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Pascal Garnier

low light performance : GH3 comparable to Canon T3i ?

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I've made the switch to M4/3 2 months ago. So far, couldn't be more happy, but then again I have done nothing but well-lit shoots or with plenty of daylight.

But, in a few months I'll be shooting a few wedding videos again. Which means I'll be facing the challenges of shooting in low light.
My Canon T3i did a decent job, even though going past 1250 ISO meant macroblocking and all kinds of ugly artifacts. The noise on my G6 is much less obnoxious, but it's still a lot less sensitive to light than my T3i.

So, I'm looking for a solution to shoot lowlight and still stay within M4/3. Without having to setup lights (strictly ambient light shooting).
From the few tests I've done indoors, the G6 seems to lack that extra bit I need. Is the GH3 the camera to pick for low light shooting ? And is it's sensitivity comparable to the Canon TXi series (read : the 7D sensor) ? Or is it the GM1 I need ?

To be clear : lenses aren't the problem (shooting with a 25mm 1.4, 35 1.7 and 50 1.4).
Anyone else made the switch from a 7D, T2i or T3i to a GH3 or GM ? Couldn't find any direct comparisons online ...

Thanks in advance.

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I'm extremely interested to hear about this as well. I'm a T3i shooter who has been anxiously waiting to invest in MFT. I do a ton of low-light work (almost exclusively) and don't want to jump to a new camera that has worse low-light performance, even if the IQ is better. I've seen plenty of comparisons between the higher-end Canon lines, but have never been able to find anything substantial on the rebel's performance vs panasonic, etc.

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search for "shian" and "gh3". Shian did a shootout and talks about it at length in a couple of vimeo vids. Bottom line is that he felt you could pull an impressive amount of details from the shadows.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

The GM1 and GX7 (they share the same sensor) are much better in low light than all the other Pannys (incl. GH3 + G6). Add a Metabones Speed Booster and you've got the best low light solution under a C100. If your 35mm & 50mm are Nikkors, the SB is a no brainer - it may even be enough for you with the G6. On the other hand, if they are Nikkors, you could probably pick up a Nikon D5200 for a few hundred dollars and that will serve your low light needs fine.

 

I find my G6 to be comparable to my old T3i in low light. But the T3i is pretty poor in low light anyway. The GM1, GX7, Nikon 5200 + 5300 are all far superior.

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The larger the sensor the better the low light performance due to less lens-diffraction.  Noise reduction is an art unto itself.  I think the cameras are all a toss-up.  Some will do some things better, some worse, in low light.  You may want to budget $50 for NEAT.  You may want to put your money into a good quality LED camera light, and/or panel on a stand.  The speed-booster will impress you, but may also make you lazy about getting more light onto your subjects.

 

RAW would blow any h.264 out of the water, IMHO.  Here's an EOS-M with Magic Lantern, with a Sigma 10-20mm in crop mode.  You could get this camera/lens setup used for around $600, maybe less.  However, ML is a pain, so you'd need time beforehand to learn how to use it so it doesn't crap out on you at shoot.  Of you could get/borrow/rent a BMPCC, which is my final recommendation.

 

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The GM1 and GX7 (they share the same sensor) are much better in low light than all the other Pannys (incl. GH3 + G6). 

 

"Much better" ?? GH3 has sharper video with high iso. Add some NR in post and those are pretty equal. GH3 has also better codec and less mud in high iso.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

"Much better" ?? GH3 has sharper video with high iso. Add some NR in post and those are pretty equal. GH3 has also better codec and less mud in high iso.

 

I'm no expert. I only own a G6.

 

But if I wanted a camera specifically for low light, it would take a lot of convincing to make me choose the GH3, even with speed booster. 

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I'm a T3i shooter who has been anxiously waiting to invest in MFT.

 

I've shot with the Rebels.  The new GM1 and GX7 is superior in low light.  When you add a speedbooster adapter it's even better.  You'll also match the sensor size with the boost, so you'd be good to go.

 

That said, I don't think I'd run around with a GM1 for a wedding video.  It's not difficult to use, just quirkier, but the GX7 lends itself better to run'ngun.  I also like the 60p option on the GX7 as I slow-mo conform that footage into 24fps. 

 

I do like the GX7 ergo's.  I have a set of MFT primes and they're nice compact lenses, but I find that I like shooting the GX7 with my old Nikkor manual lenses more.  A nice heft and balance; plus the iris ring and physical focusing...I'm an old dog I guess.  It's not too hard to pull focus with peaking and the EVF.

