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


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#41 EOSHD

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:26 PM

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


Don't forget this isn't a final review at all. Waiting for final firmware and more experience with the camera.

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?


One of the Slashcam guys was at the shoot and he's chart tested the GH3 vs GH2. He said the GH3 had a little bit more. I believe him, he knows his stuff. They are based in Berlin and I plan to meet up again.

- 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?


I have zero interest in shooting at 176Mbit to gain an almost in-perceivable difference over 80Mbit. Leave that to the personal-view guys... It got boring (not to mention confusing) pretty fast.

The GH1 hack was great since it patched up a broken codec. The GH2 hack began well but now it is all about fiddling and fluffing around the edges. No significant new progress.

Out of the box codec is far more important. It isn't hacked. It is designed.

I can't have a shot curtailed during a shoot because of an unreliable codec hack.

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


Wait and see the final camera. Also the HDMI may not at the moment be better in terms of image quality than an already superb internal codec but it is THE SAME. Which is more than you can say for the GH2's output, which was worse than the internal!

Uncompressed HDMI if you want ProRes workflow straight off the bat is useful for some.

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.


Yep, you are - sorry!
  • 1080/60p at 50Mbit for slow-mo, no need to drop to 720p
  • Smoother gradation
  • Less banding
  • Better colour and no yellowish / greenish cast to deep reds and oranges
  • Weather proof for wet shooting days
  • Massively improved LCD and EVF for video
  • Huge battery (and battery grip)
  • 72Mbit ALL-I is more reliable than hacked GH2 and no need to hack / put up with annoying Russian guy
  • 24/25p and no progressive segmented frame nonsense or interlaced
  • Tougher lens mount for anamorphic and heavy lenses
As for better ergonomics these are as important for video as they are for stills.

#42 zaz

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:38 PM

Isn't it possible that all these moire and aliasing problems we've been bitching and moaning about can be solved simply by changing out the aa filter for something like those from Mosaic Engineering?

oh wow, i just had an idea: perhaps an EXTREMELY prudent move for panasonic at this moment would be to make the GH3 easily "hackable" or even, to support third party development for it. If I could ask for only one change to be added between now and launch, THAT is it. Let third-party programers add things like peaking, 720/120p, log capture, etc.

#43 KarimNassar

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:42 PM

thank you Andrew for taking the time to respond in detail very interesting read I love this board :)

I hope you won't mind I still don't agree with you though.

- same or more detail? great. nothing to say there. I'd like to see it though.
- 60 frame per second isn't very slow motion to me I don't think it was too much to expect more.
- Smoother gradation better color and less banding sounds good, would like to see it.
- improved lcd sure, but most people use an external monitor anyways
- more reliable than the hack, okay fair enough even though mine never crashed.

The rest you listed is fine but nothing major or significant to me.
It's like a more reliable hacked gh2 basically.

Also some gh3 footage showed the iso bug with dark parts flashing is still there.

To me a fair upgrade would have been 120fps or 2k resolution or 10 bit 4:2:2 or much better usable in post dynamic range.

One of these things would have been a significant upgrade and not a more polished gh2 with sadly newly introduced moire and aliasing.
Not improved enough video wise to me.

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#44 Ernesto Mántaras

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:08 PM

@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.


I just saw this looking for something else. It's a Redrock Micro "LiveLens MFT Adapter". It's $545 in it's basic package, and only delivers electronic aperture control (or maybe more, according to this: "Please note The LiveLens MFT powers the aperture control portion of EF Lenses. Additional lens features that require power may not be supported."; this implies they also MAY be supported... ha!).

http://store.redrock...com/livelensmft

You also have the option to use "dumb" lens adapters, but you wont get AF unless Redrock improve their product (or the end up supporting thos "additional lens features that require power").

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#45 AdRath

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:59 PM

Andrew: Any timeline to release the doc shot on the pre-production GH3? All this endless talking I really want to see footage shot by someone with an eye (ie not photography blogs).

#46 TJB

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:12 PM

You say-
"I can't have a shot curtailed during a shoot because of an unreliable codec hack."

I say-
I can't have a shot of a curtain during a shoot because of an unreliable sensor."
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#47 GMaximus

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 10:08 PM

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.

