Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Review
Panasonic's representatives have told us they were not targeting the pro video market with the GH2, and were quite surprised by the its popularity among working videographers as a consumer-priced tool capable of professional results. Obviously pleased at the response, though, they see the GH3 building on this enthusiasm in a number of ways.
The headline-grabbing specs for video shooters are surely to be timecode support that allows free run/rec run and drop frame options, and of course a 1080p60 bit rate of 50Mbps, with rates as high as 72Mbps in 1080p30/25 and 24 mode (with All-I compression). Bitrates can be a little hard to compare directly, since they depend on frame rate and the intricacies of the compression type but, all things being equal, a higher bit rate leads to better looking video. And as a point of comparison, the GH2 originally topped out at around 24Mbps, after the most recent firmware update, though hacks exist to take it beyond that.
|A rear screen that swivels and tilts offers greater options when shooting video at high or low angles. For more flexibility you can send the live view feed with or without information displays to an external monitor via the GH3's HDMI port.|
In feedback from videographers though, Panasonic told us it heard the call for more than just higher bit rates. New features such as interval shooting are aimed at those who take their video shooting seriously. And the addition of a headphone jack, standard 3.5mm microphone socket, and the DMW-BGGH3 battery grip for longer shooting times may not sound sexy, but can make a whole lot of difference on a video shoot. HDMI monitor output can be sent with or without information overlays, making the GH3 useful both for remote monitoring and use with an external HDMI recorder.
The GH3 offers progressive HD video capture at 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second, at a high bit rate of 50Mbps. You can also shoot at a cinema-like 24 frames per second at a 72Mbps bit rate. Both IPB and All-I compression methods are offered, with only the latter allowing for bit rates beyond 50Mbps. You can choose from three file formats; MOV, MP4 and AVCHD. The GH3 supports timecode in both the MOV and AVCHD formats. Slow and fast motion recording modes are offered in 1080p24 giving you the option to capture video for playback as slow as 40% of the original speed or as fast as 300%.
The camera's built-in internal microphones provide stereo audio, and there is also a 3.5mm socket for using an external microphone. You can monitor audio via the camera's headphone jack.
|MOV (H.264) resolution, frame and bit rates|| 1920x1080 (60p/50p): 50Mbps
1920x1080 (30p/25p): 72Mbps (All-I)
1920x1080 (30p/25p): 50Mbps (IPB)
1920x1080 (24p): 72Mbps (All-I)
1920x1080 (24p): 50Mbps (IPB),
1280x720 (60p/50p): 72Mbps (All-I)
|MP4 (H.264) resolution, frame and bit rates|| 1920x1080 (60p): 28Mbps
1920x1080 (30p/25p): 20Mbps
1280x720 (30p/25p): 10Mbps
640x480 (30p/25p): 4Mbps
|AVCHD resolution, frame and bit rates||
1920x1080 (60p/50p): 28Mbps
|Audio||44.1kHz Mono (Internal Mic), Linear PCM|
|File Formats||MOV, MP4, AVCHD|
The REC button is active in all exposure modes but uses Program exposure mode, regardless of the stills exposure mode you had selected. When the mode dial is set to the M [Movie] position, you gain control over the movie exposure mode, with the choice of P,A,S or M exposure control. There is a menu option to disable the REC button, which is honored even in M [movie] mode - the shutter button serves to start and stop video in these circumstances.
While recording, you can manually adjust the sound recording levels via a touchscreen control (tap the 'pull-out tab', press the volume button, and slide your finger up or down to adjust the volume).
|1920x1080 60p, MOV (50Mbps), 31sec, 176.8 MB Click here to download original file|
This video was shot in 1080p60 mode MOV (50Mbps), manual focus. It's worth downloading the original clip to see the very high detail being captured by the camera.
|1920x1080 25p, MOV (72Mbps), 12 sec, 99.4 MB Click here to download original file|
This video was shot, handheld, in 1080p25 at the highest quality setting (All-I compression, 72Mbps). This clip shows the camera's low light performance. Video by Andrew Reid of EOSHD.
|1920x1080 25p, MOV (72Mbps), 16 sec, 127.9 MB Click here to download original file|
This video was shot, handheld, in 1080p25 at the highest quality setting (All-I compression, 72Mbps). It clearly demonstrates the rolling shutter effect exhibited by the GH3. Video by Andrew Reid of EOSHD.
|1920x1080 50p, MOV, 10 sec, 53.8 MB Click here to download original file|
This video was shot, handheld, in 1080p50 (50Mbps). Video by Andrew Reid of EOSHD.
|1920x1080 25p, MOV, 52 sec, 148.6 MB Click here to download original file|
These combined clips were originally shot in 1080p50 (50Mbps), then conformed to 25p to provide a half-speed slow-motion effect. Video by Andrew Reid of EOSHD.