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Customer Review

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lumix DMC-G3 is a winner, November 12, 2011
By 
This review is from: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 16 MP Micro Four-Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Touch Screen LCD (Body Only) (Electronics)
Technicals for this camera have been expounded upon ad nauseum already and they are mostly good. So lets go in another direction.
I am a photographer who uses a Canon 5D2 DSLR with the Canon 24-70mm L lens as my every-day setup. It yields superb images for this format.
But, after years of using this combo, you start to feel weighed down ... I needed an alternative to "shlepping" this setup when going on a casual hike or family outing. I ALSO wanted a backup to the Canon 5D2 for those photo trips/assignments where the Canon setup might become inoperative ... sure, I could get another 5D2 body and get weighed down even MORE ... no thanks.
My solution, at this time, is the Panasonic Lumix G3. For now I use it with the 14-140mm Panny OIS zoom lens (I don't particularly like the kit lens that comes with the camera). I also particularly like the Panny 20mm f/1.7 lens which is tiny. The G3 is NO Canon 5D2, BUT it is very convenient and the images are very good compared to what most lightweight cameras can do. It took me awhile to be confident enough to trust this camera for images that I care about capturing, but it does a pretty good job considering the relatively low price of admission.
YES, there may be better small cameras coming out (usually you're obsolete in 4 months after your purchase of a small camera).
The Sony NEX-7 looks promising. If it lives up to its promise, it will probably edge out the G3 in image quality, BUT at twice the price.
The inexpensive G3 fills a niche for me: as a fun camera which I have confidence in and as a backup for my DSLR. The 4 stars represents the combination of G3 value and performance for me at this point in time. And lets not forget the G3's "fun" factor.

UPDATE March 2012: I've purchased Panasonic's new micro 4/3 14-42mm "Power" "X" zoom lens from Amazon and it has become my new walking around lens. The quality of the images that this lens produces is remarkable, certainly exceeding my expectations. Now I trust this camera/lens combination even more than before. This new lens/camera combo requires a Panasonic firmware update for best performance, but it's very easy to do. The zoom lever is necessarily on the lens and that position takes a bit of getting used to, but it is silent and the lens zoom is right in the range that I prefer. Bravo. I raise my rating to 5 stars with the proviso that this new setup is still no 5D2, but is great for what it is.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 10, 2012, 2:35:13 PM PDT
G. Joshi says:
Hey, I would love to have your advice after reading your review. I am a novice in photography and want to upgrade from my current p&s camera. I have been researching into upgrade option for quite a bit now.

My budget camera(body)+lens is around $850.

I am buying an everyday/every occasion camera. Just the one. I will be taking my camera on vacations as well as taking shots on my kids. I would be also taking videos with this carmera as I do not have a camcorder.

What I am looking for:
1) Cost of around $850.
2) Image Quality (prefer to use the straight off JPEGs and no PP)
3) Bokeh
4) Video
5) Portable

The options I have come up with so far:
1) Sony RX 100 (cost $650)
- What I like about this camera is that its compact and as there is no interchangeble lens system, hopefully no dust/maintanece issues. Also it costs less and has good video options. Seems like a good everyday/every occasion camera.
- What I am not sure is that will this camera give me good IQ and Bokeh.
2) Panasonic G3(body) and Panasonic G 20mm f/1.7 lens (total cost $850)
- what I like about this camera is that it has the swivel lcd which is great for self portraits. Also, this camera will give me option to use a fast lens like the panasonic 20mm f/1.7.
- What I am not sure is that will this kit(camera and lens) be enough for my every day use as the focal length is about 41.5mm(35mm equivalent)? The RX100 has a range from 28mm to 100mm.
- Also, I don't think this kit will have any stabilization feature thus not sure of the effects of this on the hand held photos and videos I plan to shoot. In contrast the RX100 has stabilization.

So, in conclusion, I am confused from the 2 options above. So keeping all the points in mind from above, Will paying $200 more for the panasonic kit serve be much better than the RX100 in the field of IQ and bokeh? Or will the RX100 be a better option, keeping IQ and bokeh in mind?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012, 3:02:47 PM PDT
mavn says:
I think that I might do you a disservice recommending stuff since I have not kept up with the latest & greatest since buying the G3 and buying my new Canon 5D Mark III. But, I CAN tell you, owning the 20mm f/1.7, that you need to be sure that you really want to "focus with your feet" on every shot. Panny has a relatively new 14-42 lens as mentioned, that, like the old 14-42 kit lens, makes photography easier AND that new 14-42 is a power zoom with OIS which works well for movies and stills. I have that new lens and I enjoy using it. I must have gotten a "good one" since reviews for this lens are "OK". Since I am addicted to my 5D3, my G3 usually gets used when I just don't want to drag the "big gun" around i.e.: hiking, around-town shooting, etc. Since I am not up-to-date and since I don't want to write just any old BS here, I suggest, for the latest reliable opinions on cameras, that you try the DP Review and/or Imaging Resource websites. Good luck.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012, 3:15:16 PM PDT
G. Joshi says:
Hey...really appreciate you quick and helpful reply. Yes, I did read that you have bought the new Panny 14-42. Though, I did not consider that option, as I thought that I would not be able to get any bokeh shots with it. True?

I will ask the same questions on DP Review as you suggest.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012, 4:14:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 10, 2012, 4:16:17 PM PDT
mavn says:
I would agree ... at 5.6 it's not really bokeh, it's just "background-somewhat-out-of-focus". But the desire for bokeh may in actuality be expanding your definition of an "every day/every occasion camera" into a fine art image capturing tool.
Sure, getting and composing for artistic bokeh in movies and stills is always a plus, but perhaps expecting it in a camera/lens combo that (as nice as that combo is) is indeed not far removed from point-and-shoot territory, may be asking too much. I wonder how much money is involved in your purchasing a quality used Canon 5D Mark II and one or 2 of their used L lenses. You'd get your bokeh, get super-nice movies (professionals use the 5D2 for movies), superb stills, and you would get a lot more flexibility than a small camera affords. You sound like you like quality, and this would be it.
I won the Grand Prize from Photographers Forum magazine in 2010 with an image captured with the 5D2. Even used and
three-plus years old, the quality is just great.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2013, 12:05:57 PM PST
Alina says:
Hey Mavn, thanks for the great review. I'm very close to buying the G3 and would like to add on the power zoom lens you mentioned. Is there any way you can post a pic of how the two look together? Possibly while holding it so I can gauge the size. Would me much appreciated. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2013, 2:01:18 PM PST
mavn says:
Glad that you liked my review. Not convenient to take/send a pic now BUT, here's a video showing this lens, comparing it's size to the 20mm pancake, and showing it ON an Olympus micro 4/3 camera. This video should give you the feel for how it will look/work on the G3 along with operator's hands giving an indication of it's size. I hope this helps. Enjoy it. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwokKQ70MJ0
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