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Just Posted: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 preview

By dpreview staff on Sep 17, 2012 at 11:00 GMT
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Just Posted: Our Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 preview. The GH3 builds on the success Panasonic had with its GH2. With more rugged magnesium alloy construction and a new 16MP sensor, it offers plenty for stills photographers but it's the video specifications that make it a stand-out. Panasonic has been asking video professionals what they wanted out of a camera. Is the GH3 the camera they've been asking for? Read our hands-on preview to find out.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3

Comments

Total comments: 80
nickmenas
By nickmenas (Sep 25, 2012)

I bought a GH2 and sent it back the a couple of days later. It was terrible. It felt like a disposable plastic camera and was so small it was nearly impossble to shoot comfortably without a wrist /palm strap. My son's Panasonic FZ 150 blew it away in burst speeds and continuous shooting and even had the same LCD pixel density for less than half the price!. For $300.00 less, I got a Sony A65 that shoots 10 FPS with continuous autofocus, full time phase detection autofocusing even in 24, 30, and 60 fps video! The Sony has the fastest and sweetest sounding shudder you will ever hear, like a knife blade thrust into fine sand. Going from the Panny to the Sony was like going from an old Chervolet Vega to a cadillac CTS V!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (Sep 24, 2012)

this camera is purchased because of its excellent video mode - for photo there are better options - I will not buy them, keep my GH2 VK (Vitaliy Kiselev), because it has unfortunately now installed a Sony sensor (GH3: too soft a video image with aliasing and moire)

0 upvotes
bewing77
By bewing77 (Sep 21, 2012)

For the love of whatever you hold dear, why oh why must I click the link from the mainpage, enter a silly primer page and then click another link to get to the actual article I want to read? It's so immensly stupid it makes my brain hurt.

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Sep 18, 2012)

With smaller cameras coming out with larger sensors, I no longer understand why a modest sensor in such a large body. Take, for example, the Samsung NX20, with an APS-C sensor, a very nice size and great ergonomics, and the NEX system.
With new developments and choices on the market now, I can't help but wonder if 4/3 was a myopic miscalculation.

0 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Sep 19, 2012)

Possibly because the circuitry to provide good video takes more space?
This camera is ALL about the video and happens to take stills also. You would want the G-3 if size and stills were your goal.

2 upvotes
liquidsquid
By liquidsquid (Sep 19, 2012)

Likely SYSTEM size. Try out a 300mm lens on any of these and tell me who wins. Of for that matter any lens of equivalent capability. It isn't just the body that counts.

1 upvote
Artpt
By Artpt (Sep 18, 2012)

In the past, I had no trouble by security with getting the GH1 into a concert with my family for some lovely pictures and video. Given the size increase of the GH3, I wonder if security with consider this a "pro" type camera and restrict it....

2 upvotes
mirabeau
By mirabeau (Sep 18, 2012)

A little bigger but not massive and if the still images are on par with the oly om-d, I will buy it....looking forward to the review

0 upvotes
JCB123
By JCB123 (Sep 18, 2012)

"Once you're looking at a sensor design that has yet to show it can progress beyond 16MP, in a camera body that is now only slightly more compact than an enthusiast APS-C DSLR like the 24MP Sony SLT-A77, the benefits of buying into a Micro Four Thirds system really come down to feature set."

Wrong totally wrong. The size and weight of the body is fine. A comprehensive set of lenses for this or any m4/3 camera can be carried all day. A comparable set of lenses for any brand of DSLR would be hard to lift off the ground. So the overwhelming benefit is in the lenses.

How serious a limitation is 16MP ? More than enough for most of us.

They just need to get AF-C working as well as it does on the DSLRs and they are sorted. (Did DPR forget to mention this ?)

1 upvote
tsiwt
By tsiwt (Sep 18, 2012)

I was looking to get a new cam 2 months ago I was going to get the GH2... but decided to wait for the GH3.. Now that it is out I wonder if I should keep on waiting or buy the Gh2.... I am a newbie... but would like to spend my money wisely.

Is the Gh2 hacked very close to the natural specs of the Gh3?
also do you think the Gh3 could be hacked?

thanks
p.s when do you guys think this camera is coming out.?

