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The full Panasonic GH3 review


Andrew Reid
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1. I'm surprised that it didn't get more play in your article, but the GH3 does 60p overcrank at 1080p. I don't think any other camera in it's class comes close. Is there anything under $5k, except for the FS100 that can do full HD slow-mo? (Bonus: some folks are saying to shoot in 60p, so you can still hear the sound on slo-mo sequences until you go to post! Great idea!)

 

NEx-5n and Nex-7 do it since one year before GH3 and Nex-5n costs less than half.

Then also their heirs Nex-5r, Nex-6 and upcoming Nex-7n.

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Canon 1D C... $12,000.

 

NEX series have 1080/60p as does the new Samsung NX300... But poor video quality especially on the Samsung.

 

Saw later you wrote the same.. You're right, GH3 video quality is better, but Nex is still better than Canon stuff (except Full frame), and has better low light and dynamic range than GH2, so.. quite usable after all.

 

Regarding Wifi.. as far as i know the lag makes it quite unusable for live framing, is it correct?

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gh3-dpr-eoshd-review.jpg

Above: my GH3 kitted out with Leica 14-50mm F2.8, Lanparte follow focus, carbon matte box and baseplate

 

Andrew, could you make some kind of mini-review/review on the Lanparte Mattebox and perhaps the other Lanparte accessories?

 

I'd also be interested in how usable the Lanparte Mattebox is with Iscorama and other anamorphics.

 

I'm interested in Lanparte, since it seems like they have really good quality for a decent price. They're not the cheapest, but they seem to be in the range where you pay a bit more to gain really good quality.

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Noooooooooo! I thought the Black magic Pocket cinema camera could do up to 180fps and thus had my heart set on it! i must of miss read one of the articles on the specs...

 

So now as a very poor film maker its going to take me a while to save up for either the BMPCC or the GH3, so the GH3 already being out is not a pro for me. I would ideally like to have the option of slow mo (who wouldn't!?), but the image quality, ease of use and lens flexibility is my prime concern... 

 

Considering this what camera would you now recommend out of the GH3 and BMPCC? 

 

Andrew thanks again for another great article!

 

 

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So now as a very poor film maker its going to take me a while to save up for either the BMPCC or the GH3, so the GH3 already being out is not a pro for me. I would ideally like to have the option of slow mo (who wouldn't!?), but the image quality, ease of use and lens flexibility is my prime concern... 

 

Considering this what camera would you now recommend out of the GH3 and BMPCC? 

 

I think you have to decide for yourself what is most important.

 

Image Quality: BMPCC probably wins big time with the dynamic range and the raw editing options - But the GH3 is still very good
Ease of use: GH3 - Flip-screen, oled viewfinder, lots of buttons, touch screen. Reasonable file sizes
Lens flexibility: Both pretty flexible, GH3 wins because finding good wide angles or bright standard lenses for the BMPCC is going to be more difficult (and expensive) with the 3x cropfactor.

 

The GH3 is a much more complete camera than the BMPCC. The Pocket is just the cheapest way to get raw footage.

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Andrew, could you make some kind of mini-review/review on the Lanparte Mattebox and perhaps the other Lanparte accessories?

 

I'd also be interested in how usable the Lanparte Mattebox is with Iscorama and other anamorphics.

 

I'm interested in Lanparte, since it seems like they have really good quality for a decent price. They're not the cheapest, but they seem to be in the range where you pay a bit more to gain really good quality.

 

There will be a review of the Lanparte stuff. I have got the carbon rods and matte box, follow focus with hard stops and the quick release baseplate. You are right about the quality vs price thing - it is just right. Quality is American standard but without the US price tag.

