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Is the G3 still considered a good camera?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by grog, May 1, 2015.

  1. grog

    grog Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 30, 2015
    I've been lurking for some time but now that I am an owner of a Panasonic G3 I just wanted to get some opinions on the camera.

    I had been hoping to get a "proper" camera for a while now. Originally I was looking at models such as the Olympus XZ-2, then the Stylus 1 but then read about the importance of a big sensor. I did not want to go to one as big as a dSLR though. I then looked at the LX100, and GM5 but being a recent grad who just moved into my own place I didn't have that much money to spend on a new camera. I needed something a little more friendly to my wallet.

    It turned out that a friend of a friend was selling much of his gear and said he had some m43 cameras that were lightly used. My 'budget' options from him were a GF1, E-PM2 or G3.

    The GF1 was my favourite based on its look and feel, but he also told me that it was one of the oldest m43 cameras around. The E-PM2 had a nice portable size, and I had read about how Olympus cameras produced nice colours. The G3 felt good in the hand, and I loved the built in viewfinder, and tilt-able lcd screen.

    I ended up going with the G3 along with a Panasonic 20mm lens (first generation) for a great price. I have some knowledge of manual settings and so far I have been practicing with shooting at different settings and modes but nothing too serious at the moment.

    So I just wanted to ask if there are any G3 users here that can give their opinions on the camera, how it stacks up against m4/3 cameras from the current generation etc. Is it a good camera to get started with?
  2. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Its the most modern m43 camera I own (I've got an E-P1 & E-PM1 too - both with older-generation 12mp sensors). I find it fine for my needs - nice articulated screen, nice sensor, very compact and solid body, nice evf.
    There are some interface annoyances - mostly relating to macro (jumping out of zoom when you take a shot, not handling MF in the same way as Olympus when you want to go 1:1 on the 60mm). I do miss the Oly image stabilisation - my next camera is unlikely to be a Panasonic for that reason.

    These days I only buy bodies second hand or at a steep discount - otherwise its like a treadmill of gear acquisition that doesn't necessarily make my pictures any better. I don't shoot video so don't care about 4k; Wifi isn't something I care about either; low light performance is something I'd like, but I have serviceable E-P1 pictures with an old adapted Pen F f1.4 lens in low light - my G3 will be better still if I need it.

    I'd say you made a good choice - enjoy it. Invest in good glass - it'll outlast your bodies.
  3. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Robert (Rob)
    The G3 is a great camera
    PS phigmov - Love the Joe 90 vid - showing my age !
  4. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I have a G3. It was one of the first of the 16MP sensor bodies, and is a bit unique in its form factor. I was initially attracted to it for its size and having an EVF. While it is not state of the art, it can still produce some great images. My caveats would be not to shoot raw, and not push the ISO too high. I am just not a fan of the JPEGs that it produces, although you could tweak the settings if inclined. And, while it has less noise than some of the 12MP sensors, I would try to keep it at, or under, ISO 800 (or 1600 if you are good at post processing) as I do not find the noise from this sensor appealing at high ISO's. Of course, YMMV, but I say use it until you want to make an upgrade.


  5. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Welcome to the forum :) 

    The G3 was released in 2011. Try this: is a car from 2011 a good car and how does it compare to the current generation? Yes, tech improvements are usually faster, but I think that cameras slowed down a lot in recent years.
    A 2015 model in the same price range is going to work better in low light and in high contrast situations. And you have WiFi, faster everything, better EVF, etc. But I think it's a good camera to start, for many aspects comparable to a professional camera from 10 years ago. The P20 is a really good lens.
    Just learn to work around the limitations that all cameras share.

  6. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    That combination is great - I had both until they were stolen a couple of months ago. I'm still missing the lens. Be sure to try the teleconverter mode. It only renders JPEG but they can be quite good - it is more than an optical zoom as there is some algorithm that comes into play in rendering the file.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I thought Extended Tele was only for video?

  8. m43er

    m43er Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 6, 2011
    I have a G3 with 20mm - it's my first m43. The articulated LCD is a bit cumbersome and gets in the way sometimes especially with a neckstrap, so a tilt-screen works better.

    The first jpgs of trees showed smearing but after setting NR to -2 it's ok but WTH. Low light performance is ok till ISO800 for night, sometimes up to ISO1600 but need software clean up.

    The hump and protuding EVF bugged me then and now still, so no GX7 nor SLR-like cameras in future.

    The 20mm is slow to focus sometimes but I'm unwilling to give it up and will keep it for my next camera probably an Olympus since I want good IBIS. EVF is not that important to me.
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    Yes it is a fine camera to get started with. In fact, there are only minor updates between it and the newer G5 and G6. They use the same sensor. The G5/6 have nicer screens and some convenience features like an eye-sensor to automatically turn on the EVF when you look in it. And Wi-Fi and touchscreens, etc. But in terms of pure imaging capabilities, the G3 is no worse than the current G6.

