G3 or GH2 for better still photos, or will there be a diff?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by tanngrisnir3, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    594
    Oct 18, 2011
    Sorry if this has been asked here before.

    I've read a bunch about both, but thought I'd put it out there for folks who possibly have used both. I've also posted this same query on another board.

    Big fan of Panasonic (I've used my LX5 to death), I don't care whatsoever about video performance, and am thinking of moving into m4/3 for an interesting change from that LX5 and a Canon 7D.

    Are they basically equivalent for stills, and I'd be wasting my money on a GH2, paying for vid capability I'd never use?

    Lastly, I only ever shoot RAW, and don't care a bit about .jpeg rendering capabilities.

    I also have very large hands, but have never had any problems using that LX5, so are the ergonomic differences between the G3/GH2 really that substantial?

    Thanks in advance,

    T3
     
  2. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    609
    Aug 10, 2011
    Its the GH2 for you :smile:
     
  3. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    You have a big choice. There is the GH2, the GH2, the GH2, and perhaps the GH2!

    Best regards,
    Tom
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You forgot the GH2.
     
  5. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Having owned both cameras, I much much much prefer the ergonomics of the GH2 over the G3. The GH2 grip works much better for my long skinny fingers. The thumb wheel on the G3 doesn't stick out enough of the body. And the lack of eye sensor for the EVF really bothered me. But if you aren't used to having the eye sensor, that's probably not a big deal.
     
  6. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    It's interesting. The advice you're getting here is pretty much opposite to that you're getting on "the other board".

    If it's IQ you're asking about, I'm pretty sure it's minimal. If it's ergonomics, then there are more significant differences, as have been pointed out.
     
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I'm not used to having an eye sensor on my PEN, and only got to enjoy the pleasure of one through brief trials of the G1, but it still bothers me not having it. This is a bigger feature than it's made out to be (well, disregarding the first review of the G3 which harped on its lack of eye-sensor through almost the entire review... I can't entirely blame them, lol).
     
  8. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    IQ isn't everything. There's a reason that Canon's and Nikon's consumer cameras (7D, 60D, T3i for Canon, and D300, D90, D5000 for Nikon) all have the same sensor, but vary in price. Ergonomics and features are very important in shooting photographs. If you're just having the camera on a tripod and shooting both at the same ISO, shutter speed, and aperture settings then you won't see much of a difference, but consider the controls of the GH2, the lossless aspect ratio capabilities, improved EVF (with automatic eye sensor), etc. It's the reason that I traded away my D90 for an "obsolete" D200: you keep your sensor, I'll keep my controls. I think that the "Ergonomics" subheading from this review is spot-on, and it's also the reason that I don't see the G3 as a true successor to the G2; it's too stripped down, almost a GF2 with a built-in finder.
    Panasonic GH2 First Look

    Edit: Although, you may want to also read his review of the G3:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/panasonic_g3_and_25mm_lens.shtml
     
  9. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    594
    Oct 18, 2011
    Thanks for the article link at LL and thanks everyone for the replies.

    For me, IQ actually is pretty much everything, since I shoot only landscape and architecture, using a tripod, and unless there are radically changing light conditions, I can take my time framing, accessing controls, etc...

    Size is also relatively important, since I'm up in the eastern Sierra all the time, Yosemite backcountry, King's Canyon, etc... Nice small form factors mean less junk to haul up and down the mountains. I know the difference between these two cameras is minimal but, again, still photo IQ is 98% of what I'm worried about, and just cant see putting down another $400 or so to get video capabilities that I'll never, ever use.
     
  10. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    The difference is marginal IMO. It comes down to ergonomics really. And while the G3 was dumbed down some, I find it still very capable (you just need to add something to make Fn1 easy to hit, why it was so recessed is beyond me). I actually prefer the G3 over the GH1 in pure ergonomics TBH (though, GH2 looks like it fits better for me than the GH1, but no where for me to try).

    Is the difference in IQ worth the extra money? Only you can say. The GH2 does have a multi-aspect sensor, so you don't "lose" MPs when you want to try a different ratio. So that might be worth something to you. You do also get things like auto switching EVF and LCD, but again, I personally prefer the button (very minority viewpoint it seems, heh).

    I don't think there's a huge size difference though. In holding, yes, in packing, not so much. The huge EVF hump and rear protrusion is the same for all of the G/H series. All very annoying =). Not sure on weight though, I suspect minimal difference.
     
  11. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I shoot both the GH2 and the G3 and like them both. Panasonic does a wonderful job of attending to design features and interface. And the GH2 offers several design extras that really put the camera in a category of it's own.... which for some shooters can really make a nice difference.

    You mentioned shooting on a tripod... here's where the separate side door for the memory card is really nice and convenient... you can very easily access the card while the camera is on the tripod. With the G3, you most probably will have to remove the camera from the tripod to access the card. I like this feature a lot when doing table top photography and I want to take the images to the computer from time to time without removing the camera from the tripod.

    The auto switching sensor for EVF/LCD is nice, but sometimes it gets activated by proximity of your hand or other body parts, when you don't mean to do so. Not much of an issue, though.

