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(Pocket-lint) - The latest Micro Four Thirds camera to touch down is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, which effectively supplants the G2 launched around this time last year.

It continues to push Panasonic’s portfolio of compact system cameras, making some key changes to the specifications.

Notably the Lumix G3 features a new sensor, moving up from the 12 megapixels of the G2 to 16 megapixels in the new model. It isn’t just cramming more pixels onto the Live MOS sensor: Panasonic told us that it redesigned the circuitry to reduce the noise that occurs when extracting the data off the sensor.

The new G3 has also slimmed down 25 per cent over its forbear, now featuring an aluminium body. It now measures 115.2 x 83.6 x 46.7mm “excluding protrusions” (the spec sheet tells us). In reality it nestles down nicely into the palm of your hand, and weighing only 336g (before you attach the lens) it is lightweight too.

It is instantly recognisable as a G Series camera, with its mini DSLR looks, so the design will be familiar to G Series fans. Controls reflect those of previous models.

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You get that free-angle 3-inch 460k-dot display at the rear, which is touch enabled, offering you on-screen menu controls, also duplicated through regular button controls. Touch shooting means you can quickly and easily select the focal point you want without having to fiddle around with selecting AF points as you would on a DSLR. 

Panasonic is really emphasising quality with the G3 and that extends to video capture too, as it now offers 1080/50i video with stereo audio.

Compatible with existing G Series lenses, the standard kit lens will be the 14-42mm, the same lens as previous models, with no change to the lens line-up at this time. 

The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 is due to hit stores in mid June, retailing for £549.99 (body only) or £629 with the kit lens.

In the UK it will be available in three colours - white, black and red - with a brown option available in other territories. And yes, you’ve guessed it, we’ve already seen the camera, pictured here for your delectation in the UK colours.

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Want to know more? We’ve been living with the camera for the last week, so you could also read our Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 review.

Writing by Chris Hall.