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The full Panasonic GH3 review


Andrew Reid
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Nice review Andrew.
I get te feeling that whenever you mention image quality you're referring to resolution and sharpness. While those are definitely important factors, there's other factors like color that are extremely important, and for instance when you look at all those differen camera frames, Canon's image is by far the most pleasing, regardless of the resolution, all others look colder and more video like in comparison.
Of course a lot can be done in post, so it would be nice to see how well it grades, which profiles look the best, etc.

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Nice review Andrew.
I get te feeling that whenever you mention image quality you're referring to resolution and sharpness. While those are definitely important factors, there's other factors like color that are extremely important, and for instance when you look at all those differen camera frames, Canon's image is by far the most pleasing, regardless of the resolution, all others look colder and more video like in comparison.
Of course a lot can be done in post, so it would be nice to see how well it grades, which profiles look the best, etc.

 

I don't own a canon, but from what I've seen, yes, it does have a more pleasing white balance, on the same token, the files from the gh2, and, I expect, gh3 can be graded from hell to the pearly gates and back again. 

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I bought the GH3 as a run'n gun HDSLR and IMHO it totally fails in this regard. This boils down to the combination of 3 "non-features" Andrew already mentioned:

the poorly designed record button, the "sleeping" screen issue and the missing focus assists while recording.

Another issue that is basically the "fault" of the m43 design for video, are the small lenses, at least for me.

I´m not really complaining though, considering price, the great IQ and that it still is a hybrid, that was primarily build to take great photos, it offers very good value.

It just seems, that no one wants to really offer a fully functional video mode in a DSLR form factor.

The Canon C series is a step in the right direction (except with the XLR-Screen-Handle), but with an disgusting pricing-for-features policy. Even used I still find them overpriced.

Without great speculation, I´m sure the Panasonic ProVideo division is ankle deep in producing a "larger sensor" show winner for next years NAB, after focusing on broadcasters buying cycles this year.

But it will most likely be in a hole different form factor.

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On the EVF:

 

OLED is certainly a superior technology to the panel used in the GH2. It doesn't do the rainbow-flicker when you pan, the contrast is far higher, you get inky blacks with it, the new panel is 16:9 so suited to video and very wide. Colour from the OLED panel is richer and deeper although different in tone to the main screen. The resolution isn't quite as crisp as the GH2 though, you're right.

 

The main thing that lets the EVF down is the optical side rather than OLED. It does smear too easily at the edges when your eye isn't dead straight on. All EVFs do this including the GH2 but on the GH3 it is particularly easy to get blurry edges.

 

On the dynamic range, I never said it could compete on same level as Blackmagic raw with 13 stops, so not sure what this refers to.

 

Thanks for comments!

My mistake... I missunderstood the passage on Dynamic Range... we're on the same page BMC and its Raw is "above" 5D and GH3.

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Looks like someone stole Lumix's show.Unfortunately,the sales of GH3 are very dissapointing. Most still photographers will never buy this camera,there are much better options for less money like Olympus OM-D in m4/3 format. There are even better APS-C cameras.I think it's too little too late. ;)

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Looks like someone stole Lumix's show.Unfortunately,the sales of GH3 are very dissapointing. Most still photographers will never buy this camera,there are much better options for less money like Olympus OM-D in m4/3 format. There are even better APS-C cameras.I think it's too little too late. ;)

 

And you know the sales figures.... Riiiight.

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Looks like someone stole Lumix's show.Unfortunately,the sales of GH3 are very dissapointing. Most still photographers will never buy this camera,there are much better options for less money like Olympus OM-D in m4/3 format. There are even better APS-C cameras.I think it's too little too late. ;)

 

girls-getty_1376498i.jpg

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Is the GH3 really better in low light than APS-C? The low-light question is the only thing holding me back from a purchase...

 

Definitely. Not by leaps and bounds, but a noticeable bit. I shot with the t2i for years, and recently had chance to shoot a short film on the GH3. Noise performance at 800 and 1600 ISO is better. 

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In raw stills mode it is better than or on par with all but the new Nikon APS-C cameras in low light especially when you factor in a T0.95 lens like the SLR Magic 25mm.

 

Video mode and the D5200 is better in low light.

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The 14-50mm is nice and sharp but there's a step in aperture when you zoom and the lack of hard stops on the focus ring means it doesn't work with a follow focus properly - it is a weird fly by wire focus ring that varies in how much it racks focus depending on how quickly you move it.

 

The optical image stabiliser works pretty well though in video mode, for an old lens!

 

You will need the Panasonic Four Thirds adapter for that to work.

