Today’s Amazon Deal includes four models from Panasonic

 

A quick note about Micro 4/3 cameras – think of these like Mini-DSLRS or think of them like powerful Points & Shoot cameras with interchangeable lenses.  They have sensors larger than P&S but not quite the size of an entry level DSLR and thus their image quality is excellent in day to day shoot and a bit below DSLR quality in low light performance.  This “almost as good as a DSLR” description carries over to focusing too, still shot auto focus and the shutter lag you will experience are almost as good.  Video focus is actually better in some cases.  Three models (despite four being listed, two are the same camera offered in black or red). along with my quick thoughts are listed below.  In general these prices are excellent and if you are looking for a versatile and fairly compact general travel camera I really see no need to tote around a DSLR. If shooting video will be your primary use and you want camcorder like focusing take a look at either the GH2 or the GF5 – both shoot excellent video.

 

The Panasonic GF3 12MP with 14-42 Lens ($279)
An older model but at $279 you get a versatile lens and a good touchscreen.   Additional lenses are a good bit cheaper than DSLR lenses so total dollars spent will be pretty significant too and the lens selection is excellent.  Unlike on the T4i the touchscreen on the GF3 does replace many of the physical buttons – the upside is a clean and uncluttered back and a variety of manual controls that are easily accessible via the touchscreen.  Downside is you need to use the touchscreen to change most settings.    Bottom line – if you want better performance than your P&S is providing and you are on a tight budget there really is no better option than the GF3.

 

The Panasonic GH2 16MP with 14-42 Lens ($499)
This is quite a different beast from the camera above and at almost twice the price you would hope it offers more and it does.  This is much more DSLR like in its styling and includes a hotshoe for flash or mic attachment as well as an articulating touchscreen.  Unlike the GF3 above the GH2 does include physical controls giving you a user interface similar to the canon T4i.  Focus is fast and this camera has really been optimized to shoot video, it does a fine job with stills too but it is important to note that lots of thought went into the video aspects of this camera making it a much better choice over the DSLRS at the same price point.

 

The Panasonic GF5 12MP with 14-42 Power Zoom Lens ($529)
The newest of the three cameras listed here – think of it like a blend of the previous two.  Styling is very similar to the GF3 but it shares more of the internals with the GH2 in that focus and video options are top notch.  There really isn’t anything else at this size and price point that will give you the results.  The power zoom lens is smaller than the 14-42 that is paired with the two models above.  And I really can’t stress enough if focus during video is important to you these cameras, especially the last two really beat the Nikon and Canon DSLRS.

See all the options on the Panasonic Gold Box Deal page.

Amazon is also offering deals on the SanDisk Extreme CardsMy tests found these cards to offer the best performance for the money.

I am happy to answer specific questions about either of these cameras.  The prices listed above are good for today NOV 18th only

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 Short Eared Owl. Captured with the Canon 80D and Tamron 150-600 G2
 Shadow Riders - Now I kinda wish I had photoshopped cowboy hat shadows for each of us! From family adventures in Saguaro National Park, Arizona
 Menzie's Penstemon or as the nerds say - Penstemon davidsonii ;) Found these little purple flowers on the way down from Paradise in Mt Rainier National Park and thought they made a nice foreground to the beautiful and still snowcapped peak in the distance. Captured with the GH5 and 12-35 f/2.8 Lens #lumixloungegh3


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