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New Panasonic G3

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Amin Sabet, May 12, 2011.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    As expected, the Panasonic G3 has been officially announced this morning and is now available for pre-order at Amazon.

    Highlights include:

    • Slimmed down, redesigned body
    • Aluminum body construction like GF series (first in G/GH line)
    • New (non-multi aspect ratio) 16.6MP sensor (the first Micro 4/3 camera aside from the GH1 and GH2 to feature a different sensor than the 12MP Panasonic sensor in the G1/G2/GF1/GF2/E-PL1/e-PL2/E-1/E-2).
    • Electronic viewfinder (EVF) remains 1.44M dot-equivalent
    • Improved autofocus speed and image processor (like the GH2)
    • Smaller hand grip bulge (similar to GF2), which means that the G3 will use the same battery as the GF2
    • Simplified touchscreen interface (like the GF2)
    • 4 fps continuous shooting (20fps at 4MP)
    • Improved video capability (1080i60 or 720p60 from 30 fps sensor output)
    • New picture-in-picture manual focus magnification option
    • Built-in stereo microphone
    Some features lost from the G2:

    • Eye sensor for automatic switching between the EVF and rear LCD
    • Top left dial/lever for controlling focus mode
    • Option to connect external microphone
    • Dedicated AF/AE Lock button
    Views of the newly-designed camera:


    5713017264_b75c8a9918_o.


    5712456831_efeb9d9cf3_o.


    As you can see, AF mode and drive mode have been assigned to the four-way button controller rather than dials on the top panel.


    5713017300_9bf785fa21_o.


    Initial impressions:

    The Good:

    • New and improved sensor
    • Significantly faster AF
    • Lower price (compared with G2 at introduction)
    • Picture-in-picture manual focus magnification a real plus for users of adapted lenses
    The Bad:

    • Rear protrusion of EVF remains unchanged and is a greater factor in practical terms of "compactness" than was the grip
    • AF/AE Lock button is gone (but assignable)
    • Battery life is likely to be diminished ~20%
    • Eye sensor is gone
    Overall, I think this is a solid release and that the fact that a new sensor and faster AF have come to the non-GH series cameras is a big step forward for the Micro 4/3 system.


    Visit 1001 Noisy Cameras for full coverage of the available G3 reviews, previews, and reactions around the web: New Panasonic G3 Micro Four Thirds camera (hands-on, Q&A, ISO samples) - 1001 Noisy Cameras
     
    • Like Like x 4
  2. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire


    From what I've seen, that looks an accurate assessment. I personally like the new shape, and the new sensor is a welcome improvement. It seems a bit like a GF1 / G2 gybrid and it also seems you can see it as an "upgrade" to either of those cameras. Which is precisely how I'm going to treat it, as an upgrade for my GF1. The GF2 was too small for me and I don't want another GH2, so it works nicely for me. Shame about the eye sensor though, I really do like that.​
     
  3. linkedit

    linkedit Mu-43 Top Veteran

    649
    Aug 6, 2010
    New Jersey, USA
    At first glance it's what some were hoping the GF2 would've been (EVF, flip LCD, same small form factor). I think it actually could be a good camera.

    Hopefully they will have it for a decent discounted price on the EPP site. It's already listed but not yet for sale.
     
  4. That is quite a disappointing omission.
     
  5. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Richard Elliott
    The automatic switching between the view finder and LCD panel is missing? I liked that a lot!

    The good is that the higher ISO output does look much better on the sample images.
     
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I haven't delved into the samples yet, and I am wondering how much of an improvement they made with the sensor. In the PhotographyBLOG interview, they pretty well duck the question about whether the stated noise improvements will be reflected in the RAW file or are a result of refined JPEG processing.
     
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Me too. I'm thinking it must have been a cost cutting measure.

    It's interesting that the G2 is being retained to replace the G10 at the lowest price point, yet it has some features which are clearly more advanced than the G3.
     
  8. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
  9. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    412
    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    I'm pleasantly surprised by the G3 and the quite positive reception it's getting around the web. I was not high on the GF2 but have been eyeing a G2 of late as a second body, or first body and GF1 moving to second body. The dilemma really was there wasn't much difference in performance from the GF1 to the G2; largely the same sensor, improved processor, new ergonomics (and I do like the fact that they used the same battery which I have three of). The G3 on the other hand truly looks on paper like it's in that next generation of the system along with the GH2.

    I agree that there are some unfortunate concessions. The eye level detector on the EVF is a shame, but I've never had the convenience of one in the first place so I can't complain about pressing a button too much (never had such feature on a traditional SLR, and the LVF1 needed a button push as well). Loss of some external controls was probably inevitable for the size (the left control wheel), but I'll miss the drive mode dial on the main wheel. Was the Gx/GHx EVF always a field sequential/multiplexing display? Imaging Resource seems to be making a point of it being multiplexed, but I don't really recall this chatter in reviews of the Gx/GHx where the EVF is widely praised. To be fair, they do claim the refresh rate has doubled, so it would further reduce the tearing effect this style of display had been notorious for.

