Panasonic DMC-G3 In-depth Review
Raw and Raw Conversion
The DMC-G3 is supplied with a Software CD containing:
- PHOTOfunStudio 6.2 HD Edition (Windows) - A photo browser / editor with some basic workflow functionality (also includes a tray icon automatic import tool). This latest version of the software also offers some HD video editing.
- Super LoiLoScope (Windows) - A video editing and sharing application that allows you to make basic corrections, add effects and upload videos to YouTube. You can also output HD video to web-compatible formats.
- SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.1 SE (Windows / Mac OS X) - SilkyPix is a RAW conversion application developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory which is probably better known in Japan. SilkyPix provides a wide range of advanced RAW conversion options including adjustable noise reduction, lens aberration correction and rotation / perspective correction.
As with other Lumix models the G3 ships with a special (fully featured) edition of SILKYPIX, a rather quirky, though surprisingly well-featured, raw development application for Windows and Mac. The (on-screen) manual is very comprehensive, but doesn't really explain the features very well, and first-time users may find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options on offer. This isn't helped by the slightly dodgy translations and the plethora of sliders with names that don't really indicate what they actually do. But there is lots here to get stuck into, and the default settings produce perfectly acceptable results.
But after some experimentation and adapting you'll discover that the SILKYPIX can produce far superior results - and can be fine-tuned to produce output that suits your own needs / tastes. In fact there's easily as much tweaking on offer than you get with Adobe Camera Raw, and compared to what you get with most cameras it's hard to complain.
You can save parameter sets (for some reason you put them in the 'cloakroom', but hey ho) once you've found out what works for you, which combined with batch processing and extensive output options (TIFF or JPEG), takes some of the grind out of the business of developing large numbers of raw files.
Highlight recovery/ color accuracy
Continuing in the tradition of Panasonic's G-series cameras, the G3's metering system works very hard to retain highlight detail. In daily use, over a wide range of scene contrast, we have experienced relatively few overexposed images with the G3. In cases where significant clipping did occur with in-camera JPEGs, there was often very little highlight detail to be recovered even from Raw files. Having said that, in many instances the sensor will have captured information
in at least one of the RGB channels that allows recovery of some highlight
information that will have been irrevocably lost if shot only in JPEG.
In the examples below, we examine two separate Raw file captures. The first image was shot at a 'correct' exposure. The second image was purposefully overexposed by 1.33EV. This produced significant highlight clipping in the blue channel. Looking at this second sample, it is evident that color information has been lost in the sky area. We then processed this overexposed Raw file in ACR, making a negative Exposure adjustment in order to match the brightness of the correctly exposed image.
Note that because of the difference between the color rendering of Adobe's Camera Raw plugin compared to the G3's JPEG engine, we have opted not to show a JPEG image here (the different colors make intelligent comparison impossible).
|Scene at correct exposure||100% crop|
|Scene overexposed by 1.33EV||100% crop|
|Overexposed scene with an ACR Exposure adjustment of -1.33||100% crop|
While this adjustment yields scene brightness that is visually identical, it is clear when comparing the 100% crops that accurate color in the sky cannot be recovered from the overexposed image. There is not enough usable information in the Raw file to accommodate 1 1/3 stops of overexposure. We were, however, able to retrieve color-accurate highlights from a Raw file that was overexposed by just 1 stop. This is consistent with our previous experience that has shown you can expect to recover up to 1EV of additional highlight detail but without any guarantee of color accuracy.
As is normal in our digital SLR reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software and, at the very least, Adobe Camera Raw.
- SilkyPix - SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.1 (Default settings)
- ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 6.5 beta (Adobe Standard Profile)
Sharpness and Detail
Panasonic is one of the handful of manufacturers that supplies Silkypix as the bundled Raw converter. As is usually the case in such situations, this leads to images with a very different default processing look to those of the JPEG files coming from the camera. With the default sharpening applied (and the software offers some pretty sophisticated control), the Silkypix images are slightly softer than the camera's output. Adobe Camera Raw meanwhile, appears to be better able to differentiate between fine lower-contrast detail than either of the other two, yielding a natural-looking image with adequate sharpening that does not introduce noticeable edge artifacts.
