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Studio comparison images added to Panasonic GH3 Preview

By dpreview staff on Mar 12, 2013 at 00:00 GMT

We've just posted an update to our preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3, adding updated product photography (the camera we originally used had a non-final grip material) and three pages of studio comparison images, both JPEG and Raw. We're working on the remaining studio tests, and intend to add at least four more pages to this preview in the next few days, with a samples gallery and more detailed impressions on the camera's handling and performance. Look out for that towards the end of the week, but for now, click the links below to go to the updated preview. 

We've added the GH3 to our database of studio scene comparisons. Click on the thumbnail above to go straight to the first of the three IQ Compared pages in our preview


Total comments: 38
By peevee1 (Mar 19, 2013)

JPEGs are still way better on OM-D. RAW looks the same.

By Timmbits (Mar 14, 2013)

Pfft! A larger camera with a smaller sensor! One would expect more at this level!

By LennyMangini (Mar 15, 2013)

One who's unfamiliar with Micro Four Thirds, I suppose.

By jalywol (Mar 14, 2013)

I bought a GH3 last month, after hearing from some fellow GH2 owners who had it and thought it was a real step up from the GH2.

I'm VERY critical about what I expect from a camera, and do not keep models that do not give me acceptable IQ. I was hoping the GH3 would be a noticeable step up from the GH2, but if not, I was prepared to keep the GH2 instead.

Surprisingly enough, I was very, very impressed with how much better, in real world use, the GH3 IQ was vs the GH2. It has far more accurate color rendition, and really beautfiul depth and dimension to its images. It also does very well at higher ISOs. (I can get very good quality ISO 1600 images, and almost as good ISO 3200 images) (The GH2 requires much NR work to get non-blotchy high ISO images).

What surprised me about these DPR sample photos is that they don't seem to agree with what I am getting from my GH3. I would almost like to see them test a second GH3 for comparison, as this looks worse than I am seeng from my own GH3..

By Maverick_ (Mar 13, 2013)

As a GH1 owner who was anxiously waiting for GH3 for an upgrade I have since completely dismissed GH3 as a fail from Panasonic. It's not really a photographers medium, it's a videographers. GH series is an amazing video camera and a rather ordinary stills tool.

Although some many not appreciate these comparison shots from DPR, but many do. If you want to figure out what a sensor can do, specially in high ISO, this is one of the best benchmarks on the web.

It seems, the GH3 is only marginally better than the GH2 and not quite as good as OM-D which is 400 dollars cheaper and much smaller. I don't see any reason to upgrade to GH3, as I do not need the broadcast quality video option. And the OM-D is looking even better now.

By SDPharm (Mar 13, 2013)

I think most agree that the GH3 IQ is similar to the OM-D. I don't do video. I like the GH3 as a photography tool for the following reasons:

* better ergonomics, very easy to hold
* swivel LCD is much more versatile
* swivel LCD can be used to move focus point while you compose through the view finder, a killer feature
* good wi-fi functions, I can see what the camera sees and adjust focus point and shoot on my iPhone, another killer feature
* many well placed and useful buttons
* electronic shutter

Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Mar 13, 2013)

No it's not one of the best bench marks for seeing what the sensor can do at high iso. For that you also need to do a low light test as well. That is when you will see a much larger gap between the GH3 and GH2. As you say though the OM-D is better than the GH3.

1 upvote
By Maverick_ (Mar 14, 2013)

Two points. I can point focus on my cell phone's stock camera, I don't see the big deal.
two, this is certainly one of THE best sensor comparison methods online. the fact that low light is missing doesn't degenerate its usefulness and ease of use.

Mister J
By Mister J (Mar 14, 2013)

It's designed and marketed with video in mind, and extremely good as a video tool, with decent stills performance, too.

It's quite hefty though, so if video is not your prime aim, have a look at the much lighter G5, which handles very well.

By yabokkie (Mar 14, 2013)

we cannot compare sensors at camera advertised ISOs. we can only compare them at the same exposure values, in lumen-seconds or lux-seconds with sensor size.

1 upvote
Scott Birch
By Scott Birch (Mar 18, 2013)

yabokkie the advertised ISO is the useful one to examine because that's the setting we'll use. we're buying a camera not just a sensor.

Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Mar 13, 2013)

GH3: announced September, 2012; full DPR review still WIP @ March, 2013. Meanwhile, a cadre of early buyers will have already congealed their opinions (often a week before delivery) and be upset with any score below 90. Are the GH3 photos any better than those shot with camera X or Y? Probably depends mainly on the photographer. Is the video any better? Probably depends on the editor. Of course, GH3 buyers will hear none of this. No one every spends money in vain, do they?

The real strengths of the GH3 can already be presumed: more features than the GH2, which hardly a handful of users could ever master. Ditto for the shortcomings: bigger and more expensive than a G5 (someplaces offered for $700 with a kit and tele lens bundle), which will a address all that 95% of users will ever need, with any deficiencies met either by a faster lens or by a DSLR for sports action.

1 upvote
By cmc1 (Mar 13, 2013)

Seriously, and please educate me if i am wrong. Am I missing something here with these studio comparisons? I always view the Queen of hearts playing card top left corner because of the lines colours and details and every camera I think to be bad everyone else says is very good. From what I can see after comparing loads of camers nothing seems to come close to the Sony NEX7?? I don't own a NEX7 nor am I Sony fanboy but it appears to produce the sharpest images on this test card upto about iso1600.

