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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.

camera

Is the Panasonic GF3 a good camera? The GF3 has a Camera Elo of 1379. 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 10 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2011.

Headline Specifications
Panasonic GF3
Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses
12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60i Video
ISO 160 - 6 400
no viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed touchscreen
3.2 shutter flaps per second
300 shots per battery charge
108 x 67 x 32 mm, 264 g


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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.

Panasonic GF3 vs credit card front
GF3 versus credit card top view
GF3 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Panasonic GF3 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic GF3 108 mm 67 mm 32 mm 264 g 300 n Jun 2011 549i
2.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-PM1 110 mm 64 mm 34 mm 265 g 330 n Jun 2011 499i
4.
 
Panasonic GF5 108 mm 67 mm 37 mm 267 g 360 n Apr 2012 499i
5.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
6.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
7.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
8.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
9.
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549i
10.
 
Panasonic LX5 110 mm 65 mm 43 mm 271 g 400 n Jul 2010 499i
11.
 
Panasonic G1 124 mm 84 mm 45 mm 360 g 410 n Sep 2008 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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.

Panasonic GF3:
Check Ebay offers

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.

Panasonic GF3 sensor measures

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 alternatives.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
2.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
3.
 
Olympus E-PM1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i21.010.349952
4.
 
Panasonic GF5 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
5.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
6.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
7.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
8.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
9.
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
10.
 
Panasonic LX5 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/60p19.610.813241
11.
 
Panasonic G1 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000none21.110.346353

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.

Feature comparison

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.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Panasonic GF3none n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2 Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
3.
 
Olympus E-PM1optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
4.
 
Panasonic GF5none n3.0 / 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
5.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
6.
 
Panasonic G31440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
7.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
8.
 
Panasonic G21440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
9.
 
Panasonic GF2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
10.
 
Panasonic LX5optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y Y
11.
 
Panasonic G11440 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

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.

Connection comparison

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.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Panasonic GF3-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Olympus E-PM1Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
4.
 
Panasonic GF5-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Panasonic LX5Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic G1Y- / ---mini2.0---

Expert reviews

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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic GF33/582/100..71/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549i
2.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +..72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
3.
 
Olympus E-PM1..86/100..71/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 499i
4.
 
Panasonic GF53/5......4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499i
5.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
6.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +..75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
7.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
8.
 
Panasonic G2......72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
9.
 
Panasonic GF23/582/100..70/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549i
10.
 
Panasonic LX54/5+..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
11.
 
Panasonic G1..+ +..70/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
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.

How do I find the shutter count on my GF3?

Panasonic embeds the number of shutter actuations in hidden menus. You can check the number of shots that your GF3 has taken up to now by carefully following the steps described on the Panasonic GF3 shutter count page.

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.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Panasonic GF3
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date June 2011
    Launch Price USD 549
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 225 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x
    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
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    V-logging Friendliness No front-flip
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 3.2 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type DMW-BLE9 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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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