Last week, we caught a glimpse of the Lumix DMC-GF3
, a new addition to Panasonic's ever-growing family of Micro Four Thirds
shooters. Turns out, the camera we spied in that YouTube video was legit: the company just made it official and yes, it's missing a hot shoe. Available in four colors with 12.1 megapixel resolution, it uses Panny's latest imaging processor, shoots 1080i AVCHD video, and has a 3-inch touchscreen, ISO range of 160 to 6400, and the usual array of intelligent Auto enhancements. Unlike the GF2
-- which isn't going anywhere, by the way -- it's designed with the greenest of novices in mind, which means it forgoes things experienced photogs might like, such as a hot shoe and viewfinder. This one has a mono, not stereo mic, and swaps in a simple scroll wheel on the back side. Panasonic also rejiggered the touch UI to make certain settings easier to find and added a miniature art filter -- already a staple on Olympus' PEN
series. Oh, and as a beginner-friendly camera, it looks more like a point-and-shoot than a DSLR -- it's 15 percent lighter than the GF2, and 17 percent smaller.
The GF3 will be available in July for $699 with a 14mm lens, to be followed in late August by a $599 kit that comes with a 14-42mm lens. In the meantime, head on past the break and check out our impressions after spending a few minutes with a not-final unit and a 14mm lens. We only got to play with it in a fluorescent conference room, alas, but hopefully our handful of test shots will give you a taste of what you can do with the depth of field should you spring for the higher-end of the two kits.