure.

Sometimes those are just quirks that cameras have, nothing wrong with them, you just need to get used to what expect from the camera and compensate for them.

Hope it helps :P

8:18 pm - Friday, August 19, 2011

#63 Steve

Bought this camera after reading this review. And it’s fantastic, thanks!

8:20 pm - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

#64 jane

I bought the G3 and am enjoying using it though I do find the settings difficult to access, time will tell I bought this as a second camera.As for a bag if in the UK check out this 27p bag on Amazon it is excellent.EXSPECT TOP LOADING SUNNY MODEL

8:58 pm - Saturday, October 8, 2011

#65 Danonino

The image-quality you can get from raw-files from this new sensor is amazing compared to the old 12mp sensor.

Its almost as good as the sensor in my Nikon D5000, and that says alot! Just hope Olympus get to use it too.

1:48 pm - Friday, December 16, 2011

#66 ace

Thanks for a great review! I have opted for it in RED :)

Best price I could find was on Amazon - http://amzn.to/jNEw0E

12:56 pm - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

#67 Edmund

I have just finished playing with my new G3 and I sold the G1 and kit lens on eBay.  Good camera and, as they say, very competitive with DSLRs if you have the right lens.  Bad points, it gets really hot just switched on and the touch screen, even with the cleanest hands, has fingerprints all over it.  Good points, great photos in RAW and so small it makes a standard lens look silly.

7:18 pm - Wednesday, February 29, 2012

#68 Edmund

Oh, and I forgot to say that the major improvement is that you no longer need to remove the tripod mount when you change batteries - hooray!

11:10 am - Thursday, March 1, 2012

#69 Robin Leow

Does anyone know whether can we adjust our focus point/area while we are looking thru the EVF in Lumix G3?

4:01 pm - Friday, March 9, 2012

#70 Edmund

Yes but it would be very difficult. You would need to use the 4 way buttons on the right-hand side and when you have your eye to the viewfinder this is not easy!  Why not select spot metering/focus and hold the button half way down while recomposing?  Alternatively, you can re-program one of the two fn buttons to remember the focus point.

5:02 pm - Friday, March 9, 2012

#71 Robin Leow

Thanks Edmund. I didnt realised that to move the spot focus, I needed to press the shutter half way, whole on to it and then move the focus with the 4 way buttons when I am looking thru the EVF. Therefore, after testing it, it is definitely quite cumbersome and needed sometime for me to get used to it…

It is much easier when we are selected the focus point via the preview in comparison. I was trying to learn how not to go back and forth between the preview and the EVF since our Lumix G3 does not switch auto between the 2 and slows me down a bit when taking certain photos.

Anyway, it is great sharing. Thanks again.

11:09 pm - Friday, March 9, 2012

#72 Alvin

I cannot understand why the camera makers are always “dumbing” down their camreas. The G2 is one of the camera I do quite like as a second camera to my APS dSLR, but I prefer more MPs than what the G2 has. So I am looking at the G3. Yes, there is an increase in MP, but they removed a heap of control buttons and dials! It seem that not only Pany but Oly is also doing the same by removing control in later models too. No wonder real dSLR users cannot take MFT seriously, they just keep making their cameras for the P&S crowd.

4:24 pm - Saturday, March 24, 2012

#73 Robin Leow

Edmund, do you think there is a function in the camera to change the control of moving the pin point focus from the 4-way buttons to the dial? When I was trying on Canon’s DSLR, seem like they use a dial to move the pin point focus - definitely easier to manage if we are shooting from the EVF.

regards

4:46 pm - Saturday, March 24, 2012

#74 Edmund

Hi Robin.  No because the dial only turns in one dimension, left to right so you couldn’t move the spot up and down.  Just as with most DSLRs, choose the centre-weighted or spot metering mode, point the centre of the viewfinder at the subject and press down half way, if will focus on the subject and measure exposure for that subject, then, without letting go of the shutter button, recompose and press fully to take the photo.  Alternatively, you can program Fn1 to be an AE (exposure) or AF (focus) lock or both and you have the option of locking that setting until you press the shutter or holding down the button to keep the setting which is, frankly, impossible through the EVF as the button is tiny.

