Previous Panasonic G-series cameras were among the best micro four thirds system cameras on the market, but they all have one drawback, namely, they are too big, almost as big as entry-level digital SLR cameras. The Panasonic GF-series cameras on the other hand might be small in size, but, unlike the G-series cameras, they don’t have a built-in viewfinder. Now, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 offers a win-win solution. Even though the G3 has an integrated electronic viewfinder, it is surprisingly compact. In terms of size, the G3 is almost as small as micro four thirds system cameras without an integrated viewfinder like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 or the Olympus PEN E-P2, and considerably smaller than entry-level digital SLR cameras which also feature a vari-angle LCD screen like the Nikon D5100 or the Canon EOS Rebel T3i.
Compared to its predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is 25% smaller; however, it still has the same digital SLR-like design like its predecessor. The similarity is so striking that the black version of the G3 certainly looks like a mini G2 or a shrunken digital SLR camera. In order to reduce the G3’s body size, Panasonic must also reduce the number of buttons on the G3’s body. Therefore, a lot of camera functions will be controlled via the 3-inch 460,000 dot resolution touchscreen-enabled low temperature polycrystalline TFT LCD display. Of course, hard buttons and dials are still available for the primary shooting settings, so the G3 remains a fast camera to operate.
Thanks to the integrated Light Speed autofocus system, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 can focus on a subject in just 0.1 second. Of course, such blazing fast focusing speed can only be achieved by using a particular lens, in this case the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS lens; however, even if you decide to use other lenses, you will still get a pretty fast focusing speed. In terms of focusing speed, the G3 really manages to focus like a digital SLR camera. This is very impressive, considering that the G3 only uses a contrast-detect autofocus system, rather than the phase-detect autofocus system used by digital SLR cameras. Moreover, due to the use of a new Venus Engine FHD processor, the G3 is now capable of shooting with a burst speed of 4 frames per second, making it almost 1 frame per second faster than the previous Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2.