Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Review

4.0
July 6, 2011 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12.1 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. It produces noise-free images at ISO 100 to 800, with limited noise starting to appear at ISO 1600. ISO 3200 exhibits quite visible noise and loss of fine detail, and the fastest setting of ISO 6400 is even noisier but still usable.

The images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening level and ideally require further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting if you don't like the default results. The various Creative Controls and Photo Styles allow you to quickly and easily customise the look of the camera's JPEG images. The pop-up flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure.

The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 60 seconds allowing you to capture plenty of light. We struggled to see any differences between the Intelligent Resolution settings, but Intelligent D-range is an effective new feature for capturing more detail in the shadows and highlights.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and RAW on the right:

JPEG

RAW

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

File Quality

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 has 2 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Fine (5.87Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (2.63Mb) (100% Crop)

   

RAW (14.1Mb) (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting, and benefit from further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level by tweaking the Film Mode, with five different settings available.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Flash

The flash settings on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced Flash On, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction and Forced Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off (28mm)

Flash On (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting or the Red-Eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds and there's also a Bulb option for exposures up to 4 minutes long, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at f/8 at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 15 second setting the actual exposure takes 30 seconds.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Intelligent Resolution

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3's Intelligent Resolution feature identifies outlines, texture areas and soft gradation areas of the image and then automatically optimizes the edges and detailed texture areas while using noise reduction to make the soft gradation areas smoother. There are three available strengths - low, standard and high.

Off

Low

   

Standard

High

   
Extended  
 

Intelligent D-Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3's new Intelligent D-range adjusts the exposure setting to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three strengths available - low, standard and high.

Off

Low

   

Standard

High

Photo Styles

Panasonic's Photo Styles, similar to Nikon's Picture Styles, Canon's Picture Controls and Olympus' Picture Modes, are preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and noise reduction settings. The six available Photo Styles are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. There is also a Custom option so that you can create your own look.

Standard

Vivid

   

Natural

Monochrome

   

Scenery

Portrait

Creative Controls

The Panasonic GF3 has a new range of Creative Controls, denoted by an artist's palette in the shooting mode menu, with 6 options - Expressive, Retro, High Key, Sepia, High Dynamic Range and Miniature - on offer.

Expressive

Retro

   

High Key

Sepia

   

High Dynamic

Miniature Effect

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