5:49 pm - Saturday, March 24, 2012

#75 Edmund

Hi Alvin, anyone would think I’m working for Panasonic but I’m not!  The camera is not dumbed down.  I upgraded to a G3 from a G1.  The dial on the G1 that set the shutter from single to multiple to timer used to move itself in my camera bag and so is better removed, the dial that changed from single autofocus to constant or manual autofocus was of little use and the hot shoe was a nightmare. Given HD video recording and a much better sensor, the G3 is real progress even if you don’t like the touch screen (which I am getting used to).  As far as I know there is no function on the G2 which is not available on the G3.  If you want a “proper” M4/3 camera get the OM-D but you will pay three times as much for the same sensor and your Panny lenses won’t have software correction (which is really important).

6:10 pm - Saturday, March 24, 2012

#76 Alvin

@Edmund As far as I know there is no function on the G2 which is not available on the G3.

Still feels dumbed down to me. Flicking a switch to change a setting is way faster than to press a series of buttons to change it. Which is why there are tons of dials and switches for every common settings on most serious cameras. If it takes longer for a setting to be changed, then the setting will not be used OR I would have missed my shot by the time I am finished with the settings. As for the touchscreen, it will require me to take my eye off the VF to look at the touch screen to be able to use it, which COULD speend up making the settings but still the same thing, by the time I am finished with messing around with it, what I am trying to shoot maybe gone. Whereas with dials, I can, by touch and feel, change my settings in a flash.

Removing direct controls are nothing more than a size and cost cutting exercise and also to make the camera less threatening for the P&Sers; who will never know what they had missed in the first place.

The G2 was the perfect balance of cost and number of direct controls for someone looking for an alternative or second body to a dSLR. The only thing that is holding me back is I would like a little more MPs.

With the cost of the OM-D (and GHs), I am better off getting a proper dSLR body that has a much better lens selection and image quality.

8:57 pm - Saturday, March 24, 2012

#77 Edmund

OK Alvin, I agree with much of what you say, BUT if you shoot RAW, what do you need to change? The G3 with the 20mm f1.7 fits in my pocket and takes better movies than any budget DSLR (not as good as the GH2). 

I can carry quite easily a 7-14mm; 14-45mm; 45-200mm; the camera with 20mm attached, a flash unit plus extension cord, bounce reflectors and off-camera fixing; spare battery with charger and various polarising filters, ND grads spare memory cards, lens cloths etc. in a reasonably sized camera bag. I have just weighed it, 3kg.  On the other shoulder goes a Benro carbon fobre tripod with a reflector gold/silver/white/black which weighs about 1.5kg.  So I have 35mm equivilent of 14-400mm with a bright prime lens.

When you are sweating up some mountain with an extra 5kg of kit you realy feel it by the end of the day. If you look, for instance, at the Canon D600 with the 10-22mm, 35mm f2, 18-55mm (horrid plastic lens that I would never use) and the 70-300mm DO, which about approximates to what I have, you are looking at twice the weight minimum and I seriously wonder whether this would produce better photos.  It would certainly cost twice as much, especially if you bought the lovely 17-55mm f2.8.

So what is the point here?  Buy a Canon EOS-1DX and a bunch of Canon “L” lenses and spend €10,000 (plus paying a porter to carry them) and you will have a whole better setup.  Or buy a micro four thirds system and produce nearly the same quality for a much smaller price and something you can actually carry.

If you are a pro, you don’t have the option, you buy the best. But an enthusiastic amateur selling stock photos I think that the G3 surpasses the G2 because of it’s sensor.  The only controls I use, apart from those accessible by the thumb wheel or four way back switch,  are the shutter - single, multi, timer and focusing, single, continuous, spot or average.  They come very easily through the QMenu. The rest of the controls are a waste of time in RAW and that would be my biggest gripe aginst the entire G serie: Why put a white balance button on the rear?

