GH3 Initial Setup Guide and Issues
mpgxsvcd | Product Reviews & Previews | Published Jan 3, 2013
This is the first of several Panasonic GH3 tips and tricks videos I am creating. This video goes over the items below. Make sure you watch it all the way through. At the end I discuss some of the issues that the GH3 currently has. If anyone discovers any workarounds for these issues please let us know.
- Moire really is not a deal breaker with the GH3. It can appear. However, you can make it happen in the GH2 as well. You just have to try to avoid it if you are using sharp m4/3s lenses. It really isn’t as big an issue as we originally thought.
- Auto and Intelligent ISO can now be set to as high as ISO 12,800 instead of just ISO 3200. This is a big improvement for the Program priority mode which wouldn’t use a fast enough shutter speed on the GH2.
- The extra two custom function dial settings that the GH3 has is a big improvement over the 3 in the GH2. I setup C1 with Program Priority for stills. C2 with Shutter Priority for stills, C3-1 with Shutter priority for video, C3-2 with Full manual control for astro photography, and C2-3 with the high dynamic color mode just for fun.
- All of the new color modes are actually pretty good. Portrait has the most dynamic range. However, Vivid gives the lowest shadow noise and Scenery looked be the most natural to my eyes. This is all subjective though. Color choice is all up to preference.
- I love how you can customize what settings appear and in what order on the quick menu. That is a fantastic new feature.
- ISO 6400 is completely usable on the GH3 just like it is on the OMD. In addition ISO 12,800 is now usable for web delivery and maybe small sized prints when you are in desperate conditions.
- The new AFF single box auto focus is very good. In addition the face detection auto focus works well when there is only a single person in the frame. If there are multiple people it is hard for the camera to know which one to focus on.
- You can setup a Function button to change the Auto Focus. In manual focus mode it automatically will bring up the new focus assist zoom preview. I like the new center zoom with normal outside edge for focusing.
- The 35-100mm F2.8 is not parfocal. If you zoom in manual focus mode it will go in and out of focus. However, in Auto Focus mode it will correct for these little errors.
- 1080p @ 60 FPS is excellent for almost any video situation except for when you need to match film frame rate.
- 1080p @ 24 FPS all I and 50 mb/sec are both great. I find it hard to tell the difference between them.
- ETC will not work in any of the 60 FPS modes. You must use the 1080p @ 30/24 FPS or 720p @ 30 FPS modes to use ETC.
- The AVC-HD modes are useless to me because the .mov modes offer higher bit rates and are easier to find the files. However, AVC-HD might be useful for those that need native compatibility with another device.
- The electronic shutter mode cannot use over ISO 1600 or more than 1 second of shutter duration. It also can show skew when there is subject motion. It is not quite as useful as I thought it would be.
- The burst mode buffer clearing is probably the single biggest improvement over the GH2. Burst mode is now very useful even in JPG+RAW mode.
- Focus tracking is enabled in video mode. However, it still isn’t reliable enough to depend on it.
- The flash sensor is too sensitive and it can be confused and think the flash is open when it is not. It can actually fire the flash when it is closed and it will partially pop itself up when this happens. This needs to be resolved. I hope a firmware fix can change the way the sensor acts. I don’t want to have to send my camera in for repairs.
- Without a doubt some of the initial GH3 cameras have a halo issue with the EVF. If you turn your eye slightly the edges will form halos with the cameras that have this issue. I don’t use the EVF so it doesn’t bother me. However, if you do use it a lot you should definitely have a look at the video and see if this could be an issue for you.
- The single exposure JPG mode blacks out the screen way too long if your ISO is at or above ISO 3200. If you shoot single RAW images instead it will not black out the screen for as much time. Also if you shoot in burst mode it will not have this issue.
- The flash exposure cannot be set with a Function button. You must navigate through the menu to change this setting.
Since I initially wrote this article there have been several updates.
Zeoff mentioned this "Actually, if you have "Auto Exposure Comp" set to ON in the flash menu you can use the top scroll wheel to adjust the flash output relative to the metered amount after pressing the exposure comp button (The back scroll wheel adjusts the regular exposure comp). In manual mode however the top scroll wheel doesn't change the flash output in any way and you really do have to delve into a sub-sub-menu just to change the output which is just silly."
No one else has mentioned that they have the faulty flash issue. My camera might just be a defective one. However, the issue happens quite often on my camera now. I will probably have to send it back for repairs.
In addition I have discovered that you cannot change the P.A.S.M mode for video once you save it as a custom setting. It will allow you to select a different P.A.S.M value. However, it doesn't actually change the mode that it is in. This is clearly a firmware bug that I believe they will fix with a future firmware upgrade.