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GH2 vs G3 high ISO

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by xdayv, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    since the GH2's highest ISO is 12800 and G3 is 6400...

    1. is GH2 better than G3 especially on ISO 3200 and up?

    2. is GH2's iso6400 usable?

  2. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran


    I cannot give you an exact answer to your question. However, please know that there most probably is not one good answer. The subject matter, the colors in your image and the end product of your image all play a huge part in the answer to this question among other factors. Furthermore, there are variations in the image to image reading of the light reflected from the image in your metering system. I do not know the specified variation, but the odds are that this may be on the order of one stop, i.e. plus or minus 0.5 stops. Please note that the variation suggested by your question is only one stop.

    I hope thes thoughts help you.

    Best regards,
    • Like Like x 1
  3. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    Highest possible ISO and highest usable ISO are two different things. Trying to decide how good a camera's ISO capability is by looking at its highest ISO is like deciding how fast a car is by looking at the highest number on the speedometer. It's relatively meaningless.

    As far as a certain ISO being useful, at the end of the day that's up to you. I would say that ISO 1,600 is usable on the GH2. From what I see online, I can't say the same for the G3. If you're going to 1,600, then you better be ready for some sacrifices in image quality. But in general, if I needed ISO 1,200 and higher on a regular basis, <flame suit on> I would grab myself a Pentax K-5 or Nikon D7000 long before I would even consider m4/3. Some links to back me up:
    Me and the Panasonic GH2 by Amy Medina | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS
    Panasonic GH2 First Look
    Panasonic G3 Review
    GH2 vs G1 High ISO Test (by me)
    Panasonic Lumix GH2 noise tests
    Dedicated Pentax K5 High ISO samples Thread - PentaxForums.com
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    From looking at samples of GH2 vs. G3, they are very close, and I can't tell much of a difference for high ISO performance.

    I have a GH2. I try to stay at 3200 and below. IMO, 6400 is pretty crappy when using JPG, especially if you need a large photo. Best bet to get the most out of the GH2 (and likely the G3 as well) is to shoot RAW and play with noise reduction.
  5. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    I don't remember where but I've read that the best choices for GH2 ISO settings are 1-stop increments over ISO 160, so 320, 640, 1250 etc. I adhere to this since because for instance ISO 640 is just as good as ISO 400! So effectively you can gain 2/3 stop if you follow the ISO160-320-... series instead of ISO200-400-... Don't know how the G3 does that.
  6. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Armanius, thanks for the input re: GH2 high ISO. and yes I shoot raw always.

    Interesting. I also read that somewhere right in this very forum.

  7. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    I'm trying to choose between GH2 and G3. If the high ISO performance of the GH2 is better than the G3, i'll consider it at the expense of the size which i find the G3 very good in terms of size.

    Looking over at Dpreview's samples/comparisons, it seems the G3 holds up well in it's details, and seems to be a tad better than the GH2 at 1600 and 3200. Correct me if i'm wrong.

    Thanks so much for the links you gave....

  8. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    I always say the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. I've have no hesitation using the G3 at 3200 ISO and are astonished at the quality, detail and little noise produced which is easily managed with LR3.5 NR. Certainly this holds true when using high ISO in reasonable light but wanting a fast shutter speed. There are 3 duck photos below all at ISO 3200 I think you will agree the images are detailed, sharp with good colour saturation and no noise.
    The last one of my dog is at 6400 ISO taken indoors under incandescent light and again the image is absolutely fine.
    I really don't know why folk have such a stigma about using high ISO on modern cameras, with a little care, shooting RAW and a bit of careful pp the results are fantastic.





    • Like Like x 3
  9. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    3 of my suppliers here got hard time getting a G3 body only. However they can get the GH2 body only....

    which one to go? :rofl:
  10. lannes

    lannes Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 15, 2011
    Perth, Australia
    • Like Like x 1
  11. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    In my experience, the GH2 is safe up to ISO1600. Beyond that and it's a crapshoot - depends upon the scene and available light. Have had mixed results at ISO3200 so I haven't really bothered with anything above. One thing to note - ISO3200 in decent light isn't bad, but when you really need it in low light, things fall apart quickly.

    Now, some samples:

    Who's a spoiled kitty? by john m flores, on Flickr

    Panasonic GH2 @ ISO 3200 by john m flores, on Flickr

    Chair. Stair. Rosary. by john m flores, on Flickr

    One more data point - the GH1 low light performance is similar to the GH2's...
  12. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    ISO1600 looks very good. You're right ISO3200 is quite mediocre, only for smaller size ipad/facebook optimized. It is low light where it really matters, can't imagine using ISO3200 in good light. I do think that m43 is moving closer to achieve usable ISO3200, any higher ISO is irrelevant, IMO.

  13. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
  14. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    thanks John for these samples. indeed 1600 looks good. the 3200 are usable. cheers.
  15. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I took vacation in Mexico City last weekend, and was playing around with the G3 taking pictures I thought there was no way would come out in dark churches. My experience:

    ISO1600, perfectly usable. No issue
    ISO3200, slight shadow noise issues, would probably clean up easily in post
    ISO6400, very usable. Need to be careful, but no reason to be scared of it.

    ISO 6400 + f/1.7 = unbelievable low light performance. I am talking pitch black becomes daylight here folks ... AMAZING.

    Hope to get some images uploaded soon.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    ISO 2000 with the G3, 12mm f/2 lens


    ISO 800 with the G3, 12mm f/2 lens


    ISO 2500 with the GH2, 14-140 lens

    • Like Like x 1
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