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Panasonic announces DMC-GH3 high-end movie-focused mirrorless camera

By dpreview staff on Sep 17, 2012 at 11:02 GMT
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Photokina 2012: Panasonic has unveiled the DMC-GH3, its most movie-orientated Micro Four Thirds camera yet. The GH3 is built around a new 16MP sensor, which the company promises will offer improved image quality. In addition the camera, which now features a larger and weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, is packed with videographer-friendly features. These include 3.5mm mic and headphone sockets, 60p/60i/30p/24p output, All-I or IPB compression options (at up to 80 or 50 Mbps respectively) and timecode support. There will also be the option of a battery grip to allow shooting for longer periods.

Press release:

The Panasonic LUMIX GH3: Changing professional photography and videography, wherever you are

 Building on the prestige of the LUMIX GH2, new LUMIX G addition takes professional videography to the next level in a portable interchangeable lens camera

17th September, 2012 – Panasonic today launches the LUMIX GH3, its most powerful and versatile Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) interchangeable lens camera yet, featuring incredible video and picture quality in a ruggedly elegant and compact design. Offering expert control for videographers and photographers alike, the state-of-the-art LUMIX GH3 delivers crisp images and videos with a 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor combined with the incredible processing power of Venus Engine in a portable 550 grammes compact body (incl. battery and SD card). With an exceptionally fast and accurate auto-focus, engineered for precision control and professional results in any situation, you’ll always capture the action with absolute detail.

Clarity and control for beautiful video quality

The new LUMIX GH3, the latest addition to Panasonic’s LUMIX G ecosystem, pushes the boundaries of video quality from an interchangeable lens camera. The LUMIX GH3’s sensor advances mean that you can take complete control of stunningly clear 1080 50p Full HD AVCHD video with a video bitrate of 28 Mbps or you can shoot MOV1 videos with 72Mbps in ALL-I.

Even in low light conditions, you can pick out all the detail to give you breath-taking cinematic quality thanks to an ISO range between ISO 200 to ISO 12800 as standard, or even between ISO 125 to ISO 25600 with an extension function.

Whether you’re filming an interview or an action sequence, multiple high-quality video file outputs - including MP4, MOV and AVCHD - mean you’ll always have the right tools for the task at hand to quickly and conveniently transfer and edit your work. In addition, the all indexed video option without compression means you’ll never need to compromise.

Full-time AF, AF Tracking and Face Recognition AF are all available in video mode, allowing you to ensure the focus stays on a subject or face, even if they move around.

Professional quality on the move

Ready for adventure, from filming a remote village to shooting insects under the darkness of the jungle canopy, the lightweight and compact LUMIX GH3 is weather sealed and ready to take on the challenges with you – the classically designed and easy-to-grip chassis is both splashproof and dustproof. You’ll always capture beautiful and authentic colours driven by the 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor and enhanced 3DNR (3D Noise Reduction) and MNR (Multi-process Noise Reduction).

The LUMIX GH3 features ultra-high-speed and precise Light Speed AF, making it possible to capture even the most fast-moving subject with utmost clarity and accuracy. Burst shooting – at 6 fps in full resolution and 20 fps in 4-megapixel recording – means professionals can get the perfect shot, even when they’re on the move.

The powerful and versatile LUMIX GH3 is also compatible with all the accessories you would expect. It features a sync socket for studio lighting rigs as well as a range of pro-friendly accessories including noise-reduction directional microphone for exceptionally focused sound which can easily be plugged into the 3.5mm microphone jack. For longevity and even more flexibility, the new LUMIX GH3 battery grip means you can shoot for longer and benefit from the additional weight to get you more stability when you need it. For more creative control, the LUMIX GH3 vertical grip means you can make precise changes and take the perfect shot.

See the world in a different way

Take shots no-one else can get - the lightweight design means you can comfortably carry the LUMIX GH3 anywhere and still take stunning pictures and videos. Choose how you frame shots - compose the scene with poise and precision using the high resolution 614k pixel 3.0-inch free-angle OLED screen, or use the 1,744K OLED viewfinder for a traditional shooting experience. The LUMIX GH3’s silent shutter means you’ll never be distracted or disturb the scene, and always capture the action just as it was.