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Let me get his right: The Metabones Speed booster canon EF to sony Nex mount will take a prime lens and shrink it down to the sensor size of Sony's Nex cameras... but (when available) the canon EF to MFT mount will not take prime lenses? or will not shrink them down all the way?

 

I have been reluctant to look at MFT as im not sure the life of this format, but with the MSB i thought this was not a worry (until i found out MSB for MFT was not as good as the Nex mount version), so that in mind am I better off at looking at sony nex cameras instead of the GH3?

 

I'm finding it very frustrating to know what format to invest in as im starting from scratch, but have canon and old primes available to me, as well as some nikon primes. I thought the GH3 or even BMPCC was a good option for me as i have a small budget... 

 

I'm just worried that im going to spend all of the little money i have and then end up a year or so down the line having to invest in new lenses and accessories, on top of a new camera. :-/

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Let me get his right: The Metabones Speed booster canon EF to sony Nex mount will take a prime lens and shrink it down to the sensor size of Sony's Nex cameras... but (when available) the canon EF to MFT mount will not take prime lenses? or will not shrink them down all the way?

 

I have been reluctant to look at MFT as im not sure the life of this format, but with the MSB i thought this was not a worry (until i found out MSB for MFT was not as good as the Nex mount version), so that in mind am I better off at looking at sony nex cameras instead of the GH3?

 

I'm finding it very frustrating to know what format to invest in as im starting from scratch, but have canon and old primes available to me, as well as some nikon primes. I thought the GH3 or even BMPCC was a good option for me as i have a small budget... 

 

I'm just worried that im going to spend all of the little money i have and then end up a year or so down the line having to invest in new lenses and accessories, on top of a new camera. :-/

 

If lens adaptation is your goal, yes, NEX would be a much better option.

 

For me, a 14-140 zoom and a fast prime like 17/1.8 plus occasional manually adapted EF primes would be sufficient for my purpose.  Not that expensive and very light to travel with! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great Review!  I too share concerns about low-light performance and lack of natural "cinematic" appeal of the 5D MK III...I too am in the midst of making a purchase and have a tough decisions!  Mostly documentary/narrative stuff for myself, my students, and my family.

 

A set of tough decisions with all this great technology!

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  • 2 months later...

Allow Me To Suggest a New Forum Blog Feature - Retrospective Synopsis
Every 6 months, the site owner or a designated MOD collects all the 'Gripes' that attend a product release and then line by line comments on Firmware or other improvement status. This would be a boon to newbies on a product since they would just jump to the latest Retrospective Synopsis  to get a clear picture of where the product improvements are.
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
EXAMPLE : Panasonic GH3
The Original Gripe List:
1) Stop screen info from disappearing (Unresolved)
2) Focus Peaking (Unresolved)
3) Zebras (Unresolved)
4) Improved Wifi video features and reduced latency (even just basic full control via wifi would be great) (Unresolved during filming)
5) pro picture profiles for video. Optimized for flattest reasonable 8 bit profile (Not available)
6) Panasonic official bitrate improvement on All-I modes. HQ mode warning for certain cards. 150mb/s bitrate. Let the codec breath for pro users. Lots of warnings but make it standard.(Not available)

7) poorly designed record button (Fixed in Stone)
8) 'Jittering' footage at CU at 45º down with Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph (Resolved via firmware upgrade)

*I assume that we are still only getting 4:2:0 export over HDMI ?

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  • 6 months later...

A good and interesting review.

It should be followed up with a comparison of the Panasonic GH3 and Nikon D5300

 

The D5300 shoots really excellant 1080P 60 Video

but I am waiting for an Odyssey 7 to extend that past 10 minutes without restarting the recording.

The D5300 also has at least twice the high ISO capability of the D5200.

I have actually been able to use videos shot at 12,800 in low light with the D5300.

I have to keep the GH3 to a max of 3200 and use the 12-35 f/2.8 lens to get anything cleaner.

 

The reasons I am keeping the GH3 is for extended (unattended) 1080P 60 recording and superior AFF.

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It does in-camera slow-mo, didn't cover it in the review as it is best to shoot 1080/60p and do the slow-mo in post.

 

WiFi... Not convinced it replaces an HDMI monitor! I don't use it.

I agree with both of these comments.

 

Note: it takes a really good HDMI monitor to outdo the camera OLED.

The HD Camax H056 that I use is only marginally/if better and mostly due to extra features.

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

And probably never will.

I think that untill 1080P 60 Cinema becomes the standard, BM will continue to focus on 24fps.

 

I personally much prefer higher detail and smoother Video.

I do not like "film grain" or "Jello" motion.

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