Ravishing in red – the Panasonic Lumix GF3

By Naomi Mackay,

The first image I saw of the Panasonic Lumix GF3 was of the rather sexy-looking raspberry red model, which looks like a compact but sporting the kind of lens you’d see on a DSLR. Well, I’m always a sucker for a good-looking camera and this fits the bill, but do its practical functions love up to its irresistible looks?

Panasonic-Lumix-GF3

When Panasonic launched its latest baby to the world, it did so with the tagline, ‘a new age of photography’, and as Panasonic is also promising that this is its smallest and lightest (222g) interchangeable lens camera, perhaps it’s right – the days of carrying round hefty kits bags if you’re anything like a serious photographer, look like they may well be over.

Mind you, on closer inspection, after I had wiped away the dazzle of that ravishing red body, I noted that there was no hotshoe – instead it has been replaced by a pop-up flash. This may make serious amateurs think twice, I would imagine – plus it only boasts a 12.1 million pixel sensor, while many of the cameras coming onto the market now, head into the 14 or even 16 million pixel range.

So should we wipe it off our wishlists then? Not necessarily. It has a very desirable aluminium body, and promises great photos and high-def video even in low light. A dedicated button on the top of the snapper allows you to instantly switch to movie mode if the need arises, so you shouldn’t miss anything.

It also jumps on the latest bandwagon by allowing you to take images in 3D, with the Lumix G 3D 12.5mm/F12 lens.

This camera also has a touchscreen, which adds a novel way of autofocusing – touch in on an area in your viewfinder and that’s where the camera will focus, which means you can touch on someone’s face, or on a single flower if you wish, to get the focus just where you want it. Autofocus speed is also promising – Panasonic claims the snapper can focus from 2m to infinity in 0.18 seconds

Sensitivity ranges from ISO 160-6400, which should be okay for most situations, and there are a host of settings to choose from. Plus you can add visual effects such as Sepia and Retro effects.

Panasonic also claims that you will have a choice from the world’s largest range of Micro Four Thirds lenses, including the newly unveiled H-H025 25mm/F1.4 lens.

It offers plenty for your everyday snapper, and keen photographers who fancy a more portable camera that still offers the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, may also be tempted.

So how much is all this photographic finery going to set you back? The camera should be available about now in three kit versions. The GF3 with 14-42mm OIS zoom lens, will cost £499, while the body with pancake lens kit will cost £549, while a kit with the GF3 and both lenses will set you back £629.

More at www.panasonic.co.uk