25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Best compromise of size and IQ yet...,
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This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3XW 12.1 MP Micro Four Thirds Compact System Camera with 3-Inch Touch-Screen LCD and LUMIX G X Vario PZ 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 Lens (White) (Electronics)Micro four thirds (MFT) format and the other mirrorless DSLR replacement cameras have been around for a while, but until this 14-42 X series lens came along, the size reduction promised by the MFT format has not been realized. Sony's NEX-series (APS-C sized sensor), Samsung's NX-series (APS-C sized sensor), Panasonix G-series (MFT size sensor), and Olympus E-series (MFT size sensor) all give a HUGE improvment in image quality (IQ) over compact cameras that have much smaller sensors (1/2.5" etc). All 4 have their strengths and weaknesses. But all are still too big, frankly, to carry in your pocket with a zoom lens.
(Sure, with a pancake fixed focal length lens, each is pocketable, but NOT with a zoom)For day to day, catching kids in action, shooting people with cool backgrounds, etc. stuff, you usually want to carry a ZOOM as your main lens, something in the 20s, zoom out to 70s or 80s, or you will just miss a lot of stuff.
This is the first camera-lens combination that has the much higher IQ of the mirrorless cameras above, combined with the compact cameras, AND a usable zoom lens (14-42, but 28-84 equivalent), that you could legitimately drop into a coat pocket and forget you put it there. Or put in a large purse and forget you put it there. The price of $750 may seem high, and it will probably drop later, but this little thing is gorgeous, and much smaller than you'd imagine from the pictures.
The controls are very easy to use, and the camera is FAST to startup, VERY FAST to focus and shoot. It's just a very, very cute, and very, very capable little camera.
As for precise details on how IQ compares to other cameras, that is something I'm not the person to judge. My blowups look great to me. I think there will be plenty of experts who can chime in on that on the official camera review sites like steve's digicams and dpreview in the coming weeks. But I can comment on the sheer usability, convenience and functional capability of this camera. You will take this camera where bigger cameras are simply too much of a pain to haul with you, and it will power up/focus/shoot fast enough so that you won't miss any shots.
Oh, and it shoots HD video (1080i), AND because there's a zoom switch on the left upper side of the lens, it's actually by far the steadiest, most smooth, "CINEMATIC" zoom for shooting that I've yet to see on a "not a videocam" camera. When you normally shoot HD video, you still hold the camera with your right hand and you naturally steady the lens with your left... which puts your left index finger right by the zoom switch. Much, much smoother, professional looking videos, and the autofocus is very fast and solid.
I think this thing will sell very, very well. Got ours in "white/silver", with a similar color lens, and I love the color. Also comes in black & red I think.
I've heard that the image stabilization on the lens has some potential issue affecting sharpness at certain shutter speeds and focal lengths, but I've not encountered that yet at all.
If you are interested in a camera with more easy access manual controls that a "serious" photographer would like, the Panasonic GX1 is coming out in December, and has the same form factor, a full range of manual controls, a higher pixel count (and I believe a superior sensor), and its built in flash unit actually can be flipped up to bounce flash off the ceiling, which is a great feature. I think it's gonna be about $200 more. I would have considered holding out for that one, but having a camera both my wife and I can easily use, AND having the camera now for Thanksgiving trumped that.
And no, I'm not a panasonic rep or anything. I just love this form factor (I've been WAITING for this form factor), the first "legit" detachable lens & camera that I don't have to think twice about taking with me going ANYWHERE, including just out for dinner or a hike anywhere.
-ADDENDUM: Returned the camera after I downloaded all the images at home. Didn't like the way the flash got cut off on certain shots, the lens seemed to give me "soft" images at the higher zoom length at 42 mm and slow shutter speeds (and then I read that some image stabilization problem might be the reason for this happening to not just me). Overall, I was still happy about it, but given that the compact 14-42X lens was one of the biggest reasons I got it, and that seemed to be having issues, I chose to return the camera and wait till they get these issues sorted out.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 30, 2011 10:07:41 AM PST
A firmware update for the lens and camera was released by panasonic to address the issues noted in the review.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2011 10:14:31 AM PST
Dukjin Im says:
Well, at this point, since I returned the camera, I can wait a little longer.
So that I think I'm going to wait till mid december, and get the (GF3X's cousin) GX1x, at the same size, same zoom lens, with the better sensor and higher iso sensitivity, off center flash that shoots forward and up for bounce, has more manual controls, and metal body, (but for $250 more than the GF3X). I have to say though, that white model GF3X was SOOOO cute.
I wish the GX1x came in white too, but I'll have to settle for gunmetal.
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