    Time to start saving my peanuts (or sell something)! I hope Panny can also pump out more batteries than they are with the GH2 (particularly if they're the same battery).
     
  10. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Richard Elliott
    Like the GF2, this is two steps forward and one step back. (maybe three forward in this case due to the sensor).

    I can't help but feel these are either being dumbed down to allow a higher level camera to eventually come in at a higher price point. Maybe a pro flagship model? Or is the GH2 becoming that camera and they want to protect it?

    Or are features, as you have suggested, simply being cut to reduce costs?

    Removing the auto viewfinder seems to fly in the face of making it a simpler camera for people entering the market from P&S.
     
  11. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    They are jpeg, and in the article they make the point that while the jpegs are great, RAW is very good indeed.

    Other than that, pretty much what soundimageplus wrote.

    I use AE lock a great deal, but am largely OK with the loss of the dedicated button because there are two assignable buttons. The position is not ideal, but it's OK.

    The only other loss I can see is the auto switch from screen to EVF, and I think I could live with that. The manual drive selector on my GF1 is nice, but I can live without it. The big deal for me is the small size with built-in EVF. It's the latter point that I find missing from my GF1.

    The IR site is impressed with very large prints from the G3. let's think about that for a minute - a very small camera, with built-in top-notch EVF and interchangeable lenses and an articulating screen - which can shoot RAW and deliver files in jpeg good enough to print above 16 x 20.

    I use the EVF on my GF1 a lot, and this camera seems very similar in size to that combo.

    I do think it would have been very nice to have a more rangefinder shape as the position of the VF would be more comfortable. No big deal.

    For me its about quality good enough to print large, great lens choices, a good VF, all in a small package.

    I look forward to analysis of the RAW images.
     
  12. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    176
    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill (really)
    I was disappointed by the GF2 and was worried that I would feel the same about the G3. It looks, however, like the G3 (with the 20mm) will fit into the bag that I presently use for my GF1.

    The idea that I'll be able to carry a camera with a EVF (and an articulated screen) all the time makes me a little giddy -- be still my beating heart.

    When the rumors were flying, there was talk about many of the buttons disappearing. I was worried that the AF/AE Lock button would disappear. (It has, but a function button can take that over.)

    I like a rangefinder look, but this is about taking pictures not a fashion show, so this looks like the next body for me. And it looks like it will take over from both my GF1 and G1.

    I'm not sure I'll use the touch screen as much as some others, but I'm willing to be proved wrong.
     
  13. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    As much as I'd love to see the rear protrusion of the EVF gone, it provides good eye relief and keeps both left- and right-eyed photographers from smashing my nose into the rear LCD. My ideal would be for them to move it to the far left and remove the protrusion (like the Fuji X100), but in that case left-eyed photographers would still have the nose smash.
     
  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Amin,

    This is kinda how I feel. Personally, I have not used the Oly EVF. Some have complained that they can lose it or knock it off easily. I think I like that idea however better, because I can make the camera as compact as I need it when I don't need the EVF.

    Lets see, E-PL2 form factor with a new Panasonic sensor and collapsable lens would be my ideal camera, with Oly's detachable EVF.

    Now I know why I have hung on to my E-P1.
     
  15. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Sounds nice. have you seen some of the photos comparing the G3 and EPL2 in terms of size? Though the VF might make the G3 a bit deeper, it's really about the same size as the Oly, and lighter. Put a VF on the Oly and you have a larger camera. The IR reviewer mentions that in person, the VF hump is barely noticeable and the two cameras feel about the same size.

    Good to have choice...
     
  16. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    412
    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    Any notice that they changed the 14-42mm lens? I wonder if it's just cosmetic...

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    They should have kept the left dial. I like dials. The less menus I have to go through, the better. However, with the new sensor, the G3 seems to be a more compelling option than the G2. And the price seems to be reasonable too.
     
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Shallow question, but how do people like the big "G"? I like the look of the camera but would prefer it with the "G" omitted.
     
  19. JohnMetsn

    JohnMetsn Mu-43 Veteran

    From cosmetic point of view, that's a big plus for me. I really don't like that purplish silver ring on recent models (was thinking already many times how would I color my 20mm...).

    Agree...it looks like the 3 already went away...
     
  20. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    892
    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    It may be a terrific bargain. I think the G2 didn't sold up to Panasonic's expectations. They may have a big inventory left on their hands they need to get rid of at least to recoup the costs of the fab' line tooling. And possibly they need to build and sale some more even at a discount to at least globally break even on that model from an investment point of view. Good news.

    Cheers,