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Full size ILC

While smaller than a dSLR, the G3 remains a pretty big camera, similar to models like the Sony Alpha SLT-A35. That's the trade-off you make for getting the built-in EVF, flash and articulating LCD, though.

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Typical control layout

There's nothing new about the layout of the G3's controls. The four-way navigation buttons provide direct access to focus area, white balance, drive mode and ISO sensitivity. The Quick menu and display buttons can be mapped to user-defined options. In its default configuration, the Quick menu displays options for metering, AF mode, ISO sensitivity, white balance, drive mode, focus mode, image/video size and quality, and flash settings. The touch-screen interface works really well, with big, responsive buttons, but the best part is you don't have to use it if you don't want to. You can also customize the Quick Menu with the settings you use most.

The camera doesn't automatically switch between the LCD and EVF--I don't mind that but some might. Panasonic moved the movie record button from the top to the back, where it sits under your thumb, which is a much better location.

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Panasonic simplifed the top controls as well as the mode dial between the G2 and G3, but you don't really lose any capabilities. There are now two custom slots on the dial, one of which holds 3 sets of options. The portrait, landscape, action and macro scene modes (which most people tend not to use) are hidden with the less well-known scene modes, and Panasonic has replaced its Film looks with underwhelming Creative Control mode special effects: expressive, retro, high key, sepia, and high dynamic.

In addition, Panasonic offers both iA (intelligent auto) and iA+ modes. The latter adds user color and brightness adjustments to full auto.

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Articulating LCD

The articulating LCD is bright and sharp.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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