Panasonic has given its Lumix DMC-G2 a u2018thorough and comprehensive overhaulu2019 to launch the G3, which it claims is the smallest compact system camera with a built-in electronic viewfinder.

Panasonic has given its Lumix DMC-G2 a ?thorough and comprehensive overhaul? to launch the G3, which it claims is the smallest compact system camera with a built-in electronic viewfinder.

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The Lumix DMC-G3 boasts a new 15.8-million-pixel imaging sensor that will result in images ?cleaner and freer of noise than ever before?, according to Panasonic.

?With newly developed processing capabilities, the low-noise pixel area and the low-noise circuit are combined ? resulting in a noise level of less than one third of a conventional sensor,? added a spokesman.

In a meeting with AP, Dai Mukai, a senior digital imaging co-ordinator at Panasonic Japan, said the G3 delivers images close in quality to the Lumix DMC-GH2 flagship model.

The G3 is 25% smaller and 10% lighter (336g) than the G2, although this does not come at the expense of image quality, claimed Mukai.

Panasonic tells us it has improved the quality of images at the maximum equivalent ISO of 6400 and that the G3 has an AF speed of 0.1secs ? the same as the GH2 (using a 14-140mm lens).

The G3, which effectively replaces the G10, uses the same Venus Engine FHD processor as the GH2, plus a frame rate of 4fps at full resolution, extendable to 20fps for four-million-pixel images.

The G3 features an electronic viewfinder with a 1.44-million-dot resolution, plus a 3in, 460,000-dot, free-angle LCD screen. The LCD is designed to rotate by 180° from side-to-side and tilt 270° up and down.

Users have a choice of AF modes, which include multiple-area AF (with up to 23 focus areas), AF tracking (as used in the GH2) and pinpoint AF, said to be useful for focusing on eyes in portraits, for example.

Photographers can use pinpoint AF to magnify an area on screen and then drag a single AF control point to the area that needs to be in focus.

Using the improved manual focus assist option, the user can magnify part of the screen. This is displayed within the main screen while allowing the photographer to view the full picture composition.

The G3 is capable of full-area touch focusing, which means users should be able to focus on part of the scene with a single touch, using the entire area of the screen.

The camera includes Intelligent Auto Plus, which alters characteristics such as white balance and brightness for a given scene. Also featured is Intelligent D-range control as seen in the GH2, plus Advanced Intelligent Resolution.

The G3 features Full HD (AVCHD, 1920×1080-pixel format) movie recording, plus a stereo microphone socket.

Preset creative control modes include retro, dynamic art and silhouette, while photo style options include vivid and monochrome.

The price has yet to be confirmed, but Panasonic expects the newcomer to cost around £630 when it goes on sale in mid-June with a 14-42mm lens.

It is also expected to be available body only, priced £549.99. It will be out in black, red and white colour options in the UK.

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