Freedom to shoot and share

Connecting you to the world, the intelligent built-in Wi-Fi integration gives you shooting freedom and unleashes a new versatility in professional photography and videography. You can collaborate with colleagues instantly as they review shots from moments ago being streamed to your office PCs with remote browsing via your smartphone or tablet. Meanwhile the LUMIX Link smartphone / tablet app for Android and iOS gives you remote control of the camera’s functions including the shutter, enabling you to take photos even when you’re not touching the camera.

Now you don’t have to worry about carrying data transfer cables with you everywhere, as you effortlessly and quickly back-up and share photos to the cloud with LUMIX CLUB Cloud Sync Service. Saving you time and effort after a long day shooting, the LUMIX GH3 can detect trusted Wi-Fi connections, such as your home network, and sync your photos and videos directly to the cloud.

Be part of the LUMIX G microsystem

Ichiro Kitao, Director Imaging Network Business Unit and head of Panasonic’s global Digital Still Camera business, says: “The LUMIX G ecosystem has constantly pushed the boundaries of innovation and the LUMIX GH3 marks another significant step forward for the industry. The range and depth of features combined with an intuitive user experience make the LUMIX GH3 a powerful and versatile tool for professionals and serious amateurs alike. Those looking for a premium interchangeable lens camera will enjoy using the LUMIX GH3. The video capture is exceptional, and pictures quality is sublime – we’re incredibly proud of the innovation in the LUMIX GH3.”

As part of the LUMIX G system, the LUMIX GH3 will provide you with access to the world’s largest range of Micro Four Thirds lenses (17) and accessories, making sure you have the right set-up to capture every moment. These include Panasonic’s new high-quality weather sealed LUMIX G X series 12-35mm and 35-100mm lenses, offering pinpoint sharpness and F2.8 brightness throughout the zoom ranges, with a premium and rugged design.

LUMIX GH3: Key Features

  • Outstanding quality from a DSLM: With a new 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor; the Venus Engine image processor; and high sensitivity image recording even at ISO 12800 or ISO 25600 in extended mode, the LUMIX GH3 delivers incredible video and photo quality, even in low-light situations
  • Adaptable and always ready: Weighing just 550 grammes (incl. battery and SD card), the lightweight design means the LUMIX GH3 is highly portable, and the enhanced auto-focus captures action as it unfolds
  • Versatile and flexible: The LUMIX GH3 offers 1080 50p Full HD recording in a range of video file formats, with all footage indexed to give you complete control over editing without compromising on quality
  • Powerful and easy to use: The LUMIX GH3 features a redesigned and intuitive user interface, making it easier than ever to push your own creativity to new levels and shoot sublime pictures and video. It also provides easy sharing and transferring of content thanks to its built in WIFI functionality
  • Stylish yet robust: The sophisticated design of the LUMIX GH3 complements the advanced technology, and is weather sealed so it is always ready for adventure. The LUMIX GH3 offers beautiful craftsmanship without compromising on utility, with a bright and vivid 3.0 inch OLED screen and sockets for professional grade equipment.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Specifications

