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GH3: Perhaps not so silly after all

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Luckypenguin, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Since the soon-to-be released GH3 was announced the main comment that I have seen regarding the new camera is it's size i.e. it's big! To be honest my initial reaction was something similar, but on the weekend I was reminded of a thought that I had when I first tried to come to grips with an E-P1 after putting down a DSLR back in 2010. On Saturday I spent a little time shooting with a Canon 50D, which if you're not familiar with the model it's basically your plus-size prosumer DSLR: big in stature and bristling with controls. Now despite being easily over 1kg including a lens, the larger size means that it is still very comfortable to hold as well as having an ergonomic control layout. Is it so strange then to have a Micro 4/3 camera that is designed with comfort and controls foremost? While it does sacrifice one of the key benefits of Micro 4/3 (small size), it also alleviates what some might consider to be one of the disadvantages. Now I'm not rushing to get in line to put my money down for a GH3, but the size of the camera is starting to make more sense to me the more that I think about it.
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  2. Brian G

    Brian G Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    Victoria, BC
    Nic - I couldn't agree more. While I very much appreciate the small size & light weight of the EM5, I find I can handhold my GH2 more stably at low shutter speeds. It may be in small part psychological!

    I have a bit of apprehension about the increased weight, more so than the size difference. But given that the lenses don't change, that's probably not much of a net difference, either.

    As one who's "at home" with the Panasonic G cameras, there are enough quirky things about the EM5 to have me thinking that an early leap of faith in the direction of the GH3 is starting to make sense. Also, if it comes down to a choice between the 7-14 lens and the EM5 (and that's how it's starting to look), the 7-14 wins, at least for me.


  3. boatman37210

    boatman37210 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2012
    I agree. The advantage of the m43 system is the light weight and smallness of the camera and lenses. For some the smallness of the camera is a disadvantage. They prefer a more substantial camera that fits their hand better. You still have the advantage of the small lenses. The system continues to grow and add to its offerings. Something for everyone's taste.
  4. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2012
    I've actually thought of picking up a G/GH series a couple of times for the ergonomics and added controls.

    It goes something along this line:

    "I've migrated to m43, sold off my plus sized gears, and got a pretty nice collection of great m43 glasses not.. why not a G/GH body for the excellent control/ergonomics, to take advantage of all the glasses I've got?"

    Then I hear a whisper from the general directin of my OM-D.. "....IBISSSSSSSS...."
  5. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    No problem with size itself, per se. My only criticism being that the GH3 tries to look "pro" by looking like a DSLR (and being "appropriately large").

    Besides ease of handling with a larger size camera, which is debatable and subjective, there is the objective issue of "real estate" on the camera to put easy access direct controls. Prosumer and pro level DSLRs were always bigger because they had an extra top LCD display and additional control buttons/levers/thumbwheels.

    The camera to compare with the GH3 here, is the OM-D, which gives away nothing in terms of IQ and performance, but some people find cramped control-wise. I'm also willing to bet that the next "pro-level" Olympus camera will be physically larger than the E-M5.

    Finally, whatever the case, the GH3 and any future :43: camera with that philosophy with always be much smaller and lighter as a system overall, than a DSLR of comparable features, build and equivalent lens.
  6. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    I'm not sure the GH3 is only "trying" to look pro though. The size does seem to come with exapanded usability and comfort. Some have compared it to the K5, which many consider to be just about the perfect size and weight for a DSLR without giving up on features.

    That said, personally I much prefer Oly's approach. Having a small default body with optional handrip definitely seems like the better route to take, for me. Controls have been said to be cramped, and I don't think an optional grip will improve that much, but I do think they could spread buttons out more in a future generation. I sure hope that their pro model isn't anywhere near the size of the GH3. That's not to say the GH3 size is bad, for many it is great. But I'd rather oly continue their current modular route(and make the grip cheaper while at it :p )
  7. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Same here, except that I won't take an early leap of faith. The GH3 is rumoured to have the same sensor as the E-M5 so I'll wait and see if the GH3 and 7-14 will get along well, i.e. without excessive purple ghosting.
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    If Oly had put similar effort into Four Thirds, it's debatable that a large part of what's already in the GH3 would be in something like an E-7.
  9. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I don't want to turn this into an IBIS thread, so I'll just say that neither IBIS nor OIS are a panacea, nor a substitute for faster shutter speeds. A useful tool, yes, but I think we sometimes forget it's just a tool, and not the ultimate answer for sharp pictures.

    Getting back to the OP, I agree with the ergonomics side of things. I much prefer using my GH2 to my OM-D. It's just easier to grip, and easier to adjust the things I adjust frequently. The GH3 looks like it will probably be even better in those respects.

    I just want to comment on size. This camera isn't big! Larger than other m43 cameras, certainly. but compare it to the referenced 50D.

    Compare camera dimensions side by side

    The 50D is significantly taller and wider than GH, and dramatically thicker in the body. Measurements are misleading because they include the protruding EVF and the depth of the grip, but the body itself is much smaller. And weight? The 50D is 50% heavier than the GH3, which is only a couple of ounces heavier than the GH2, I believe. For a fully featured ILC, the GH3 is still a very small package. Include similar lenses, and the difference is only magnified: Compact Camera Meter

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  10. Brian G

    Brian G Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    Victoria, BC
    Excellent point! In addition to that detail, I'm also extremely interested in how Panasonic have handled the AA filter. I'd be happy to see an extremely light AA filter, such that detail capture is the crispest yet from any m43 camera. Panasonic have alluded to high detail retention in their press info, but I also noted that some of the early video guys were complaining about moire / artifacts, so I wonder if Panasonic will take steps to soften the image detail to satisfy the video crowd.

