Panasonic has introduced its first gen-3 “G”-series camera: the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3. Like its predecessors, the Lumix DMC-G3 is a Micro Four Thirds format (MFT), mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera, albeit with a higher-resolution, 16.0MP Live MOS imaging sensor for capturing stills (JPEG and RAW) and full HD 1080p AVCHD video with stereo sound.
Though touted for its DSLR-like shooting and handling characteristics, the engineers at Panasonic designed several AF, exposure and editing control features into the G3’s 1,440,000-dot, 3.0” Free Angle Touch Enabled LCD. Included among these enhancements are touch follow-focus control with near-pixel accuracy, enhanced window-within-a-window 4x-plus manual focus viewing and the ability to quickly flip through captured images like pages in a book. Exposure and White Balance can also be adjusted, slider style, using the camera’s LCD. And to make composing images at awkward angles that much easier, the camera’s LCD can be rotated 180° and tilted 270°.
In addition to these cutting-edge technologies, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 also falls back on more familiar control functions including an analog control dial for setting exposure and Custom modes (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Custom 1, Custom 2, Creative modes and Scene modes), as well as a one-touch video button for quick shifting between stills and video capture and a separate button for Intelligent Auto mode (iA). Dual stereo mics and a hot shoe ride atop the G3’s pop-up flash housing and the rear camera controls should appear as familiar and decipherable to anyone who’s ever used a digital camera.
Panasonic advertises its Lumix DMC-G-series cameras as being “the company’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable-lens camera with a viewfinder to date,” and the 1,440,000-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) built into the Lumix G3 equals the resolving power of the camera’s rear-mounted LCD, both of which allow for 100% viewing of the total image area.
Other features found on the Panasonic Lumix G3 include 4-frame-per-second stills at full res (up to 20 frames per second at 4MP), reduced signal-to-noise ratios (it’s less noisy at higher ISO ratings), selective noise reduction, which improves overall image quality as opposed to global noise reduction, 23 AF focus points, LightSpeed AF for quicker AF response times, MEGA O.I’S (built-in optical image stabilization) and an improved Dust Reduction System.
In addition to a 14-42mm kit lens (28-84mm equivalent), the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 accepts 11 other fixed and zoom Micro Four Third optics from Panasonic. You also have the option of using Micro Four Third optics from other manufacturers as well as standard optics from other camera and lens manufacturers via the use of lens adapter rings (optional).
The Panasonic Lumix GMC G3 is available in black for formal occasions and white, red and brown for casual occasions. Delivery of the new DMC-G3 cameras is expected in June, 2011.