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For those asking for a chart test, Slashcam did a scientific test of the GH3 with regards resolution on a chart, aliasing and moire. Very good test but the article is in German so you will need to use a translator. http://www.slashcam.de/artikel/Test/Panasonic-DMC-GH3---Messergebnisse--alles-.html

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Great review, and love this site. I'm a filmmaker who is new to the DSLR world but I'm loving my GH3. However for the life of me, I can't get the wifi file transfer to work using my macbook pro. I'm pretty geeky when it comes to OSX and all things Mac, and even I can't figure it out. Nor, does it seem, has any single other person on the planet. I have scoured the web for weeks looking for just one person who has reported success and/or posted a "how to" with file transfer to a mac over wifi. The latest firmware update was supposed to "fix" this, but so far... nothing. Has ANYONE out there actually figured this out? Seems crazy that something so simple - and something that was "fixed" - is still so under reported and impossible to use?

 

Otherwise, however, this is one amazing camera.

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Hi Andrew

You own both the Cinema Camera and the GH3 so in light of recent announcements of both the 4K Production camera and the Pocket Cinema camera announcements would you still recommend the GH3 to serious shooters? Such as documentary filmmakers?

Regards
Daniel Bunker
Director
Bunker Media

 

Well there's certainly no touching the image quality on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera for the price. Although the Pocket version won't have quite the same amount of detail as 2.5K raw on the BMCC it will maintain similar ProRes 1080p results and they are also DSLR beating.

 

The Pocket Cinema Camera sensor is smaller than the GH3 by quite a considerable margin though so the look of your current M43 glass will change, and the main advantage with the GH3 is that the workflow is much faster and the ergonomics far more convenient. You get more features too, like 1080/60p, audio-meters, etc.

 

Even if you don't edit in raw, the Blackmagic cameras all urge you to spend hours in post tweaking the colours. With the GH2 and GH3 I hardly ever felt the need to heavily grade the footage so I worked far quicker.

 

If you're shooting a documentary I think the GH3 wins.

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After two years with the GH2 and two months with the GH3, I doubt that the moiré on the GH3 is only "a little" bit worse...

This is only a very short test shot to show you what I mean. Please download the originial file, if you want to see the psychedelic crazyness on those roof tiles.

 

I don´t know how to work around this problem. The same buildings were also shot with the hacked GH2 and the roof tiles looked MUCH better. The image isn´t free of moiré, but it´s negligible.

 

Another thing I noticed is the visible difference between 50mbps and 72mbps All-I. Meanwhile, the downsides of the All-I mode are widely known, but I didn´t know they are that obvious! A direct comparison between IPB and All-I showed clearly, how the high bitrate mode produced a rather muddy image and quite some noise, while the other one looked nice and full of detail.

But still, the All-I mode cuts a fine figure on the data sheets and the Panasonic website for promotional purposes...

 

Anyway, the GH3 feels so much better than its predecessor and, except for the already mentioned downsides, it´s much more fun to shoot with it. The GH2 was my tool to make money with and now it´s the GH3 + some beautyful Canon FD S.S.C lenses.
 

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Great review! I've had my GH3 since January and love it, it's the easiest DSLR to run and gun with by far. A number of accessories I bought to make my 7D usable for video are collecting a lot of dust right now. 

 

Just wondering, Andrew, do you have any particular recommendations for picture styles/settings? At first I used Standard with all settings dialled down to -5 but the resulting image quality just felt too dull to me. So recently I've been using Natural with Contrast and Sharpness at -5, Saturation at -2, and Noise Reduction at 0. I thought that it might be as close as I could get to "Prolost Flat" on the Canons, but any other suggestions are welcome!

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Great review! I've had my GH3 since January and love it, it's the easiest DSLR to run and gun with by far. A number of accessories I bought to make my 7D usable for video are collecting a lot of dust right now. 

 

Just wondering, Andrew, do you have any particular recommendations for picture styles/settings? At first I used Standard with all settings dialled down to -5 but the resulting image quality just felt too dull to me. So recently I've been using Natural with Contrast and Sharpness at -5, Saturation at -2, and Noise Reduction at 0. I thought that it might be as close as I could get to "Prolost Flat" on the Canons, but any other suggestions are welcome!

 

I'm currently using Portrait but without turning contrast down. I leave that in the middle. Saturation too. Sharpness I dial right down to -5 and add in post. Noise reduction I also dial right down. I use 1080/25p IPB 50Mbit rather than ALL-I. Saves card space and looks a bit better.

