Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Review
Raw and Raw Conversion
The GH3 comes with two main pieces of software:
PhotofunStudio 8.5 PE - a photo organization and basic video editing tool. PhotofunStudio provides the ability to find images based on location data (if you've added it or used Wi-Fi to pull it from your smartphone), or by recognized faces.
Silkypix Developer Studio 3.5 PE - A version of Ichikawa Soft Laboratory's Raw processing software, allowing extensive processing of the GH3's Raw files. While it's not our favorite piece of Raw editing software (its layout and complexity can make it a little overwhelming), it gives an awful lot of control over the final output. We struggled to get significantly better results out of Silkypix than the camera was already producing. The main area we'd expect to gain an improvement (noise reduction in high ISO files) is also one of the more complex aspects of Silkypix's interface.
Here are examples of how the camera, its supplied Raw converter and Adobe Camera Raw represent the GH3's output. Obviously the Raw files offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of how they're processed but the default settings, shown here, give an idea for what the manufacturers consider to be a good starting point for processing.
- JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
- Slikypix - Silkypix Developer Studio 3.1 SE
- ACR - Adobe Camera Raw 7.4 (at default 'Adobe Standard' setting)
Sharpness and Detail
One advantage of shooting raw is that it can enable a more convincing rendition of fine detail. The camera's JPEGs aren't sharpening the fine detail as much Adobe Camera Raw but the results aren't far off (and wouldn't be visible in even the largest prints). The camera is doing a better job of pulling detail out of the image than Silkypix (note the lack of detail in the vertical blue feather just left-of-center in this image).
|Adobe ACR -> TIFF (Default output settings)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crops
|Silkypix -> TIFF (Default output settings)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crops
|JPEG out of camera, Fine setting, manual WB (all other settings default)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crop
Neither Adobe Camera Raw nor Silkypix (at its default settings) quite match the camera's JPEG output in terms of fine detail rendering. Impressively, the GH3 shows this detail without its sharpening going too far and showing obvious halos.
|ACR||Silkypix 3.1 SE|
Real world advantages
Our attempts to pull more detail out of the GH3's files using Adobe Camera Raw and fine sharpening didn't significantly out-perform the JPEGs - which is a testament to how well the GH3 is doing (at low ISOs, at least).
The other thing Raw allows you to do is tailor the amount and type of noise reduction used to suit the image. Noise characteristics can depend on the light-source of the scene (natural light includes more green and blue illumination than tungsten light, for instance, so won't produce such noisy images at the same capture settings), so it's handy to be able to carefully tailor the noise reduction to get the best out of each image.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 + G Lumix Vario 12-35 F2.8, F2.8, ISO 5000
|JPEG (Noise Filter On, Sharpness 0)||Raw + ACR 7.4|
|100% crop||100% crop|
Raw files for download
Here we provide raw files from the sample shots we take, to allow you to apply your own workflow techniques and see for yourself the benefits of shooting in raw mode.
- Real world shot ISO 200 (Zipped file - 18.2MB)
- Real world shot ISO 200 (Zipped file - 18.4MB)
- Real world shot ISO 200 (Zipped file - 17.8MB)
- Real world shot ISO 200 (Zipped file - 18.2MB)
- Real world shot ISO 8000 (Zipped file - 17.8MB)
- Real world shot ISO 12,800 (Zipped file - 16.6MB)
- Real world shot ISO 25,600 (Zipped file - 17.1MB)
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