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Panasonic GF3 reviewed: aging 12 MP sensor, good upgrade for current compact users

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.