Panasonic Lumix GH3. My first impressions.

Started Mar 22, 2013 | User reviews thread
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Aleo Veuliah
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Panasonic Lumix GH3. My first impressions.
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I said before that I was going to try the GH3 with my friend at Panasonic Portugal, he said it is a later prototype. The finish was already the same as on the final camera. I don't know where to start but maybe the ergonomics is a good place to start writing my first impressions. I went to Park of the Nations here in Lisbon, it is near to the river and have modern buildings surrounding and nice bars and coffee shops to be there looking at the camera, then I went to his office again to look at the images on a large and good Philips monitor on Lightroom.

I also tried an OMD earlier from another friend, and I must say they are different cameras but both very good. I am glad that Micro 4/3 has now two great flagship cameras.

(Wish that I had more time to test the GH3 and the OMD, I am liking both, if I need to do more pro work I may buy both)

  • Ergonomics.

Well, first, the camera is not that big, but it is bigger than the previous model.

The camera came with the new 12-35mm f/2.8 , this lens have impressed me, superb built and image quality and the zoom ring is smooth like honey and precise.
I think the 35-100mm has the same quality.

When I picked the camera I felt a good sensation, it fitted very well in my medium to large hands, there are lot's of FN buttons (7), and liked to have two control wheels.

The camera is very well built and gives a sensation of being very strong.

To me is the best ergonomics I have seen in a micro 4/3 camera , when I played with the OMD the ergonomics and the menus where one of my criticisms, but I am used to the Panasonic menus that is why I felt a bit strange using the OMD. The GH3 is also more comfortable to use than the GH2 or the G2. Panasonic Lumix really did a very good work when designing this GH3.

The buttons have a nice feeling and I liked the new back controls of the camera.
The camera seems really to be built like a tank.

The design is very good but to me the hump could be a bit bigger, this speaking only about the aesthetics, but maybe Panasonic wanted to be that way to not make the camera larger. This camera is a winner to someone that appreciate good ergonomics and superb build construction with great image quality .

  • The viewfinder

The EVF is great, lot's of detail and good colors , with a viewfinder like this, in my opinion there is no need for an OVF even like the ones used on the pro DSLR's.
EVF is the future. The LCD has improved also, specially in daylight .

Note: I have myopia but I use contact lenses, I have not seen any issue like some have reported.

  • Miscellaneous impressions

The shutter noise is more damped and pleasant, at least for me, this may have to do with the new chassis .

The AF is just great, it is really lightning fast , and very precise, it is or gives the impression to be faster than any other micro 4/3 camera. I took some pictures in AFC and the camera did not miss any of the moving subjects, they where all sharp, even using a high FPS.

I really liked that Panasonic putted those control buttons near the shutter, they are easy to use.

  • Image quality

I took around 100 pictures (with the 12-35mm) using all modes and compensations and fine tuning the WB and Photo Styles, I liked much the colors and detail , it seems to have an even more faithful color than the GH2, maybe it is the new improved Venus engine or the sensor it self. Or both.

I have used all the ISO range and ISO 6400 looks very clean to my eyes , I have used the default NR settings, and I can not say for sure but ISO 3200 and 6400 look a bit cleaner than what I have seen from the OMD. Panasonic claim to have new algorithms and they seem to work fine.

The OMD pictures looked to me to have a bit more detail at high ISO, I think this is due to the different AA filters used on both cameras.

DR range is very good, there where some clouds with highlights and the camera took that perfectly,shadows medium and highlights where well reproduced .

ISO 12800 is good and very usable for smaller to medium enlargements, but there is some loss of detail. Anyway this is natural on all cameras even on fullframe DSLR's.

I have used the high ISO on interiors to not have excuses of using daylight. The noise pattern is a bit different and pleasant.

Wish I could have used RAW and convert on Lightroom with my usual settings to see the real quality. But so far the JPEG's have impressed me.

The new high dynamic range worked very well . And the multi exposure function is very welcome. The new low pass filter may be the reason for the detail I saw on the pictures.

I did not tried the electronic shutter.

The new level gauge is a pleasure to use.

Other nice feature is that the GH3 can stack RAW's in camera, as it can make HDR pictures.

  • My conclusion

Panasonic Lumix made very good improvements on this camera , the GH3 is a camera that almost all will like it to use, ergonomics are superb, it is a camera that we can spent hours using it without being tired. They are targeting this camera to explorers like the ones on National Geographic, and they are right , If I was a NG photographer used to carry heavy DSLR's and lenses I will change to this GH3 and an EM5 as a smaller camera. But do not think that the GH3 is big, in fact it is better to hold than a GH2. and not much bigger.

This is a camera that justify to be a bit costly than the GH2, and it is good for may kinds of photographers, even for street photography.

I liked the menus, but I am used to Panasonic Lumix way, so it was not a surprise to me.

I only shoot one small video at the high quality settings and it looked very good, AF is really amazing on video too. Very smooth fast and accurate.

It is a camera that if you hold it and try you want to have it. It is on my wish list now.

Together with the good Micro 4/3 lenses this is a camera that can really be used for professional work, at least for those pros that don't need the extreme enlargements.

  • All information here on Panasonic Lumix G system site.


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Announced: Sep 17, 2012
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