Panasonic DMC-G3 In-depth Review
Panasonic has been including video capability in its Micro Four Thirds lineup since the introduction of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 back in 2009. The mirrorless design of the G-series cameras makes them particularly suited to movie shooting since it always uses its main sensor for both metering and autofocus, unlike DSLR designs on which these features have been added simply for movie and live view purposes. Panasonic has a tradition of porting advances in video across its G-series product line, so its not surprising to see the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 sporting some improvements over the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 as well as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2.
The G3 can be set to capture video in one of two formats, AVCHD or Motion JPEG, and has a capture rate of 30fps. In AVCHD mode, when set to its highest quality setting (FSH), the G3 offers true HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 pixels in 60i (interlaced) mode. In SH mode, video is captured at 1280 x 720 pixels in 60p (progressive) mode.
Motion JPEG video is similarly captured at 30fps, in a choice of 1280x720, 640x480 or 320x240 pixel resolution. The G3's built-in microphone captures stereo audio. There is a small built-in speaker for in-camera video playback.
|Sizes||• AVCHD :
FSH: 1920 x 1080, (60i*, 17 Mbps)
SH: 1280 x 720, (60p*, 17 Mbps)
• Motion JPEG:
1280 x 720, 30fps
640 x 480, 30fps
320 x 240, 30fps
* Sensor output = 30fps
|Audio||Dolby Digital Stereo Creator format, wind-cut feature|
|Format||AVCHD / QuickTime Motion JPEG|
|File size||Max 17 MB/sec (1080p AVCHD)|
|Max file size per clip||2.0 GB for Motion JPEG, card capacity for AVCHD|
|Running time||Up to 2GB for Motion JPEG, up to capacity of card for AVCHD (Limited to 29 minutes on models sold in Europe).|
Borrowing a feature from the more expensive GH2, the G3 allows you to capture still images while simultaneously recording a video clip. There are some limitations to be aware of, however. Shooting stills with the camera set to Video Priority results in 2MP JPEG files in a 16:9 ratio, at noticeably inferior image quality compared to 2MP files recorded in normal record mode. With the camera set to Still Picture Priority, which yields image quality on par with those captured in normal record mode, a maximum of 8 still images can be captured during any single video clip. In addition, the screen momentarily goes black as each exposure is recorded and audio capture is disabled during this time as well. While you can capture the still image with either a press of the shutter button or using the Touch Shutter, the latter method, as we noted earlier, introduces an additional shutter lag that essentially doubles the time gap between the finger press and recording an image. As such, we'd find it hard to recommend using the Touch Shutter if the goal is to capture a decisive moment during video capture. Interestingly, we found Touch Shutter times to actually slow down even further if you try to capture a second still image before the camera has finished writing the first one. This secondary lag does not appear when using the camera's shutter button.
Using Movie Mode
Capturing video on the G3 is no more complicated than pressing the dedicated motion picture button on the rear of the camera. Although the G3 does not offer the comprehensive level of manual exposure control seen in the GH2 (no surprise given their pricing difference), a significant number of the G3's still image options apply to videos. You can capture video in any of the six Photo Styles or five Creative Controls described on the photographic tests page. With the G3's mode dial set to Scene mode, the camera will optimize its video settings for the currently selected scenario.
|This screen shows video capture with key shooting information overlaid.||When set to iA mode, the defocus slider allows you to change aperture during the video.|
When compared to shooting stills, working in video mode offers you less control over exposure parameters. User-selected ISO settings are overridden by the camera. And the cumulative exposure value is set by the camera, regardless of the exact combination of shutter speed, ISO and aperture that appear on the screen before you start recording. In other words, the camera will make adjustments on its own to try and achieve a pleasing exposure. The only way to override this behavior is to set an exposure compensation value. This will be honored throughout the video recording. You can also set white balance and metering mode before recording begins.
If the mode dial is set to intelligent Auto (iA) when video shooting is commenced, the G3 will set most parameters for you automatically. Interestingly, however, iA is the one mode which allows you to adjust aperture during a video. By dragging the defocus slider while filming, you can control the depth of field beyond your area of focus.