    The camera top control for shooting modes is wonderful for instant access. If you like to bracket exposures (which I often do for possible combinations in post or HDR) this quickly accessible control is very convenient and fast.

    The multi-aspect sensor, as already mentioned, is also a nice feature that no other m4/3 body offers.

    I think the IQ delivered by each camera is generally comparable. Close enough to be fairly indistinguishable.

    I'm a RAW shooter myself and find each wonderfully easy to get great color from in LR. If you rely on OOC JPGs (which I don't think you do) the G3 has the edge here, I believe, though this isn't something that I pay much attention to anyway.

    All in all... the GH2 is clearly the most full featured m4/3 camera body of all. Though I shoot my G3 more often, when I want the full features, I use the GH2. Given the type of shooting that you mentioned, if you are going to choose between the G3 and the GH2, I think you'll appreciate the feature set of the GH2.

    I can't wait to see what the GH3 brings us! (Gearhead that I am.)
     
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  12. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    594
    Oct 18, 2011
    Thanks to all! These are exactly the type of replies I was hoping to get, and am now just sniffing around for the best price on a GH2.

    One last thing, however: I just read a review of the 7-14 WA lens from Panny, and I think there may be some shenanigans going on here:

    Amazon.com: David Siegfried's review of Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0 Micro Four Thirds L...

    I understand the equivalent doubling of focal length and the mechanics of it, but this is the first person I've ever heard to claim that the aperture actually doubles in a similar manner on M4/3 lenses.

    Does that sound dubious to anyone else?
     
  13. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    It's not that the aperture doubles. He mentions this because depth of field is dependent on 3 things:
    focal length
    distance that the lens is focused to
    aperture

    Since m4/3 cameras use lower focal lengths to get the same photo, you have less depth of field for the same shot. Let's take 2 cameras as an example:
    Canon 5D Mk II with a 90mm lens to take a portrait, shot at f/4
    Panasonic GH2 with a 45mm lens to take the same portrait, shot at f/4

    If you focus the lenses 15 feet away, you will have the same image captured on both cameras. However, according to a depth of field calculator:
    Online Depth of Field Calculator

    The Canon will have a depth of field ranging from 14 to 16 feet in front of the camera, while the GH2 will have a depth of field from 13' to 17'. You can see then, that for the same portrait, the m4/3 camera will have a depth of field twice as deep, 4 feet versus 2 feet. This is actually good for landscapes, as you will have a deeper depth of field, which means you can use more handheld-friendly shutter speeds.
     
  14. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    594
    Oct 18, 2011
    Thanks! That's sort of exactly what I thought, and was scratching my head (both in terms of mechanics and physics) about what a stupid statement it is to maintain that the aperture actually is doubled. This statement, "A Micro 4/3 lens is not only equivalent to twice the focal length of its 35mm counterpart, it is also equivalent to twice the f/stop in terms of both depth of field AND low light performance" was what really stuck out.

    I've got to spend a little more time around here. I like the quality of answers that I'm seeing.
     
  15. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    And this difference in depth of focus between full frame and m4/3 works against the portrait shooter who prefers very shallow depth of focus with m4/3.

    The smaller the sensor size, the greater the inherent depth of focus. Due to the inherently deeper depth of focus with m4/3, as compared to full frame, to have similar bokeh and similarly shallow depth of focus (considered desireable qualities for portrait work by many shooters) one needs a comparatively wider aperture (faster lens).

    I'm not sure of the precise numbers, but suffice it to say that to achieve the same "look" you can create with a 200mm f/2.8 lens on a full frame sensor, you will need a 100mm f/2 or f/1.8 lens on a m4/3 sensor camera. Similarly, the look achieved with a 100mm f/2 on full frame would require something like 50mm f/1.4 on m4/3. The new Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens can achieve a look similar to that obtained with a 90mm f/2.8 lens on full frame.
     
  16. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    594
    Oct 18, 2011
    Yep, that pretty much tipped it in the GH2's favor but, although I am somewhat of a gear technician type, I don't like to think about the GH3 because as soon as it comes out I'll start cursing the price I paid for the GH2 (to say nothing of the improvements I won't have)!
     
  17. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    The GH2 has this? That would be huge for tripod users. I did not realize this.
     
  18. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
  19. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    594
    Oct 18, 2011
    While it's sort of a cool minor feature, I can't say as I can remember ever having had the need to do so while the camera is actually affixed to the tripod.

    But then, on a typical full weekend in, say, the eastern Sierra or Yosemite, I will come back with around 70-100 photos, and my g/f w/her 5D and multiple cards will come back with 600.

    Maybe it's just that I can't stand the thought of opening up LR and then facing the task of going through all.....those.....exposures......
     
  20. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    For those of us who work in a studio with the camera on a tripod, it's a fantastic feature. I use it all the time when shooting products in the studio and for that reason alone would choose the GH2 for my studio product shots.

    Is it a feature that makes or breaks a particular body vs. another body? That will depend on the individual's particular needs. What's not so important to one photographer may be very important to another.

    All else being equal, having a side door for the memory card gives arguably faster and more convenient access than combining the memory card slot with the battery compartment on the bottom of the camera.