Continuing its tradition of blending classic SLR styling and modern, mirrorless technology, Panasonic has just announced the latest of its Lumix ‘G’ series SLR-like digital cameras: the DMC-G3, which is is not only the smallest, but the first SLR-like camera to incorporate a touch screen LCD monitor. The promise: an all-around excellent performer that combines both capability and simplicity and outstanding still and video image quality.
So, how about a closer look?
For starters, the heart of the camera, a 16Mp Four-Thirds sensor, is all new. In the past, Panasonic had been praised for making great strides in terms of image quality with its old, WHAT Mp sensor. With the new version, the hopes are high that Panasonic has continued the trend of excellent performance despite raising the resolution by WHAT Mp. In addition to the new sensor, the G3 is also marketed as having enhanced noise reduction for low light/high ISO shooting. In its press release, Panasonic states that the new NR algorithm is even better than the old at eliminating grain while preserving important, fine detail.
After the new sensor, which every G3 shooter will use, the other big improvement is the touch-screen LCD screen. In recent years, touch screens on gadgets have become extremely popular, one just has to look at Apple’s offerings to see the truth in this statement. In recent years, with the touch screen boom, companies have been adding this feature to their cameras, always at the expense of external buttons, though. Now, finally, a manufacturer (Panasonic) has struck a balance. On the new G3, the touch screen LCD can be used for focus as well as for scrolling through images. For traditionalists like myself who prefer buttons, one can focus and scroll the old-fashioned way, too.
Speaking of the LCD screens, their resolution has been improved, too, as in to 1.44m dot good. Yes, as any serious shooter knows, there is no substitute for a true life, optical window on the world, but these electronic viewfinder cameras are undeniably getting better and better. As for the ‘viewfinder’ chamber, this screen offers 100% coverage, a spec that was once reserved for $8,000 pro cameras.
Also improved in the responsiveness is the AF.
For a few last improvements, the G3, like Olympus and recently Nikon, now has art filter (Olympus lingo) settings that apply, in an instant, special effects to images. Another nice touch, though not a part of the image making ability, is that the G3, unlike its predecessors, comes enclosed in a metal body made of aluminum that both improves toughness while keeping the weight down.
In conclusion, the Lumix G3 looks to be quite a camera for people who are looking for a mirrorless, yet SLR-like model. Want to buy? Cleveland-based Dodd Camera is an authorized Panasonic dealer and should be stocking the G3 as soon as it ships. Price: the G3 with the 14-42 kit lens, $699.99.
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