Panasonic launches the Lumix GF3

Just five days after Sony launched its diminutive NEX-C3, claiming it to be the smallest, lightest camera in its class (so that’d be without a mirror but with interchangeable lenses), Panasonic has wheeled out the Micro Four Thirds mount Lumix GF3 to wrest from it the crown of tininess. The camera doesn’t look that bad, either.

It comes with just about everything that you’d expect from a shiny new camera now. There’s a touch screen that allows you to pick your point of focus with the tap of a finger; there’s full HD video (1080i at 25 frames per second) that comes with full-time auto-focus and auto-focus tracking; there’s a range of in-camera editing facilities, such as retro and high-key; and of course there’s the all-singing, all-dancing intelligent auto plus function. The camera will choose the right mode for the picture, there’s anti-blur technology a-plenty, and a face recognition doo-dad.

If you want to have a go at 3D photography, there’s a lens for that, too.

At 12 megapixels, it seems as if Panasonic might be calling a truce in that particular arms race. Okay, so things might’ve switched to how small they can make things now, and it might get old pretty quickly, but for now it’s more fun.

Want one? They’re available in four different colours for £499 (US$599.99) with a 14-42mm kit lens from mid-July.

More details available from Panasonic.