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
hammerheadfistpunch
By hammerheadfistpunch (Sep 24, 2012)

I think this camera will produce more dynamic range, but honestly, I think the video differences will be modest, Especially hacked. If you don't need weather sealing, I would get the GH2. I have 1 for personal and 1 for work and I was pretty excited about this release, but not because the ALL-i or the different video options...solely for the weather sealing (I do a lot in the desert or on the slopes)

0 upvotes
mmeinders
By mmeinders (Sep 17, 2012)

I think Panasonic blew i with this upgrade. Why all the emphasis on video in a still camera? And then the size increase on top. I see no reason to upgrade from my GH2. I'm very disappointed.

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Sep 18, 2012)

If you like stills, just buy a OMD or a G5

2 upvotes
moebius22
By moebius22 (Sep 18, 2012)

Because its target audience isn't stills people.

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Sep 19, 2012)

@moebius22: indeed, with a sensor a bit small these days, are they getting creative in finding new target uses, buying them time, while they rethink their sensor strategy?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
SammyToronto
By SammyToronto (Sep 17, 2012)

The camera may be very well specced and take beautiful pics and videos (pending reviews), but I got into m4/3 for one reason only; size! Why settle for a camera with a smaller sensor (no matter how good it is) while I can buy a similarly-sized DSLR with a markedly larger sensror. I came to m4/3 from Canon DSLR and accepted the slight hit in image quality for the portability the m4/3 system provides. I'd, therefore, much sooner go back to Canon DSLR rather than buy the GH3.

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Sep 18, 2012)

...or you can get everything you want, in a NX20. ;-)

0 upvotes
Denis of Whidbey Island
By Denis of Whidbey Island (Sep 17, 2012)

If, " it's the video specifications that make it stand-out," should we read the preview to "find-out?" Somebody was hyphen-happy.

0 upvotes
halfmac
By halfmac (Sep 17, 2012)

This is going to be a great camera for video makers. The GH2 already is. Panasonic has included almost everything we have asked for. The GH3 out specs their $4000 professional AF-100 m43 video camera. Thank you Panasonic for listening.

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Sep 17, 2012)

no multi aspect sensor with no real 16:9 ? not really

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Sep 17, 2012)

Real 16x9?

0 upvotes
DaveyBee
By DaveyBee (Sep 17, 2012)

Hmmm... I'm not convinced! It may well be the most fantastic m4/3 camera in the world, but if I'm going to have to carry a bigger and heavier camera around, I think I'll fall back on my trusty 7D. I love my GH2 because of its size and the fact I that I have travelled with it very successfully across Europe and have some fantastic photos - I will certainly need some convincing on this one, especially at the price (in the UK, we're likely to be looking at around £1000+ body only!). Ho hum...

0 upvotes
halfmac
By halfmac (Sep 17, 2012)

The Gh3 is smaller than the 7D. the lenses are a lot smaller.

3 upvotes
DaveyBee
By DaveyBee (Sep 17, 2012)

Can't argue with that, but I still think I'll be keeping my hand in my pocket unless the GH3 turns out to be exceptional, blowing the GH2 and 7D out of the water. At that point I may consider trading the whole lot for one... Somehow, I doubt it'll be that good though!

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
jhinkey
By jhinkey (Sep 17, 2012)

Ugh - no true 16:9 ratio with a multi-aspect ratio sensor. As someone who shoots a lot of landscapes and is looking for something more compact than my FX DSLR this camera just became much less desirable.

Perhaps, since they say this is "video optimized" they will release some other m43 camera that keeps the multi-aspect sensor capability?

A GH2 may be the way to go or the OM-D just became much more attractive.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
pannumon
By pannumon (Sep 17, 2012)

Multi-aspect (or normal 16:9) sensor is important especially for video. Cropping from 4:3 to 16:9 makes no sense at all!

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Sep 21, 2012)

There is VERY little difference between the 16:9 crop of 4:3 sensor and 16:9 crop of multiaspect sensor. Just a few percent of sensor area. You will never see a difference in an HD movie or even still picture. Just marketing.

