Panasonic's Lumix G3 Snaps Snappier Shots, Loves Being Touched

Panasonic's newest Micro Four Thirds cam is a mostly incremental boost over its predecessor, the G2. But improved specs on an already solid base is good news. The G3 brings a new sensor, faster shots, less noise and a touch-heavy interface.

We'll get to that interface - but everything else is a numbers game. The G3 hops up to 16MP from 12, doubles its autofocus speed, and boosts its continuous shooting mode to 4FPS at 16MP or 20FPS at a fuzzier 4MP. Noise reduction is also pumped up at higher ISOs, with particularly good colour reproduction at these settings.

But improved specs aside, Panasonic's pressing heavily on the G3's LCD. Touch focusing, a la iPhone, is now possible with the entire 3-inch screen, making it much easier to pinpoint a spot of interest - even available on the individual pixel level, which should be great for macro shooting. The LCD viewfinder also sports a neat manual focus assist mode, wherein a second window pops up with a view of the full scene, helping you remember where you are when zoomed in deep.

And, in a considerate (and intuitive) move, adjusting the nitty gritty of your shot - ISO, white balance, etc - are easily adjustable via simple touch sliders, as opposed to having to click through them with a d-pad on comparable models.

Check for the G3 this June, starting at $US700 with a 14-42mm zoom lens included. [Lumix]

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