Body type
Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Max resolution4608 x 3456
Other resolutions4608x3072, 3264x2448, 2336x1752, 4608x3072, 3264x2176, 2336x1560, 4608x2592, 3264x1840, 1920x1080, 3456x3456, 2448x2448, 1744x1744, 1712x1712
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor sizeFour Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorVenus Engine VII FHD
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800
White balance presets5
Custom white balanceYes (2)
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Standard
File format
  • RAW
  • RAW + Fine
  • RAW + Standard
  • Fine
  • Standard
  • MPO + Fine
  • MPO + Standard (with 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds System standard)
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (2x, 4x)
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points23
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier2×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3
Screen dots614,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeOLED Monitor with static touch control
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification1.34×
Viewfinder resolution1,744,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Manual
Scene modes
  • Clear Portrait
  • Silky Skin
  • Backlit Softness
  • Clear in Backlight
  • Relaxing Tone
  • Sweet Child's Face
  • Distinct Scenery
  • Bright Blue Sky
  • Romantic Sunset Glow
  • Vivid Sunset Glow
  • Glistening Water
  • Clear Nightscape
  • Cool Night Sky
  • Warm Glowing Nightscape
  • Artistic Nightscape
  • Glittering Illuminations
  • Clear Night Portrait
  • Soft Image of a Flower
  • Appetizing Food
  • Cute Dessert
  • Freeze Animal Motion
  • Clear Sports Shot
  • Monochrome
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash range12.00 m
External flashYes (Hot-shoe)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
Flash X sync speed1/160 sec
Drive modes
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Self-timer
Continuous drive20 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, 10 sec (3 images))
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±1 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25 24 fps) 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25fps), 640 x 480 (30, 25fps
FormatMPEG-4, AVCHD, H.264
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage includedNone
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini HDMI Type C)
Wireless notesIEEE 802.11b/g/n, 2412MHz - 2462MHz (11ch), Wi-Fi / WPA / WPA2, Infrastructure mode
Remote controlYes (Optional DMW-RSL1)
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)540
Weight (inc. batteries)550 g (1.21 lb / 19.40 oz)
Dimensions133 x 93 x 82 mm (5.24 x 3.66 x 3.23)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3


Total comments: 28
By Vitruvius (Dec 27, 2012)

Apprently it is shipping already but yet nobody knows if it has focus peaking for sure or clean HDMI out? Apparently one of the best recent cameras and still no full reviews in sight?

Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Sep 23, 2012)

I'm loving it, the Micro 4/3 regulars now have to put up with the added insult against M4/3 in that one of their arch-enemy Sony is supplying the imager to Panasonic to be used in the Lumix DMC-GH3.

M4/3 shooter have been usually belittling Sony Alphas and especially NEX cameras, and now -- this final insult. I am just loving the irony.

By Cargo (Sep 20, 2012)

Panasonic must return multi-aspect sensor to GH cameras!

1 upvote
Dean Barnum
By Dean Barnum (Sep 18, 2012)

According to an email I received from Panasonic today (9-17-12) no Panasonic point and shoot or system camera can video record any more than 30 minutes per block. I have "heard" that some cameras on the market no longer have this limitation. In other words, record until the SD chip is full, without interuption.

Where can I find all about this limitation, why, and where I can find out which cameras have this capabilities?

By panman55 (Sep 18, 2012)

I may be wrong, but as I understand it, this is to do with import taxes in (possibly) Europe but definitely the UK - which is where I assume you must be: This is a restriction imposed so as to not damage the pricing of video cameras, so that the GH3 and all other cameras set up for PAL recording in Europe are not capable of undercutting the capabilities, or sales, of vid cameras (which will shoot forever, but with their not-so-good lenses).

I really hope I am wrong on this as it seems absolutely crazy that the taxman should affect how cameras work. In practice though, there are few subjects where one absolutely NEEDS to shoot more than 30 minutes straight, and I have always shot up to about 20 mins at a time, (even the school play !) then stopped and restarted with my GH13 and GH2, so in a way it's not really a very big deal.

Hope that helps?

1 upvote
Marcin Moscicki
By Marcin Moscicki (Sep 18, 2012)

Size of a K-5 (even slightly larger). I guess it's great for those doing video, but I'll pass.

By peevee1 (Sep 20, 2012)

And heavier than A37 and D3200 too. And why it is 82mm deep? It must be a mistake, there is no pentaprism there...

By mosc (Sep 17, 2012)

I assume it still has it but the most appealing feature for me about the GH2 was the video zoom function that interpolated across the sensor giving basically lossless digital zoom down to 1080p. Someone please tell me that's not going away.

I have to say I was surprised the rear LCD wasn't higher resolution considering that 640x480 screens are pretty common (fine, I'll say 920k if you make me) even in compacts these days...

