Is the old panasonic G3 worth buying today?

Discussion in 'Micro Four Thirds Forum' started by m.davidtaub, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. m.davidtaub

    m.davidtaub SC Regular

    78
    Sep 20, 2013
    Montpellier, France
    I've found a couple used ones in very good condition for 150 euros each here in France. Would use at first with a 14mm f2.5 and then maybe the 20 or 25mm. Was thinking about it for small size, swivel lcd, and take everywhere camera.

    But, there's always a but, I'm afraid to be disappointed with it's file quality. I'd only be shooting raw files.

    Any thoughts about image quality? I see compared to say an olympus e-pl5 or that level of small body the image quality will not be as good. Was thinking initially about the e-pl5, but this is my first m4/3 camera and thought this g3 might be a good way to see what I like and don't like about it.

    I'm guessing the g5/g6 has better image quality, but they are also bigger bodies. I would like small. I'm even drawn to the new ricoh GR and nikon's A, but think I'd give up a bit on size for the ability to change focal length.

    thanks for any advice, thoughts, user experience...
     
  2. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    The G5/G6 are pretty small - only bigger then the G3 in the grip. I'd say the improved sensor in the G5 makes it a better buy - I bought and sold one recently for about $200 US (body only) so it's down pretty close to the G3 price. If you really want small with an m43 body, I'd go for an Olympus EPM2 or the new Pany GM1. Up to date sensor and performance and only bigger than the GR / A in the lenses.

    -Ray
     
  3. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    these old cameras are fitted with a special chip that makes them stop taking usable pictures as soon as the next more expensive camera comes out.

    you will only get non-disappointing IQ (whatever IQ is) if you buy the newest most expensive camera with the very largest sensor.
     
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  4. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    This is what I like so much about SC. You learn something new every day. :biggrin:
     
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  5. m.davidtaub

    m.davidtaub SC Regular

    78
    Sep 20, 2013
    Montpellier, France
    thanks Ray...I may look for a used G5...it is just a bit wider/deeper than the g3...

    my only hesitations with bodies like epm2 or gm1, fixed lcd's...i like the swivel for being able to shoot at many angles, and also cause it folds back in on itself to protect the screen in my bag/coat pocket...

    but damn, I saw the gm1 in the local camera shop a few weeks back...amazingly small, even with the lens...looks well built too...still, i'd want at least a tilting lcd...

    i'm gonna wait a bit and think this over...

    I'm still drawn to the GR despite the fixed lcd and fixed focal length...price hovers between 650 and 690 euros these days...and not surprisingly, the Nikon A has gone down recently to 600 euros...I did have fun shooting with the Nikon A a while back, and how little attention it gets is a big plus...still, based on ricoh's history with fw updates, i'd tend to lean GR, plus, kinda like the built in ND filter, and a few other options the GR has that the A doesn't...

    also, despite the critique about image quality and chasing the latest and greatest, the aps-c sensor is really nice...
     
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  6. m.davidtaub

    m.davidtaub SC Regular

    78
    Sep 20, 2013
    Montpellier, France
    yes, learning every day...and i'm asking about older bodies cause I'm trying to save a few bucks while still getting good to very good image quality...I really don't want to live on the cutting edge...though if someone comes out with full frame bodies and cartier-bresson presets built in I'll pre-order :biggrin:

    pdh, i get what you're saying, but there's no denying better noise levels at higher iso's, and maybe better color as you get to the newer models...the old sensors are sometimes improved upon...

    but I did see the g3 sensor images only have a bit more color noise at 1600 iso (an iso i frequent quite often) than say the gh2 or even the olympus em5, (there's more detail retained as well with the olympus files), but that's why I'm considering it, even though the camera is ancient, released all the way back in 2011 :cool:
     
  7. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    "improved" & "better" are slippery relativistic terms.
    you might prefer one camera to another.
    easier to leave it at that otherwise all the energy goes into thinking and talking (endlessly) about camera specs and photon sites and high-iso noise and all the rest of the bollocks, rather than actually making beautiful photos.
     
  8. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Yes, sensors are improved with time, mainly in terms of better dynamic range and lower noise levels at high iso. A great deal seems to be made of high iso, but for some it's not an issue, we don't all try and take pictures in badly lit jazz clubs. Virtually all my mft cameras have been obtained secondhand, I would put more emphasis on trying to get the better lenses, a body can be updated in due course.

    I used my old GF1 to reasonable effect just yesterday https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=24373


    Barrie
     
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  9. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    I had a GX1 which was the same sensor and liked it a lot. It's a great sensor except at the margins of high ISO or really wide dynamic range.

    G5 is definitely better in IQ but incrementally, not radically. Definitely better ergonomically.

    The tilt-swivel LCD is something I do miss from the Panasonics, though I can live without it. But it does make some things so much easier.

    My daughter has a G3 that was a replacement for her old G1 which is now in my camera collection and one of the few digitals in it. But it was a very significant mirrorless pioneer so it belongs there to my mind.

    Can't comment much more because I didn't catch what you shoot exactly. Some cameras it's not all about the sensor quality at all -- it's about how they perform relative to what you shoot.
     
