GH3 for video, sold canon, feeling like a newbie all over again


New to Mu-43
Apr 8, 2014
Hey Guys,

I shoot climbing videos and am heading to Alaska in a couple months to shoot an expedition on Denali. I sold my 5DmkII for a GH3 to lighten up my kit, which I will be able to do by POUNDS! But now I'm feeling like a newbie all over again with operating the camera. With the 5dMKII shooting video was a no always in manual mode, turn on live view, iso already set at 125 or so, turn dials to get exposure right, push button to get critical focus, and press record. If focus changes you have to do it manually therefore a few racks here and there to mix things up but most of the time focus didn't change too much. Most of the time handheld with lens image stabilization was plenty to counter small movements.

Here are my issues and questions.....maybe someone can shed some light.

I got the GH3 to lighten up my kit but also to hopefully be able to take advantage of some features that the 5dMKII didn't have which cost me precious shots.

1) smooth auto focus in video mode. nothing like it on the 5dMKII. If I'm shooting someone fairly close up I want to be able to keep them in focus without having to do it manually....seems like the GH3 might be pretty good at this, even a shot with someone walking towards or away from me, I bet the GH3 can keep them in focus, well at least in a more efficient and stable way than I can handheld. Okay so I understand changing focusing mode is another step I will have to remember to do, not too bad. What about other types of focusing...a lot of people seem the still use the GH3 in manual focus mode saying auto focus is no good. Anyone had great success with auto focus? I loose shots in manual mode so I expect to loose shots in auto-focus, but if I can improve my success rate with auto focus it might be worth it but so far there is a lot of hunting in auto focus mode which kinda ruins the shot.

2) I will be in an environment where the light will be pretty consistent. What's better, shutter priority with set ISO and variable aperture, or can I set aperture and shutter speed and go with variable ISO?

3)Video quality settings. 5dmkII always 24p MOV. The GH3 shoots this but at a higher bit rate....larger file sizes and I am going to be away from laptop and power for three weeks, so I've got capacity for maybe 800 gigs but at 50mbs that's just over 75 minutes a day of shooting...probably enough but I can't be certain. Also the video is slow-mo looking on LCD screen....kind of annoying. Is my flash card not fast enough or is this just how it is? AVCHD? whats up with this? Definitely need to test with lower bit rate AVCHD and MOV. I'm not making a movie for the big screen but my client has come to know the quality of my video so I don't want to change that.

Just looking for the best video settings. I don't like the way the GH3 displays exposure in manual mode...definitely something I will have to get used to. Obviously I'm going to do some testing, but would love to be decently educated before I head out testing so hopefully I can nail down what works and get comfortable with that rather than a bunch of video that doesn't work and still being confused.

Thanks in advance!


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Jan 4, 2014
Welcome, GH3 is overall a great camera for video! :)

That said, yes, I have mixed feelings about autofocus, but perhaps I have not played with it enough. As you say, many who shoot video are really focused (pun intended) on using manual focus only, so I have not found a great deal of help on the topic. Do note that there are settings in the menus to activate continous focus. To me it's a bit hit or miss, even tried facial recognition with limited luck. I'll be experimenting some more and will see if I can come up with something. (That said, a quick test I did this morning was really torturing the camera as I used the Nocticron set to f1.2 or thereabouts...I would imagine outside at least during day you would not run at max aperture or anywhere near it. Tried to use the Nocticron outside overcast at 1.2 and it went to 4000 shutter (max) lowest iso and still blew out the highlights)

I usually do shutter priority (to fix it at 1/50th when I run 24fps) and fixed iso. I don't recall being successful with getting auto-iso to work in manual mode, don't think it is implemented, which is a bit of a bummer)

Not sure what you mean by slo-mo looking. I typically do 24fps at 50mbps. I can imagine with your kind of filming, 60fps might be a better solution. 72mbps is not a good codec mode on the gh3, and stay away from avchd too...

I hope someone else can chime in. I have only played around a bit and don't want to lead you down the wrong path

EDIT: the option I thought was for fast or slow focus was really for how long the pinpoint focus should be activated. Try different focus area, including single area, which you can shrink down by after highlighting it pressing Down on the directional pad and then rotating it to get different sizes.


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Jan 4, 2014
Yes, I recommend it too. I bought it a while back, and need to read it again myself. However, I don't recall too much attention to autofocus features


Mu-43 Regular
Apr 28, 2014
Monterey Bay
I have my GH3 set up to shoot 1080 P60 to AVCHD at 28Mbps.
I find the quality a lot better than 1080 P30 at 50Mbps.
I can view these on my TV thru a BlueRay Player without processing.
I normally play them back at regular speed.

Creative Movie mode
Usually Aperture is wide open, but I would stop it down in good light.
Shutter speed 120s.
Auto ISO, why? so I do not have to mess with it and there needs to be a veriable for sunny and shady shots.
AFF = Full time AutoFocus (actually works on at least slow moving subjects).

Something like the Pany 35-100 should work really well.
(Not only is the lens highly rated, but constant aperture will help a lot when you zoom).

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