    The G3 sensor is good up until ISO 3200. The newer sensors on The GX7 and E-M10 and similar generation cameras can do ISO 6400 well. So you gain about a stop in low light.

    Also, some will tell you the 20mm focuses slow. It does in relation to the newer m4/3 lenses. But it is focuses better than many older SLR lenses. So it's all relative. It's fast enough for anything but action shots, in my experience.
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa
  11. foxtail1

    foxtail1 Science geek & photo nut Subscribing Member

    Dec 30, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    I have a G3 (my first µ4/3 camera) and a G5. I still use the G3 all the time — I'll use it until it dies, I expect.

    There's a thread that's been around since 2011 for G3 shots. It's still active, although not as much as it used to be, for obvious reasons: https://www.mu-43.com/threads/13483/page-21#post-763916

    I think you chose well.
  12. grog

    grog Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 30, 2015
    Thanks for the replies everyone. I had a tiny bit of buyers remorse but after taking it out for a spin a couple of days ago, and reading the posts here I feel a lot more confident. I will get around to posting some of my pictures later when I get a chance.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    I have a G3, it was my first serious digital camera (not first serious camera...!). I also have an E-PM2, but I still use both of them about the same amount. Apart from in low light (where the E-PM2 has maybe 1 stop better high ISO performance IMHO) they both (to me) basically have the same image quality.

    I still really like my G3, it's a fine camera and my only gripe is sometimes I accidentally hit some of the buttons on the back with my right thumb.

    So yes - a good purchase!


  14. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL

    There are no m4/3 cameras that aren't at least "very good", period. The improvements in the newer sensors and newer processing engines have only made small improvements in IQ at the base ISO. The significant improvements are only in the higher ISOs.

    I still use what is likely the "worst" m4/3, an original 12mpx G-1, though it has a rather good lens, the original 14-45. Despite its older sensor, it can easily produce excellent 13x19" prints in all but the lowest light.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  15. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    The G3 is among the most underrated cams. It was not a fan favorite because so many buttons were removed from the G1/G2 bodies. However it has the modern-era sensor that take great photos, especially raw.
  16. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    I agree in all ways on the gist of this message and what everybody else is saying -- you got a good camera that is nearly as good as current cameras while having excellent ergonomics. However, I think that the G5 and G6 actually do use a different 16mp sensor (they use the older GH2 sensor, whereas the G3 uses a the same sensor as the GX1). There's a breakdown of the sensors at http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2013/07/micro-four-thirds-sensors.html.

    I am only nitpicking here -- for practical purposes, there's not a big difference between the sensor performance in the G3 and G5, which is the camera I use and I am sure the difference in RAW files is pretty minimal.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    No, you can use it for still shots but it is JPEG. In a pinch I got some nice shots that way.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I normally shoot raw, so that might explain why I was not familiar with its availability when shooting stills. I'm assuming that it creates a jpeg files with smaller dimensions, like it does when shooting video (although it is then is a 1:1 file with no resampling as the crop size of the sensor is the exact dimension of the video frame)?

  19. Redwing

    Redwing Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 2, 2015
    Don't worry about what everyone else shoots with, just get out there and shoot. Enjoy the G3.

    I still enjoy using my GF3, which is old school 12 MP and almost no physical controls (but still has full manual control via the touchscreen), and my XZ-1 and XZ-2. You have an excellent lens in the 20F1.7. The drawback is that the lens/camera system is not stabilized, but it will also help you learn a) how best to hold the camera steady, and b) where your comfort zone is as far as the slowest shutter speeds you can shoot at. These are good skills to have. I think that you won't be disappointed with the camera or the lens, and if you keep your eye on these forums (and others) over time, you may find the occasional bargain pop up for your next lens.

    I've found that I get more satisfaction out of using/acquiring a good lens than I do acquiring/using a new camera body. And each lens has its own learning curve, albeit not nearly as deep as a camera body.
  20. greenjp

    greenjp Mu-43 Regular

    May 15, 2014
    Funny, I also went with a G3 and 20mm 1.7 as my entry into the world of "real" cameras last spring. What sold me was reading reviews of the G3 from when it was released - generally very favorable. Then subsequently reading (also very favorable) reviews of the G5 and G6, realizing that while they have some certainly nice features, ultimately the G3 would still take great pictures and serve as an excellent learning tool. It's a better camera than I am a photographer. At $150 used it was a no brainer.

    I have since gotten a 45-150 and 14-42 v2. I probably use the 20mm 40%, 45-150 for 40%, and the 14-42 20%.

    I find the combo of an EVF and articulating screen to be tremendously useful, don't think I'll get another "primary" camera without both.

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