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  10. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    The G3 was (is) a great little camera. I do remember that the removal of the proximity sensor on the EVF drove some people balmy, and the rear dial doesn't have the most positive of actions. I tried out the same sensor in the GX1 and I particularly liked how it worked in b&w, but there wasn't a lot of dynamic range to be had in the highlights.
     
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  11. nippa

    nippa SC Top Veteran

    561
    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    Dennis
    I still use my G3 with the 100-300 lens for aviation shots purely as a compact system and it works well enough.
    Bit of PP here ( including grain ) but it's fast enough with practice to catch most things

    9201748721_12c454d705_b.

    Basically it's a nice little camera and although I too have the original G1 and GF1 , m4/3 sensors have never enthused me.
    Just tested the latest E-M1 with the 100-300m lens fitted and thought that I would be wasting my cash. Perhaps the next generation will offer a quantum leap..
     
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  12. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    If you like the E-PM2 and want a tilting LCD, try the E-PL5. It's only a tad thicker because of the tilting screen and has more external controls.
     
  13. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    The primary thing that bothered me about the G3 is also the lack of eye proximity sensor for the EVF. Otherwise, I thought it was a fine camera with IQ superior to the 12 mp sensors in the first and second generation Oly's.
     
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  14. m.davidtaub

    m.davidtaub SC Regular

    78
    Sep 20, 2013
    Montpellier, France
    you hit why I was asking...as a with me all the time camera I was curious about a photographers take on it...i need it to satisfy a few criteria, image quality only one point, but important as I do shoot in dark-ish cafes, and do like to shoot at night, so 1600 iso image quality does matter to me...and it being an all 'rounder means it has to feel good in hand (i know what the g3 feels like, played with it just after release) but haven't held a g5 or g6...

    I also like to do a lot of blur type images concentrating on light, abstract shapes, and i do often add grain to my images in pp on raw files...these are often city scenes, street, small squares, gardens...the cafe stuff is people, but also the tables, mugs, milk pitchers, glasses of water,...and i never use flash...it's only available light...also, the swivel lcd does make shooting from many angles much easier...

    thanks for the detail on your experience with the camera John...
     
  15. m.davidtaub

    m.davidtaub SC Regular

    78
    Sep 20, 2013
    Montpellier, France
    Interesting, one, about you never being enthused by the m4/3 sensor...care to explain a bit?...

    and with all the raves about the new em1 you don't find it worthwhile, i mean for you, i understand...

    i have read some photographers who feel the image quality is just better at aps-c and above and just refuse to use any body with a smaller sensor...but, I have been seeing excellent photos from photographers using panasonic/olympus and for years and don't always agree about the quibbles about sensor size...except if you go down to older p&s size where image quality above 100 iso or so is compromised...

    thanks for your take on this nippa, and the image...good to see it full size...
     
  16. m.davidtaub

    m.davidtaub SC Regular

    78
    Sep 20, 2013
    Montpellier, France
    yes, I've been looking at the e-pl5 for a while...and it might be the route i take...there was a one day sale here in france, 419 euros for the kit (14-42), and then I started wondering about used equipment...used e-pl5's here too expensive, but these g3's at around 150 to 180 intrigued me...nice low price to try this format...

    still, waiting a few days, a week or so, then I'll decide...besides image quality, i'm also weighing size, lens choices or not, and how it all ties in with my day to day shooting...some days i feel i've decided and a few hours pass and i come back to it and then see why I should consider something else...but I do need to get off this fence and pick up something relatively small, light, something that doesn't attract much attention and gives me the image quality i need...

    thanks Biro...

    ps. another recent possibility, fujifilms x-a1 kit, priced at 539 euros and a rebate of 50 euros till mid january...all i'd need after that, maybe the 18mm and 27mm for a very small, nice image quality, take everywhere camera...ah, decisions, decisions...
     
  17. nippa

    nippa SC Top Veteran

    561
    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    Dennis
    Why m4/3 hasn't rung my bell yet...
    I used to do a fair bit of Ground to Air Shooting of Aviation so the physical size reduction of lens + camera offered by m4/3 seemed to be ideal as a DSLR replacement and I bought the original G1 with the very average 45-200 lens.
    At the time I was flying into the States at least 3 times a year so hand-luggage restrictions were a consideration.
    As we all know the focusing speed wasn't that wonderful on the G1 but high speed jets could still be shot with a bit of practice. My first attempt using m4/3 for aviation was at Miramar in 2009.
    Later the G3 that the OP is looking at offered faster focusing - I didn't notice when shooting jets - and I could now use a higher ISO stopping down a bit to help sharpness.
    Meanwhile I was using a Leica X1 and Sony DSLRs for other things and I could see a smoothness from the larger sensors that the Lumix cameras couldn't achieve.

    Although the E-M1 is highly regarded I've tried it with.my telephoto lens and found that the RAW files didn't wow me ; at the price of that body they should blow me away!
    I handled a GX7 the other day and liked it rather more than I expected.
     
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  18. chipbutty

    chipbutty SC Rookie

    19
    Nov 6, 2012
    • Like Like x 1
  19. m.davidtaub

    m.davidtaub SC Regular

    78
    Sep 20, 2013
    Montpellier, France
    Ray, was just wondering if you could comment about why you sold the G5? Whatever the reasons, thanks for your feedback...