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Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GF3 Digital Camera Kit furthers the Micro Four Thirds revolution. This lightweight and easily transportable camera gives you a compact option that does more than point-and-shoot. Additionally, it also gets you off to a great start with an included 14-42mm X Lens. That means you'll be ready to shoot from day one and you won't have to sacrifice creativity when you want to be unencumbered.
The aforementioned creative options begin with the ability to use any number of lenses thanks to the Micro Four Thirds mount. From there, shooting controls like scene modes and manual focusing control give you power to craft photos to fit your vision. That being said, the DMC-GF3 also provides plenty of automatic options that can be used alone or combined with manual choices for the level of freedom you want over your shooting.
At the core of the GF3 you'll find a 12.1Mp Live MOS sensor and the Venus processing engine. The Venus Engine FHD and the image sensor work together for low noise images. Another highlight of this combo is the Intelligent D-Range Control which enables maximum capture of the image's full range of contrast without blowing out highlights or mucking up the shadows. The camera also boasts numerous scene modes for those times when you want the GF3 to do all the work, and even a dust-reduction system for clean images that need less work done in post-production.
Of course, like any digital camera worth its salt these days, the GF3 captures HD video. You can record up to 1080/60i videos in the AVCHD format. A built-in mono microphone with a wind-cut function captures audio to go along with that video as well. When it's time to share your video on the big screen, the HDMI mini jack allows for one-cable connection of your video (audio too!) to your HDTV. Other video highlights include near silent focusing, multiple lens options thanks to the Micro Four Thirds mount, and touch-enabled subject AF Tracking.
When it comes to the 3.0" touch screen LCD you'll be pleased to find that this intuitive display moves through all the camera's mode settings and menus, even allowing you to trigger the shutter from the screen. However, for those still craving the DSLR feel, the menus and modes can be accessed using the mode dial as well. A built-in pop-up flash allows for lowlight shots caught with confidence, while an ISO range up to 6400 means you can shoot without the flash and still capture detailed, beautiful shots in lower light.
The GF3 also offers LUMIX Light Speed Auto Focus technology which locks onto your subject quickly, for an accurate shot when you're ready to hit the shutter. Intelligent Auto and Intelligent Auto Plus modes also come in handy by automatically adjusting the defocusing area, exposure control, and white balance. The GF3 also features the LUMIX Photo Style Mode which allows the user to create popular color effects. In addition, the LUMIX Creative Control Mode, accessed from the mode dial, allows for creative effects to be produced in-camera.
Mode Access via Touch-Enabled LCD or Mode Thumb Wheel
The DMC-GF3 provides a traditional DSLR-like experience without the need for complicated external mode dials, yet provides intuitive and quick access to common modes like Program, Shutter and Aperture Priority, Manual via a touch-enabled LCD that operates much like a smart phone. Additional quick access touch-enabled settings include three Customizable Modes that get you to your favorite camera setup quickly, multiple Scene Modes and the LUMIX Creative Control Mode. The DMC-GF3 provides a dedicated video button that can be used to switch to video capture quickly without changing modes.
At the heart of the DMC-GF3's simplified functionality is a large 3.0-inch LCD (460k- dot) that allows for intuitive touch control of menus and most shooting, focusing, playback and effects controls. Menus can be customized using simple drag-and-drop actions like those on most touch-enabled smartphones. This allows for a custom user interface, giving Quick Menu access to functions that can be tailored to any user's expertise level. Even the shutter can be triggered from the touch-enabled LCD by simply touching the subject you want focused and captured. Using the touch-screen operation, a user can lock onto a subject, enabling AF Tracking in both still and video modes. When you're ready to shoot, the subject will be in focus and ready to capture.
For those who miss the tactile feel of a traditional DSLR mode dial, the DMC-GF3 offers an innovative mode thumb wheel that quickly cycles though all available modes with visual feedback provided on the large 3'' touch-enabled LCD.
Available Scene Modes: Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Architecture, Sports, Peripheral Defocus, Flower, Food, Objects, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Illuminations, Baby, Pet, Party and Sunset, which can all be controlled from the intuitive touch-enabled LCD
Thanks to a 6400 ISO, the DMC-GF3 shoots well under low light even without a flash. But there are times when a flash provides desired enhancements. So, like most DSLRs, the DMC-GF3 provides a built-in pop-up flash for added light during low-light shooting
Lens Options and 3D Capture
LUMIX G Series Compact System Cameras utilize the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) System lens mount. MFT offers greater size and weight reduction in the lens without compromising lens performance and clarity. The LUMIX G MFT System offers a selection of 12 high performance fixed focal length and variable aperture G Vario zooms, including a highly versatile 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 older LUMIX full Four Thirds lenses. An innovative 14'-140mm HD G Vario lens provides the best of video and still-image shooting with a long 10x range and near silent high-speed focusing. When connected to the DMC-GF3, ultra fast focusing and auto subject track AF can be achieved.
