GH3 with timecode, XLR, peaking, OLED viewfinder and magnesium alloy body

GH2 on a heli rig

There’s a lot to chew over in the latest GH3 specs. EOSHD takes a look point by point…

The GH3 aims to take on the 5D Mark III in the pro video and filmmaking market. This is a serious attempt by Panasonic to move up-market from the superb GH2. Though the GH2 was capable of a big image in a small camera, it was aimed at consumers. The GH3 changes that by being the first Panasonic Lumix with pros in mind as well as enthusiasts.

These are the latest specs which have leaked to 43rumors, they are reinforced by multiple trusted sources as being correct but as always with pre-release information, don’t make any hard and fast decisions based on these – wait until the official camera launch arrives in 2 weeks time.

16 Megapixel “Wide dynamic range” CMOS Sensor

It is unusual to put ‘wide dynamic range’ in the CMOS specification unless it comes from the design of the sensor. If this was a software mode, it’d be listed further down.

New Venus 7 engine

The number 7 represents a huge increase on the previous numbering system.

Electronic shutter

This may be one of two things – global shutter, replacing the mechanical part entirely, or an electronic shutter mode like the 40fps 4MP stills mode on the GH2.

ISO 100-12.800

The GH3 has a lower megapixel count than the GH2, on top of the newer sensor I am expecting far less noise. Actually the GH2 is very good when exposed well at high ISOs. It is at the lower ISOs such as ISO 640 over dimly lit interiors that it falls down slightly relative to the FS100.

Fastest AF of any interchangeable lens system camera

I don’t doubt that. The OM-D E-M5 in contrast detect AF live view mode was already beating the Nikon D3. I see no need for phase detect AF either via SLT or the sensor to gain speed. What that is there for in other cameras is to reduce hunting when focus can’t lock on immediately.

Video Bitrate 50Mbps (72Mbps ALL-I)

Hopefully the higher bitrate ALL-I mode will be delivered in MP4 H.264 format and not AVCHD for easier editing and playback. I expect 50Mbit to be long-GOP with B-frames.

30p/25p in MP4, MOV and AVCHD

The new specifications encouraging list 25p (for PAL), but miss out any mention of higher frame rates. I am 100% sure they are there since the FZ200 shoots 120fps in 720p, and the G5 shoots 1080/60p.

External XLR accessory

Like Sony who are bringing an XLR grip to the full frame A99 DSLR, Panasonic have listened to pros too – more robust audio connectivity, locking ports, industry standard, balanced jacks.

3.5mm mic jack onboard

Not as good as 1/4 jacks on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera but a good move. No more 2.5mm adapter nonsense and the same as other DSLRs such as the 5D Mark III. What about headphone jack? This list of specs mentions ‘audio out’ but doesn’t go into any more detail.

PC control

Perspective correction control or Windows based control software? This one is a mystery.

Timecode

As the GH3 is aimed far more at the professional filmmaker and the high end Canon DSLR market, we now have timecode like the 5D Mark III.

1740k OLED EVF

Very nice feature. Not quite as high as the 2300k panel in the NEX 7 but the difference is likely not to be noticed. It will be interesting to see how large it is. These specs don’t say.

Touch monitor OLED 610k

Sounds very similar to the screen in the OM-D E-M5, which I like very much. Resolution is not at the 920k or 1.2m mark of the competition but OLED gives far more accurate colour, contrast and better battery life so it is the one I’d choose if I was designing the GH3.

External battery grip

FINALLY!

WiFi with remote control through iOS and Android Applications

Very nice for vehicle rigs, maybe even heli-rigs. The iOS control solution on Canon DSLRs works by infrared. WiFi has a much greater range.

Focus peaking

Highlights the edges of objects which are in focus, so you can rack focus using the built in OLED monitor. Canon DSLRs require you to add an HDMI monitor for this.

Interval shooting and slow motion. Slow Movie extension (40%, 50%, 80%) Fast 160/ 200 / 300%

40% sounds like a 60p overcrank and 24p output to me. I don’t use the slow motion mode of the GH2 as you can do all that in post.

Magnesium alloy body and larger than the GH2

This is very welcome, no more plastic build quality. The mount will be tougher as a result too, and the camera is weather-sealed like the new 12-35m F2.8. I am also glad the camera is larger – some of the concessions to size on the GH2 made it feel less reassuring than the 5D Mark II or 7D.