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Panasonic Announces the GH3

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Amin Sabet, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    As expected, Panasonic has officially unveiled the Lumix DMC-GH3 today. While other Micro 4/3 camera lines seem to be staying the same size or getting smaller with each passing generation, Panasonic has taken a step in the opposite direction. Below you can see the GH2 on the left and GH3 on the right:



    It's not a move which will suit everyone. After all, Micro Four Thirds' raison d'être is its small size. However as Micro 4/3 continues to mature into a more comprehensive system, it's only natural that we see diversified options. The GH3 clearly distinguishes the Panasonic GH line from the G line. This is meant to be the most "pro" of the Panasonic Micro 4/3 offerings to date. When you think about the Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100mm f/2.8 constant f-number zooms, neither of which is super small, this body size makes good sense.

    Key features of the GH3:

    - Dust and splash-proof magnesium alloy construction

    - New 16MP sensor

    - New Venus Engine

    - 6 fps shooting (or 4fps with live view)

    - Five customizable function buttons.

    - New OLED EVF and rear display

    - 60p video capture

    - 80Mbps bit rate maximum for video

    The GH3 is a large step forward in video capability, which has always been a strength of the GH line. For still photography, Panasonic is promising significant gains in image quality as well as a robust, weather resistant body to go with their f/2.8 zoom lenses.

    One of the key questions remaining is whether the gains in image quality are a function of improvements to the in-camera JPEG processing only or whether there have been gains in sensor performance as well. Based on specifications the GH3 does not seem to use a multi-aspect ratio sensor like its predecessors, and there are unconfirmed rumors that Panasonic may be using a Sony sensor in their new flagship camera.
  2. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I'm not yet convinced DPR got it right about the multi aspect sensor. The specifications they themselves posted contradicted this (same horizontal image dimension given for all aspect ratios).

    Putting my skeptic hat on, this could also explain why they disabled multi aspect capability in the G5.
  4. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
  5. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 2, 2010
    peak focusing? :confused: 
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I didn't see anything suggesting that they implemented this.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
  8. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bummed to not hear anything about continuous AF either. If they didn't improve that, this will be a tough sell for me. I thought this would be a no brainer upgrade for my GH2, but so far none of the new features have really excited me that much. Unless image quality is a stunner, I may be sadly sitting this one out.
  9. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    This also confirms Amin's observation about the image resolution and lack of wider aspects.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    I wonder what 'Light Speed AF makes it possible to capture even the fast-moving subject clearly' means in terms of the things continuous AF is useful for?
    It does have an 'AFC (Continuous)' mode.

    Picture of camera in hand here:
    I would have no concerns about size.

    'paired with the 12-35mm lens, can deliver focus in an apparent 0.07 seconds' I don't know if that speed (one has to conceed quite nifty) has any impact on older lenses.
    '£2000' it says with that lens. I think I'd want it to take pictures the day before I'd thought of them for that price.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    To put this in context, Panasonic Global has released the combined weight for what I'm assuming will be its GH3 kits...

    - GH3 + battery + card + 12-35/f2.8 X = 855g

    To me, that is bloody small...
    • Like Like x 1
  12. FernandoBatista

    FernandoBatista Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 3, 2012
    Me too.

    The "light speed AF" on the GH3 has to be far better than the G5 in order for that to happen. I believe it when I see it.
    C-AF is the one thing putting me of m4/3 system completely, if the GH3 would focus on moving subjects as well as even a low end DSLR, I'd get one for sure.
  13. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    The specs say:

    AF Mode Face detection / AF Tracking / 23-area-focusing / 1-area-focusing / Pinpoint

    The pudding has yet to be eaten.
  14. BlairMacKay

    BlairMacKay Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    Calgary, Alberta
    This is going to be a tough call for me personally. I've had the GF1 for three years and have been looking at a replacement for it. The pictures of it "in hand" make it look about the same size as an entry level APSC camera, so the size increase doesn't bother me.

