Thoughts on Pannasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 (good for novice?) Is mirrorless much better than P&S?

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by LoeCraw, Nov 12, 2012.

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  1. LoeCraw

    LoeCraw New Member

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    Okay, so my wife wants an SLR camera. She has friends with them and is jealous of their pictures.

    So, I've been doing some research on them and they're out of our price range ($300). However, I did find an interesting mirrorless camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3. All the reviews say it's a great camera for beginners and it has good picture quality (for it's price range, which it is in).

    So, I have some questions...
    My wife currently has a Panasonic P&S camera 16MP/8x zoom. It takes okay pictures, but they don't pop or anything. With that said, would a mirrorless camera be a big improvement over a typical P&S?

    If the quality is better, would it still be better in auto-mode? I have a feeling my wife will leave the camera in auto mode a lot. At first, she'll likely only mess with the flash and/or ISO levels. Quite frankly, almost all of our friends who have SLRs leave theirs in auto mode and get very good pictures. I know this particular question is hard to answer because of all the variables, but a general answer is fine for us.

    Is there anything you all would recommend for a $300 budget?


    Our (her) main wants...
    Good image quality over P&S
    Fast shooting
    Built-in flash
    Would like to "get feet wet" with an SLR like camera
    Prefer new

    Also, one last question. What is the equivalent of a 14/42mm lens? IS it like 3x, or 8x? Sorry, I'm a complete amateur. If it can't be converted, that's fine.

    Thanks in advance. :thumbup:

    Link to camera on Amazon...
    Amazon.com: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 12 MP Micro 4/3 Compact System Camera with 3-Inch Touchscreen LCD and 14-42mm Zoom Lens (Black): Camera & Photo

    Link to Panasonic site...
    DMC-GF3 | PRODUCTS | LUMIX | Digital Camera | Panasonic Global

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Yes, the GF3 is a fine camera and image quality is significantly better than a P&S, especially in low light, due to its much larger sensor.

    The 14/42 lens is equivalent to a 3x zoom (14 times 3 equals 42).

    Here's a link to this website's review of the GF3.

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Review
     
  3. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Compare the low light (1600 ISO) images of the Panasonic GF3 with the Canon SX230 HS, one of the top point and shoots, and the Canon Rebel T3, a true DSLR. While the T3's image is superior to the other two, the Panasonic's image quality is quite good and much better than the SX230 HS.

    SX230 HS
    sx230.jpg

    GF3
    42318.jpg

    T3
    t3.jpg
     
  4. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    In strong light the GF3 will be able to match DSLR. In straight Auto mode it is indoors, in more subdued light, that the GF3 shots will not have quite the pop of those from a DSLR. That can be fixed with fairly simple camera settings (instead of straight Auto), or later with a photo editor. If indoor shooting is of very high importance, used DSLR can be found for the same price as a new GF3.

    Kelly Cook
     
  5. redowl

    redowl New Member

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    I have the GF5 and absolutely love it, very easy to use. I was going to get the GF3 but was offered the GF5 after putting my deal on Beat My Deal - I had supplier contact me with this camera for only a couple of quid more
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2012
  6. LoeCraw

    LoeCraw New Member

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    Wow, thanks a lot for the replies everybody -just the information I was looking for. Those high ISO pictures really say something. :thumbsup:

    Hoping this camera can be a good starter camera for my wife (and I), which it sounds like it will be. Supposedly the on-screen menu of this camera makes it really easy to manually control the camera, so maybe we'll be able to really harness the power of the camera so to speak. Regardless, it sounds like a great camera even if it ends up being left in auto-mode most of the time.

    So now the question is should I buy now, or wait for a potential deal later?:confused:- Hope the $299.99 price isn't temporary.

    Anyway, thanks again.:thumbsup:
     
  7. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    $299 is a great price. I'm sure the price is going to rise once the GF3 stocks are depleted.
     
  8. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    Any digital camera making the manual control claim can be controlled via the LCD on the back. Experienced photographers usually prefer dedicated buttons for this, instead of navigating LCD menus. But those same buttons intimidate casual shooters. So on the consumer targeted camera designs, such as the GF3, the designers deliberately leave off the extra buttons. Those buttons are one of the benefits of the more expensive models, even within the various Micro4/3 models. Long winded explanation that the GF3 will work in manual mode, but falls short of ideal for manual control.

    Kelly
     
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