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on August 23, 2013
I seriously have and have had lots of cameras throughout my lifetime, and the GF3 has become my all-time favorite. Is it great for all needs? NO... But for many, it is wonderful. The GF3 takes very sharp pictures in a compact form. It has good light sensitivity, low digital noise, and good speed. The battery is more than adequate for a full day of shooting and reviewing pictures.

If you are traveling with the family, there is no better camera for portability and quality scenery and family shots (or movies). The 14mm pancake lens is very sharp and fast, and indoor pictures (without the flash) are surprisingly good. With the flash, you have a decent range of lighting and fill for most needs. The options for automation and more manual shooting are very good, and I'd have to say that the fully automatic settings are best to use with this camera since the changing of other settings can be annoying to find in the menus.

If you want high magnification or high speed shots (such as sports action), then stick with your digital SLR. Once you add big lenses to this type of package, the advantages seem lost to me. I also don't see a good reason to buy the bigger and more expensive 4/3s models. Once you lose the size and cost advantages of a camera like the GF3, you might as well be using the DSLRs.

* Size and weight. You can fit the camera (with one of the pancake lenses) in your pocket or purse (though it bulges more than most ultra-compact cameras and cell phones).
* Clarity. Very sharp 12MP pictures, and the big 4/3 sensor is much-much better than a 12MP sensor in small compact cameras.
* Sensitivity. Indoor pictures without the flash are quite decent with the faster fixed-focal-length lenses (e.g. 14mm pancake)
* Flash. Easy to use built-in flash
* Battery. Good life lithium-ion with decent charge time
* Flexibility of shooting modes.
* Lens interchangeability. Though I have yet to buy more lenses, I like that these appear to be standard among multiple manufacturers.
* Sleep mode. The camera puts itself to sleep if you leave it on. This is a good battery saver, and it wakes by pressing the shutter button.

* Touch screen - inadvertent touching of the back screen can change your settings, and you won't know it happened until you review your pictures. I have lost a whole day's worth of pictures due to an unintended focus change caused by the touch screen getting bumped while it was left on. Accidentally touching a settings-change happens much more often than I'd like.
* Tricky menus - it is difficult to find some of the common settings in the menus. In time you get used to many. I am an experienced photographer with many old and manual cameras, but I still have trouble with the settings changes in the non-auto modes of this camera. I hope to work with it more in time for better creativity shooting.
* Flash settings. Perhaps I've not looked in the right place yet, but I'd really like a forced-flash setting for filling backlit subjects.

In summary: if you travel and want a reasonably small camera that takes excellent pictures, then forget about using a cell phone or ultra-compact camera. Use this or a similar 4/3 camera and you will be VERY pleased. For action and high magnification photography, this is not your best choice.
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on June 28, 2015
The Panasonic, Lumix GF3, M4/3 camera is: fun, cheap, and does a sweet (my opinion) job of taking still and motion pictures. It can be as simple as a point and shoot or as elaborate as an SLR. I'm old, and have arthritis. I have juggled a PowerShot S3is for the last 8 years, and never could get a good grip on it. The GF3 w/ lens, offers a good hand hold, and no problems with triggering the shutter. I like it so much, I now have two of them, and three, m4/3 lenses; 15mm, 14-42mm, 40-150mm, plus an adapter so I can use my (very old) Canon FD lenses. FYI: The old FD lenses just don't feel right. Like mounting the front end of a 60's Buick on a Prius.
Wish list: It would be nice if it had an external mic port, and maybe a view finder, or a hot shoe to mount a view finder, or remote triggering devise. This is standard stuff on the upper end Lumix models. Is it worth the hundreds of dollars more? Not for a old guy, on a fixed income, like me.
RE Lenses: The lenses feel under engineered. They are not the heavy, smooth, Japanese and German lenses. The new ones seem cheap, and the feel of plastic on plastic isn't very sexy. But they are inexpensive, light weight, and have good glass, so the problem is me, not the lens.
The GF3 is a smart, affordable, easy to handle, fun to use, flyweight, with a sensor as big (almost) as the viewing screen on my old Canon.
In closing - this caveat; I am not a photographer, or a perfectionist.
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on June 27, 2012
Other reviewers have stated as much, but it bears repeating: this camera seems to match people at a very specific skill level and set of needs. I'm not a great photographer by any means, but I did have a bit of experience with manual 35mm cameras, and I've owned several higher end "super zoom" point and shoot digital cameras.
This camera seems to fit a very specific niche between the advanced point and shoot user and the prosumer DSLR classes, with the advantages of being the size of a point and shoot and having much of the functionality, interchangeable lenses and manual controls of a DSLR. My girlfriend who is a DSLR user, and I might add a far more competent photographer than me, was rather impressed when I unboxed it and ran through the controls. She was amused by the big, satisfying sounding "clunk" of the shutter that's so familiar to 35mm and DSLR users. When I popped off the lens, I noticed a look of envy, as she uses a camera regularly as part of her job, and said that mine might be more convenient than hers.
I should also state that my last two cameras have been Panasonics, so I'm a wee bit of a brand loyalist. I'm familiar with the interface, and have had good luck with them in the past, so I'm kind of sticking with what I know. My previous camera was a TZ4, and I still use it occasionally until I get more facile with the interface on this one (which, quite truthfully, I'll doubtless keep on the fully automatic mode the majority of the time). I do intend to get more lenses for it in the immediate future.
All in all, I've always stuck with the old adage of "the best camera in the world is the one you have with you". Being as this is conveniently sized, well featured, and while not quite pocketable, it will fit in my messenger bag where I normally carry my point and shoot, so it will indeed be the camera I have available. I'd say that this is the camera for someone ready an advanced prosumer SLR type camera, but doesn't want to deal with the additional bulk. It won't make you a better photographer, but it will give you the additional tools to allow you to.
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on August 31, 2012
I left my Canon DSLR family for Micor4/3 because of the size and convenience. The quality of the pics are awesome when compared with DSLR's size and quality. I love the special effects because they make images more fun to take. When you combine this body with Panasonic 20mm, images are superb, especially in the dark.

