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A camera that fits DSLR features into the form factor 'of a smartphone'

Panasonic has unveiled its smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens system camera yet.

The Lumix GF3 follows in the footsteps of its GF2 and GF1 siblings, cramming high-tech features into a compact body.

Weighing just 222 grams and measuring 4.24 inches (10.8 cm wide), 2.64 inches (6.7 cm) tall, and 1.28 inches (3.3 cm) deep, the body of the Lumix GF3 is slightly smaller than Sony's diminutive and recently announced Alpha NEX-C3 interchangeable lens camera (the body of which measures 11 x 6 x 3.3 cm and weighs 225g).

The GF3 also manages to fit in a built-in flash.

"The Panasonic GF3 compact system camera is extremely small and its newly-designed rounded body is quite attractive, which we expect to be popular among those users wanting to step-up from a point-and-shoot, yet who view traditional DSLRs as bulky and overly complex," said Darin Pepple, senior product manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company.

"While the size and weight of the GF3 has been greatly reduced, Panasonic does not compromise what is at the core of every LUMIX, which is exceptional photo and video quality with an easy-to-use interface."

The Panasonic Lumix GF3 features full-HD 1080/60i video recording, a DSLR-sized 12.1 MP image sensor, a 3" touch-enabled display and touch-controlled menus, a Dust Reduction System, a wide selection of creative effects, and is compatible with Micro Four Thirds System lenses (including Panasonic’s own 3D lens).

The GF3 will be available for $699.99 with a 14mm lens kit system in July or for $599.99 with the 14-42mm lens kit system in late August.

Sony’s NEX-C3 will be available from August for $649.99 with an 18-55mm lens kit or for $599.99 with a 16mm lens kit.