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

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#21
Max

Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:13 AM

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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

#22
that1guyy

Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:40 AM

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@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.

#23
sanveer

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:17 AM

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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.”



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.

#24
hmcindie

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:21 AM

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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.

#25
Andrew Reid

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:25 AM

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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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#26
RossF

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:35 AM

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Nice article Andrew, thanks.

I'm another one of the guys asking whether the GH3 really does output 4:2:2 through the HDMI or, as many others have reported, only does 4:2:0. This is a pretty big deal as, if it's 4:2:0, there's basically no point in ever using an external recorder.

If it can output 4:2:2, it should help with keying and, very importantly for some, might even get it officially accepted for HD broadcast work (if the moire isn't deemed to be unacceptable).

#27
Calvinius

Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:58 AM

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Being a newbie starting filming, I have to say that I am torn apart between waiting kind of three months until the final first version has been exposed to the wild for some times (and some hacks may evven be available), or starting filming with a GH2, using the existing hacks and then possibly upgrading later...

#28
Axel

Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:15 AM

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Nice article Andrew, thanks.

I'm another one of the guys asking whether the GH3 really does output 4:2:2 through the HDMI or, as many others have reported, only does 4:2:0. This is a pretty big deal as, if it's 4:2:0, there's basically no point in ever using an external recorder.

If it can output 4:2:2, it should help with keying and, very importantly for some, might even get it officially accepted for HD broadcast work (if the moire isn't deemed to be unacceptable).


Too much. Atomos sells the hope to be able to upgrade from consumer to pro, but I doubt external recording is of much use. Talking about perspective: Do we need a one-in-all? Why not buy a used Canon for photos? A GoPro Hero3 (nice to have anyway, for this price)? An additional classic camcorder with some of the desirable features like 1080 50/60p, i.e. the Panasonic AG-AC90?

Or: The BMCC, if you aim at cinema.

Or: RED or the fantastic new Sonys, if you can afford them.
Either you care - or you don't

#29
xenogears

Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:57 PM

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Is true what Andrew says about the moire, the Nex 5n have a nice image but have aliasing problems and moire too, even overheating, but that doesn't stop me to work with it, i'm falling in love with the GH3 features and more since the Sony a99 wasn't what i expected, also is true that many of the complainers are just tech junkies and maybe never shot something worthy with their cameras.

Right now, i don't think there be other camera with so many features as the GH3 and at $1300 tag price, no way.

@Andrew, great review by the way.
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#30
RossF

Posted 06 November 2012 - 01:02 PM

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Too much. Atomos sells the hope to be able to upgrade from consumer to pro, but I doubt external recording is of much use. Talking about perspective: Do we need a one-in-all? Why not buy a used Canon for photos? A GoPro Hero3 (nice to have anyway, for this price)? An additional classic camcorder with some of the desirable features like 1080 50/60p, i.e. the Panasonic AG-AC90?

Or: The BMCC, if you aim at cinema.

Or: RED or the fantastic new Sonys, if you can afford them.


I agree, you'll never get one camera that does it all (hence why I've got a collection that's growing out of control!) but, a broadcast "legal" GH3 would be a very unique proposition in its own right. I do a lot of snow sports filming, both action and corporate, and very occasionally have a need to shoot broadcast accepted footage. Lugging several cameras around a mountain isn't really an option so I have to make do with one system. To make matters worse, I shoot both stills and video!

The C300 is probably the closest to a do-it-all at the moment (great image, 50mb/s 4:2:2 codec) but it has no stills capability at all and slow-mo is only at 720p. The FS700 with external recorder does stills but not properly (no raw, no flash etc), it's not weather sealed and, as much as I want to, I just don't like the look of the footage. I really like the footage that I'm seeing from the BMDCC but it's a complete non-started in terms of practicality for me (for starters, I'm not taking my gloves off to use a touch screen when it's minus 20 degress C!). The new F5 does look great but it's going to be too big and heavy, and basically overkill, for most of what I do.

The 5D Mark III that I'm currently using (alongside a couple of GH2s) is supposedly getting a clean 4:2:2 HDMI out in March but the resolution is still going to be the mushy 720p-esque stuff that we have at the moment.

I know that my requirements are very specific but, for me, a GH3 with the option of occasionally using an external recorder for broadcast accepted footage, rather than using an entirely different camera, is pretty attractive!

So, if anyone knows whether it's going to be 4:2:0 or 4:2:2, I'm keen to hear!

#31
KarimNassar

Posted 06 November 2012 - 01:55 PM

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Thank you for this review Andrew but I must say I am quite surprised at your conclusion.

Stills aside, since most of us care about video, where are the improvements?
How can you say the gh3 is a successful upgrade?

-"same" insane detail / so no improvement there and I would like to see a side by side comparison that shows that there is indeed the same detail as on the gh2 because I personally doubt it. And even if it's there, we should be happy they did not make it worse?

- Better colour and dynamic range / really? is there really a significant and more importantly usable in post increase in dynamic range?

- Best ever codec on a consumer camera / fair enough, but does that translate in a visibly better final image than on the hacked gh2?

- clean hdmi / sounds good but then you say yourself "I can’t see there being much advantage to external HDMI recording on the GH3"

I feel that the gh3 is the new mark III, definitively improved in the stills aspect but definitively not in video.
And with the introduction of moire and aliasing it just gets worse.

No improvement in resolution, no high frame rates, no 10bit...
Better stills, better ergonomics, sure.
Video wise? there is nothing significant compared to a hacked gh2 imo...if I am missing something let me know.

I know you are much more knowledgeable than me Andrew but no matter how I spin it I don't get how one can call the gh3 a "successful upgrade" at least when considering the video aspect?