    I have no interest in video, strictly in stills quality.

  11. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    I didn't said "only", the point is, the GH3 could probably be made about the same size as the GH2 without sacrificing handling.

    I do prefer the vintage-styled Oly approach too, but that's a subjective matter. If a future OM-D is only a few mm larger in all dimensions, it would probably incorporate slightly larger buttons, a comfortable control wheel at the back, etc. As I've said, for me, the perfect size/shape for an OM-D "pro" camera would be something like the OM-40. Which (just guestimating here) would still make it smaller (in volume, not all dimensions) than the GH3.
  12. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Agree with addieleman and Brian. I've never pre-ordered any camera. I'll wait and see how it actually performs, based on both formal tests and early adopter user reports. Then I'll decide. If it performs as well as promised, though, I'll probably buy one. If it has issues with the 7-14, I'll stick that lens on my GH2, and take advantage of the wider FOV afforded by the MAS.

    As a GH2 owner, I have to disagree with that. There simply isn't room on the GH2 for the additional controls the GH3 adds, even if you were willing to give up the control wheel on the back. Most of the extra width and depth is directly related to the larger grip. You could shrink the grip down to GH2 size, but that would involved a trade-off in handling. My 50D is significantly easier and more comfortable to hold compared to my GH2, because of its larger grip. If I could get a 50D sized body with the weight of a G3, I'd be in heaven.
  13. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    The attraction of the whole :43: system for me came down to two things: size and the retro look of the Pen series. I really like the smaller size of the cameras - I have large hands and long fingers, but I have no problem holding and using my E-P3. I do not miss the bulk and weight of my Canon 40D at all. I was getting very tired of the DSLR look - I grew up with cameras like the Pentax K1000. Aesthetics may not matter to some people but I appreciate good tools that also look good.
    I expect that the GH-3 will be a fine successor to the GH-2, an excellent camera - but I would not buy one for myself. That's a huge plus of the :43: system, lots of bodies to choose from. :thumbup:
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  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    And the GH3 is of course significantly smaller and lighter than 50D. It's about the size of the Canon 550D - Canon's second-smallest DSLR.

    If you use the camera with kit lenses or short primes, the size difference vis a vis the other m4/3 cameras may be significant. But as soon as you add a long tele-zoom, or a high-grade zoom, or a fast telephoto prime, the difference in body size really becomes irrelevant.

    That's not to say that I don't prefer smaller bodies, all things being equal, but I think people who are truly weight and size conscious have to start with the lenses.
  15. NJH

    NJH Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    South West England
    I am actually more interested in the GH3 than the EM-5, I just don't like the faux OM SLR styling in a tiny cramped body. OTOH what Fuji did with the Xpro makes a lot of sense to me, they make the thing a useable size, some say too big but its still very light weight.

    Up until Feb this year my camera was an E3 with the 14-54 on it, I loved the ergonomics of the camera and was fairly happy with it but it was the weight that stopped me from using it. Trying to walk around with the thing would put my right wrist into pain within an hour easily. Same if it was hung round my neck, really uncomfortable due to the weight. OK it couldn't ever fit in a pocket but if I am being honest with myself pocket-ability is very low on the requirements list. Weight though for me is a very big thing.
  16. Mr.Kilawin

    Mr.Kilawin Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 23, 2012
    I totally agree on this but I think the GH3 size and ergonomics will be greatly appreciated when using bigger heavy lenses.

    The body design is very subjective but for me Panasonic's decision for a bigger body with more controls makes sense specially for people who will use the camera for professional work.
  17. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Well, I never considered the GH3 to be 'silly' . . . just too big. And I completely understand why others might disagree with my preference of small size over easier ergonomics and prefer a larger camera. It's just not for me.

    ALL cameras are compromises, one way or another, so it's not surprising that different people have different sweet spots.
  18. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Nice, sensible, balanced post. :smile: I agree...I think size and weight are difficult to be categorical about. For me, at some point the camera is too small for easy operation...and at some point the camera is big and heavy enough that the m4/3 format is no longer worth the compromises. It's hard to define exact point on the continuum, though, and individuals are going to draw the line at different points.
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  19. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I just got back from the Henry's exposure show in Toronto and handled the GH3 with 35-100.

    Overall impression is that it's not too big - just a tad taller than the GH2.

    Physical buttons are customizable like crazy.

    Large EVF and good refresh rate.

    For anyone that wants to have the flexibility of having one set of lenses for two completely different size bodies, the GH3 would be a great "pro" spec body to have.

    Everything feels great and has a ton of physical controls and features.
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  20. NJH

    NJH Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    South West England
    I think its more than just saying something is more 'pro' but IMHO cameras with quick and easy to use external controls are just more enjoyable to use. There is nothing about my photography that could be called pro but I will happily pay for a solid product that is for me more enjoyable to use. Probably 50% at least of what I like about using the X100 is in the physical controls, its just all there nicely to hand on the body/lens such that I rarely have to dive into the menus. I really like the look of the controls on the GH3 for the same reasons.
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