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Customer Review

65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent complement to an enthusiast photography kit, December 23, 2011
This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3CK Kit 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 14mm Pancake Lens (Camera)
For some time I've been looking for a camera with better image quality than a point & shoot that I could carry whenever I didn't feel like lugging my EOS 7D or 60D around. When a competing camera business offered the 14 mm kit bundled with the 14 - 42 mm zoom, I couldn't resist and jumped in. The GF-3 feels very well built and so does the 14 mm pancake. Not so much the kit zoom, but never worse than the standard kit glass offered with the Rebel line from Canon. The camera with the 14 mm prime is very small and certainly filled the profile of what I was looking. External controls are sparse but no surprises here, as simplicity is the predominant philosophy preconized buy Panasonic. In its favor, the touchscreen interface is very intuitive and you do get full control access after some Q-menu tweaks. Therefore, in my opinion, the GF-3 gets high marks in usability but not so much in image quality. Although I wasn't expecting DSLR quality given the limitations (and advantages) of the micro four/thirds format, I do think that IQ is closer to high end point and shoot than entry-level DSLRs. Specially at above ISO 800. ISO 1600 is usable but very blotchy at regular jpeg output and requires some processing for raw images. Love the size of the pancake but unfortunately this lens is SOFT at the open 2.5 setting. And I mean soft at even regular viewing magnifications. Also, it might be a mislead impression, but it behaves slower than you might expect from a 2.5 maximum aperture prime. I guess you can't cheat physics. The kit zoom offers visibly better IQ at the wide (equivalent) end but it is painfully slow. Not sure how much the mega O.I.S. helps in low light in a camera that is more difficult to hold still than a DSLR. I final note goes to the bundled software. I haven't tried the raw converter, but Silkypix crashes every time I connect the camera through the supplied USB cable. This is the case in two separate machines although I have to mention that it coexists with other camera manufacturer software. So far, direct SD card downloads and uninstalling the software has solved the issue. To summarize, even with the lack of external controls, I like the ergonomics for what it is (compact mirrorless camera) and the handling is good but noise at high ISO settings is above my generous expectations.
People interested in the m4/3 format should consider offerings from Olympus or the newer GX-1 for better low light image quality.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 7, 2012 7:32:14 PM PDT
TrailBlazer says:
"Therefore, in my opinion, the GF-3 gets high marks in usability but not so much in image quality." I agree. Ingenious function, including touch screen. First one I ever used. But image quality is not up to Olympus's own micro 4/3rds in my experience. Strange, as I believe the cameras use the same 12 megapxiel, and, now, 16 megapixel, sensors.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 7:44:32 AM PDT
I wonder if the newly released GF-5 compares more favorably to same-category offerings from Olympus.
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