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Panasonic GH3 review

Better image quality, handling and video features

Our Verdict

For

  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Quick and easy controls
  • Wi-Fi system
  • Remote control

Against

  • Social integration isn't great
  • No focus peaking
  • No image rating button

Panasonic's Michiharu Uematsu tells us that the company consulted around 100 Panasonic GH2 users, including professional filmmakers, post-production workers and broadcasters, to hear what they would like to see in its replacement - the Panasonic GH3.

Between them they managed to produce a fairly long list, and while Uematsu says the company hasn't been able to give them everything they asked for, he says that they will find 75-80% of their requirements have been met by the new compact system camera (CSC).

Panasonic's main aim for the GH3 was to give it greater appeal to serious photographers and videographers. It has attempted to do this with improved handling, better build quality, more direct controls, an upgraded touchscreen, bolstered video recording technology and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Panasonic GH3 review

Let's take a closer look.

Inside the Panasonic GH3 is a 16.05MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, which at 17.3 x 13mm is a little smaller than an APS-C format device.

This is coupled with a new Venus Engine FHD processor that enables better noise performance at high sensitivity values, especially in the shadows, thanks to its multi-stage noise reduction system.

Being a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera means that the Panasonic GH3 is compatible with a wide range of optics from the two main players in the MFT market, Panasonic and Olympus, as well as a handful from Sigma, Tokina and Voigtlander.

Panasonic GH3 review

Because the sensor is smaller than full-frame, the lenses are subject to a 2x focal length multiplication factor. This means that the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph lens, which is available with the Panasonic GH3, gives a focal length range equivalent to a 24-70mm optic on a 35mm camera with a fixed maximum aperture of f/2.8.

Although it is aimed at experienced photographers and has the expected program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual exposure modes, the Panasonic GH3 also has a collection of automatic scene modes as well as Panasonic's Intelligent Auto (iA) mode that does most of the thinking for you.

So it can be used by less experienced photographers who want plenty of head-room.

Panasonic GH3 review

Panasonic has extended the GH3's video capability in comparison with the Panasonic GH2, so Full HD footage can be recorded in AVCHD, MP4 or MOV formats, at a range of frame rates including 50p, 50i, 25p and 24p. In addition, MOV and VCHD movies can be recorded with timecode to help with locating scenes or frames and synchronising with other devices.

Movies can be recorded in any of the available exposure modes, and a still image can be captured simultaneously, if required. Full exposure control is also available during recording when shooting movies in Creative Video mode. Slow and fast motion recording is also possible.

In response to feedback, Panasonic has also changed the microphone input port on the GH3 to the popular 3.5mm socket. A headphone port is provided to help with audio monitoring.

The Panasonic GH3 is currently priced at £1549/US$1298 (around AU$1230) online, for the body only.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenYes
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
Wide AngleYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyLumix
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom2.9x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesFace Detection, Live View, Orientation Sensor, Self-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, Time Lapse Function, External Flash Shoe
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4 AVC, MOV, AVCHD
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)470 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Minimum Focus Distance250 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Maximum Frame Rate60 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeOLED
Image Sensor TypeLive MOS
Total Camera Resolution17.2 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Camera AssemblyBody with Lens Kit
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC UHS-I), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC UHS-I)
Height93.5 mm
Width132.8 mm
Depth82 mm
Autofocus Points23
Focal Length12 mm to 35 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-GH3
Product NameDMC-GH3 Compact System Camera
Product LineLumix
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMCGH3AEBK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

LUMIX G Compact System Camera GH3 - The All New Highly Evolved Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with Breathtaking Quality in Photo & Video

The DMC-GH3 features a 16.05-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor with wide dynamic range that produces flowing gradation from shadows to highlights.The Venus Engine has an unprecedented ability to process both still and video signals with razor-sharp clarity. The 3DNR and MNR work together to attain superb noise-reducing. High-sensitivity ISO 12800 (extended: ISO 25600) and extensive noise reduction give you remarkable images even in dim lighting. The newly designed low-pass filter suppresses moire while maintining high resolution.

The DMC-GH3 handles the wide range of recording formats, frame rates, and high bit rates (72 Mbps/50Mbps) that are used by broadcasting stations and production studios. It is capable of recording Full HD videos in AVCHD, AVCHD Progressive and MOV with seamless file generation, or MP4. Time Code function that includes Rec. Run / Free Run and Drop Frame / Non Drop Frame codes are also provided. The heat-dispersing design enhances video shooting and enables extended recording time.

Battery Life540 Shot
Package Contents
  • DMC-GH3 Compact System Camera
  • H-HS12035E Interchangeable Lens
  • Lens Cap
  • Lens Hood
  • Lens Rear Cap
  • Body Cap
  • Battery Charger (AC Cable Included)
  • Battery Pack
  • USB Connection Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • CD-ROM
Display Resolution614000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker