Panasonic GF3 Comparison Review
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was announced in June 2011 and is equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. It offers a resolution of 12 megapixel.
Is the Panasonic GF3 a good camera? The GF3 has a Camera Elo of 1437. This rating puts the GF3 below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (Four Thirds cameras), the GF3 also ranks below average. – Well, the Panasonic GF3 is more than 9 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2011.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|ISO 160 - 6 400|
|no viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0 LCD, 460k dots|
|3.2 shutter flaps per second|
|300 shots per battery charge|
|108 x 67 x 32 mm, 264 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The physical dimensions of the Panasonic GF3 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Panasonic GF3 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Panasonic GF3||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|Olympus E-PL3||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.5 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|Panasonic GF5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||9.4 oz||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic LX7||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|Panasonic G3||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599|
|Panasonic G10||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GF2||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||10.9 oz||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|Panasonic LX5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||9.6 oz||400||n||Jul 2010||499|
|Panasonic G1||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Panasonic GF3 was launched in the US market at a price of $549. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Panasonic GF3 features a Four Thirds sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Panasonic GF3 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The GF3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the GF3 can use is 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Panasonic GF3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
One convenient feature of the GF3 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GF3 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Panasonic GF3||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|Olympus E-PL3||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|Panasonic GF5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic LX7||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|Panasonic G3||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|Panasonic G10||..||70/100||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||..||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GF2||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|Panasonic LX5||+||73/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Panasonic G1||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Panasonic GF3 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the GF3.
What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the GF3?
The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Panasonic equipped the GF3 with the Venus FHD image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the GF3?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 6400.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3?
Panasonic does not publish a shutter rating for the GF3. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
Does the Panasonic GF3 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The GF3's flash sync speed is 1/160 sec.
Which battery does the GF3 use?
The camera gets its power from the DMW-BLE9 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D C vs Panasonic GF3
- Canon SX70 vs Panasonic GF3
- Leica SL vs Panasonic GF3
- Nikon B600 vs Panasonic GF3
- Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic GF3
- Olympus E-PL3 vs Panasonic GF3
- Panasonic GF3 vs Pentax K-5
- Panasonic GF3 vs Pentax Q
- Panasonic GF3 vs Sony A850
- Panasonic GF3 vs Sony RX1
- Panasonic GF3 vs Sony RX10 II
- Panasonic GF3 vs Sony WX800
|Camera Model||Panasonic GF3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 549|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||225 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4 000 x 3 000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 6 400 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||458|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||DMW-BLE9 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||300 shots per charge|
108 x 67 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||264 g (9.3 oz)|
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