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#32
hoodlum

Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:22 PM

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According to this Panasonic Interview the GH3 does binning not line skipping to get to 1080p.

http://www.imaging-r...act-system-tech

Panasonic: Yes, it's not possible to read out the whole array at 60p. So this means we have to do some pixel combining. We combine 2 x 2 pixels on the sensor, so that makes just one quarter the data that we have to read out. This makes it possible to read out at 60p. Then we combine again to get the 2 megapixel video image.
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#33
Jon de Zwaan

Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:42 PM

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Thanks Andrew!

Of course it's a bit dissapointing having moiré and aliasing, but the way I see it, is the GH2 being a budget cinema cam and this one will be the ideal run and gun, ENG (budget)camera. The weathersealing and audio monitoring are a big plus. I see a lot of (professional) BTS and making of's still being shot on a 7D, despite of having moiré and aliasing issues as well. Now let's compare the gh3 to the 7D, it's a worthy upgrade, isn't it?

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#34
TJB

Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

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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!!


I believe you are right about perspective. I can understand though that after spending 4 years with a moire and aliasing ridden 5DM2 that some out there, including myself are a little cautious. The conclusion is that as of November 2012, the GH2 is still the only moire and aliasing (relatively) free DSLR style camera that resolves something close to HD straight out of the box. My take away from what you've written is that the GH3 codec should give us a slightly better image but with slightly more aliasing and moire.

One question that hasn't been answered is the GH3 performance in ETC mode. Did you get to shoot any ETC material? Does the recorded image look better than the GH2? I think ETC mode on the GH2 is amazing but sometimes the image would be unusable particularly if even slightly underexposed at low ISO.

I've noticed the GH2's viewfinder aliases when in sharp focus providing a form of focus assist. Did you notice if the GH3 does this as well?
Might be helpful if peaking gets lost in translation.

Thanks for sharing your latest findings.
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#35
PAVP

Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

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Hey Andrew, can we get a confirmation about the HDMI being 4:2:2 now or still just 4:2:0? That was a new update after so many statements that the GH3 couldn't do 4:2:2 do to its design. Would love a clarification on whether this was a typo or not.

#36
pask74

Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:56 PM

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I think the GH3 is not significantly better enough to be worth upgrading from my hacked GH2 that already (and still) performs very well.I was dreaming of Panasonic releasing a mind-blowing GH3 (2k, virtually no moiré/aliasing, 10 bit - etc.) and taking the market like a storm...

#37
pask74

Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:00 PM

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Thank you for this review Andrew but I must say I am quite surprised at your conclusion.

Stills aside, since most of us care about video, where are the improvements?
How can you say the gh3 is a successful upgrade?

-"same" insane detail / so no improvement there and I would like to see a side by side comparison that shows that there is indeed the same detail as on the gh2 because I personally doubt it. And even if it's there, we should be happy they did not make it worse?

- Better colour and dynamic range / really? is there really a significant and more importantly usable in post increase in dynamic range?

- Best ever codec on a consumer camera / fair enough, but does that translate in a visibly better final image than on the hacked gh2?

- clean hdmi / sounds good but then you say yourself "I can’t see there being much advantage to external HDMI recording on the GH3"

I feel that the gh3 is the new mark III, definitively improved in the stills aspect but definitively not in video.
And with the introduction of moire and aliasing it just gets worse.

No improvement in resolution, no high frame rates, no 10bit...
Better stills, better ergonomics, sure.
Video wise? there is nothing significant compared to a hacked gh2 imo...if I am missing something let me know.

I know you are much more knowledgeable than me Andrew but no matter how I spin it I don't get how one can call the gh3 a "successful upgrade" at least when considering the video aspect?


... my thinking, too!

#38
AdRath

Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:17 PM

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I was dreaming of Panasonic releasing a mind-blowing GH3 (2k, virtually no moiré/aliasing, 10 bit - etc.) and taking the market like a storm...


You were dreaming of a $3K-$5K camera delivered by Panasonic for under $1.5k? Easy to be disappointed with such unrealistic expectations.

#39
KarimNassar

Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:58 PM

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You were dreaming of a $3K-$5K camera delivered by Panasonic for under $1.5k? Easy to be disappointed with such unrealistic expectations.


fair enough but that was said about the bmcc that could not deliver as much for 3k
and now the gopro hero 3 delivers 2.7k at 24fps for 400usd with a lens...
times of companies holding back on technology to maximize profit are now gone and the ones still playing at that game are loosing a lot of money.
you can up your expectations now

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#40
Andrew Reid

Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:03 PM

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Too much. Atomos sells the hope to be able to upgrade from consumer to pro, but I doubt external recording is of much use. Talking about perspective: Do we need a one-in-all? Why not buy a used Canon for photos? A GoPro Hero3 (nice to have anyway, for this price)? An additional classic camcorder with some of the desirable features like 1080 50/60p, i.e. the Panasonic AG-AC90?

Or: The BMCC, if you aim at cinema.

Or: RED or the fantastic new Sonys, if you can afford them.


You don't necessarily need an all-in-one, but look at the benefits the video mode on the GH3 has given the stills side.

Taking out of the mirror and putting a video capable live view system in, gave us an EVF for stills and an adaptable lens mount for legacy glass. Both things I really miss on my 5D Mark III.

The extra processing power to support good video gives you faster AF, more responsive menus and live view, faster, electronic shutter, better noise reduction on JPEGs, faster raw write times, faster SD cards, 10fps continuous shooting on the Sony NEX 5N for $500, list goes on...

The GH2 was very underrated as a stills camera. Don't you guys let same fate befall the GH3. It doesn't deserve it!




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