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Panasonic GH3 real-world test (pre-production firmware)

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Posted



This report is based on a pre-production model.

The GH3 is Panasonic's most far-reaching attempt yet to take on Canon's DSLR-market domination. So popular were Canon's DSLRs for video that they were able to found the entire Cinema EOS business on the back off it (and in doing so, arguably they turned their back on the enthusiast DSLR video market).

But there was always a dark horse and that camera was the Panasonic GH2, with a better image and feature-set than any APS-C Canon DSLR for video. Now the dark horse has come of age but question marks remain. Is the mass market educated enough to choose more discerningly when it comes to DSLRs and DSLMs?

And is the GH3 good enough?

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Posted

I believe the Electronic shutter on the GH3 can also produce full 16mp images just like the G5.

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Posted

Yes it can, although not at 20 fps. 6 fps just like the mechanical shutter. It's nice for time lapse though and completely silent.

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Posted

One of the questions I have is about the iPad monitoring. Is that possible in video mode?

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Posted

Moiré seems to be less evident here, but it's there, and I think there could be situations where it becomes more evident and distracting.
If a stronger antialiasing filter could reduce or eliminate it, it'd be great. I hope this issue can actually be overcome, because it's certainly a no go for me and for many others, even if it's less present than what's in a 7D, 60D, etc.
I wonder, are you really not bothered by it, Andrew? It's great that we get all of these other features, but I will prefer image quality over improved functionality in this case, and that's probably in staying in GH2 grounds...

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Posted

I really wish they implemented a flatter picture profile... that's the only thing canon has over panasonic

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Posted


I really wish they implemented a flatter picture profile... that's the only thing canon has over panasonic




do it in post if you really want a flatter image

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Posted

Thanks very much for this review. I've been searching daily for in-depth reviews and yours has fixed my craving--for a bit anyway! The improved stills confirmation is what I wanted to hear most.

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Posted

Thanks for the review. Any thoughts on how the Panasonic OIS compares to the Olympus OM-D EM-5's IBIS for video shooting?

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Posted

looks very interesting , Andrew 's review is the most comprehensive test we have seen so far.
but I think I will be sticking with hacked GH2 as it has a unique look ! it works for me !

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Posted

It's very unfortunate that they were not able to have a full optimzed sensor for their needs, we can clearly see that they probably optimized as much as they could with the sensor they had in hands - yeah, probably Sony's one. They had to compromise a bit of the downscaling, moiré, multi-aspect, etc. in order to have a better colour, DR, IQ, etc.

I think that it would be nice to see Panasonic asking for someone else to make it if they can't, the Aptina sensors for the Nikon1 cameras have very interesting feats. They have very fast sensor read out which let the camera shoot a very high frame rate at full size, I don't exactly know what prevents them from doing it, if it's the processor or the heat dissipation process or whatever, but those sensors seems to be able to produce 4K@60fps.

So I think that if Panasonic is able to have a full optimized sensor for their needs, it will be a heck of a camera. Sony is making a new step with the global shutter sensor in the F55, maybe Panasonic could buy or develop a m43 global shutter sensor with Sony since the GH-something wouldn't hurt Sony directly and Sony is more interesting in selling sensors than worried about Panasonic.

A GHX-something optimzed for video would be very nice but I just wonder if people wouldn't get mad. Well, if they can really make it in the $3000 price point with 4K, I think that no GH3 owner will complain.

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Posted

Andrew, do you think the 12-35 lens works well with the gh3 for video?

I was worried that it was the sharpness of this lens that was causing the moire on the gh3 so I was hesitating about purchasing.

furthermore, will there be an option to buy the gh3 and 12-35x in a kit?

thanks

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Posted

Uematsu-san replied that the only surefire way to reduce moire was to read-out all pixels and oversample. He said it was preferable to reduce the pixel count to 4K (8MP). 10MP was also a good number. He cited the Aptina sensor in the Nikon 1 as capable of reading out all pixels at a frame rate fast enough for video and the Canon C300′s sensor design where each RGB photosite is output and moire is reduced.


Me wants oversampling, 2.5k at least, there are several important reasons for this. I am getting it with my new 400$ GoPro, i want it to be in my new interchangeable-lens cam too.

With the 16MP sensor in the GH3, this would be a tall order especially given the price point which is 1/12th of Canon’s C300, and they are not willing to compromise resolution in stills mode down to just 10MP either.


OK, the sensor is the point of distinction.

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Posted

I hate that this camera takes stills... F'ckin hate it, lol...

All selfishness aside, i expected ridiculous Moire if it was confirmed... This isn't too bad though;). It's mirrorless... So maybe we'll get a Mosaic filter later, lol... Shooting Log style is great for post work, i especially appreciate it when it comes to highlights.. It'd pay off pretty decent i'd assume if the banding issues are far better now. I don't like the idea of baking in anything my grading program can't do a thousand times more efficiently, so printing a log style Picture Profile is something i hope they eventually implement. It's really good to hear the color and dynamic range are much better!! This was huge for me. 8 bit has its limitations, but Canon always seemed to draw color i preferred over the Gh2 in video, so i knew it could be done within the barriers.. For all of its quirks, the 5d2 still has a sexy pallete. ...at the price of everything else though, lol.

Now when, (or "if") - they hack this thing, it will be interesting to see what they can manipulate.

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Posted

Thanks for another great review Andrew. I did wonder tho if you meant to say that the GH3 has clean HDMI output at 4:2:2? Every mention i've seen has always said it's only 4:2:0.

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Posted

Are you sure that the HDMI-out is 4:2:2? I remember reading in a few locations that it was 4:2:0. Because 4:2:2 would be great.

