Announced in June 2011, the Panasonic Lumix DMC GF3 will be of interest to photographers who can afford an easy-to-use compact camera with interchangeable lenses and an image quality superior to that of other compact cameras (such as the Canon Powershot S100).
Interestingly enough, the Lumix DMC GF3 was announced at the same time as two other cameras targeting the same category of photographer — the Pentax Q and the Olympus PEN EPM1. Let’s turn to the DxOMark database to see how these three cameras compare.
We liked the GF3’s low-light ISO performance, its dimensions, and its price. This said, we were less enchanted by its ISO range, which we found limited its low-ISO scores in the Portrait and Landscape categories. (Its limited ISO also resulted in lower scores for Dynamic Range.)
With respect to this particular set of cameras, photographers would likely end up choosing either the GF3 or the Olympus EPM1, given that their sensor image quality results are essentially the same. By contrast, they would probably avoid the Pentax Q, given its disappointing low-light score.
When comparing the hybrids GF3 with the Nikon 1 J1 and the high-end V1, once again we appreciated the GF3’s low-light ISO performance as well as its price (significantly less expensive than the V1). And once again we were similarly disappointed at the GF3’s limited ISO range (affecting various low-light-related scores).
For those who want to shoot in good lighting conditions, based on their respective DxOMark scores, we recommend using one of Nikon 1 cameras. For all other cases, the Panasonic GF3 and the Olympus Pen EPM1 are good choices: both take advantage of their sensor size to furnish superior image quality in low-light.