The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3's playback mode combines both the physical controls on the camera with the touchscreen interface. The two work reasonably well in combination, however, their integration could be better.
At present, most functions are simply duplicated. Take for instance image browsing. You can either drag with your finger or use the left-right buttons of the 4-way controller. The controller is significantly faster and avoids the animated transition between images, all the while allowing you to keep your finger in one place. It makes the touchscreen method feel clunky by comparison. Minor points to be sure, but Panasonic has raised the bar so high in this regard that we are now looking for perfection.
The G3, much like its predecessor, makes use of the DISP. button to cycle through the available views in playback mode. With a minimal icon display as a starting point, and the appearance of an image-only view with zero user input, the G3 offers an image review mode aimed squarely at users who want to see images rather than data.
|When you press the playback button on the rear of the camera you are presented with a view of your image along with a Thumbnail and Delete button.||After 2 seconds of inactivity, the touchscreen buttons disappear, offering an image-only view. An initial press of the Disp. button on the rear of the camera temporarily returns those buttons to view.|
|With the button icons still onscreen, a press of the DISP. button shows mode dial setting, exposure, ISO, exposure compensation, flash and WB, along with Quality settings, image count and battery life.||Pressing the DISP. button again brings up an even more detailed view of your camera settings...|
|...and a final press brings up an RGBY histogram displaying the image's tonal distribution.||Pressing the Delete button brings up a screen where you can specify deletion of a single image, make a multi-image selection or wipe the entire contents of the card.|
In play mode, pressing on the screen zooms in to the specified area at a 2x magnification. By rotating the camera's rear dial you can move step-wise in additional increments of 4x, 8x and 16x view. The 4-way controller can be used to navigate the image, as indicated by directional arrows onscreen. However, we find it faster to scroll around the image simply by dragging with your finger.
|The current magnification view is always shown in the upper left, along with icons indicating the appropriate direction to turn the rear dial. Two touchscreen buttons allow you to zoom out in step-wise increments or return directly to full screen (x1.0) view.
You can remove the onscreen icons by pressing the DISP. button.
|In magnified view, a press of the rear dial places forward and backward buttons onscreen to navigate through the images on the SD card. You can cycle through images quickly by continuing to hold either button. Another way to zoom into the image is to press directly on the image area.|
Play thumbnail index
Press the Thumbnail button (or turn the rear dial counter-clockwise) to switch to thumbnail index views. There are three different options: 12 images (3x4), 30 images (6x5) and last but not least, a calendar view which allows you to browse your images according to the date on which they were taken.