And while I don't care about 10-bit color, it's annoying that Panasonic would have restricted it to a higher-level camera to further a strategy of artificial segmentation. 10-bit color is the feature du jour to restrict to higher-leve, expensive gear for no other reason than to force people who want it to pay more. I have a 10-bit monitor but I'll be bollocksed if I'm going to buy a $2,000 video card.

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Posted

Thanks for the review.

Can the GH3 do 1/48 shutter @ 24p? (180 degree shutter)

GH2 can only do 1/40 or 1/50.

Thanks!

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Posted

The GH3 is leaps and bounds above the GH2, I just really wish the GH3 could solve the moire issue... but even though, its a great feet for Panasonic.

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Posted

Why does Panasonic advertise with it's new dynamic range, yet provide no numbers for it?

Did they re-introduce the PAL/NTSC switch firmware 0.4 had that got removed in 0.5?
(=will I be able to import a JP/AU/CA/US model to not have the 30min limit in Europe instead of donating+waiting for a hack)

I guess there's no news about how the remote TTL works (flashes/IR/radio/wifi-radio) and if it's compatible with the Olympus remote TTL protocol? (=existing Metz flashes work)

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Posted

QUOTE: I feel that Panasonic need a full frame sensor flagship model because there is a cultural issue with customers who think bigger is always better. No matter how good the GH3, the Lumix brand will always be seen as being lesser than Canon and Nikon without that fabled full frame camera. Even if the margins are very slim and the resources required to develop a whole new lens range significant, a full frame mirrorless camera from Panasonic would have a halo affect on the whole range from top to bottom.

I couldn't disagree more. Panny lost nearly $5b this past financial year, $25b accumulated loss over the past 5 years. The enormous investment to develop a FF camera and lenses from scratch would be financial folly. A far, far better uses of scares resources is to put it into making even better GHx cameras and lenses. Panny is in niche of two and can help take it mainstream. To cut back on investment here in order to compete with Canon, Nikon, Sony etc on their FF turf from scratch for the sake of a debatable halo affect would result in us all losing.

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Posted

I really liked the in-dept overview and i share EOSHD thought about GH line needed to be FF
i will always chose large sensor over 4/3 no matter how good is video implementation.

Nikon is getting better and better with each camera iteration.

My LX7 is good for video but very bad camera for still

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Posted

@Andrew

Can you please ask Panasonic to produce an adapter for Canon to M43 with AF, IS, and aperture control? I want to buy the GH3 so very much but I have Canon lenses. Additionally, I love photography as well as video so AF support is important.

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Posted

Excellent interview, Andrew.

“The external HDMI feed is clean, uncompressed 4-2-2 8bit like the Nikon D800, but Panasonic have reserved 10bit for the updated AF100A and of course the GH3 does not have professional video or audio jacks such as XLR or HD-SDI. To be honest with an internal codec this good, I can’t see there being much advantage to external HDMI recording on the GH3. The headphone jack gets in the way of the articulated screen but this can be overcome by using a monitor or EVF and keeping the LCD flat against the back of the camera or closed to preserve the battery. The microphone jack is higher up and nicely out of the way.â€



I wish Panasonic would just get rid of the 8-bit, and get it to 10-bit. That would cure the terrible banding, which appears across the GH2 and GH3 (as well as every other DSLR on the market). That, and getting rid of the moiré and aliasing, and you could add another $100-200, and I am sure, a lot of people won’t be complaining (or shouldn’t … lol).

AF100 has a LOT of features, which its competitors, in price don’t. Its just that the image coming out of the camera, is probably, just not as nice, as those coming off cameras around the same price (like the FS100). In many tests, the GH2 produced more detail (and slightly lesser moiré) than the AF100. The AF100 was not a very well selling camera, despite having lots of great features. Anyway, so trying to revive it with a few, minor upgrades, is, IMHO, not going to turn it into a best seller. They are just allocating (unnecessary) resources, and funds, in trying to flog a dead horse.

Because Panasonic have thousand of AF100s laying around, which they want to get rid of, then, maybe, they should tweak it a little more, add a few free accessories, reduce it by $1000, and it might just work. The whole thing, with the BMCC coming out and RED slashing its prices, has put a lot of pressure on companies, to price their cameras even cheaper.

It still has advantages like XLR sockets, built in ND filters, and other things, over the GH range. So, there isn’t really a conflict, on that front. Tweaking the GH3’s codec, only keeping the AF100A, in mind, may be a poor strategic move. Especially, if you consider, that, a great GH3 will outsell the AF100A, many, many times over. If not by margins, then, definitely by numbers, Panasonic will be making a killing.

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Posted

So wait a second. Canon produces the 5d mark III that gets of rid of aliasing albeit with a soft image and an ALL-i codec. People bash Canon for not delivering. Sometime after Panasonic comes out with the GH3 which goes backwards from the GH2 with a softer and more aliased image. Also with an ALL-i codec (which is moot as everyone has hacked their GH2 anyway). And they get props? Hah.

Dynamic range seems to be completely the same. Highlight handling maybe a smidgeon better. These real-life "tests" are not tests. We could be having another "take out the anti-aliasing filter"-moment.

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Posted

On the moire issues I think some perspective is required. Some of the pixel-obsession on forums like Personal-View is so over the top it is ridiculous. These guys never shoot anything worthwhile just obsess over small things.

Glad the discussion here is far more level-headed.

There's an approximate 20 point list of benefits over the previous model overall. Many pros and amateurs alike happily shoot with the 7D, 60D, T2i, NEX 5N, NEX 7 and those cameras have FAR MORE moire than the GH3 gave me on that shoot. Perspective!!

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