Panasonic has revealed the new flagship in its Micro Four Thirds line-up. With its heftier chassis and beefier specs, is this the most mature Micro Four Thirds camera yet?
Panasonic's Lumix GH series has been a favorite with videographers around the world looking for a small but capable video camera, so the pressure is certainly on for the successor of the 2010 GH2. Panasonic says that they engaged with users all over the world for their feedback on the GH series and what they'd like to see next, resulting in a focus on mobility, ruggedness and expandability for the new GH.
Highlights include a new 16MP MOS sensor, low-pass filter design, Venus image engine, a stronger built-in flash, electronic shutter for completely silent shooting, external wireless strobe compatibility, Wi-Fi, OLED LVF and monitor, as well as HDR, interval shooting and multiple exposure features. The GH3 is Panasonic's first Micro Four Thirds camera with a magnesium alloy frame and dust/splash-proof sealing. It is also the first to offer an optional battery attachment with a vertical grip which is also dust and splash-proof.
Here are the main differences between the GH2 and GH3, at a glance.
|Panasonic GH2||Panasonic GH3|
|ISO Sensitivity||ISO 160-12,800||ISO 200-25,600|
|Viewfinder||1,533k dots LCD||1,744k dots OLED|
|Monitor||Free-angle 3" 460k dots LCD with touch control||Free-angle 3" 610k dots OLED with touch control|
|AF Speed||0.1 sec||0.07 sec|
|Shutter Speeds||1/4,000-60 seconds and Bulb||1/4000-60 seconds and Bulb|
|Built-in Flash||GN13.9 equivalent (ISO160 · m)||GN12 equivalent (ISO 100 •m)/GN17 equivalent (ISO 200 •m)|
|Highest Frame-rate (16MP)||5 frames/sec||6 frames/sec|
|Battery Life||Approx. 330 images (LCD), Approx. 340 images (LVF) with H-FS014042||Approx. 540 images with H-HS12035, Approx. 500 images with H-VS014140|
|Connectivity||USB 2.0, mini-HDMI Type C, AV out, 2.5mm remote/external microphone input, stereo microphone, mono speaker||USB 2.0, mini-HDMI Type C, AV out, 2.5mm remote input, 3.5mm external microphone input, 3.5mm headphone output, stereo microphone, mono speaker|
|Wi-Fi||No||IEEE 802.11b/g/n, 2412 MHz - 2462 MHz [11ch], Wi-Fi / WPA / WPA2, Infrastructure mode|
|Magnesium dust & splash-proof body||No||Yes|
|Optional Battery Grip||No||Yes|
Video, the main strength of the GH series, has also been enhanced with more options. The GH3 shoots 1080/50p video, with a high bit-rate of up to 50 Mbps (PB) and 72 Mbps (ALL-I compression). You can now shoot with time codes, a 3.5mm headphone jack has been added separate from the 3.5mm microphone jack and HDMI monitoring is possible while recording.
Unfortunately, some features like focus peaking and zebra patterns are still missing from the GH3, but Panasonic says their inclusion might be possible in a future firmware upgrade.
Here are the GH3's video recording options (we are only mentioning PAL in this list).
Photos taken with a GH3 can be backed up wirelessly to a tablet automatically, no word on a smartphone back-up and also whether it's thumbnails being pushed automatically or full-resolution images. Panasonic says you can use a smartphone to change settings and shoot remotely, presumably with a dedicated app but that's also not confirmed.
Surprisingly, Panasonic has said that neither pricing nor availability have been confirmed at this time. So anyone looking for an upgrade will just have to wait it out.