Anyway, good luck with your DSLR.

3:18 pm - Sunday, March 25, 2012

#78 Robin

Hi, one more question. I understand Bulb setting in G3 only allows up to 2 mins delay… Are there ways to increase the delay to infinity or at least half an hour or so? All suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

10:48 am - Thursday, April 5, 2012

#79 Robin

Hi Guys,
Need your expert advice again. I just got my Metz 50 AF-1 Flash but I don’t seem to be able to get the slave mode working with my Lumix G3. When I was at the camerashop, I found out that Nissin di466 able to operate on remote slave mode with the camera. But when come with Metz, It doesnt communicate. I try to look everywhere in the camera for setting but I can seem to find one. I chose Metz over Nission bcoz i wanted a higher GN Flash ...

Can someone give me some advice on this?

Thanks in advance.

2:52 pm - Saturday, April 14, 2012

#80 Edmund

Hi Robin.  There are 3 ways of getting the flash to fire off camera.  You can use a cord that fits onto the hot shoe, a radio device that fits onto the hot shoe and had a connection that fits underneath the flash or a slave unit which will detect the flash of the camera’s built-in flash and fire when it sees the camera flash.  The latter two are normally mounted on a tripod and cannot be controlled by the camera so you need to set the strength of the flash manually.  If your flashgun is Panasonic compatible, I recommend the cord whereby the G3 will control the exposure.  I use this with an off-camera mount and a difuser and it has great results.  All of thes you can buy from eBay for not much money.

11:56 am - Sunday, April 15, 2012

#81 heather

hi i am a complete novice. i am happy to spend the money on something decent. just purchased this camera and have spent the last two days playing around with it. the viewfinder is blurry when i look through it. there is no protective film on it. i use a canon at school and it has a very clear viewfinder so i wonder is this normal… its a lot of money to spend if there is a fault. any ideas?

8:41 pm - Sunday, June 17, 2012

#82 zebarnabe

heather,
I have a GH1 and as the G3 inherits the same 1440k dot / 800x600 pixel / 4:3 shaped LVF as the G2 and GH1 before it, I can tell you that the viewfinder is extremely sharp, it is however electronic and not optical, meaning that those 800x600 limit how much resolution can be seen. Is this the issue - the lack of detail resolving power? or you can’t read the interface information on it at all?

The viewfinder image on the G3 is about 50% wider and taller than that on the Canon EOS T3i / 600D, it is also brighter, even in low light, but can get noisy as it is showing what the sensor is reading.

The viewfinder has a rubberized cover and there is glass right at the viewfinder entrance hole (in the case of GH1 there is a thin plastic over the glass, I disassembled mine because of a jammed SD card), there is a small diopter wheel at the left side of the viewfinder that should be adjusted to match your vision.

The only thing that can cause blurriness is either your vision (do you use glasses with an heavy prescription?), the diopter adjustment (the wheel at the side of the viewfinder that compensates for ppl using glasses +3/-3 diopters) or a missing/misaligned optical element in the viewfinder.

Hope it helps :]

9:07 pm - Sunday, June 17, 2012

#83 heather

Hi
Thanks very much for your reply. I used the wheel to the left of the view finder and it sorted the problem. I said I was a novice!! :) ...but we all have to start somewhere!
thanks again for taking the time to reply!

11:41 pm - Sunday, June 17, 2012

#84 John Beaven

Having purchased a G3 twin lens set I would agree that it is capable of taking good quality pictures and its small size is a distinct advantage.
Against that though are a number of fundamental weaknesses;-
the poor battery life - it deteriorates rapidly once past 100 shots, and the poor EPG.  Taking photos with a 200mm (400mm equiv) lens using the screen is just about pointless due to camera shake;
the EPG just isnt good enough to enable an accurate view and focus. This is a general failing with mirrorless cameras which I think is their real weakness in comparision to even the most basic SLR. 
Touch screen controls are ok for a phone but useless for a high quality camera, and having to use screen driven commands rather than simple buttons and switches is irritating (to me anyway)
Also the auto exposure does not seem to be consistent and the histogram on the screen when the picture is taken often bears no resemblence to the actual histogram once the picture is taken and shows a disposition to under exposure.

