Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 camera announcedThe compact system camera is now even more compact

13 June 2011

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-GF3 compact system camera. The new camera is the most compact micro four thirds camera to date.

The 12.1Mp Panasonic GF3 will be available this summer with a choice of one or both kit lenses:

  • 14mm pancake lens
  • 14-42mm standard zoom lens

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 first look video review

Which? had exclusive access to the Panasonic GF3 prior to its announcement. Watch the Panasonic GF3 first look video here.

To keep the size of the GF3 to a minimum, Panasonic has removed the hot shoe mount that its predecessor, the GF2, had. Both the GF3 and the GF2 lack viewfinders, however an external viewfinder could be fitted to the GF2 using the hot shoe attachment - a feature that's been removed from the GF3.

Many of the GF3's features can be accessed and controlled by using the 3-inch touchscreen on the back of the camera. Touchscreen controls include spot-focussing, shutter release, skipping through images in playback mode and selecting menu options.

The Panasonic GF3 can record video in Full HD (1080i), however it can only record mono audio - unlike the GF2.

New features on the GF3

  • iA+. The Intelligent Auto Plus feature enables the user to override some settings when using the automatic mode. This allows the user to blur the background or add warmth to a photograph by changing the white balance, for example.
  • Improved autofocus. Panasonic claims that the new processor on the GF3 can automatically focus in 0.1 seconds.
  • Miniature effect. The new miniature effect can be creatively used to make people and large objects look like small toys.
  • Expandable focus area. The focus area can be enlarged or reduced to keep more or less of the image in focus.
  • New menu system. Much of the menu system on the GF3 is the same as on previous Panasonic Lumix G cameras, but some aspects are new - including the scrolling menu wheel for quickly accessing certain features and settings.
  • Redesigned and more compact body than Panasonic GF2, but hot shoe and stereo recording has been sacrificed.

See how the Panasonic GF2 and other micro four third cameras performed in our tests, by reading our DSLR reviews

What is a micro four thirds camera?

A micro four thirds camera is a type of system camera, which means it has a replaceable lens. The ability to change lenses on a camera increases the camera's versatility and provides the user with more advanced creative options.

Digital SLRs are another type of system camera but are larger than micro four third models. Micro four third cameras are therefore sometimes classified as compact system cameras (CSCs). Panasonic and Olympus both make micro four third cameras while Sony and Samsung make their own types of compact system cameras called NEX and NX cameras respectively.

Micro four third lenses from Panasonic and Olympus can be used on either Panasonic or Olympus micro four third cameras. Sony NEX lenses can only be used on Sony NEX compact system cameras and the same goes for the Samsung NX system.

If you don't want to swap the lenses on your camera, then you may want to consider buying a bridge camera, which offer many manual functions and can have powerful zooms. Or if you're after something even more compact, then check out our point-and-shoot camera reviews.

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