How is the G3 in low light?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Johnny1.33, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Johnny1.33

    Johnny1.33 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 4, 2011
    I saw a photo in a thread I started a while back, 56k views later I am curious how everyone things the Panasonic G3 does in low light. Like for plays, stage performances where the light is not too well done, if that makes sense. I need low light ability to have a shutter fast enough to stop the person on stage and still have the picture useful. Even if I have to do some NR in Lightroom, I can do that.

    The G3 is cheaper now :). Are the subsequent Gx better in low light? By a stop or more?
  2. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Your estimation of the GX7 is essentially correct. The GX1, however, shares the same sensor with the G3.

  3. Johnny1.33

    Johnny1.33 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 4, 2011
    When I said Gx I meant G x as in x is a variable G5, G6, Gx. Sorry. I didn't think about real GX names.
  4. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    No worries. I cannot comment on the G5 and G6 sensors as I am not that familiar with their low light performance.

    Good luck,

  5. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    My G3 has disappointingly smudged noise reduction for high-ISO and I don't much like the unreduced noise, although miles better than my G1 in that department.
    Since I've had the G3 I later got an e-pM2 and (for me) it's in a seriously different league for low-light, and as far as I know only the GH3, GX7 and GM1 have similar sensors ... again, in that department.
    If low-light concerts are your thing I would recommend a very modern sensor, and some of them are quite inexpensive.
    (Also not tried G5 or G6 )
  6. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    I've had pretty good luck with the G3 shooting concerts at a small (100 seat) room. The lighting's not great in there, but the acts typically aren't moving too much, and I'm close enough to use the O45 and P20. Usually shoot at 1600 ISO and am happy with the results.
  7. gohunter

    gohunter Guest

    I have both a GF5 and G5 and neither are very good for what you are wanting to capture. I've tried that kind of thing on cruise ship shows with them and you get loads of noise and/or blurry people moving. In reality the 4/3 sensors are not a patch on the full frame sensors in low light.

    On the other hand I have tried the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the stabilisation on it is truly amazing giving hand held shots down to about 2 seconds when you are braced, but people on stage do a heck of a lot of moving in 2 secs!

    Hope that is of some help.


  8. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    I would say ok, not great, and depends on the stage lighting.

    The noise performance, though, isn't what's gonna drive you up the freaking wall--it's the autofocus hunting in low light so you miss the shot. I damn near wanted to throw my G3 against the wall at Comic-Con during the Psych panel. There was a lot of, um, musical mugging, as 'twere (not to mention Cary Elwes doing his best WWF Smackdown-style presentation), and the AF was constantly hunting and I never got a decent shot, except when everybody was at rest. Really made me wish I'd grabbed my Canon gear instead.
  9. sin77

    sin77 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 9, 2011
    Dont touch G3. You will be very disappointed. I used it for 1 yr and i switched over to e-pm2.
  10. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    I had a G5, and it wasn't great, for me 1600 was the limit. The E-PM2 for me is great up to 3200, ok , about one stop off from a good APS-C sized sensor. One of the things that was always hard for me to appreciate in the online comparisons is how much colors are muted on the Panasonic bodies when they go into higher ISOs. With Olympus bodies the noise is well controlled while maintaining good colors. I have the 20mm 1.7 on the E-PM2 and can shoot indoors with poor lighting and no flash and maintain 1/200 shutter speeds needed for kids running around.
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Same as Yakky : e-pM2 with Lumix 20mmF1.7 lens is a very good and well-priced combination for low-light indoors with autofocus.
    I switch off noise-filter and allow ISO 6400
  12. Johnny1.33

    Johnny1.33 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 4, 2011
    Thanks. Guess I'll pass. I saw the G5 is super cheap too, but I guess the Panasonics just can't do what I need. I found one for $276. I really like the look and feel, but oh well.
  13. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Not sure where everyone is having issues. I use mine up to 1600 all the time, 3200 gets a bit grainy. Never had any issues with focusing troubles, and usually leave the AF assist light off.
  14. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    I think Panasonic G3 is perfectly fine up to (and including) ISO 1600. For example, this photo was taken in low light (with just one tungsten lightbulb) and developed in Lightroom 3.something with default settings. As you can see, even the darkest parts of the image show lots of fine detail. I bet it would look even better in newer versions of LR. (warning - full 16 MP image)
  15. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I did a bunch of low light on an E-P1 and an adapted Zuiko f1.4 Pen F lens - was fine for street and casual party shots.

    ISO 800, 1/15, f1.4 with only night-time ambient street lighting - its soft (which doesn't bother me) and it was SOC JPEG (pre RAW for me at the time) -


    Don't forget the lens plays a part in the equation too - what are you looking to shoot with ?
  16. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    I have the G3 and use it regularly in low light and high ISO situations. I use a Minolta 50mm 1.4 and it rocks. You guys have got get away from relying on auto focus - manual focus baby is the only way to go for low light or action. :)
  17. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I have used my GX1 w/ the 20mm 1.7 on a porch lit only by a few strings of xmas lights. I shot wide open and the results were great. A very slight bit of grain, but they looked great… good color and tonality, good isolation of the subjects, little multi colored bokeh lights in the background :smile:
  18. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    This is a poor statement ;
    The GH3, GX7 and GM1 are right up there with the best m4/3rds for low-light focus and low-noise high-ISO.
  19. Johnny1.33

    Johnny1.33 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 4, 2011
    The kit I saw was the 14-42 and the 45-200. I'm guess those lenses are no good, as they are kit lenses. I can tell you I will NEVER use manual lenses. I did that with a Pentax AF K-x. Never again. AF lenses only. Sorry purists.:smile: Not putting on a split-prism screen either. And yes I have used them long ago when things were manual. Sorry for the rant. No offense intended.
  20. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Having given in to eyeglasses many years ago, I can appreciate AF in a camera. But, if you have not tried to manual focus with an Oly or Panasonic body, you should try it out, if only to see what a different experience it is. No need for split-prism screens. And bodies that offer focus peaking are even more amazing. I am not trying to convert you, but you might find it interesting even if you never use it. I wish this type of focus technology was available years ago when I shot film.