This Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is a 16-meg compact system camera which is the smallest in its class, with its Micro FourThirds sensor keeping bulk to a minimum, although the battery life is also shortened, managing just 270 shots. There‚Äôs a variety of lenses available from 3D to pancake, the G3 comes with a 14x42mm kit lens. Dominating the G3’s slight frame is its three-inch articulating touch-sensitive LCD. It’s useful when shooting from awkward angles, especially when the touch shutter option is employed, as this allows the autofocus point to be placed anywhere in the scene and triggers the shutter with a touch.

The top of the G3 has an iA button that switches the camera to auto mode. It’s a one-stop solution if you’re unsure of the best settings to use or need to take a shot quickly. Image noise is generally well controlled and still images have reasonably high levels of detail up to ISO 800, although they arc not up to the high standard of the Canon 600D or Nikon D5100. At low ISO settings theG3 captures the poorest detail on test and similarly at the highest settings pics are soft, with a watercolour-like texture.

When shooting 108op movies at 25fps the G3 produces ace results, Autofocus comes in very handy, as the camera moves the subject under the active AP point which drifts smoothly into focus at a speed appropriate for video work. Occasionally it may drift a little in and out of focus as it finds exactly the right point, but the system is the most effective on test.

The G3 is a fantastic upgrade from a compact camera, with the swappable lens system making it very versatile. The quality of stills can’t match the proper digital SLRs on test, but its video capabilities make it a top compact system camera, despite the high price tag.

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