Rented a GH3 -- what would you look for?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by ajm80031, May 28, 2013.

  1. ajm80031

    ajm80031 Mu-43 Regular

    I'm a GH1 owner who's been unsure about the GH3 (from both a size and price standpoint) and so I rented one off the Internet. I've got it for several days and will use that time to evaluate both stills/video quality and the overall handling/ability to customize the device to my needs/preferences. I give roughly equal importance to both stills and video quality.

    If you own of have used a GH3, what are the things that most impressed you (and most annoyed/disappointed you)? As I only have the camera for a few days I won't have a chance to try out everything, so I'd like to focus on what it does particularly better (or worse) than other cameras.

    So far I've only snapped a few frames inside and linked it with my cell phone to try out the Lumix Link app (for remote control of the camera).
  2. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Real Name:
    If you don't know what to do with it, then you probably don't need it. :wink:
  3. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Real Name:
    I hate to sound glib, but... just go shoot with it. The best thing *for me* about the GH3 is the ergonomics and image quality. Features like weather sealing, wi-fi, etc. are more like bonuses than anything else.

    My experience has been just going out and shooting what you normally shoot with a camera very quickly tells you whether it's for you or not, and whether it's worth the price of an upgrade.
  4. deejayvee

    deejayvee Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 3, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    Real Name:
    Like jloden, I went for a GH3 for ergonomics and, to a lesser extent, image quality. The GH3 lived up to my expectations here (and even exceeded them with ergonomics).

    Other features were a bonus. Most impressive was the general speed of things compared to my G3. I have not had to wait for the camera to finish writing, even when doing bursts.

    Another surprising feature was the increased battery life. I have only had to charge my batteries a couple of times since I bought the GH3, but the G3 was lucky to get through a day with one battery.
  5. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Real Name:
    Both good points - I rarely ever shoot bursts but the GH3 does have a really good buffer and write speed. I tested it at another forum member's request once and stopped counting somewhere around 50 comsecutive images in burst with no stopping or slowing.

    The battery life is indeed a big improvement also. I think the battery has only actually run flat on me once since I had the GH3, and it was after multiple consecutive trips with the camera without charging it in between. Still maybe not quite on par with my Nikon @ 900 shots to a battery but a very noticeable and welcome jump over even the G5.
  6. tuanies

    tuanies Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 13, 2011
    Graham, WA
    Real Name:
    Tuan Huynh
    The ergonomics are awesome and even better with the battery grip. The WiFi remote is a novelty that I use from time to time for self portraits.
  7. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Just shoot it!

    I would have to agree with all the other comments.Shoot the camera and see if it does what you need it to. Seems like you are looking for issues that may not be a concern to the way you use the camera.

    Remember, in most cases it's the photographer that makes the photo - not the camera! Paying lots of $$$ for a camera is not going to guarantee great photos.
  8. ajm80031

    ajm80031 Mu-43 Regular

    I would have thought the "just shoot it" part would be obvious. I'm doing that (as much as the weather will allow at the moment) and am learning the menus and the general handling of the camera as I do so. However, with other cameras I've owned in the past, there have usually been things that took a while to discover that affected how much I enjoyed using the camera. My query here was an attempt to find those things in the restricted amount of time I have with it.

    So far I do like the general handling, the menu system, and all the buttons. I probably could have made do with one or two less manual controls if that would have allowed the size to be closer to the GH1, but that's the tradeoff Panasonic chose.

    No chance to do video yet. Stills are definitely better than my old GH1, but in comparing it to a Sony Alpha A58 that I also have in my possession for a few days I have to give the edge to the Sony for the photos I've taken so far (mostly in wet, overcast conditions). Viewing the files in Lightroom, both with no adjustments applied and then trying a variety of presets, the files from the Sony just have a richness/depth that seems to be missing from the GH3. It's not just the extra 4MP of the Sony, it's hard to put a finger on, but it's definitely there.

    That said, I expect the GH3 will outdo the A58 on video, and I'm finding I really don't like the body design of the A58. But I do love the stills it's producing...
  9. ajm80031

    ajm80031 Mu-43 Regular

    Following up

    Managed to spend a bit more time with the GH3 yesterday evening. The weather had cleared up and I took shots in some challenging, contrasty conditions (including dappled sunlight). Again I was comparing to the Sony A58 I also have on rental, and this time the Sony wasn't a clear winner on stills. In the wet/cloudy/saturated color conditions of the morning the Sony seemed to have more "depth" in the images, especially where there was a lot of foliage, but in the brighter/harsher light it was pretty much a draw. Both cameras managed to maintain reasonable detail in the shadows without blowing the highlights.

    I made my first attempts with video and here the GH3 really shone. I put both cameras into their "best" quality video modes as best as I could tell (1080 60p for the GH3 and 1080 60i for the A58) and there was no comparison. In shots where the camera was still, the GH3 had great detail all over the frame while the A58 lost fine detail in things like grass. Do a pan and the differences were far more pronounced. The GH3 image did soften up a bit during the pan but not objectionally so. The A58, in comparison, ended up producing lots of "mud".

    Admittedly this isn't a fair comparison as the A58 is a $600 camera (with kit lens) while the GH3 is more than twice the price. I rented the A58 as I have some Alpha-mount lenses and the GH3's price tag is still pretty steep -- if the Sony would be "good enough" for less than half the price, I might go with it (the A77 would probably be more of a "fair" comparison, but it's much closer in price as well). With the A58 at 60i I think the answer is "not good enough". Next I'll experiment with 24p to see if the A58's codec can cut it at a lower frame rate.