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I can guarantee you the gh3 is better in low light for video. The 50mbps codec can pull out far better details. A hacked camera with raw will be even better but at the cost of storage requirements.

I'm no expert. I only own a G6.

 

But if I wanted a camera specifically for low light, it would take a lot of convincing to make me choose the GH3, even with speed booster. 

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

I can guarantee you the gh3 is better in low light for video. The 50mbps codec can pull out far better details. A hacked camera with raw will be even better but at the cost of storage requirements.

Oh the GH3 is definately better than the G6 for low light, especially if you're happy to use Neat with all your footage. But if I was buying a camera specifically for its low light ability I would not go for a GH3. I bought a D5300 for this very reason (because my G6 wasn't good enough). If I wanted to stick with MFT, I'd probably go for the GX7. If that wasn't sharp enough, I'd have to wait for the GH4K.

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I'm going to run a few tests comparing the T3i to the G6, since none are available.
And I'll probably end up getting a speedbooster from FD to M43.

 

A Nikon D5300 is no option, since it lacks resolution compared to the Panasonics.

And a GH3 lacks peaking, which is something I really need since I use only manual lenses.

 

A Speedbooster is also a cheaper and more compact option than buying another camera.

 

Thanks everyone for the feedback !

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

I'm going to run a few tests comparing the T3i to the G6, since none are available.
And I'll probably end up getting a speedbooster from FD to M43.

 

A Nikon D5300 is no option, since it lacks resolution compared to the Panasonics.

And a GH3 lacks peaking, which is something I really need since I use only manual lenses.

 

A Speedbooster is also a cheaper and more compact option than buying another camera.

 

Thanks everyone for the feedback !

I think that's the most sensible first step. If it's not enough, then of course you'll always benefit from the Speed Booster in the future anyway. You may need to invest in a longer FD as well, as the SB widens FOV (an 85mm to replace the 50?)? 

 

You're right the D5300 isn't the sharpest. I love the image from it for my own stuff. For commercial stuff I would definitely use my G6. Nikons are a pain to use as well.

 

I've just finished putting together an edit of video I've shot of my son over the last 18 months. For the first year I had a T3i, then sold it and got a G6 and D5300. I graded everything thoroughly so I've just had a pretty comprehensive quality comparison session with those 3 cameras. I can assure you that, for me at least, the G6 holds together much better in the shadows than the T3i. The Canon has loads of horrible macroblocking (which Neat Video can't get rid of). Though not a great low light performer I find the G6 comparatively much more solid in low light. I use AVCHD 24p and MPEG 50p with the G6.

 

BTW, the D5300 is noticeably sharper than the T3i, but not not close to the sharpness of the G6.

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I ran some tests tonight and the G6 with Natural style with contrast and saturation dialled all the way down performs slightly better than a T3i with VisionTech2 picture style and running Tragic Lantern.

The difference is not that big in lowlight performance, but as far as noise is concerned the G6 is the clear winner : you can shoot with the G6 at 3200 ISO and it'll look as good as the T3i at 800 ISO.  
Native ISO for the G6 seems to be 640.

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That said, I don't think I'd run around with a GM1 for a wedding video.  It's not difficult to use, just quirkier, but the GX7 lends itself better to run'ngun.  I also like the 60p option on the GX7 as I slow-mo conform that footage into 24fps. 

 

I do like the GX7 ergo's.  I have a set of MFT primes and they're nice compact lenses, but I find that I like shooting the GX7 with my old Nikkor manual lenses more.  A nice heft and balance; plus the iris ring and physical focusing...I'm an old dog I guess.  It's not too hard to pull focus with peaking and the EVF.

 

If I get it right, the only reason why I shouldn't sell my G6 to get a GX7, is cos the latter doesn't have a mic input (nor manual audio control) ?  But apart from that, the GX7 is a better or comparable camera with superior lowlight performance ?

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

My opinion is "Neat by name, neat by nature". Neat Video is amazing but it's greatest strength is cleaning up the minor noise that is there even in cameras with excellent low light performance. It doesn't do so well at repairing extremely noisy footage so that it looks like it was shot by a different camera. It neatens up your images - it doesn't turn noisy footage into perfect clean footage. If it has to replace too much detail everything starts looking plastic and wrong. Neat Video can make my D5300 ISO-1600 shots look like they were shot in daylight at 100/200 ISO. It can't make my G6 low light footage look like it was shot with a different camera.

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