Panasonic G3 is it the best camera for street photography?

by Enche Tjin on May 17, 2011

Several days ago, Panasonic launch Panasonic G3, an interchangeable lens camera with relatively compact body and built-in electronic viewfinder. Panasonic G3 is positioned between Panasonic GF2 ( a very compact camera without built-in viewfinder) and Panasonic GH2, a bigger camera with bigger grip, and control.

I think this is a smart move from Panasonic, and complete the G line for any customer type. For one who demand a very compact camera, they can get Panasonic GF2. For professional or demand better interface, grip and controls, they can get Panasonic GH2. And for people who want the best of both world (compact body with electronic viewfinder and swivel LCD, they can get the G3.


Panasonic G3 specs

  • 16.6MP Micro four thirds sensor
  • ISO 160-6400
  • 4 fps continuous shooting (20fps at 4MP)
  • Touch screen interface and touch screen auto focus
  • 1080i60 AVCHD shooting (from 30p sensor output)
  • All-area AF point selection
  • Pinpoint AF mode (magnifies focus point to allow confirmation and fine-tune of AF position)
  • Tracking AF in video mode
  • Picture-in-picture manual focus magnification
  • 460k dot articulated LCD
  • 1.44M dot-equivalent electronic viewfinder (phase sequential type)
  • Available in black, red, white color

Like it predecessor Panasonic G2, G3 users will likely to use 3″ LCD screen to change various settings and focus. In overly bright scene, users can use electronic viewfinder to compose shoot better. Its auto focus is the fastest compared to other compact system cameras, it has practical touch screen LCD screen. With a couple pancake lenses like Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 and 20mm f/1.7, I think this Panasonic G3 will be awesome for street photography.

Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic GF2

Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G1


Panasonic G3 vs GF1 with optional external viewfinder

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

[Gm] May 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm

In my opinion, this is not the perfect camera for Street Photographer — especially not in red :D ….

The lack of optical viewfinder can be a problem and I don’t really like touch screen. Without dedicated button, it’s hard for you to change settings without actually looking at the screen. Street Photographer often change some setting without looking, because they want to do it fast without taking the eyes out from the scene.

The size isn’t that compact either…

In summary, I wouldn’t call it “best of both world”. It’s merely a compromise of both world.

But, maybe this opinion comes because I’m too accustomed to dSLR.

Enche Tjin May 18, 2011 at 1:51 am

hi [GM] thanks for ur opinion, what do u think about fuji x100? is it a better street photography camera? it has both optical and electronic viewfinder.

[Gm] May 18, 2011 at 4:06 am

I think Fuji X100 have a better chance to better suits the need of Street Photographer. The hybrid viewfinder is quite interesting, but I don’t think it’s the strong point of X100.

I haven’t got the chance to test it out (I don’t own one) and give full recommendation. But, the reviews are good.

Several downsides that I can think of are: non-interchangeable lens and crop sensor. But, for daily street photography, I think it should be enough.

Paul May 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm

This camera could be for a family shooter who wants better results than a P&S can achieve, rather than for the photography enthusiast who would only be satisfied with the more powerful specifications of a full-fledged (or even entry-level) DSLR. (By “family shooter”, I mean an amateur who wants merely to capture family events and daily life.)

A G3 would give enhanced results without weighing down the family shooter with a heavy camera.

However, the price range of this camera, especially if an additional lens is being considered for purchase, would make the family shooter think twice before buying.

Mike April 4, 2012 at 8:40 am

I think this camera is good enough for street photography. And so are many other camera’s. The Panasonic G3 is fast enough for most purposes and the EVF is just fine. You don’t need an OVF for street photography, but it all comes down to personal preferences I think. The fact that you can change lenses makes this camera very versatile. Indeed there are some very nice high quality primes like the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, 20mm f/1.7 and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 that will make this micro 4/3 camera a joy to use. The G3 camera body is small and provides little grip, but with a wrist strap or some grip tape that shouldn’t be much of a problem. It is somewhat too easy to accidentally push the small buttons with your thumb, but when you get used to the camera it will happen less often. Image quality is much better than a point and shoot camera, especially when you use a good lens. In good light this camera can deliver great images with lots of detail and good contrast. I’d say that up to ISO800 photos look great. The camera is very small and light, so you can easily carry two bodies with your favourite lenses on it all day. Or just fit a small pancake and slip the camera in a very small bag. The articulated touchscreen is nice to have when you want to shoot from the hip or some other unusual angle. You can simply enable or disable all of the touch functions or enable only the ones you like. There’re a lot of buttons and most of the important settings can be changed that way. Yes, I can really recommend this camera! Small, light, unobtrusive, affordable and 16mp of great image quality.

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