Summary and first impressions
With the announcement of the GH3, Panasonic doubles down on its appeal to videographers with a very impressive video specification; namely a 50-72Mbps bit rate that is exceeded only by the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Yet there is news here for enthusiast stills photographers as well. A professional grade dust and splash proof magnesium alloy body, improved image processing, an OLED EVF and rear screen, and wireless flash control are not easily dismissed. There's no question though that the trade-off for all of the GH3's goodies is a larger body.
The camera is considerably more flexible that its predecessor, with customization options that can be tuned to suit your shooting style, whether you shoot movies, stills or a mixture of both. In addition to being able to redefine most of the camera's buttons' functions, it's also possible to adjust dial function and direction - making the GH3 very easy to quickly set up. And, for anyone wondering why they'd buy a Micro Four Thirds camera if it's nearly as big as a DSLR, it becomes a bit more obvious when you try shooting with it.
The GH3 offers similar levels of direct, customizable control as a high-end DSLR but its body size is nearer that of an entry-level model. Furthermore, the ability to quickly set a precise focus point simply by touching the screen makes the camera very fast to use. Even a committed DSLR shooter is likely to find they quickly find themselves swapping between the rear screen and viewfinder, in a way that you simply don't with a more conventional camera. The Micro Four Thirds lens range also offers an increasingly attractive selection of lenses for enthusiasts, with the advantage that they're all modern creations designed to work quickly and seamlessly with the GH3.
Our early impressions of the video capabilities are positive, with the GH3 making it very easy to control the focus, exposure and sound recording level on the camera as you shoot (while offering options such as clean, menu-less output over HDMI and, of course, timecode). However, the initial concerns about the limited focus aids - specifically focus peaking - seem to be confirmed by Panasonic's statements and the lack of major feature additions in the recent firmware update.
As far as image quality is concerned, although we still have some testing to do (and a lot more pictures to take) we're very impressed by the pictures coming out of the GH3. In our studio, it turns in a highly creditable performance, and appears to stacks up well against competitors like the Olympus OM-D EM-5. So far, we have no serious complaints about any of our 'real world' samples, either.
In summary, we've not used the GH3 enough to draw too many firm conclusions so far, but it's obviously a highly capable camera and one that we're having a lot of fun shooting with. Getting to grips with its impressive feature set will need some further time (and testing) but we're hoping to bring you our final judgement, in the form of a full review, very soon.
Panasonic DMC-GH3 Preview Samples Gallery
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Preview samples gallery
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 preview samples gallery - Posted 14th March 2013|