Considering the Panasonic GF3, Questions About It

Started Sep 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
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larrytusaz
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Considering the Panasonic GF3, Questions About It
Sep 10, 2012

My apologies if this posting is too long. I have the Olympus E-PL1. I upgraded the "original" 14-42mm to the 2nd version, 14-42mm II MSC (not the latest "R" version, this is from the E-PL2 era I believe). I've posted before about struggles I tend to have with getting the E-PL1 to focus on my kids vs the background when taking "kiddy clicks." It's a shame, because I also like to do landscapes, and it's a GREAT landscape camera. I love the Olympus JPEG engine, & I use a hot-shoe spirit level and I never have a crooked horizon ever.

And yes, I have figured out how to do the "magnify" mode (smaller box & you can preview at 7x/10x/14x) and I even figured out how to have the shutter-release no longer AF on half-press, instead mapping that function out to the RECORD button. It has helped, but it is still slow & awkward compared to just picking a sensor near their face and running with it. I'm thinking the GF3 "touch to focus & fire" may be quicker.

I've seen someone selling a red GF3 body for only $125, and I'm like--man, how cheap you can ask for? So I'm going to try & go for it, and if I do so, then rather than selling the E-PL1 to help fund it as I figured, I'm going to keep it along side for awhile just in case, especially since the best price I've gotten so far in trying to sale it is only $75. (Seriously.) It may be that my best route is to do the E-PM1 deal at Cameta, though (IBIS with my 14-42mm II MSC, hot-shoe for my spirit level, familiarity with controls, JPEG engine etc), but the "touch-screen focus & fire" sounds like a real solution for the children photos.

Here are my questions.

(1) Based on what I've seen people say & my own examinations of the samples at Dpreview's review of the GF3, it appears that the GF3 does well in terms of its JPEG engine rendering great JPEGs like the E-PL1, certainly way better than the past Panasonics. What are your thoughts? (This is key especially for the landscapes, if the GF3 works well enough then it would replace the E-PL1 completely.)

(2) As the GF3 has no hot shoe, how do I use a spirit level on it, something that isn't expensive or bulky? I really like how I can just slide a tiny device onto the built-in hot shoe of my E-PL1. I realize the GF3 has grid lines, but I really find that without a spirit level specifically, my horizons are crooked, even when I use grid lines--this may be because we have a lot of "rolling hills" around here & frankly you can't go by horizons as to whether or not your shot isn't crooked, with the spirit level you KNOW.

And yes, using a tripod with a bubble level is the best way of all, but the GF3 (and E-PL1) are sort of "grab & go" alternatives to my DSLR, a Nikon D5100. I really like how the bubble-level on my E-PL1 makes it quick & easy to just know.

(3) I will know better once I'm using it (if I get one), but I'm thinking what I'd like would be to touch for autofocusing, and then taking the picture by pressing the button, but I do NOT want pressing the shutter release to re-initate autofocus. I'd like to be able to do this but WITHOUT going into manual-focus models (Olympus models allow you to do this, as I described above). Is this possible?

(4) People tell me the LCD of the GF3 is better than the one on the E-PM1 because of no 16:9 vs 4:3 mismatches, it fills up better--however, it looks as though it is always cluttered with icons & so forth, with no way to have an "image only" view when you want it. Is this true? I ask because I do sometimes turn off EVERYTHING, even f-stop/shutter-speed, when composing on my E-PL1.

 larrytusaz's gear list:larrytusaz's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha NEX-3N Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 +2 more
Nikon D5100 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus PEN E-PM1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
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