In spite of all that I am learning to love it. The entire kit cost less than £800 including tripod and lenses and I can carry it all around in a small bag. My Canon 50D with equivalent lenses probably cost three times as much and needs a huge bag and padding. I will still use it for serious photos expdeically those needing a long exposure and precise focus, but increasingly I can see the G3 replacing it for everyday use.

12:54 pm - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

#85 zebarnabe

John Beaven,

What is the EPG you talk about so much ... I only know of that term in Laser printers, or for the electronic program guide on digital TV…

I can work fine with my GH1, I can manual focus, frame, expose, with no problem at all… using the 14-140mm and the optical stabilization is great… TBH, I can go 3 or 4 stops below the recommended shutter speed without a stabilized lens managing over 50% of keepers at 1/4 or 1/5s with the 20mm lens (40mm eq.)

From what I could understand you don’t know how to use a mirrorless camera. Most DSLR users get a bit confused when using one. If by EPG you mean EVF (Electronic View Finder) the G3 inherits the same 1440k dot / 800x600 pixel / 4:3 shaped LVF as the G2 and GH1 before it, this is extremely good, it has a 100% coverage, it is huge (at least in the GH1, IDK if they cut costs in the optical path for the EVF in the G3), it is super bright and provided that you can use the interface to zoom the image seen, you can check focus really, really well… in that regard it is superior to any OVF of a DSLR.

A mirrorless camera shoots in Live view only, this means that what it is shown on the screen should be the final image recorded by the camera, unless you are working on extremes (very low light or very bright) or compensating the exposure (it emulates the result of the exposure compensation, meaning that it is not the actual exposure on the screen).

The histogram is a bit useless (and a waste of battery) once you instinctively learn how to read a scene.

The differences in the histogram are due to the under sampling of its’ measurement during the live view, it should be a guide, not something to simply rely on.

Left as it is GH1 (and G1/2 and 3 I believe) have the tendency to under exposure to protect the highlights. The GH1 interface allows one to compensate by pressing and rotating the control wheel, the simplified controls of the G3 might miss that direct interface on some regard, but I’m sure one can compensate the exposure for the shot without much trouble.

Touch screen is great for selective focus during video and set the focus preview window when in manual focus mode, but that aside, to control the interface, buttons are indeed preferable.

Regarding the battery issue you’re having, if you don’t use flash, histogram, i-contrast or other battery draining feature, you should be able to take more than 250 photos, but depends on what lens that you have as the active optical stabilization and focus motor drain energy differently. There might be something wrong with the battery or the conditions you operate in, is it cold in the place where you usually use your camera? In comparison I usually take more than 1000 photos per charge in the GH1 using the 14-140mm and the EVF for most (a 8GB memory card often gets filled before I have to charge the battery again).

To tell truth this camera is great if one wants something relatively small that packs some quality with it, but price wise, a entry level DSLR has more quality for the spent money (though, because G3 is discontinued, it is super cheap right now with the kit lens).

G5 was announced and released recently, from what I saw, the sensor and features make it a lot more desirable than G3… it is a bit like an hypothetical GH2.5 even if it misses some stuff regarding video.

2:25 am - Thursday, September 20, 2012

#86 Edmund Skes

Hello John Beavan and zebarnabe.

John, if your kit with tripod only costs £800 then I think you are missing the point.  My tripod alone costs £250 and that is cheap, if you want to know why read Scott Kelby and understand the importance of “tack sharp”.

The twin set is fine but Panasonic have now released a 12-35 and are about to release the 35-100.  Both of these lenses are going to cost close to £1000 even on eBay.  However, they are first class, every bit as good as Cannon’s glass.