    I will be interested to see the kit price if its matched with the 12-35...
  15. Laurentiu Cristofor

    Laurentiu Cristofor Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2012
    I think the goal was for the system to be smaller than those based on larger sensors, not to become miniaturized. As long as the cameras and lenses are smaller than APS-C/FF combos, they serve their mission. The tinier packages make sense for entry level users, but once you need to use long telephotos or fast zooms, the small body size becomes a shortcoming, not an advantage. It's nice to see that Panasonic gets this aspect. I was not happy to see the small size of the E-M5 and I much prefer the E-PL2 body and control layout to the style used in the E-PL3 and E-PL5.
  16. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    There's no need for every m4/3 camera to be smaller than every DSLR. The GH3 is aiming for high end work, so its natural comparisons are the 60D/7D or the D300s. On that scale, the GH3 is plenty small.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. boatman37210

    boatman37210 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2012
    The Nikon D5100, Canon 650D, and the GH3 all weigh right at 20 oz with battery. Everything I have read the Nikon and the Canon are good cameras and can hang with some of their higher end brothers. At this point, what would be the reason for choosing the GH3 over those two?
  18. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Those Nikon and Canon cameras don't have anywhere near the build quality of the GH3 (based on what we know so far), being of mostly plastic construction. Nor do they have the very user friendly control layout of the GH3. They're not weatherproof. You can argue whether an EVF is better than the OVF on a FF camera or the high and mid-range APS DSLRs, but the tiny, dim, pentamirror viewfinders found in budget class DSLRs are inferior in almost every respect. The GH3 is certainly far better for video and live-view shooting than entry-level DSLRs.

    And unless you shoot without lenses, the weight of the body is only the beginning. Compare the size and weight of the 12-35mm lens to Canon's 17-55mm /2.8. Or the 14-140 to Canon's 18-200. The Panasonic 35-100 weighs about 1/4 as much as Canon's 70-200 2.8.

    It's also arguable whether performance of those other cameras is equal to the Panasonic, much less better. If you use the image comparator at DPR, it's clear the GH2 (and OM-D, and presumably the GH3), actually provide higher resolution and retain more image detail than most of the APS-C cameras. From what I've seen, the APS-C Canon's offer little if any advantage at high ISO, although the Nikons may do a bit better. People argue (correctly) that the CDAF systems on current m43 cameras aren't idea for shooting action. But, frankly, neither are entry level DSLRs. There's a world of difference between the AF system of a 7D or 5D Mk III and that in a Rebel.

    Do those things matter? That's up to each individual to decide. But I'd argue that in most respects the GH3 is a superior tool to the entry level lines of APS-C cameras. And if build-qualitiy matters, the entry level bodies are not where you want to be.
    • Like Like x 4
  19. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Quoting from the text on the first page: "One thing the GH3 loses, however, is the multi-aspect ratio sensor size found on its predecessor". And in the specifications the longest width is 4608 pixels irrespective of aspect ratio. So I think the multi-aspect sensor is gone. Bummer! :mad: 

    I am tempted by the generosity in dedicated buttons and wheels, but I'm only going to replace my GH2 by a GH3 if the sensor is a good deal better, especially in noise at low ISO. BTW, I haven't seen any mentioning about an electronic shutter. :confused:  Being a stills photographer only I get the feeling that I'm not going to want to overpay for premium video features, but on the other hand I could succumb just as well.
  20. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Every m4/3 since the dawn of the format has had some form of AFC and Tracking, since my G1, it just has never worked. The specs are meaningless on that point unfortunately.

    I'm guessing they chose to continue to whittle away at the problem with faster AF. If they'd solved it otherwise, they'd probably be touting it big time since it's a big known deficiency with the format. My GH2 does a pretty good job with my fast focusing lenses of catching action. I shoot a lot of runners running at me and it works just fine for that. There comes a point where tracking isn't as necessary when you're fast enough. However, I can't afford the $2800 in lenses that may be necessary to overcome the lack of accurate tracking with raw speed.
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