0 upvotes
Vlad S
By Vlad S (Sep 17, 2012)

The ultimate button monster! I don't think it would be possible to make this any smaller and still have the space for actually holding the camera. I wonder how the focus mode switch on the back compares with the switch under the left wheel from the ergonomic point of view. But overall I am impressed by the amount of hardware control.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 17, 2012)

I still think that getting a real thing is a better option then playing with huge m4/3 mirrorless. How about great AF and large sensor? There's Canon, Nikon and Sony waiting. Or how about outstanding high-ISOs? There's Pentax down there.

No reason to struggle with m4/3 what so ever. Perhaps that's a camera for people with loads of spare m4/3 lenses, but otherwise? Waste if money.

1 upvote
Demon Cleaner
By Demon Cleaner (Sep 17, 2012)

There's only one other SLR style camera that can do high bitrate 1080p, and the 5D Mk III costs $3500. Unfortunately it also comes lumbered with a number of debilitating IQ issues (at 1080p its resolution barely scrapes above standard def). So you can see why the GH2 was coveted so by enthusiasts. So when you talk about the "real thing", this is very much where it's at.

And if all that is meaningless, then possibly you should consider a camera that is not marketed as a true hybrid.

4 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Sep 17, 2012)

"I still think that getting a real thing"

Because only Canon, Nikon, and Sony make "real" cameras?

0 upvotes
duartix
By duartix (Sep 17, 2012)

I could number a few very good reasons: size, lens ecosystem, price, but in the end there is one reason above all others, the GH2 has produced the best video. Go ask Coppola if you don't believe it.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Valiant Thor
By Valiant Thor (Sep 17, 2012)

"I still think that getting a real thing"

I want this camera because it is unreal.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Xellz
By Xellz (Sep 18, 2012)

AF is great on those "real" things only with fast moving targets. Single focus is better on m4/3, more precise, more reliable, no need for micro adjustments, since zero problems with front or back focusing.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Sep 18, 2012)

@Demon Cleaner - Sony A99 is the second one.

@duartix - size is roughly same as DSLR (larger then some of SLTs actually), lens ecosystem is worse then any of C.N.S. trio, so is the accessory ecosystem, price... we'll see. Video... we'll see.

Xellz - you ever had issues with AF precision or reliability? I hadn't. And guess what? Professional photographers from all around the world use DSLRs exactly because they are reliable!

1 upvote
Artpt
By Artpt (Sep 17, 2012)

I have three boys (7, 5, 9months) and have taken plenty of pictures over the years with a GH1. For a consumer like me, the mix of AF video and great images make for a compact system that I can later use to montage vacations for the grandparents....looking forward to the review and checking out a local store in the Chicago area that has this soon!

1 upvote
Fois Giovanni
By Fois Giovanni (Sep 18, 2012)

How did you manage to get three boys just two months apart each other! Do you have three wives? You are faster than Lumix auto-focus!

0 upvotes
Jim Radcliffe
By Jim Radcliffe (Sep 17, 2012)

I kept hearing about Focus Peaking being available in this camera. I've seen nothing that mentions it here... or maybe I am blind. Does anyone know if Focus Peaking is avaiable in the GH3 or not? If not, then they have really not listened to the users of the GH2 or paid attention to what the competition is doing.

0 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (Sep 17, 2012)

See nothing too on the Panasonic site, only focus zoom

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Sep 18, 2012)

Our understanding is that it doesn't. We're hoping to double-check with Panasonic today.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Sep 17, 2012)

Are you sure about this being a multi aspect ratio sensor? I don't believe it actually is.

2 upvotes
jjandj
By jjandj (Sep 17, 2012)

Yes, Thankfully, it does.

See Specs on Panasonic Site.

http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/gh3/specifications.html

0 upvotes
duartix
By duartix (Sep 17, 2012)

It's not multi aspect ratio, they are just cropping out.

0 upvotes
jjandj
By jjandj (Sep 18, 2012)

Ooops. My bad. NOT multi-aspect like the GH1 and GH2. Yes, alas. They are just cropping. Sorry for the bum steer.

0 upvotes
caver3d
By caver3d (Sep 18, 2012)

The GH2 is multiaspect.