|JPEG out of camera, High quality setting (all settings default)
ISO 160 studio scene 100% crop
|SilkyPix Developer Studio -> TIFF (Default settings, manual WB)
ISO 160 studio scene 100% crops
|Adobe ACR 6.5 beta RAW ->JPEG (Default settings, manual WB)
ISO 160 studio scene 100% crops
The camera's JPEG engine applies the most aggressive sharpening, which results in higher edge contrast. The downside to this amount of sharpening of course, is that it leads to halos along the numerals and horizontal bars. The JPEG does, however, suppresses moiré which is visible in both of the raw conversions at the bottom left of the chart. ACR and SilkyPix share more in common than not, with ACR showing slightly less moiré and, to our eyes, somewhat finer separation of detail in the line pairs.
|JPEG from camera||Adobe Camera Raw 6.5 (RAW)|
Raw files provide many advantages over in-camera JPEGs when it comes to image editing. Raw converters offer the possibility of non-destructive editing, meaning you can undo your changes and revert back to the original file at any time, with no image quality loss. In addition, you can leverage the processing power of your desktop or laptop, making significant edits at your leisure, as opposed to setting pre-exposure parameters via your camera's rear screen. Here we take a look at what can very easily be attained by processing from Raw.
In many instances, the chief benefit of shooting Raw is simply avoiding the camera's JPEG processing. In this first example, we see the camera's attempt to deal with fine image detail at an ISO of 1600. Putting aside issues of white balance and color control, its eminently clear that a lot of noise suppression is being applied by the camera, which reduces fine detail. By contrast, the Raw file allows you begin editing with much more usable data. Simply by making fairly conservative sharpening adjustments, along with a small degree of Color Noise reduction (+20) and a CA correction of +8 along the red/cyan axis, we get an image with well-resolved fine details.
|JPEG from Camera
|ACR 6.5 beta conversion
(Sharpening Amount 35, Radius 0.7, Detail 30)
|100% crop||100% crop|
Even at a low ISO, where the camera can produce clean, noise-free images, there are benefits to be had by processing a Raw file. This image was shot at an ISO of 160. Here the camera's auto WB produced a relatively cool image and overall contrast was a bit flat. A manual WB adjustment in ACR followed by a slight boost to Exposure and Blacks values, renders a warmer color balance, more pleasing skin tone and greater contrast.
The camera's default sharpening settings are fairly conservative with low-contrast smooth areas such as skin, which is certainly preferable to an overly aggressive treatment. Yet with a quick adjustment in ACR's Detail tab its possible to render fine detail more effectively without introducing visible artifacts.
|JPEG from Camera
(Auto WB, default sharpening)
|ACR 6.5 beta conversion
(Manual WB, Exposure +20, Blacks 10
Sharpening Amount 64, Radius .6, Detail 36)
|100% crop||100% crop|
RAW files for download
Here we provide RAW files, both from the review and the sample shots we take, to allow you to apply your own workflow techniques and see whether your experiences match ours.
|Autumn by valenttin|
from Harvest Festivals
|Cardinal, Male by paul katinas|
from A Big Year - birds
|.. by Amar Vignesh|
from Unintentional Blur
|Sir Mick Jagger by HetFotoAtelier|
from - Concerts : When The Lights Come On -
Adobe's experimental Project 'Deep Fill' is an incredibly powerful and impressive, AI-powered version of Content Aware Fill. Watch the demo to see this amazing tool in action.
LEE has released a new series of Reverse ND filters that are most opaque in the middle and become progressively clearer towards the top. This makes them ideal for capturing scenes where the sun is close to the horizon.
A former New York Times photographer is suing both the newspaper and its photography director Michele McNally for over $500,000 for age discrimination and unfair classification as a freelancer for nearly a decade.
"CPS Platinum members will now enjoy next-day service, with equipment serviced and shipped the business day after an estimate is approved. For repairs that will take longer, Canon will offer next-day loaner equipment."
Irix is introducing a new filter system called the Irix Edge 100. The ultra-light, ultra-thin system is build specifically for wide angle lenses like Irix's own 15mm F2.4.
