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switched from Nikon D300 to Panasonic GH3

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Christophe, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Christophe

    Christophe New to Mu-43

    I just switched from semi-pro Nikon D300 (with grip MB-D10 and 17-55f2.8 and 70-200f2.8 and SB900) to Panasonic GH3 (with 12-35f2.8 and 360L and MS2) by trade-in with little extra cash.

    For context, I have owned nikon and canon film SLRs, and switched to nikon DSLRs ~10y ago with d2h then d70 then d300. I also went through many nikon compacts and switched to panasonic LX5 then LX7 now. For videos I also have owned a canon then the panasonic DVX-100B and now the HMC-151E with audio-technica stereo gun mic. I am an amateur and never shoot for money.

    I have been watching the micro 4/3 evolution for some years, but could not make the decision until my frustration with my gear increased (I cannot easily carry all that stuff everywhere), and until I could find a better solution.

    So, considering that the Nikon mirror-flip live-view concept and video capability is quite poor, and the LX7 has great video with AVCHD-P, and now the GH3 is "DSLR-like", it was time to switch.

    My first impressions on the switch from d300 to GH3, may be helpful for others:

    The handling and controls are immediately familiar, with some nice shortcut menu and numerous customizable buttons. It has the right balance of being small and light and comfortable to hold with a long lens and flash or mic. It feels robust and ready to follow me everywhere.

    The photos are good, and the aspect ratio control is a nice benefit, having a choice to compose at 4:3 or 3:2 is very useful (it's amazing that we have been trained to accept only 3:2, I feel liberated again with my DSLR as I have been with my LX5/7). I often shoot with low available light, and the high ISO performance in shots (I only shoot RAW) is similar to previous experience, at least 2 f-stops better than LX7 but I regularly need some noise reduction in lightroom. The GH3 DOF is understandably more than the D300 due to the sensor size, but I was often finding myself missing some DOF on D300 photos because I often shoot wide open, so the GH3 DOF is OK (and I have a couple of photos already with insufficient DOF from GH3 at f2.8).

    The rear-screen is beautiful, but the EVF is dissapointing, it is nowhere near as good as a true optical viewfinder, I can't see a reason to use it yet. If panasonic releases a GX2 (no EVF) with the GH3 specs (esp mic input) and a decent grip, it would be my choice. The benefit of rear-screen or EVF over optical viewfinder is especially clear in low light, and the rear-screen removes the obstacle that the camera is between photographer and subject, especially with the articulated rear-screen.

    The 12-35f2.8 is great, very sharp at all settings, fast focus and solid and small, some slight vignetting at f2.8 which disappears by f4 (as expected from online tests) and is easily corrected in lightroom. I dont trust image stabilization but I leave it on (for now...), there is no option to set auto-iso to 1/125, it seems to default to 1/60 which is too slow for moving subjects, so manual control is required.

    The video is awesome, AVCHD-P at 60fps is great, the controls are somewhat restricted compared to my HMC-151 (no ND filters, difficult aperture controls, cumbersome shutter speed control and mic-levels and iso controls, no focus assist, etc) but the image quality and fluidity of 60p (vs 25/30p of AVCHD) is amazing. However, it not a replacement for dedicated video work so I am not ready to sell the HMC-151. Perhaps Panasonic can give better video controls with a firmware upgrade, such as exposure compensation or shutter/aperture controls during video shooting in A/S/P modes.

    The GH3+12-35 is matched to my LX7, the videos are similar high quality, the photos at low light are similar considering the 2 f-stop advantage of the LX7, and the controls are close-enough to feel like the same family. A great pair imho, with the obvious advantages of the GH3 when travelling with more gear.

    The MS2 mic is exactly as expected, and a big improvement over the in-built mic. It is perhaps THE reason to choose the GH3 over any of the other existing lumix.

    The 360L flash is OK, it is small and has all the desired functionality, and the LED light is very useful for video, but the mount lock is not as solid as on a nikon.

    I am surprised by the cost of the lenses, I want the 35-200f2.8 and 7-14f4 but they seem overpriced (I know, that's where panasonic makes money...), the other nice lens is the 25f1.4 but also overpriced. I cant accept f4-5.6 telephoto lenses for the low-light photos/videos I do.

    I also need another battery (which is a good sign, because I am using the GH3 much more than the D300), it is overpriced too, and I probably will put it in the add-on grip for extra one-handed comfort.

    In conclusion, for others in a similar situation with amateur photo+video needs and a reasonable budget, the GH3 is a great choice.

    This is a great site with plenty of good advice, thanks!
     