0 upvotes
jjandj
By jjandj (Sep 18, 2012)

Well, yes, the GH1 and GH2 *are* multi-aspect. That's what I was saying. I guess I should have said: Not multi-aspect, as opposed to the GH1 and GH2, which are. I have a GH1 (hacked) and probably will finally upgrade to a GH3 (if its stills performance are much improved from the GH1). If not, I'll probably go for the Oly EM5 instead and use hacked GH1 for video and EM5 for stills.

0 upvotes
Valiant Thor
By Valiant Thor (Sep 17, 2012)

What about lenses? Does anyone know if you will be able to use M4/3 lenses that work with the G5 and OM-D systems on this camera? Thanks.

1 upvote
Dafffid
By Dafffid (Sep 17, 2012)

Yes

1 upvote
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (Sep 17, 2012)

All this cameras use the same mount: Micro Four Thirds (aka m43 for short).

IOW, yes, of course, all m43 lenses - from both Olympus and Panasonic - would work on GH3.

1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (Sep 17, 2012)

It seems that the hackers forced Panasonic's hand with the higher bitrates. But, with most cameras outputing, clean uncompressed video via HDMI.. the onboard video codecs are becoming less important, esp. for mid to high end productions where youre going to rig it up with other accessories.

1 upvote
hammerheadfistpunch
By hammerheadfistpunch (Sep 24, 2012)

not that it will matter for this camera, since its 4:2:0 color space at 8-bit from the HDMI...so its not really going to look any better than the internal codec. I use a samurai on my af100 and despite the fact that you actually get 4:2:2 8-bit from the SDI, and at 220 mbps datarate, I'm hard pressed to notice a difference in all but the most demanding color correction shots (green screen) or extremely high motion. Having tried the hacks as well, same story, mildly better but the bottleneck isn't at the codecs like it used to be.

0 upvotes
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (Sep 17, 2012)

DPR--what does that rear combination control dial / diamond pad do? Is that actually a spinning wheel around the arrows? What functions can the top, upper rear and rear dials be set to control?

Considering that you've undoubtedly had this body for a while, the lack of information in your preview is staggering.

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (Sep 17, 2012)

Samy's listed the pre-order price as $1300 body only.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Sep 17, 2012)

That's good news as I had read an article on NoFilmSchool that asked "Would you pay $2000 for a GH3?" That would have been extreme, but $1300 seems reasonable for professional quality video output.

0 upvotes
raimundo gaby
By raimundo gaby (Sep 17, 2012)

Price???? Availability????

0 upvotes
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (Sep 17, 2012)

Not enough information in this preview to help me decide whether I want one or not. While the enhanced control layout looks very nice, I'm OK with the GH2 layout. I don't think the extra size will be an issue (in spite of DPR's comparisons to the Sony SLT, the lack of a mirror box really makes the overall volume quite a bit less). I don't really need a weather proofed body, and I'm willing to trade the more rugged construction of the 3 for the lighter weight of the 2. Have to see just how much heavier it feels.

The important questions (for me) aren't answered: How much better, really, is the EVF? Is C-AF any better? Are card writes faster? They really need to be MUCH faster. Is the rear screen usable in bright sunlight? How much better is image quality?

For the price and weight trade off the GH3 will have to offer real advances in multiple performance areas to make me consider it, I'm afraid, especially since it appears to lose one of my favorite features, the multi-aspect sensor.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Demon Cleaner
By Demon Cleaner (Sep 17, 2012)

Looking forward to seeing some production unit reviews asap. Philip Bloom said he would post his impressions as soon as it was announced (having shot the 'Genesis' vid with it).

1 upvote
redeye47
By redeye47 (Sep 19, 2012)

Looks like an incredible camera, but I agree. The loss of the multi-aspect sensor is a big loss.

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Sirio Sirius
By Sirio Sirius (9 months ago)

Hi
I have just bought the GH3A and I want warn people who want take a GH3 for it's weather-proof. IT IS NOT REAL!!!!!!!!!
There is 2 doors NOT sealed: the SD card and the flash!!!!
No sealing, no O ring, no silicone, nothing to protect the incoming water. I is a shame. I am very hungry against Panasonic.

0 upvotes
Andy Spawn
By Andy Spawn (Sep 17, 2012)

What is the point to make a M4/3 camera as big as a SLR camera?

3 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 17, 2012)

Sensor size doesn't necessarily make for body size. We see this all the time.