This is the camera that really shows off the strengths of the 4/3rds system: Telephoto video.

And I'm loving the sound of that 20fps 4mp mode...

By marike6 (Sep 17, 2012)

I'm not sure why there's not more excitement here on DPR about this release. I know in video circles, the Vimeo HDSLR crowd, this is one of the most highly anticipated m43 releases in recent memory, largely because the GH2 is such an amazingly good video camera. And this camera has improved on the GH2 considerably. Kudos, Panasonic.

1 upvote
By Raist3d (Sep 17, 2012)

Hmm where is the price?

1 upvote
By luisflorit (Sep 17, 2012)

$1300 @B&H.

By mpgxsvcd (Sep 17, 2012)

I don't believe this is a multi-aspect ratio sensor. I think the dpreview statement about that is incorrect.

1 upvote
By marike6 (Sep 17, 2012)

The GH3 has a multi-aspect sensor, as listed on Panasonic's GH3 website. I'm not sure why there is so much confusion about this, but here are the specs from Panasonic.

1 upvote
G Cogger
By G Cogger (Sep 17, 2012)

It's not a multi-aspect sensor in the same way as the GH2. That camera had a greater width in pixels for the wider aspect ratios - the GH3 is the same for all aspect ratios (4608).
For example both cameras are 4,608 x 3,456 pixels for a 4:3 image. For a 16:9 image the GH3 is 4,608 x 2,592 but the GH2 was 4,976 x 2,800, giving an 8% wider field of view (and 17% more pixels).

By Deeso (Sep 17, 2012)

Perhaps Panasonic should consider creating a line of videocameras with m4/3 mount like Sony did with the NEX-VG series. As good as the GH3 can get for video, it won't handle as well as a true videocamera for its purpose.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
Etienne R. Werner
By Etienne R. Werner (Sep 17, 2012)

They already did. It's called the AF101 (Europe) in the USA the Af100. It's been around for a few years.

Luis AJ Alvarez
By Luis AJ Alvarez (Sep 17, 2012)

It is true that they have had this for a while but the number actually is AG-AF101 in Europe. The difference is that this is meant to be used with m43 lenses directly. The two new constant F2.8 lenses have been highly expected for AG-AF100 camera owners!

By TheEye (Sep 17, 2012)

1/160 flash sync? How gauche.

By Photomonkey (Sep 17, 2012)

Not the fastest but about par for the m4/3 world. But in truth the majority of these will be sold to filmmakers.

1 upvote
By luisflorit (Sep 17, 2012)

Ridiculous 1/160s!!!
Impossible to shoot with the 100-300mm @ 300mm and 1/160s with reasonable keeper rate.
Why still at 1/160s??????

Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Sep 17, 2012)

I love it, despite its bigger size!

However with the size reaching a small DSLR, one need to consider now to either spend this much money on m43 or a FF Nikon D60/ Canon D6.

1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Sep 17, 2012)

The GH3 is around 30% lighter (and that's not including lenses, which would make the overall package a lot lighter) while having much higher video spec.

The likely target for the GH3 is the 5D II/III however, which is twice the weight of the GH3.

There are already a lot of small m4/3 bodies, for the target market of the GH3 weight becomes a lot more important than size, tho it would be nice if the smaller Panasonic m4/3 cameras at least had some manual video capabilities.

By Efath (Sep 17, 2012)

What about the multi-aspect sensor of previous GHx?

Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Sep 17, 2012)

guess its gone :(

Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Sep 17, 2012)

According to the preview it's still there

By zebarnabe (Sep 17, 2012)

The sensor itself outputs in several ratios, but does so by cropping the full image.

The previous cameras on the GH line would give some extra pixel on the sides when going from 4:3 to 3:2 and 16:9 making a 14mm lens give an horizontal FoV of a 12~13mm or so.

By ageha (Sep 17, 2012)

Sony sensor?

By MrTaikitso (Sep 17, 2012)


Total comments: 28