Upgraded GH1 to GH3 First Impressions

Started Dec 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
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snapster
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Upgraded GH1 to GH3 First Impressions
Dec 10, 2012

I received my pre-ordered GH3 last week. I bought it to replace the GH1 which I have had for almost three years. I was looking to improve AF speed and low light performance, especially for nature photography.

I am happy with the GH1 pictures but I find the speed of the GH1 AF slow and what is even more frustrating is the occasional inability of the camera to find focus.  This happens both with the 100-300 and the 45mm Macro.  The performance in low light is also not great. I limit the GH1 ISO to 1600 and this results in missed shots of birds in undergrowth.

So the first shots with the GH3 were to assess the AF and ISO performance.

AF performance (meets expectations)
For birds I almost always use the one area AF set to the smallest square and aim at the birds eye. Using this setting the GH3 is fast and accurate. The speed is almost instantaneous. The GH3 also has an additional setting over the GH1 called pinpoint AF. This is a crosshair sight that finds the focus point through any amount of branches. This is a great feature and a complete surprise to me as I hadn't seen this mentioned in reviews.

ISO performance (not as good as I had hoped)
The GH2 outperforms the GH1 by about 2 stops. At ISO 3200 the noise is about the same as the GH1 at ISO 1000 or 1200.  The GH3 has relatively clean images up to about ISO 2500. I noticed that the high ISO images have much better colour detail and are in general brigther than the GH1 images. Perhaps the real ISO on the GH1 was actually lower.  The in camera JPEG is cleaner than the Silkypix RAW file but I didn't spend any time on noise reduction (ISO 3200 image of black phase gray squirrel).

I also noticed the GH3 handles shade and highlights better than the GH1. It will be nice to try macros of yellow flowers. The GH1 had real trouble with highlights on yellow petals.

ISO 12800 on the GH3 is unuseable (for me anyway) and similar to ISO 3200 on the GH1 which I never used.  The menu for selecting the ISO is much improved and setting the max ISO limit is much easier.

General The camera has a very good solid feel. The camera is almost virtually silent when the electronic shutter is turned on. Although max ISO is 1600 with the elecrtronic shutter turned on.

Full size downloadable images at http://rustyblades.smugmug.com/Natur...2365&k=nvdfBwB
--
Paul

 snapster's gear list:snapster's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
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