After conducting a series of safety tests, the FAA is recommending that all airlines ban cameras and other electronics with Lithium Ion batteries from checked baggage. The agency believe the risk of a catastrophic fire and explosion is too great.
The Pixentu jackets keep you and your gear warm and dry, offering useful features like lens and tripod pockets, in addition to some quirky ones like an extended hood to protect your camera from the rain.
Adobe gave the audience at MAX a sneak peek at some exciting new technology its developing. It's called Adobe Cloak: a highly capable Content Aware Fill-like feature for video editors.
Earlier today, Flickr moved its photo book printing service over to a third party services, and stopped offering any wall art options entirely.
The patent details a flipping rear LCD screen so large, Canon has had to hide the rear dial and several buttons underneath.
We've added a selection of extra images to our Nikon D850 gallery. As part of the process of rounding off the review we made sure a number of us had shot the camera in a variety of situations, we've added those shots to the gallery to give a broad cross section of how the camera performs.
Wiral LITE is an affordable, easy-to-use cable cam system that can do things a portable slider simply can't do, and go places no slider would dare go.
Not happy with the recent demise of Lightroom as a stand-alone, subscription free service? Macphun's got your back... or they will in 2018.
Once connected to a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone, Pholio automatically searches through the device storage and backs up all images and videos—complete with auto-tagging and intelligent search capabilities.
The 360 Round uses eight horizontally positioned camera pairs and one upward-pointing single lens to capture and livestream panoramic 4K 3D content.
Introduced just three years ago, the Samsung NX1 was both a technological tour-de-force and a great camera to use, earning one of the highest scores we've ever awarded and winning our 2015 Innovation Award. But its short-lived run in the photo world leaves us wondering what could have been.
The Fujifilm X-E3 is styled like a classic rangefinder, but features a built-in touchscreen, AF joystick, and electronic viewfinder – truly an old school meets new type of camera. Lay some eyes on our sample gallery to see how it performs in the real world.
Like it or not, Adobe is embracing a cloud-centric, AI-rich future with the introduction of Lightroom CC. And that's a great thing, though you may not see it now, argues Rishi Sanyal.
The announcement of a more cloud-integrated Lightroom product sees the death of the company's standalone version. This need to make payments in perpetuity (whether you choose Lightroom Classic or CC), chips away at the idea that your Lightroom library is a long-term solution, argues Richard Butler.
The XPro-C 2.4GHz wireless flash trigger that Godox released for Canon users last month now has a Nikon equivalent—the aptly named XPro-N. Sony, Fujifilm and MFT versions are in the works.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, camera and lens maker Sigma is extending its standard product warranty to cover damage caused by these three natural disasters.
The F4 Plus can can capture 360° stills, videos and broadcast livestream footage at 8K resolution... that's 7680 x 3840 pixels!
Lightroom is hogging the spotlight at Adobe MAX, but Photoshop CC got some substantial improvements as well. Find out what's new in the latest version of Photoshop CC.
The aptly-named 'Nude' app automatically detects NSFW images on your iPhone, moves them to a protected vault and deletes the original files in the camera roll and on iCloud.
The Zeiss Milvus family of manual-focus full-frame lenses just gained a new member. Meet the Zeiss Milvus 24mm F1.4: a fast, rugged new lens designed primarily for landscape and architecture photography.
Lightroom has built a brand new Lightroom CC from the ground up to be faster, easier to use, and cloud-based. The application formerly known as Lightroom CC will continue to exist, and will go by "Lightroom Classic CC."
Google Research did a deep dive on the Pixel 2 smartphone's background-blurring portrait mode that uses neural networking and dual-pixel technology instead of a dual-camera setup.
With the arrival of the PowerShot G1 X III, there are now seven Canon cameras built around the 24MP Dual Pixel sensor and Digic 7 processor. We take a look at the differences and what might prompt you to choose one over the others.
Meet the HP ZBook x2. The so-called 'world's most powerful and first detachable PC workstation,' it was built with creative professionals in mind, and is being debuted at Adobe MAX.
PDN sat down with Ahmed Fakhr, director of photography at RollingStone.com, to talk about how the famed publication is adapting to the changing photo and video needs of the modern era and how he 'evaluates the skills of potential contributors.'