I love that you can switch the power on for the entire day while traveling and bring the camera back out of sleep in 2 seconds, to capture that cool image you see while walking around (not all micro's have this feature).

I recommend using the 14mm and 20mm with this camera (maybe other primes?). Stock lenses usually do not have the same crispiness. After all, the beauty lies in the quality, not quantity?

The only lacking feature is megapixel, I can't wait until Micro's come out with more of them for crispier images at reasonable values.
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on December 29, 2012
I bought this on a Warehouse deal for much cheaper then it is even now. Coupled with a 20mm pancake or Olympus 45mm it takes great picture. I also have an Olympus EPL-2 and I have to say that the Olympus probably has better colors in good lighting. The panasonic however is significantly smaller and easier to handle.
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on September 19, 2012
This camera is the I've only used this a few times since I've got it, but the pictures I've got from it are more than satisfying. For the price range, this camera is just such a huge step up from a high end point and shoot I don't feel like it's comparable. I'm not a camera guy by any means, but quality of pictures from this camera vs. pictures from my Canon point and shoot easily noticeable.

I used this on a trip up a fourteener and was able to take some pretty good pictures with this pancake, but I think adding a telescoping lens may be a worthwhile investment. The camera took good close-up shots, awesome mid distance shots, and some surprisingly great distance/landscape shots.

As a starter, you can't go wrong with his setup. If you'd like to get better lenses, micro 4/3s come in huge varieties from a couple hundred dollar lens to a thousand dollar lens. There such versatility in this camera vs. a point & shoot that I don't think I'll go back. Also, this camera with the pancake attached is about the size of a point & shoot. Man, I could go on and on about this thing. It's simply the best...
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on June 4, 2012
I had been looking at MFT cameras for some time, and the discount made this a good purchase. I usually shoot a Canon XSi, and this is a great companion to a camera like that. The quality is far superior to a PaS, and the flexibility of lenses is nice. Autofocus is very quick, and although I hadn't expected to like/use the touch screen, it is quite handy for quick menu items, zooming in on shots, and changing the focal point. Overall very happy with this camera.
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on July 5, 2012
When I bought the camera, I was actually buying it more for the lens than the camera. I have an Olympus E-PL1 with the 14-42 lens that I have had for a few years now. The Panasonic is a lot faster with a lot of nifty features in the menus, but lacks motion stabilization onboard (rather it leaves it to the lenses, unlike Olympus' PEN cameras that implement it in the camera.) I am not camera savvy, and in both camera I got a lot more than I bargained for, with great automatic settings. Having a pop-up flash that you have to manually pop up is a great boon for the beginner, because the camera adjusts to the lack of flash, unlike in point and shoot model that sometimes don't have auto modes that you can turn off the flash.

The lens is great, I have used it on both cameras and have gotten some great shots. I like that it doesn't have to be unlocked and extended like the zoom lenses do, so action vacation shots takes no time to take. It also helps to take high res shots and zoom at home. I took some shots in a show at Disney World and actually had to lower the sensitivity to get good shots from the stage lights. With the smallish size, the camera and lens fits nicely in my pocket when I need it to also.

All in all it is massively better than a point and shoot, even without stabilization since the camera does a lot better job taking in light for the shot than a point and shoot.
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on December 22, 2015
Love this camera, I own the GH2 and GH4, but when I leave the house with the kids or walking about this is always in my pocket. I use it mostly for video but I find the photos more pleasing that what I can get with the GH2 or GH4. Maybe because its a more spontaneous and fun camera. The wide lens actually produces a fairly nice shallow depth of field with bokeh in low light situations. The auto focus is okay but I am a manual focus kinda guy. Nice thing to you can switch lens with this and even use adapters to put on old Nikon or Canon or whatever lens you find at a garage sale.
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on November 30, 2012
I am kind of known for going through digital cameras at a crazy pace - I will read reviews like crazy and do my research, buy one that I think I'll love and then either sell it or return it within a few months. I have high standards (I'm a photographer) but I really want a small camera I can keep in my purse. This camera fits the bill. I've owned it for over a year now (a record-by far!) and I wouldn't dream of parting with it. It takes fast sharp pictures and I love that I can bounce the little on-camera flash. You won't be disappointed!
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