So let’s stop comparing micro 4/3 with APS-C.  You either want to have the larger sensor or you don’t. If you opt for the micro 4/3 you will get a photo that can be outdone by a full-frame camera (but unless you are a pro who will notice) and you will save approx 50% in weight which is really significant.  Just buy a couple of spare batteries, the G3 allows you to change them with the tripod mount in place.

zebarnabe, sorry, can’t really see the advantage of upgrading to the G5 from the G3 and the GH3 seems to be too video orientated.  What’s wrong with the “blinkies” on the G3 to tell you about over exposure, anyway there is an excellent bracketing program so you never need to worry, you can always post-process in RAW?

I do agree with you that this system is getting a bit more expensive than a good APS-C and sometimes wish I had stayed with Cannon!

Happy shooting!

3:20 am - Thursday, September 20, 2012

#87 David F. Swan

As mentioned before, I have a G3 with more lenses than I wish to mention. According to DxOMark, the G5 has the best Panasonic sensor to date. (Better than the Gh2, but still waiting on the GH3) The faster Frames per second, the better dynamic range and color depth, and the better grip would certainly be reason enough to move up to the G5 from the G3. Of course the Oly OM-D E-M5 dwarfs the ratings on any of the Panasonic sensors to date. That being said, Sample shots of the GH3 appear to be about equal about equal to the E-M5. We’ll know in about a month just how good the GH3 sensor really is. (and perhaps if it is made by Sony like so many others) If the sensor is as good or better than the OM-D E-M5, If money is not an object, if you want or need the extra video, and if the size isn’t an issue, the then GH3 is worth it. (That is a lot of “if’s”) Although I’m not in love with the grip on the G3, the OM-D E-M5 seems worse. If the GH3 sensor rates about the same as the G5, I would go with the G5 or just stay where I am.

4:46 pm - Monday, October 29, 2012

#88 Adam Billings

Monday 05.11.2012

Hi, I found your review very helpful especially as I am a begginer and upgrading to my first DSLR. I thought the way things were explained in simple terms and the use of the images made it easy to understand. - So a Big thank you for that.

I have just purchased mine yesterday and although being honest I haven’t had time to use it yet, i thought for the price this was a great entry/mid level camera.

I work abroad and will be in Norway at the beggining of December hoping to snap the Northern Lights and with being able to adjust the shutter speed I am hoping for some really great shots.

But in closing as to your reveiw all i can say is for begginers like myslef I thought it was great and very well written for ease of understanding, many thanks.

12:54 am - Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#89 Ade Taylor

I was a canon 10D man but price and technological advances and using a Lumix LX1 pushed me over to panasonic.
I was very lucky a G3 kit 14-42mm came my way, so far total Love.
It took about an hour to get to grips with it and after 2 weeks pictures are FAB.
I wanted a genuine battery looking at about £30.
So to my surprise a Buy Now eBay Panasonic G1 kit No Lens £50 so I bought it. I got to say operation feel weight size I prefer the G1.
I get the G3 totally, but they are like different camera’s so I have made my G1 rainy day camera.  I love them Both :-)

9:43 am - Sunday, June 9, 2013

#90 Edmund Sykes

Yes, Ade, I had a G1 and sold it to upgrade to a G3.  I agree, the G1 is an excellent camera but it is a little outdated now and its performance at anything over ISO400 is not too good.  Also, it is nearly the size of some of the APS-C DSLRs and, at odds with just about anyone else, I find the extra settings on the dials to be slower than using the C1 and 3 x C2 settings on the G3. But at £50 you just cannot argue!

As you have proved, although the lenses hold their value, the value of the bodies drops really fast when a newer model comes out so one of the most important factors in keeping your camera up to date is knowing when to buy and sell.  Very good point.

10:02 am - Monday, June 10, 2013

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, manual, touch-screen, touchscreen, lumix, micro four thirds, panasonic, 1080i, EVF, AVCHD, swivel, rotating, articulating, dmc g3, dmc-g3, Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Review, 15.8 megapixel, g3

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