Panasonic DMC-G3 In-depth Review
Using the Panasonic G3/Handling
While the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is smaller and lighter than the G2, the biggest change when it comes to actually shooting with the camera is the re-designed, slimmer, grip. The G3 strays even further away from the DSLR model of a hand grip as a bulbous extension on which the shutter release sits. Instead, its shutter button is shifted back onto the body plate and the hump of the hand grip is shaved to a more subtly sloped contour. The change provides a good ergonomic handling experience, making the camera feel in hand more like an enthusiast compact than a mini DSLR. We find the G3 is actually more comfortable to hold over long periods of shooting than the G2.
However, should you augment the kit lens with a tele zoom, you'll quickly appreciate the rationale behind DSLR-style grips. The G3's smaller grip size reduces the leverage for your hand to balance the weight of the lens. Combined with the smaller size of the body itself, you may find that larger, heavier zoom lenses in the Panasonic lineup can become a bit more awkward for handheld use in terms of overall balance and weight.
Overall operation and handling
In terms of overall handling there is a lot to like about the G3. Compared to the more 'traditional' G2, Panasonic has shaved off some ounces and reduced the camera's profile without compromising ergonomics. This is a very comfortable camera to carry around, even without a strap.
Unlike the G2, the G3 integrates Panasonic's latest iteration of the touchscreen interface in a manner that literally begs you to use it, and with good reason. The improved usability of the touchscreen buttons along with the highly customizable Q. Menu mean that for a wide variety of tasks, the touchscreen is much faster and easier to use than the rear dial or 4-way controller.
When out shooting with the camera, the G3 handles well overall, but removal of the AF/AE lock button is a little disappointing. Although you can assign this feature to a function button, doing so is a multi-step process that you'd be hard-pressed to divine without reading the manual. In addition, the logical place to assign this function is the DISP. button since it aligns with your thumb while your finger is on the shutter release. Yet, its flush-with-the-camera design makes it rather awkward to press.Another tactile change, but one that is more welcome, is that the 4-way controller buttons on the rear are more pleasant to use on the G3. They give a firmer, more positive response when pressed, which gives more direct feedback, as opposed to the somewhat mushy feel of the same buttons on the G2. It's admittedly a subtle change, but it does make a difference. Also changed is the design of the rear dial. Compared to the G2, the rear dial has been reduced in size and is surrounded by a more contoured body molding. Opinion within the office is somewhat divided on this change - some of us prefer the smaller shape and others find it more awkward to manipulate compared to the dial on the G2 and GH2. It is, at any rate, noticeably different.
We're less equivocal about the deletion of the automatic EVF/LCD switch. The omission of this useful body element results in a marginal space saving at best, and to see such a simple and useful feature removed from a camera that includes so many other technology upgrades is disappointing..
Specific handling issues
User experience with the G3 depends largely on your expectations. If you're after a DSLR-type of experience with knobs, dials, and switches driving the controls, the G3 may seem unduly pared down until you embrace the touchscreen interface. On the other hand, a user upgrading from a mid-range or enthusiast compact may find a familiar friend in the touchscreen capability while also delighting in the use of a high quality viewfinder.
The G3's touchscreen interface is where Panasonic has made the most significant changes from the G2. Large, easy to press icons, with a consistent and identifiable button design make the touchscreen far faster and more intuitive than the the rear dial and 4-way controller for a number of tasks. We actually found ourselves becoming frustrated at times when using the viewfinder because we immediately wanted to touch a button, rather than rotate the dial or press the controller.
The G3 sports two independent function buttons, offering a wide list of settings that can be assigned to each. This is a welcome addition but our excitement is tarnished slightly by the design of the DISP./Fn1 button. It's flush with the camera body and difficult to locate by touch, and you're never really sure you've actually pressed it as the tactile feedback is so weak.
|The G3 lacks an eye sensor, so you must use the LVF/LCD button to toggle between the viewfinder and rear screen displays. This omission, coupled with the efficient touchscreen interface certainly tilts the use of the G3 towards those who primarily use the LCD. Even for those users, though, having a high quality viewfinder in bright sunlight conditions (where the LCD visibility drops) is indispensable.|
|The DISP. button is designed so that it is essentially flush with the camera body, meaning you can't press it accidentally, but making locating it by touch frustratingly difficult. Given the fact that DISP now does double duty as a function button, and is ideally-located to use for a commonly-accessed function such as AE lock, this is unfortunate.|
The Fujifilm XC 35mm F2 prime lens has the same optical formula as the company's XF 35mm F2 WR prime but costs half as much. How can this be? Chris and Jordan explain the differences.