That is an interesting read, thank you! That corresponds to 4Mpix readout from the full sensor, and with the 16:9 crop it's getting close to ~2.3k stream, which they almost certainly could output at 30fps having no problems with it.

Which could greatly help us handle image quality issues like moire, and have a new framing option too.
It's just not there, even not being discussed \

#48 nahua

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:07 AM

You say-
"I can't have a shot curtailed during a shoot because of an unreliable codec hack."

I say-
I can't have a shot of a curtain during a shoot because of an unreliable sensor."


Are you serious? Really? How is it "unreliable"? There is nothing "unreliable" about the sensor. The GH3 performs very well. You can nitpick all you want, but if you see real footage you won't even notice the moire. I had a chance to record footage at the Photoplus Expo, and it was fantastic! If anything, I think the AF is too sensitive. But for moire, I didn't even see any. And that's the main thing, for almost all footage you won't see the moire. This is incredible to hear, especially after the bumbling of moire from Nikon and Sony. Hacks are unreliable, and I've had many a crash with my GH2. Panasonic's All-I is very good so far. I can't wait to get my GH3.

#49 nahua

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:14 AM

thank you Andrew for taking the time to respond in detail very interesting read I love this board :)

I hope you won't mind I still don't agree with you though.

- same or more detail? great. nothing to say there. I'd like to see it though.
- 60 frame per second isn't very slow motion to me I don't think it was too much to expect more.
- Smoother gradation better color and less banding sounds good, would like to see it.
- improved lcd sure, but most people use an external monitor anyways
- more reliable than the hack, okay fair enough even though mine never crashed.

The rest you listed is fine but nothing major or significant to me.
It's like a more reliable hacked gh2 basically.

Also some gh3 footage showed the iso bug with dark parts flashing is still there.

To me a fair upgrade would have been 120fps or 2k resolution or 10 bit 4:2:2 or much better usable in post dynamic range.

One of these things would have been a significant upgrade and not a more polished gh2 with sadly newly introduced moire and aliasing.
Not improved enough video wise to me.


Karim you have some good points. The LCD and EVF are really nice though. Once you try it you'll never go back to the GH2. As far as hacks, well mine have crashed many times, and it's a problem when I switch between 32GB and 64GB cards. The GH3 so far looks very solid. 60P is nice too, and I wish it had 120P also but you never know they might add it later. Overall you might say it's a "polished GH2", but of course I think it's more reliable and production ready. When you handle it, well it feels beefy and solid, not plasticy and light. I always cringe on shoots because the GH2 doesn't feel solid like my 5dmkIII. I think once you handle the GH3 and use it, you will appreciate all that went into it's design.

#50 RossF

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:54 AM

Hi Andrew. Are you able to clarify the 4:2:0 or 4:2:2 hdmi issue or is this a "wait and see" spec for now?

#51 EOSHD

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:54 AM

Hi Andrew. Are you able to clarify the 4:2:0 or 4:2:2 hdmi issue or is this a "wait and see" spec for now?


Wait and see for now, until final firmware.

#52 aaronmc

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:04 AM

I so hope that it is 4:2:2. I did my first experiments in chromakey a few weeks ago and used both a 4:2:0 camera and a 4:2:2 and it's amazing how noticeable the difference was. I would never put 4:2:0 work up.

#53 KarimNassar

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:26 AM

Karim you have some good points. The LCD and EVF are really nice though. Once you try it you'll never go back to the GH2. As far as hacks, well mine have crashed many times, and it's a problem when I switch between 32GB and 64GB cards. The GH3 so far looks very solid. 60P is nice too, and I wish it had 120P also but you never know they might add it later. Overall you might say it's a "polished GH2", but of course I think it's more reliable and production ready. When you handle it, well it feels beefy and solid, not plasticy and light. I always cringe on shoots because the GH2 doesn't feel solid like my 5dmkIII. I think once you handle the GH3 and use it, you will appreciate all that went into it's design.


I did have the opportunity to test it myself, as far as build quality definitively much improved and the lcd was nice indeed.
I'll wait for final production models and Andrews final review out of curiosity but this cam is off my wish list personally.

