Bridge cameras “bridge” the gap between two different types of camera. The GF3 tries to bridge the gap between a compact point-and-shoot and an enthusiast oriented interchangeable lens camera. Camera makers have attempted, several times, over the past fifty years, to combine the creative potential and flexibility of an interchangeable lens camera with the convenience and simplicity of a point-and-shoot. Unfortunately, their efforts usually result in a product that isn’t a very good example of either camera type.
The new GF3 is the best bridge camera I’ve ever used. It is small enough to be pocketable (with the 14mm prime lens mounted), it is remarkably easy to use, and it is rich in the features that casual shooters love. At the same time, the GF3 can mount an impressive selection of optics and provides lots of pro-level flexibility.
The GF3 was designed to meet the needs of a remarkably broad demographic. This camera should appeal to pro and semi-pro shooters looking for a pocketable back-up camera with lots of creative potential, casual shooters looking for an easy to use interchangeable lens camera that automatically makes all exposure decisions and amateur photographers looking to move up from their point-and-shoot to something with a bit more sophistication.
Small, versatile and unobtrusive pocket cameras (with superb optics) designed to capture the decisive moment with as little fuss as possible were used to shoot many of the iconic images of the twentieth century – and they were the camera of choice for some of the greatest photographers who ever lived. The GF3 does a pretty good job of updating the straight shooters primary tool for the twenty-first century.
The GF3 is capable (with very little effort on the part of the user) of consistently and dependably delivering “pro” quality images. The GF3 successfully combines the look and P&S simplicity of a compact digicam with the larger sensor and lens interchangeability of a DSLR. To put that another way, the GF3 looks and behaves like a compact P&S digicam, but it performs like a DSLR.