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I'm currently using Portrait but without turning contrast down. I leave that in the middle. Saturation too. Sharpness I dial right down to -5 and add in post. Noise reduction I also dial right down. I use 1080/25p IPB 50Mbit rather than ALL-I. Saves card space and looks a bit better.

 

Why are you using Portrait, if you don´t mind my asking? Are there any advantages over "Natural"?

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GH3 is a nice camera for stills and video but it is too late for it. A year too late. Now apparently is the time for Blackmagic cameras when it comes to make films. Price and picture quality. GH2 it has one step less of Dynamic Range (11,3 Evs) compared to GH3 (12,4 Evs) according to DxOMark, that's true, but newest hack settings like Cluster X DREWnet GOP12, Spizz GOP3 or Slipstreem All-I GOP1 from Driftwood makes GH2 a new camera. If GH3 has a focus peaking and zebra or at least if it has a 2560 px resolution it would be a killer machine. This is not to much to expect nowadays, is it :-)

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GH3 is a nice camera for stills and video but it is too late for it. A year too late. Now apparently is the time for Blackmagic cameras when it comes to make films. Price and picture quality. GH2 it has one step less of Dynamic Range (11,3 Evs) compared to GH3 (12,4 Evs) according to DxOMark, that's true, but newest hack settings like Cluster X DREWnet GOP12, Spizz GOP3 or Slipstreem All-I GOP1 from Driftwood makes GH2 a new camera. If GH3 has a focus peaking and zebra or at least if it has a 2560 px resolution it would be a killer machine. This is not to much to expect nowadays, is it :-)

 

Neither is 60p yet none of the blackmagic cameras have it. 

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GH3 is a nice camera for stills and video but it is too late for it. A year too late. Now apparently is the time for Blackmagic cameras when it comes to make films. Price and picture quality. GH2 it has one step less of Dynamic Range (11,3 Evs) compared to GH3 (12,4 Evs) according to DxOMark, that's true, but newest hack settings like Cluster X DREWnet GOP12, Spizz GOP3 or Slipstreem All-I GOP1 from Driftwood makes GH2 a new camera. If GH3 has a focus peaking and zebra or at least if it has a 2560 px resolution it would be a killer machine. This is not to much to expect nowadays, is it :-)

 

I agree with you. But we all know how the "big players" play their game. Do only the bare necessities! Only if the number of sales decreases or the competition catches up, only then make an effort. Look at all those Panasonic (consumer) G cameras or the Canon 700D. Actually, this is planned obsolescence, rather than real innovation.

 

By the way, does the GH2 really have 11 stops of DR?? I thought it would be less...

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Hi Andrew,

 

Great in-depth review! Thinking about upgrading from a 60D to the GH3 and this might seal it for me. Two questions though:

 

(1) Is the GH3 really better in low-light than a Canon APS-C like the 60D or 7D? Even with a smaller sensor it still outperforms these two in both stills and video? I almost always shoot indoors in less than ideal light, so with fast glass would the GH3 do at least as well as my 60D?

 

(2) I've heard conflicting things about this, but have you encountered and exposure shift in live view when you hit record?

 

Thanks a bunch!

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Thanks for the review. I disagree with the summation that the GH3 EVF is better than the GH2. Maybe it is on paper, but I tried them side by side and the GH2 was clearly brighter, slightly larger (esp. shooting stills in 4:3) and sharper. I find it much easier pulling focus in video mode with the GH2 EVF but impossible with the GH3. For me, the single biggest advantage of mirror-less over flapping mirror is the inbuilt EVF - but if it's unusable, then unfortunately I can't shoot with it. (And no, I can't manually focus moving subjects accurately with the LCD either.)

 

The only other advantage was body size. Remember? No mirror - smaller lighter? Certainly camera body size is not an advantage anymore. The GH3 is as big as most of the APS-C DSLR's. Luckily I'll stick with my GH2.

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