Digital Cameras Guide

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 - Everything in One Camera

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Launch SRP S$2499

Overall rating 9/10
Performance:
9.5
Design:
9
Features:
9.5
User-Friendliness:
9
Value:
8.5
THE GOOD
User-friendly UI and handling
Comprehensive physical controls
Complementary touch-screen controls
High image quality in raw
Powerful video recording features
THE BAD
Electronic viewfinder slightly dim
Only a single memory card slot
JPEG noise looks artificial at high ISO
More Awards:
Editor's Choice


Introduction

 

Introduction

The GH series has always been the most serious of Micro Four Thirds (MFT) cameras, and the GH3 is the latest one in the series. Unlike most other mirrorless cameras, the GH3 doesn't pretend to not be like a DSLR, it is the most DSLR-like mirrorless system camera of them all; borrowing from the design of high-end DSLR cameras and offering them in a smaller package.

The GH3 is the sturdiest Panasonic MFT camera yet, being the first in their G-series to come with a magnesium alloy frame and a splash/dustproof design. Battery power has leaped to an impressive 500-540 images compared to the GH2's 320-340. If that power isn't enough, there's an optional integrated battery grip, another first for Panasonic's Lumix G line, which will effectively double battery life.

The GH3 also comes with controls. Lots of controls. There are a total of seven Function buttons; five are physical buttons while two are on the touch-screen. They have default controls, illustrated by their captions on the camera body, but each button can be customized. Dedicated controls abound, on the top there are three buttons for white balance, ISO and exposure compensation. An additional dial has been added on top of the camera, instead of the single rear dial with push function on the previous GH cameras.

The GH series is, of course, well-known for their video capabilities. The GH3 can shoot Full-HD 1080/60p (the NTSC version) or 50p (the PAL version) and at bit-rates as high as 72 Mbps. In addition, the GH3 can also shoot 30p (NTSC) or 25p (PAL) and 24p video. The GH3 can also now record in MOV (h.264) format as well as AVCHD, and you have a choice of compression between ALL-I or IPB. The GH3 also embeds SMPTE-compliant time codes to help synchronize footage, and a headphone jack has been added. Seriously, check out the table below to see how many more options you have with the GH3 versus a (unhacked) GH2.

Panasonic GH3 vs. GH2
 

Panasonic GH3

Panasonic GH2

Megapixels (Effective) 16.05MP 16.05MP
ISO Sensitivity ISO 200-12,800 (expandable to ISO 125-25,600) ISO 160-12,800
Focus Modes AFS (Single) / AFF (Flexible) / AFC (Continuous) / MF AFS (Single) / AFC (Continuous) / MF
AF Modes Face detection / AF Tracking / 23-area-focusing / 1-area-focusing / Pinpoint (full area touch is available) Face detection / AF Tracking / 23-area-focusing / 1-area-focusing
Touch (1-area-focusing in Face detection / AF Tracking / Multi-area-focusing / 1-area-focusing)
Metering System 144-zone multi-pattern sensing system 144-zone multi-pattern sensing system
Burst Shooting
  • SH: 20 frames/sec (4M)
  • H: 6 frames/sec
  • M: 4 frames/sec (with Live View)
  • L: 2 frames/sec (with Live View)
  • SH: 40 frames/sec (4M)
  • H: 5 frames/sec
  • M: 3 frames/sec (with Live View)
  • L: 2 frames/sec (with Live View)
Still Formats JPEG, raw, MPO (when attaching 3D lens) JPEG, raw, MPO (when attaching 3D lens)
Viewfinder 1,744K dots OLED Live View Finder, approx. 100% field of view 1,533K dots Live View Finder, approx. 100% field of view
Monitor Free-angle 3" OLED with static touch control, 614K dots Free-angle 3" TFT LCD with touch panel, 460k dots
Shutter Speeds
  • Still Images: 1/4,000 - 60 and Bulb (Approx. 60 minutes)
  • Motion Images: 1/16,000 - 1/25 (PAL)
Still Images: 1/4,000 - 60 and Bulb (up to approx. 2 minutes)
Built-in Flash GN12 (ISO 100, m), GN17 (ISO 200, m) GN11 (ISO 100, m), GN13.9 (ISO 160, m)
Flash X-sync Speed 1/160th second 1/160th second
Video Resolutions (MOV/PAL)
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 25p (sensor output is 25p, 72Mbps (ALL-Intra))
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 24p (sensor output is 24p, 72Mbps (ALL-Intra))
  • [HD] 1,280 x 720, 50p (sensor output is 50p, 72Mbps (ALL-Intra))
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 50p (sensor output is 50p, 50Mbps (IPB))
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 25p (sensor output is 25p, 50Mbps (IPB))
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 24p (sensor output is 24p, 50Mbps (IPB))
N.A.
Video Resolutions (MP4/PAL)
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 25fps (sensor output is 25p, 20Mbps)
  • [HD] 1,280 x 720, 25fps (sensor output is 25p, 10Mbps
  • [VGA] 640 x 480, 25fps (sensor output is 25p, 4Mbps)
N.A.
Video Resolutions (Motion JPEG) N.A.
 
  • [4:3] VGA: 640 x 480, 30 fps / QVGA: 320 x 240, 30 fps
  • [16:9] WVGA: 848 x 480, 30 fps
  • [HD] 1,280 x 720, 30 fps
Video Resolutions (AVCHD Progessive/PAL)
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 50p (sensor output is 50p, 28Mbps)
N.A.
Video Resolutions (AVCHD/PAL)
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 24p (sensor output is 24p, 24Mbps)
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 50i (sensor output is 25p, 24Mbps)
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 50i (sensor output is 50p, 17Mbps)
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 25p (sensor output is 25p) (24Mbps, 16:9
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 24p (24H: 24 Mbps, 24L: 17Mbps)
  • [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 50i (sensor output is 50p) (FSH: 17 Mbps, FH: 13 Mbps)
  • [HD] 1,280 x 720, 50p (sensor output is 50p) (SH: 17 Mbps, H: 13 Mbps)
Time Code (Except MP4) ON / OFF, Count Up: Rec Run / Free Run selectable, Time Code Mode: Drop Frame / Non-drop Frame selectable (NTSC only) N.A.
Video Formats AVCHD Ver 2.0 compliant (AVCHD Progressive), MPEG4-AVC (H.264). (MOV, MP4) AVCHD / QuickTime Motion JPEG
Continuous Recordable Time AVCHD: Approx. 220-240 min AVCHD: Approx. 110-130 min
Actual Recordable Time AVCHD: Approx. 110-120 min AVCHD: Approx. 65-75 min
Interface USB2.0, mini-HDMI (Type C), mono AV output, 2.5mm remote input, 3.5mm external microphone input, 3.5mm headphone output, stereo microphone, mono speaker USB2.0, mini-HDMI (Type C), stereo AV output, 2.5mm remote input, 2.5mm external microphone input, stereo microphone, mono speaker
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g/n, 2412 MHz - 2462 MHz (11 ch), Wi-Fi / WPA / WPA2, Infrastructure mod N.A.
Battery Life Approx. 500-540 images Approx. 320-340 images
Dimensions 132.9 x 93.4 x 82mm 124 x 89.6 x 75.8mm
Weight (Body only) 470g 392g
Price
  • S$3049 (with 12-35mm f/2.8 lens)
  • S$2499 (with 14-140mm f/4-5.8 lens)
  • S$1699 (body only)
  • S$1599 (with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens)
  • S$2399 (with 14-140mm f/4-5.8 lens)