Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 review: Beyond the point-and-shoot

If your point-and-shoot camera doesn't deliver the speed or quality you'd like, the GF3 offers a comfortable--if somewhat expensive--alternative.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 is the first of what I hope are the Goldilocks generation of interchangeable-lens cameras (ILCs): small and fast with good-to-great photo quality that finally merits attention from point-and-shoot users looking for a compelling upgrade. (Sony has consistently delivered small bodies, but the E-mount zoom lenses are too big and heavy and there's only one pancake prime currently available.)

I really like the GF3 as a step-up model; longtime dSLR users will probably find it too small and constraining without an EVF, but for point-and-shoot graduates, the size should feel comfortable and you'll gain the speed and quality boost you're looking for. Though it gets bigger with the zoom kit lens, it's still a lighter and ultimately smaller combination than Sony's NEX models. However, the NEX and forthcoming Olympus E-PL3's tilting LCDs may make those options compelling alternatives.

The GF3 uses the same 12-megapixel Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine FHD processor as the GF2, but incorporates some of the enhancements from the G3, including the Light Speed autofocus system and focusing options like pinpoint and a picture-in-picture navigator for manual focus. The result is very good photo quality that borders just enough on excellent to push the rating over to that side.

Read the full review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3

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