During video recording you can focus manually or use continuous AF so that the camera will automatically lock focus on a subject within the AF area. With Touch AF enabled and continuous AF turned off, however, you can use rack focus on the G3 (see the sample video further down the page). This feature allows you to choose a specific area on which to set focus simply by touching the screen. The camera will then shift focus from its current location to the one you have just designated.
You can change the amount of information shown on the screen during video capture by pressing the DISP. button. The articulated screen is very useful if you want to shoot from a lower vantage point, or choose a angle to minimize glare from the sun. Of course you always have the option of using the electronic viewfinder.
As with other video-enabled interchangeable lens cameras, the G3 does not come with a power-zoom (something you'd find on most serious camcorders) and it's therefore quite difficult to zoom during hand-held video-recording without generating at least some camera-shake. This makes some sort of camera support essential for capturing production quality video.
Movie mode displays
|Motion Picture menu||You can shoot video in a choice of 6 Photo Styles.|
|You can choose between AVCHD and Motion JPEG recording formats...||...and a range of recording quality levels.|
Sample videosThese videos were shot in a range of different environments, and at a range of different settings. We are pleased to announce that dpreview.com. is now partnering with Vimeo to bring you high-quality embedded video in our test pages, but as always, the original files are available for download from the links beneath the thumbnails. We've turned HD playback on by default for our embedded videos, but depending on the speed of your internet connection, you may get better performance by turning it off.
Note: the .MTS file extension of videos created by the Panasonic Lumix DMC G3 is not widely compatible. If you chose to download the original .MTS files using the links provided you may need additional software to play them. The Open Source VLC player is able to play the .MTS files that are generated by the G3's AVCHD mode, but the current version of the player (version 1.1.0 at time of writing) may display artefacts around fast-moving scene elements.
Sample Video 1This video demonstrates the rack focus feature of the G3.
|1920 x 1080i, AVCHD, .MTS file, 14 sec. 32.7 MB Click here to download original .MTS file|
Sample video 2
|1920 x 1080i, AVCHD, .MTS file, 20 sec. 47.04 MB Click here to download original .MTS file|
Sample video 3
|1920 x 1080i, AVCHD, .MTS file, 8 sec. 20.22 MB Click here to download original .MTS file|
Sample video 4
|1920 x 1080i, AVCHD, .MTS file, 31 sec. 69.22 MB Click here to download original .MTS file|
|Moon 99% D55 C14 St-Zénon 20170806 DP by MarioSS|
from Best Picture of the Week
|Reeds on lake by kkardster|
from Abstracts in Nature
|Florence & the Machine by Dutch Newchurch|
from Second chances..
NASA photo editor Joel Kowsky didn't just capture the solar eclipse from his vantage point in Wyoming, he also managed to capture the ISS buzzing across what remained of the sun.
In these videos, talented photographer and filmmaker Daniel DeArco breaks down several tips that will help flash photography newbies start experimenting with artificial light.
Photographer and master potter Steve Irvine makes incredibly intricate, functional ceramic pinhole cameras that look like robots and monsters.
Chinese gimbal manufacturer Gudsen has released a firmware update for its Moza Air that lets you control the direction and angle of the head remotely just by moving a small handlebar-mounted control unit.
Curious how the Sony a9 performs underwater? Our friends at Backscatter took the camera diving off the Baja California coast, to find out how it handled shooting great white sharks.
While most of the DPReview crew put away our cameras and just watched the celestial event, Rishi decided last-minute to hack together a rig and capture a few shots.
Defunct Russian camera maker Zenit is making a comeback, and they're planning to release a full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018.
The days where you're more or less locked into premium or first-party flash units has gone. They're less than $50 now, so there's one less excuse not to get one. Here's our case for adding one to your kit, and a few pointers to get you going.
If you're shooting the solar eclipse here's a hint: don't fry your camera's sensor. Use a proper solar filter that offers at least 16 stops of light filtration, along with UV and IR filtering. More important? Don't look at it unless you've got solar filters. Sensors can be replaced, your retinas can't.
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.