1 upvote
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Mar 13, 2013)

I tend to view this site on an ipad, and only the predefined points of interest work (how long has this bug been around?). The queen isn't a target because the folks at dpreview don't consider it especially diagnostic. Why? Well it's a bit like a test chart — high contrast lines and sharp colors. The studio test image is all about shadow noise, highlight rendition, and low contrast detail (hence the default target being the coin).

That said, the coin on the label looks great on the NEX7. But moving to the tree on the other label, notice how sharp the trunk is on the NEX7 and the slight lightening of the background around the trunk (versus the slightly softer trunk with no lightening on the D5200). Sony is sharpening its RAWs.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Mar 13, 2013)

That medallion on the Martini bottle is not a typical or even ideal object. The engraving is, almost by nature, noisey. The noise reduction or JPEG engines respond to it very differently than her Dear Majesty du Coeur. However, maybe it is important to compare cameras by how they treat mushy or soft surfaces too.

By lancet (Mar 13, 2013)

On many cameras, especially full frame, the queen of hearts is outside of depth of field. That makes it a problem for evaluation.

By Rachotilko (Mar 13, 2013)

RAW is great, no doubt about that. However, Panasonic should work hard on improving their NR algorithms.

1 upvote
G Sciorio
By G Sciorio (Mar 13, 2013)

Judging any camera by these studio shots is pointless. It's only one small part of a very large equation.

By CarlPH (Mar 13, 2013)

You mean there area other shooting situations other than a camera placed in a tripod and studio? Wow, how did you come up with that?

Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Mar 13, 2013)

A fast sports event in a dark venue? Shot with the slow 300mm lens? BIF? No, I don't suppose admirers would like that.

By yabokkie (Mar 13, 2013)

think a computer generated target can confuse the NRs. while the cooked images may look pleasant to our eyes or software, they will get low grades compared against the target image.

comparing against the original is the key here.

Mike Ronesia
By Mike Ronesia (Mar 13, 2013)

Any idea if or when we will see a full review?

keith james taylor
By keith james taylor (Mar 13, 2013)

may be it gives the time for the others to catch up??

Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 13, 2013)

At high ISO, both JPG and RAW, Sony 6N looks much better than this camera.

By rikyxxx (Mar 13, 2013)

No, Nikon D800 looks much better, Sony 6N looks a little better.

Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Mar 13, 2013)

GH3 / Success. :)

By David247 (Mar 13, 2013)

Thanks for posting these. Looking forward to further updates.

By Neodp (Mar 13, 2013)

GH3: Fail.

By Revenant (Mar 13, 2013)

Thanks for the info! It's greatly appreciated. With all the trolling going on in these comments sections, it's a breath of fresh air to read such an insightful analysis as yours.

Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (Mar 13, 2013)

I am looking forward to the FULL Preview for this "video optimized " camera of most interest because of it's highly touted VIDEO features and performance, rather than it's still image capabilities, so I hope that getting this review done has a high priority, and that extra attention is paid to the Video features. It would be very useful to compare the GH3 video features and performance with those of other cameras that have superior video control such as Sony NEX 7, 5R, 6, RX-1, RX100, Canon Mark II, Mark III, Nikon 800 etc.

Most other cameras whose latest versions are, as you often say, simply small incremental updates, there is not that much unexpected news. Then there are those cameras that are real news because they create a an innovative new class of camera such as the Fuji X series, Sony RX1, RX100, Nikon E800, if not entirely new, with some breakthrough features, which any enthusiast wishes to know more about.

Thanks for the great reviews !


Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Mar 13, 2013)

The comparisons you suggest might not yield results of practical consequence to most people, who don't have money for the advanced lenses, all the ancillary recorders and gear, or to produce alluring promotional videos. The test might also leave-aside other factors in the equation: sensor heat, audio, stabilization, or other out-of-the-box issues the typical buyer might confront.

The advanced video features are usable only by a few people under quasi-studio conditions. Ordinary mortals' video won't be any more "broadcast grade" by shooting at 70mbps or if they dork with the "clean HDMI" output.

A surprising amount of video quality is possible with a $400 camera. Above that price, the incremental returns become thinner and thinner, with most of the differences in quality attributable to content, editing, and (most important of all?) the charming muuuusic the maker plasters over the discontinous, empty, or featureless audio: "Hey. Great video. I like that band too!"

1 upvote
By Cipher (Mar 13, 2013)

Wow. Looks like the GH3 is using the same sensor as the OM-D E-M5.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
Paco 316
By Paco 316 (Mar 13, 2013)

Wow! looks like you need some glasses. (or a better monitor)

Ricardo Maia
By Ricardo Maia (Mar 12, 2013)

VERY strange. These samples look worse than a GX1. Just compare them...

By micahmedia (Mar 12, 2013)

Worse? Are you talking about in the DPR comparison tool or in your own raw workflow? If you're opening raw files, make sure the defaults are the same.

Once I apply the same settings to both files, they look the same between the GX1 and GH3. And they're both better than the GH2.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Andrew Booth
By Andrew Booth (Mar 13, 2013)

As a GX1 owner, I agree. I was hoping for a lot more from the GH3 - as it is, the dynamic range and sharpness both disappoint.

If it weren't for the large and poor lenses, I'd jump to NEX in a flash.

By SHood (Mar 12, 2013)

The comments for JPEG, Hi ISO and RAW comparison is the same. Just a copy from the JPEG comments.

Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 12, 2013)

this will be fixed in a couple of minutes, sorry about that.

1 upvote
Total comments: 38