0 upvotes
TEBnewyork
By TEBnewyork (Sep 17, 2012)

The point is you have choices in m4/3 bodies as to what size you want.... but what stays consistent is the size of the lenses and a whole kit is still much smaller than a dslr kit.

Try and put together a kit in m4/3 with the 12-35 and 35-100 along with a few primes and compare that to other fast glass from Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.

3 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Sep 17, 2012)

Get the GF5 if you want a tiny camera for your tiny hands.
http://1.static.img-dpreview.com/files/news/0415293542/520/gf5.jpg

2 upvotes
halfmac
By halfmac (Sep 17, 2012)

The GH3 is the size of a very small Sony SLE A57 which is considered a amateur camera. The sensor on that camera is much bigger. This is a ruggedize professional SLE.

0 upvotes
zakk9
By zakk9 (Sep 17, 2012)

Panasonic seems to have developed exactly the camera that GH1/2 users have been asking for. Very little to complain about here and my somewhat tired GH1 will have to play second violin from now on. Looking very much forward to this camera!

1 upvote
Cargo
By Cargo (Sep 17, 2012)

This is my next camera. Most wanted.

But, resolutions in specs not correspond to Multi-aspect feature! Check it!

1 upvote
pentaxination
By pentaxination (Sep 17, 2012)

Panasonic needs to retire this line. At best, it is a decent video camera. That's it. Boring and shows how the m43 is nearing the end of the road. Maybe they ought to merge two m43 sensors together for some real estate to build on?

8 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Sep 17, 2012)

what are you complaining here about?? :)))

5 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Sep 17, 2012)

I don't think you quite know what you're talking about, the GH3 has a video bitrate that only the $3500 Canon EOS 5D Mark III can match, with the most body controls of any m4/3 camera (more than most DSLRs), at half the weight of the 5D (and that's before you include the lens)

You not being the target audience does not make it a bad camera.

13 upvotes
wildbild
By wildbild (Sep 17, 2012)

as a photographer I am excited by the control layout.

@pentaxination: and you should lower your voice given the quality pentax lenses can offer … LOL

5 upvotes
nickthetasmaniac
By nickthetasmaniac (Sep 17, 2012)

Retire the line? Are you completely retarded? Did you just forget how well the GH2 sold?

May as well tell Canon to retire the 5d and tell Nikon that the D800 is a failure.

12 upvotes
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (Sep 17, 2012)

Don't feed the trolls.

11 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Sep 17, 2012)

Decent video camera?? GH2 kicks some 5D2 a$$ for its buck! And it's very popular among pro video shooters. The only camera that uses pixel binning instead of line skipping to record video. Can a Pentax mount a native f/0.95 lens? Can Canon? Even Canon's own 50mm f/0.95 of the 70's can mount on GH2 but not on a Canon!
Have you even ever *tried* an m43 camera?
Get serious.

3 upvotes
Demon Cleaner
By Demon Cleaner (Sep 17, 2012)

The GH2 sold an astronomical number of units. Why on earth would they retire the line?

3 upvotes
caver3d
By caver3d (Sep 18, 2012)

This moron is a Pentax fanboy. Enough said.

1 upvote
Xellz
By Xellz (Sep 17, 2012)

Too bad rumors about 100 iso were false, what for me would be nice improvement is more cleaner files at base iso.

3 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Sep 17, 2012)

By making the base iso 100 you lose a stop of DR.

Of course you can always emulate iso 100 and even 50 by exposing at +1 and +2 ev then taking the brightness back down in post.

1 upvote
jim stirling
By jim stirling (Sep 17, 2012)

I am not sure this is correct , a lower base ISO typically impacts the higher ISO performance not DR as an example the D800 has a base ISO of 100 with the highest DR ever recorded by DXO. I think that you are perhaps basing your opinion on cameras that list ISO 100 but actually have a base of 200. The proper base ISO by its nature has the the best performance of the sensor.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Xellz
By Xellz (Sep 17, 2012)

Yep, seems high ISO performance sells better than base native iso noise and dr. Well, i'm more or less satisfied with G3, until i get the lenses i want and learn more about photography. Maybe by that time something more suited for me will be released :)

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Sep 17, 2012)

Can't wait to get this!

4 upvotes
Total comments: 80