39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
An excellent step up from a point and shoot or a great DSLR companion.,
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This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3CK Kit 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 14mm Pancake Lens (Camera)
The Panasonic GF3 is a compact, easy to use camera that takes excellent photos.
Design wise the Panasonic is very sleek and compact. It's not going to fit into a jean's pocket, but will slip into a jacket pocket with ease, especially with the small 14mm pancake lens. It's light in weight and is easy to carry around all day. The camera is very discreet and draws little attention. There is a small rubber grip on the back and a nice sized grip on the front. I had no trouble getting a good hold on the camera and it fits nicely in my average sized hands. Build quality of both the lens and the camera is extremely high, with a nice metal body that feels solid and well assembled. Lastly, there is a small pop-up flash that can also be pulled back to function as a bounce flash.
Using the Panasonic is simple. For beginners, there is a button on the top of the camera to activate Intelligent Automatic mode. In this mode the camera will do all the thinking for you. For those who wish to have more control, the camera offers the full suite of manuals controls, including aperture and shutter priority modes. While the exterior of the camera has very few buttons, there are just enough to give you direct access to important setting (focus mode, exposure compensation, continuous shooting, and white balance). Additionally, the camera is very customizable and I like the fact that you can set the Quick Menu button to operate any number of features, including ISO speed. There is a movie record button on the top by the shutter. The 3" touch screen on the back is bright and sharp, and responds instantly and works well. You can even customize the features that pop-up when you use the touch screen's quick menu. For instance I added the metering setting so I'd have quicker access to them. I really enjoyed shooting with the camera and found the lack of external buttons to be a non-issue.
In operation the Panasonic GF3 is very speedy. It turns on and is ready to shoot in about 3 seconds. Focus speeds are quick, especially in the 1 area autofocus mode. Continuous shooting is fast as well and gives you a choice of three speeds; the highest however will not update the screen in real time. When reviewing/deleting photos and navigating the menus the camera responds instantly. Shot to shot times are instantaneous as well. Battery life is high and I was able to take over 200 pictures with lots of reviewing and menu navigating before the battery died.
The 14mm f/2.5 kit lens is compact and nicely made. It is sharp from corner to corner, even wide open. If you shoot JPEG and turn on the camera's shading compensation vignetting is not much of an issue, and you'll might notice it in 1% of your photos. Additionally the combination of the GF3's large sensor and the lens' bright f/2.5 aperture allow for a shallow depth of field for nicely blurred backgrounds and foregrounds. Without an image stabilizer the slowest shutter speed I can hand hold is 1/20".
Photo quality is terrific, and while it's not as good a high end SLR (like my Canon 7D), it is a definite step up from a point and shoot camera without much added bulk. Colors, exposure, sharpness, and detail are all very good. At low ISO speeds the photos are devoid of noise. Moving up the ISO scale, I can confidently shoot up to ISO 1600 before I start to see noticeable noise in the camera's JPEGs. ISO speeds above 1600 are decent, but I save those for emergencies only. The camera allows you to adjust contrast, sharpness, saturation, and noise reduction for the photographs. Movie quality is also good with smooth action and good sound, but it is recorded in mono.
All in all...a great little Micro Four Thirds camera that is a joy to use, and delivers excellent photo quality.
07/17/2012 Update: I recently took the camera to a wedding reception and it performed like a champ in full manual mode. I shot at f/2.5, shutter speed 1/125", and ISO speed 2000, and was able to get great images of couples dancing.
P.S. If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I would be happy to respond.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 20, 2012 5:52:00 PM PST
I'm surprised that you haven't noticed the vignetting on the 14mm f2.5 lens. Try taking a picture of a white wall at f2.5, f2.8, f4.0, and f5.6 and you will surely notice the dark fringing on the edges of your images. Once you see it, you will recognize it in any other pictures you take with that lens at those apertures.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2012 6:10:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 20, 2012 8:54:54 PM PST
I did as you suggested and saw the slightest hint of it. I turned off the shading compensation and tried again and I did notice more of it then, but still, I'm quite happy with the performance of the lens, and in my real world photography I don't notice much vignetting.
Keep in mind I do 99% of my shooting in JPEG so if the camera is probably removing it for me.
Thanks for the tip, and I've since edited my review to reflect these findings.
Posted on Feb 4, 2012 12:18:20 PM PST
K. Donlan says:
For a total camera novice that plans on taking this camera on extended travels, would you recommend the 14-42mm kit lens or this one with the 14mm f2.5 lens? Thank you!
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2012 5:07:24 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 4, 2012 5:08:38 PM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2012 10:16:58 PM PST
If this is going to be your only camera, and you're not going to buy any additional lenses, I would get the 14-42 kit lens. Especially the kit that has the 14-42 power zoom lens. That lens is very compact, sharp, and has a zoom.
I purchased the camera with this lens because I wanted something very small, and this is a secondary camera for me.
Posted on May 21, 2012 9:24:18 AM PDT
Julie A. Pairamore says:
I have had this camera for a few months now and just cannot seem to figure it out. I wanted something to take good pictures (have a new baby) and that was easy to use and transition to when he starts to run around. I end up spending more time trying to figure out the adjustments then I do taking pictures. Any advice on how best to use or is this the wrong camera for me?
In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2012 8:39:52 PM PDT
Julie: What setting are you using when you take the photos?
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 3:59:19 PM PDT
Steven Liu says:
hi Anthony, i'm looking for m43 camera, basically want to take good pictures, mostly portraits indoor and out. I will probably never change lens but want a camera that is better then point and shoot with decent to fast AF and good low light shots. Any recomendation, looking into panny GF3,5 and sony nex f3, panny Gx1, oly epl3 and canon g1x or any you can recommend. thanks steve
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012 7:09:43 AM PDT
Eddie: If you're sure you're not going to buy any additional lenses than I think you'll be better served by something with a fixed lens and a big sensor. The Sony RX100 would be my choice for you. The Sony is small, has a large sensor and bright lens for good low light shots, and fast auto-focus.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012 8:58:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2012 10:34:06 AM PDT
Steven Liu says:
Thanks Anthony how about multi shots. I just need sped to be able to take pics of my 5 and 8 year old playing and running. Is the sensor in this bigger then micro 43. How's the image quality.