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SLR-like Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 outscores SLRs in Consumer Reports' lab tests

SLR-like Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 outscores SLRs in Consumer Reports’ lab tests

We recently tested a number of new SLR-like (mirrorless) cameras, and we were surprised to find that one, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3, scored higher than all the SLRs tested in this group.

It’s just one point higher, but that’s still remarkable, since mirrorless cameras arrived on the camera market less than five years ago. But camera manufacturers have been flooding the market with these models, and our Ratings reflect this: We tested 33 SLR-likes and just 19 SLRs in this most recent batch.

In addition to scoring well in the Ratings, part of the story revolves around how the Lumix DMC-GH3 and other SLR-likes have built in many of the features consumers want. For example, the GH3 is one of the few advanced cameras with a swiveling touch-screen LCD. And you can set focus and shoot by touching the display. You can find this feature on some smart phones, but most SLRs won’t have it, as they don’t have touch screens.

Also, the GH3 is one of the few models that captures exquisite video. And it has an electronic viewfinder that may give TTL (through-the-lens) viewfinders (the only kind you’ll find on SLRs) a run for their money, since you can review your photos or videos on an electronic one. That can be very important when you’re shooting on a sunny day and the glare washes out your LCD. With an SLR, you’re forced to find shade to view your images on the display.

Often, SLR-likes have also been the first models to include cutting-technology. The GH3, as well as another mirrorless model which scored well in our Ratings, the Sony NEX-6L, both include built-in Wi-Fi, so you can control the camera from a smart phone or tablet and back up your photos and video to a computer. Both models can capture 3D photos, too. Very few SLRs have either capability.

So if you’re in the market for an advanced camera, you’re not restricted to models with mirrors in them—SLRs, that is. The age of mirrorless SLR-likes appears to have arrived.

Find the best SLR-like model for your needs and budget; check out our digital camera buying guide and Ratings.

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