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  2. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    113
    May 23, 2012
    Kentucky
    I made a similar change a couple weeks ago. Recently, I've primarily become a video guy. I found that the GH2 blows my Nikons out of the water for video. The GH2 is simply stunning for video. Coupled with vintage Nikon lenses, I am getting the best video I have ever shot. I feel the GH2 is also making me think more, forcing me to consider all approaches when I film due to the complete manual mode.

    There is no need for A,P,S modes for video as i see it. Your shutter should remain locked at twice your frame rate. I shoot my GH2 at 1080p 30fps and my shutter never leaves 1/60. I adjust the manual aperture rings on the lenses when needed and in harsh sun, I use ND filters.

    I have not been inspired with still taking with the GH2 yet. I have taken a few, but winter really drags me down when it comes to stills.

    I'll have some samples soon as the two videos I've done with the GH2 aren't released until tomorrow.
     
  3. Bacek

    Bacek Mu-43 Regular

    64
    Dec 30, 2012
    Chrisophe

    To see how usefull is EVF you have to enable MF Assistant. This is something that cann't be accomplished with analog VF
     
  4. Brian G

    Brian G Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Nov 16, 2010
    Victoria, BC
    Thanks for your comments & experience, it's always nice to read of others' points of view when coming from a good quality DSLR.

    I might beg to differ a bit on the matter of pricing & value for the better m43 lenses, particularly the 7-14 (I don't own the 12-35). The 7-14 is a superb lens, and arguably and by most technical reports, is one of only a small number of ultra-wides that run 2nd place to Nikon's 12-24 zoom. I personally couldn't care less that it's not faster, as I always tend to use it stopped down anyway, and I appreciate the small size, low weight & portability.

    And it's readily available new for well under $1000. The Nikon 12-24 doesn't leave much change from two grand.

    So respectfully, that's my 2 cents.

    Brian
     
  5. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    The price question...why are you surprised? Compare current B&H prices for the relevant lenses:

    Lumix 7-14mm: $890
    Nikon 14-24mm: $2000

    Lumix 12-35mm: $1150
    Nikon 24-70mm: $1890

    Lumix 35-100mm: $1500
    Nikon 70-200mm: $2400

    The m4/3 prices don't look that bad in comparison.
     
  6. Christophe

    Christophe New to Mu-43

    Thanks guys.

    On the price of the lenses, I was comparing APS-C (DX) lenses not full frame (FX), the nikon 12-24 f4 DX is $1100, the nikon 17-55 f2.8 DX is $1400, or the nikon 50 f1.4 (FX) is $300-400, these lenses are all bigger and cover a much larger sensor, so I expected the micro 4/3 equivs to be cheaper, but I understand the 7-14 and 35-100 and 50f1.4 are great lenses and micro 4/3 is not necessarily cheaper, OK.

    Thanks for the hint on MF Assist, I completely zapped this function, it seems useful and I need to try it, and it seems to work well with the rear-screen too (therefore still no reason to use the EVF).

    I agree on the shutter speeds for videos, on my HMC-151 I use the 3x ND filters and 3x ISO sensitivity levels to keep the shutter speed at 1/25 (low light with tripod) or 1/50, and rarely higher (otherwise I get jumping movement in scenes because I shoot at 25P) except for fast sports where that effect is desired to allow stop on image), while reducing aperture movements to a minimum. With the GH3 there are no inbuilt ND filters, and fiddling with ISO and aperture changes on screen is complex, and the rolling buttons make noise as they click during a video... The advantage of 60P is that faster shutter speeds are not as detrimental as with 24/25P, so increasing shutter speed to control light is OK. I may have to get some ND filters, but that seems cumbersome.

    Comments welcome. Cheers.
     
  7. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    As with most electronics, miniaturization doesn't equal lower cost. Engineering, not materials drives cost on this stuff.
     
  8. Bacek

    Bacek Mu-43 Regular

    64
    Dec 30, 2012
    Don't know about GH3 but generally back screen is painful on full sun scenes. Additionally it should be battery saver compared to back screen size. For me its easier to compose scene on any VF. Full scene and back-screen distracts me. But of course it's easier to explore camera menus on back screen than on EVF.
     
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  9. Photo-Op

    Photo-Op Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    Jan 10, 2013
    WI
    I did the same with all my Nikon gear, sold it on ebay. And switched over to the GH3 and OMD for now, both have their strengths. Here is a couple of stop and shoot stills, just trying to get a feel for the camera and so far I like what I see and I haven't even begun to shoot with it yet.
     

    Attached Files:

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