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#54 Xiong

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

You say-
"I can't have a shot curtailed during a shoot because of an unreliable codec hack."

I say-
I can't have a shot of a curtain during a shoot because of an unreliable sensor."


And here we go with sensor sizes haha
I think it'll be fine.

#55 foggyflute

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:30 AM

Posted Image

Got one pre-production today with two lens, testing it...The AF is fast, very fast. And EVF very responsive. I like it.

#56 Axel

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:50 AM

Andrew, your points are appreciated. Thank you.

I want to say something about the viewfinder (thank you, foggyflute). If you have shot with an EOS, you know that a display, swivel-mounted or not, Z-finder or not, is not the optimum for video. I saw the Zacuto EVF on the 5D, and all I can say is, I am glad to have this already good EVF with the GH2. That it is improved with the GH3 means a lot in terms of handling. I was looking for a solution to prevent my nose from being pressed against the display, (which forces me to sometimes hold my breath during filming, uncomfortable). Like a thick rubber strip mounted on the shoe or a big rubber eyepiece. I hope Panasonic or someone else will find a solutions for this.
Either you care - or you don't

#57 XXX

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:24 AM

- improved lcd sure, but most people use an external monitor anyways


I beg to differ that "most" people use an external monitor. I guess no mater what brand of DSLR most of the people doing run'n gun/docu/event work just use a loup. Of course this is my "guestimation", just like yours ;)
But a better LCD could mean, more people will slim-down their setup, at least for some shots.

The GH3 was a let down for me at first. But I guess, as Andrew put it, it all comes down to "perspective". Pana didn´t produce the kill-em-all VDSLR with this one, maybe because of slow AF100 sales, maybe just because the GH2 needed to improve primarily photo wise.

BUT with a headphone out and high bitrate codecs for less than half the price of the Canon MIII or the Nikon D600 (not half price, but no internal HQ codec) they CLEARLY addressed the pro-video shooter.

Again, not much there for guys who'd expected a babyRED and want to shoot high-budget stuff on low-budget cameras (for whatever reason...), but for me the GH3 could end up being the always dreamed of small-form-factor-digital-16mm-documentary-style camera ;)

U N L E S S the others come out with a APS-C camera offering ruffly the same for videoshooters as the GH3: New 7D, or new D7000. APS-C still is the sweet spot for me personally, when it comes to sensor size.
Pana needs fast delivery this time and an attractive final street price to get a bigger share of the non FF market, lets see...

#58 TJB

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:05 AM

Are you serious? Really? How is it "unreliable"? There is nothing "unreliable" about the sensor. The GH3 performs very well. You can nitpick all you want, but if you see real footage you won't even notice the moire. I had a chance to record footage at the Photoplus Expo, and it was fantastic! If anything, I think the AF is too sensitive. But for moire, I didn't even see any. And that's the main thing, for almost all footage you won't see the moire. This is incredible to hear, especially after the bumbling of moire from Nikon and Sony. Hacks are unreliable, and I've had many a crash with my GH2. Panasonic's All-I is very good so far. I can't wait to get my GH3.


Hey Nahua,

It's a joke. Ok - not a terribly clever joke but a joke none-the-less. Curtain patterns can sometimes cause moire. It was a play on words.

I'm looking forward to the GH3 as well and I'm pretty sure moire won't be such a big problem.

For the style of work I do - I would not even consider using a Canon DSLR for video now because for me the GH2 and 3 viewfinder and flip screen are so much more user friendly than Z-finder etc. I don't use the hacks - the GH2 is just great straight out of the box and I have the 50i (PAL countries) option for broadcast work when it's requested by a client.

Wish I lived in Hawaii. Germany is wet and cold.
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#59 Digital Master

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:54 PM

Exclusive news from France !

And now a Panasonic AG-AF101A 1080 50p / 10 bits 4:2:2

http://www.magazinev...om/news-628.htm

http://www.focus-num...-news-3734.html

Posted Image

#60 Digital Master

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:01 PM

And from anywhere !

But not the built in codec from the GH3 platform and 50mbit and 72mbit ALL-I codecs.... :-(

Panasonic launches tweaked AG-AF105A MFT pro camcorder with 10-bit HD video


http://www.engadget....-with-10-bit-v/




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