When the Lumix GF1
was released less than a year after Micro Four Thirds
first made its debut, it made a huge splash for its size, image quality, and versatility. Problem is, Panasonic set the bar very high for future GF-series models, and has sadly come up short with its latest update, positioning the GF3
($600 with 14-42mm kit lens) as an upgrade for compact camera owners while leaving enthusiasts longing for much more. DPReview
took the GF3 to task, publishing a very comprehensive review while finding that while Panasonic's latest ILC
is a good fit for some photographers, more advanced users will likely be disappointed -- especially if they're expecting a rangefinder-like successor to the GF1. We spent a few hours with a pre-production GF3 earlier this summer
, and weren't blown away by its performance. When testing against the class-leading Sony NEX-C3
, we found the Sony camera to offer faster focusing, better high-ISO performance, more accurate white balance, and better image quality overall. So unless you're really gunning to save 50 bucks on an ILC with a kit zoom (or you already have a collection of Micro Four Thirds lenses), the $650 C3 is definitely the better bet.