In the latest episode of DPReview TV, Chris and Jordan compared the new, inexpensive Fujifilm XC 35mm F2 with the more durable XF version that's twice the price. See some of the photos they took side-by-side in this sample gallery.
The 2019 winners and finalists of the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards have been revealed.
PBS recently gave viewers a look at MIT Museum's new The Polaroid Project instant photography exhibition.
Researchers with IBM and MIT have published a new demonstration tool that allows anyone to 'paint' new elements into existing digital images.
Venus Optics says the lens is the first Laowa macro lens specifically designed for APS-C mirrorless camera systems.
The updates mostly address only a single issue for each lens, but it continues to show Sigma's continued dedication to addressing various issues, even small ones, across its lens lineup.
Spider Holster has launched four new products, including two updated versions of existing gear, that make life easier for photographers.
While nearly all of Tokina's F-mount lenses will work without issue on Nikon Z-series mirrorless cameras, there are a select few that can't use autofocus.
The X-T200 is arguably the company's most compelling entry-level option yet. Take a closer look in our detailed hands-on article.
Last year, DJI announced they will be adding ADS-B sensors to their commercial-grade drones weighing over 250 grams. Now, it is rumored that 3 new drone models will be released this year.
The Fujifilm X-T200 is what we wish the X-T100 had been, offering a solid AF system, proper 4K video and a more responsive interface. Click through to see what else is new and improved.
Fujifilm just announced its newest camera, the X-T200. In this hands-on preview, Chris and Jordan explain how it fits into Fujifilm's lineup and why they like it.
Fujifilm will add the weather-sealed GF 45-100mm F4 to its medium format lens lineup in February. The approximately 35-80mm equivalent zoom will cost around $2300.
Two new primes are hitting the roadmap for Fujifilm's GF system: the 24mm equiv. 30mm F3.5 R WR and an ultra-fast 80mm F1.7.
The 'XC' variant uses the same optical design as the existing XF 35mm F2, but has no aperture ring and a plastic mount to lower the cost.
Fujifilm has refreshed its entry-level series with the X-T200, adding a giant touchscreen, proper 4K/30p video recording and shaving off 80g of weight compared to its X-T100 predecessor.
The telephoto zoom features a constant F4 aperture across its 70-210mm focal length range, uses Pentax's supersonic direct-drive motor (SDM), and weighs 859g (1.89lbs).
DynaLite, the photographic lighting company founded in the 1970s, has been forced to file for bankruptcy and permanently shutter its service.
Flickr increased its Pro plan subscription price this week, but existing customers are given the option of staying at their current lower rate.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting recounts one of his most memorable shoots—the time he photographed late New England Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez, no more than 24 hours after committing murder.
Lace up your dancing shoes for a trip to Seattle's Emerald City Soul Club, where we put the Panasonic S1H's impressive video capabilities to the test.
The public institution Paris Musées has launched a new online portal that provides the public with direct access to tens of thousands of high-resolution public domain images showcasing some of France's historic photography.
The ten-minute video shows how much thought and effort went into every second of the World War I film that's made to look as though it was shot in one, continuous take.
Edelkrone's new app-controlled JibONE is the 'one motion control that does it all,' the company claims.
The 512GB Thunderbolt 3 NVMe drive is effectively unchanged from its previously-announced 1TB and 2TB counterparts, complete with its sequential read speeds up to 2,400MB/s and write speeds up to 1,800MB/s.
Since the launch of the EOS R line in 2018, Canon has mostly concentrated its attentions on high-end RF lenses. The RF 85mm F1.2L IS USM is among the very best.
Following a number of reports in the DPReview forums and on Fuji X Forums, Fujifilm has confirmed that a 'very small percentage' of X-Pro 3 units are experiencing an issue with the EVF display being too bright.
The new mount options use the same overall design as the original Micro Four Thirds version released back in 2018.
The Fragment 8 from Loft Factory is a digital camera that aims to replicate the look, feel and image quality of 1960s and 70s Super 8 cameras using modern technologies.