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Noise

Like the rest of Panasonic's current generation of G-series cameras, the GF3's noise profile and JPEG processing is much better than before and it does a nice job on midrange ISO sensitivities (ISO 400-ISO 800). That said, the JPEGs aren't uniformly great; in our testing, even shots at ISO 160 had some noise in shadow areas.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET
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iA+ mode, ISO 320

The camera's auto mode works pretty well, but this image also shows the type of image artifacts the camera produces in JPEGs. At ISO 320 there's some color noise on the sharp areas, and the out-of-focus areas look mushy like a point-and-shoot's. However, these should only affect you if you plan to retouch the images (in which case you should shoot raw); when printed as-is, you don't see any of this.

(1/60 sec, f2.5, ISO 320, pattern metering, AWB, 14mm lens, iA+ mode)

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Noise, ISO 800

With a good lens, the GF3 can produce some very nice JPEG images at ISO 800.

(1/40 sec, f1.4, spot metering, ISO 800, AWB, 25mm lens)

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Noise, ISO 1,600

You can see the significant increase in color noise when jumping from ISO 800 to ISO 1,600.

(1/40 sec, f1.8, spot metering, ISO 1,600, AWB, Panasonic 25mm lens)

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Distortion, 14mm lens

Panasonic performs in-camera distortion control and seems to have nailed the algorithm--there's still a slight bit of barrel distortion, but just enough that it doesn't look artificial.

(1/160 sec, f3.5, spot metering, ISO 160, AWB, 14mm lens)

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Bokeh, 14mm lens

The out-of-focus highlights from the kit lens have a soft, organic shape but look processed.

(1/2,000 sec, f4, pattern metering, ISO 160, AWB, 14mm lens)

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Sharpness, 14mm lens

While it's not a great lens, the 14mm delivers solid center sharpness and the GF3's JPEG algorithm doesn't oversharpen, so you get a nice naturally sharp feel to the images.

(1/100 sec, f4.5, pattern metering, ISO 160, AWB, 14mm lens)

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Color

The GF3 has a little trouble accurately reproducing intense colors in bright light, especially purples and reds. But the colors are pleasing overall, the tonal reproduction looks good, and you can always shoot raw (or try the Neutral Photo Style) for better accuracy.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Photo Styles

The GF3's default color preset renders pleasing colors with minimal hue shift (at least when compared with the Natural version).

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Burst shooting

Though it's not a great camera for continuous shooting, the autofocus system is good enough for the occasional kid-in-motion or wildlife shot.

(1/200 sec, f3.5, spot metering, ISO 160, AWB, 14mm lens)

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Creative Control mode: High Dynamic

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Creative Control mode: Retro

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Creative Control mode: Expressive

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Creative Control mode: High Key

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Creative Control mode: Sepia

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Creative Control mode: Miniature

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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