Panasonic Introduces Its Smallest Interchangeable Lens Camera
Panasonic today introduced LUMIX DMC-G3, a new addition to the LUMIX G Series of Compact System Cameras (CSC) and the company's smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens camera with a viewfinder to date. LUMIX G3 features a new 16.0-megapixel sensor and offers 1080p video recording capability with stereo sound in AVCHD.
For the camera traditionalist, the LUMIX G3 provides a traditional DSLR-like Mode dial for quick access to common modes like Program, Shutter and Aperture Priority, Manual. Additional dial settings include two Custom Modes, Scene Modes and a Creative Control Mode. LUMIX G3 also has a dedicated video button that can be used to switch to video capture quickly without changing modes. Like most traditional DSLRs, LUMIX G3 provides a built-in flash and hotshoe for connecting optional LUMIX flashes. The camera also has an eye-level electronic viewfinder that projects a 1.44m-dot image with 100% field of view (800x600, 0.7x magnification). In addition, color breakup has been improved when compared to LUMIX G2.
To enhance operability and ensure that it's user-friendly, LUMIX G3 features touch-control shooting and Auto Focus (AF) tracking. In addition to its 23 Area Auto Focusing Points, the LUMIX G3 features new Pinpoint AF. The latter allows precise near–pixel-level focus point setting at the touch of a finger. For example, unlike DSLRs that limit the number of fixed hardware focus points, Panasonic's Pinpoint AF can be set by touch control to very fine points anywhere on the LCD. With a new Precision Contrast LightSpeed AF system, the LUMIX G3 is very fast, measuring approximately 0.1 second (14-140mm ~0.1 sec. 14-42mm ~0.18 sec., 45-200mm ~0.15 sec.).
For added ease of use, the LUMIX G3 features Panasonic's iA2 and new iA Plus modes, which are enabled automatically once the iA button is pressed. Panasonic's iA features, such as Intelligent Resolution, MEGA O.I.S. (included in several lenses), Intelligent ISO Control, and Intelligent Scene Selector are available when shooting still images. However, Panasonic's new iA Plus mode adds greater flexibility with real-time visual feedback between automatic and manual shooting features:
- a touchscreen slider for background defocusing,
- touch-enabled exposure control compensation,
- a touchscreen slider for white balance.
The LUMIX G3 can shoot in bursts of either 4 fps at full resolution with the mechanical shutter enabled, or 20 fps using the electronic shutter feature at a reduced resolution of 4 megapixels.
As with many interchangeable lens cameras, dust on the sensor reduces image clarity. To fight this, LUMIX G3 uses a supersonic wave filter in front of the Live MOS sensor. Vibrating vertically around 50,000 times per second, the filter repels dust and other particles.
LUMIX G3 utilizes the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) System mount that currently offers a selection of 11 fixed focal length and variable aperture G Vario zooms, including a 3D lens capable of capturing both 2D and 3D images at the same time. There are lens adaptors available for mounting older Leica M and Leica R lenses, including prior LUMIX full Four Thirds lenses.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3, made of aluminum, will be available in a variety of colors, including black, red, white and brown, starting in June 2011. The suggested retail price with the 14-42mm Zoom Lens Kit will be $699.99.
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