96 of 107 people found the following review helpful
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Micro Four Thirds w 14-42 lens Update
, July 12, 2012
I am not a pro photographer. I don't usually make money off of my photos but I like good photos. I am mainly a very enthusiastic amateur portrait photographer. Anything that gets in front of my camera is fair game so.
I bought this camera to fit a specific niche. I'm not looking to retire my DSLR. I don't want a bunch of lenses for this camera. I have all Pro Glass for my DSLR. I'm not going to shoot any production videos with this camera as my DSLR shoots also video. The niche was for me to have available a camera that is smaller and lighter than my DSLR with nearly the same range coverage. During a trip to Europe a few years ago I realized that nearly half of the several thousand photos I took were with my P&S. I realized in some situations a smaller camera can be advantageous. I've seen these micro four thirds in action and I liked the idea of being able to shoot RAW instead of JPEG. This is a personal preference. I didn't buy this camera to replace my DSLR. For me it is a walk around / scout camera. The size and weight advantage this camera are evident at 17 ounces it beats carrying my 5 pound DSLR. I also got a 45-200 lens to go along with my 'kit' so at somewhere just over 2.5 pounds I have nearly as much range as 30 pounds of DSLR and three lenses with flash.
I like the fact that I'm able to 'set up' the different modes to my liking. I tend to use more sharpness to my photos and I have that ability with this camera.
dislikes out of the box: This is the second Panasonic camera that I have. Both of them have this really flimsy battery/card access door. There is no question that anywhere near water this could be a problem. There was also a noticeable gap along the bottom where the two halves of the body joined.
Overall I like the camera's size. It is a little awkward feeling in the beginning simply because of the lens being nearly as big as the camera. This awkwardness quickly goes away. For me out of the box the camera is pretty simple to operate. The small pamphlet type of instructions are mainly people who don't know about cameras to get the pieces of the camera to fit together. If you are familiar with cameras then it really isn't very useful. The instruction manual is on a disc. I'd prefer a real manual as I tend to carry my camera manuals in my camera bag or a cheat sheet.
I've had this camera for about a month. I've done a few different 'events' with it. The first night I had it I took it to my photo club meet and took photos indoors shooting at ISO 1600. The results of those photos weren't bad. A little more noise in the darker areas of the room but that is to be expected at higher ISOs. I experimented with the Auto ISO and found that it wasn't as intuitive as I like. I tried a couple shots with the AI mode and figured that didn't work for me. I experimented with ISO 3200 in a restaurant party room and found that there was way to much noise for my liking.
I've taken close to 500 photos with this camera in a month. In most situations this camera is really nice to have around. I did take it along on a photo club outing and I gotta tell you that in direct sunlight was a major fail. Nearly all of those helpful screen aids become nearly impossible to see.
The LED screen has many features and I like them for the most part. The touch screen is really nice. The menu selection isn't as intuitive as I'd like, but I typically tend to not change settings all that often during a shoot. I tend to run several of the 'accessory' style features like the histogram, display and grid. These seem to use a lot of battery power. I spent nearly twelve hours on a short road trip with this camera taking nearly a hundred photos and by the time I got home I had two bars on the battery. Not great but then again with all the extra stuff on the LED going too it really isn't all that bad. I typically like to leave my cameras on when I'm walking around. I turned this camera on and off during the long day. I worked around the bright sunlight and when I was out of the direct sun the camera functioned very well.
I tried to use the editing program that came with the camera. I have already several editing programs and really didn't need this program taking space on my computer. Part of the reason I don't use this camera's editing program is that the first time you open the program it will attempt to catalog every photo on your computer and external drive. As I have several thousand photos on my external drive this takes a very long time. I just modified my work flow a bit as the Panasonic RAW files apparently covered by my version of Photo Shop, but are in Lightroom. So instead of having the program automatically download the new photos into their own folder I create it and cut and paste them. I've noticed that the Panasonic movie files don't transfer automatically. You need to move them yourself.
The camera fits pretty well the niche I wanted it to fill. There really isn't a macro capability with this camera unless you get a macro lens. I'm pretty much back to using my P&S for that. There are times when a macro lens is handy. The camera has a macro selection but that tends to be more of a bokeh style function than macro.
The camera strap is to short and the small nature of the body means that finding something longer might be an issue unless you come up with a hack. A couple of small key ring holders would work to put a longer strap on. The battery life is a little short especially if you are using the 45-200 lens with the IS switch.
The camera won't fit in your pocket if you don't have a pancake lens on it. You'll need a bag. I have a small military surplus bag that I carry the camera in. I don't so much like the idea of a wrist strap as they aren't all that practical for me.
If you are looking for a nice camera that takes good quality photos, is easy to operate and yet has DSLR capabilities then this is a camera worth taking a look.
I've had this camera combo for several weeks and have taken close to 500 photos with it. I believe the newness has finally worn off and while I like the camera still I am disappointed with its overall performance photo wise. I've been shooting photos with this camera in low light situations and at sunrise. I'm finding that the noise level at 400 ISO isn't what I think it should be. Then again I'm use to a Canon 5Dmkii and have no issues with using 1600 ISO with that camera. The grain is very noticeable @ 400 ISO with the Panasonic even about a half hour after sunrise. It is hard to get a tack sharp photo with the telephoto lens extended partially out. I don't think it should be an issue at ISO 800 but apparently with this camera the noise is terrible. Even with the IS function it is very difficult to get a hand held shot. I think there is room for improvement with the technology. I've lowered my rating of this camera to 3 stars because I'm having lots of difficulty taking photos with this camera during the time I normally take photos which is low light and sunrise. I also find the menus a bit cumbersome and non intuitive.
It can take a decent portrait shot when there is nice available light. So if this is when you take most of your photos then this is a terrific camera. I like the weight and its potential reach with the long lens. I think there needs to be more improvement. I can say it is a good camera. Would I recommend it? I think yes with the caveat of if you are using it for fun photos it is a good camera. If you are looking to entry level DSLR quality this probably isn't the best example.