Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time to upgrade to Panasonic G3

I've been very happy with my hacked GF2 for both photos and video, except one thing: I wish it had an articulate screen for project filming. With GF2's fixed screen, I cannot monitor what's being filmed while I'm working for a project.

GH2 has an articulate screen and does the best video, but it cost more than $600 and it is too larger and heavier than GF2. G3 is pretty much a GF2 with an articulate screen plus an EVF. It is still as small and light, almost. It is exactly what I wished the GH2 to be. How small? As you can see from above picture, it is still too small to match the 14-140 mm lens that matches GH2 well.

Recently, thanking to Panasonic's financial crisis, Amazon has been dumping G3 for as low as $240; so it is a no-brainer upgrade, plus the following benefits:

  • It is the DSLR version of GF2. It looks like typical bulky DSLR, but at a tiny size of GF2. I.e., it is not a DSLR like the GH2.
  • ETC is separated for photo and video. I.e., I can set G3 to take raw photos and meanwhile use ETC for video.
  • Capture photos while filming. This is also a function I always wanted on my GF2.
  • Use the same battery as GF2. Even better, 3rd party batteries bought on eBay for $10 are fully functional on G3, showing remaining meter. Finally Panasonic and Sony have learned something from the result of their arrogance in the last 10 years.
  • Much faster AF, even faster than DSLR, especially on video, hunting is virtually a thing of past.
  • New pinpoint focus mode for pixel-level precise focusing. Another feature I wanted badly for project photos.
  • Hackable like GF2 for broadcast grade video.
  • Much better JPEG engine. RAW is no longer necessary, even for high ISO and skin tone. Actually, JPEG's color tone is, for the 1st time in history, warmer than RAW's.
  • Much better low light performance than GF2 due to the new 16MB sensor. ISO 3200 is much cleaner than GF2 at 1600.
These two photos, cropped 100% from raw, are G3 at 3200 and GF2 at 1600, you can easily see how clean G3's is:

These two compare RAW to JPEG at ISO 3200, as you can see, they are virtually identical:

I'm selling my GF2, there is no point for me to keep it, it has had its glorious days. GX1 is the one to get if you don't need an articulate screen, it can often be found for less than $300 like this G3. My G3 is bought from Amazon for $240 (direct from Amazon warehouse). It is marked as "Used - Very good", but it is virtually brand new with all accessories untouched and shutter counter less than 40. Here is the photos taken by G3, to be posted on Craigslist and eBay:

BTW, the very first and last photo in this article is taken with my Stellar phone. The G3 with the 14-140mm lens without the bulky 3rd-party hood feels and looks perfectly compact. From now on, this will be my only photo/video tool plus the Stellar.


  1. 喜欢你的gf2固件November 19, 2012 at 12:14 AM


  2. G3低光下的照片比GF2的好太多了,我想GX1也是。GX1应该是和GF2一样大小,而且现在价格跟GF5差不多,所以如果需要GF2那样的小巧,应该奔GX1。GX1现在也可以Hack了。至于说JPEG抹噪声太厉害,GF2的默认设置也是一样的,都需要把NR从0减到-2。当然最好用RAW。

    1. B&H and Amazon now selling brand new G3 with 14-42mm lens for $299, free shipping.