Many LUMIX MFT lenses come with MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) built-in. This feature helps prevent blurring from hand-shake. Working together with the camera's Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves, you're sure to capture images that are sharp
Dust Reduction System
As with many interchangeable lens cameras, dust on the sensor reduces image clarity. To eliminate this potential, the DMC-GF3 has a Dust Reduction System that 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 effectively
HD Video Capture
The LUMIX DMC-GF3 also shoots 1080/60i High Definition video using the AVCHD format. It offers a built-in mono microphone and includes a wind-cut function that further enhances the sound as it helps reduce noise caused by background wind. An audio meter can be displayed on the LCD for monitoring audio levels. Captured video can be played back in High Definition via an optional HDMI mini cable directly to an HD-compatible TV, or played directly on Panasonic VIERA TVs via the SD card. Near silent focusing features offered in several LUMIX Micro Four Thirds lenses help keep lens noise at bay, while the touch-enabled LCD allows you to automatically keep active subjects in focus with touch-enabled subject AF Tracking
Faster, Accurate Pinpoint Focusing
Contrast Detection Auto Focus technology used in point-and-shoot and mirrorless Compact System Cameras now approaches the speeds that were once only available from traditional professional-level DSLRs. The DMC-GF3 now offers the LUMIX Light Speed Auto Focus technology developed for the highly regarded GH2. LUMIX Light Speed AF locks onto a subject quickly so you won't suffer from "shutter lag" frustration. Contrast Auto Focusing also offers greater shot accuracy due to fewer hardware components needed vs. traditional DSLR phase difference systems, thus fewer pictures will suffer from system focusing errors (e.g., the accuracy of Contrast AF is approx. 90% at F1.4, while Phase Difference AF is approx. 60%).
Manual control over focus is available in the DMC-GF3 and now features a quick 4x magnification feature. By simply touching the subject, that subject is then enlarged in a small window, allowing you to keep the rest of the image in view as a framing reference. Beyond 4x, that small window fills the monitor so even more control over focus fine-tuning can be achieved. This handy feature is available from both the MF Assist (Manual Focus) and AF + MF focus modes.
The DMC-GF3 now offers a large LCD touch-focus area, enabling touch-focus control from any part of the image as seen on the LCD. Unlike traditional DSLRs that limit the number and position of focus points, the DMC-GF3 uses the entire image sensor and can even fine-tune focus with a fine-tuning Pinpoint AF feature. When Pinpoint AF is enabled, the image is enlarged, allowing for pixel-level setting of the focus area desired. Once set, the DMC-GF3 will use this fine-tuned focus point to produce a sharp, detailed image
Intelligent Auto and Intelligent Auto Plus (iA, iA+)
The DMC-GF3 has advanced functions that will satisfy experienced photographers, yet is easy enough for beginners to use comfortably in both photo and video recording modes with iA (Intelligent Auto) Plus. In the iA Plus Mode, the defocusing area, exposure control and white balance can be adjusted visually for scenes where a slight manual adjustment may produce a more desired result
Color and Effects
Using the LUMIX Photo Style Mode, popular color effects can be achieved. These settings can be further enhanced with fine-tuning of Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation and Noise Reduction. Color effects include: Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait and Custom.
With LUMIX Creative Control Mode, accessed from the Mode dial at the top of the camera, an expressive look to the image can be achieved without the need for complicated post-processing software. Common effects can be achieved via the touch-control menu as a pre-setting in an easy-to-understand "what you see is what you get" experience. Effects include: Expressive, Retro, High Key, Sepia, High Dynamic and now, Miniature Effect
Venus Engine FHD
The LUMIX Venus Engine FHD offers vastly improved compensation for electronic noise under low light and shadows where higher ISOs typically add grain to the image. Circuitry on the 12.1Mp sensor further reduces low-noise signal problems at the pixel level and at the amplifier circuit level. As a result, higher ISOs with much lower noise can be achieved. This means faster action-stopping shutter speeds in low light, and a maximum achievable ISO of 6400.
The noise level of the DMC-GF3 offers significant reductions in electronic noise vs. prior models and now approaches the low noise signatures of the renowned LUMIX GH2. The Venus Engine FHD uses Intelligent Resolution technology to sharpen edge detail without softening fine detail. In addition to maximizing edge and fine detail, the Venus Engine offers Intelligent D-Range Control. Intelligent D-Range Control enables maximum capture of the image's full range of brightness, without blown-out highlights and muddying shadows.
In the Box
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Digital Camera Kit (Black)