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Panasonic GH3 Price, Specs, and Official Photos Revealed

09.16.12 @ 3:59PM Tags : , , , , , , ,

This is probably going to be one of the more uninteresting product announcements in recent memory. Most of the major specs about the camera have already been revealed prior to the official announcement tomorrow, and there are only a few left that are still unclear. There is a chance that a few specs are incorrect, but for such a respected reseller like Samy’s Camera to not only have the information up there, but also keep it there for a period of time, leads me to believe that these are the final specs and the final price. Check below for more details.

[UPDATE: final specs from announcement here] The specs from Samy’s (with some added from the official video from before):

  • 16.05 Effective Megapixels (17.20 Total Megapixels)
  • Live MOS/17.3 x 13.0 mm Sensor (in 4:3 aspect ratio)
  • 4-CPU Venus Engine — Newly designed low-pass filter
  • ISO 200 – 12800 (25,600 extended)
  • 1080 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p
  • Video Bitrate 50Mbps (72Mbps ALL-I)
  • SD, SDHC, SDXC Storage Media
  • 3″ OLED Monitor with static touch control
  • Exposure Modes: Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual
  • Shutter Speeds: 60 – 1/4000th
  • Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1860mAh)
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: 6 fps
  • Magnesium Alloy Frame: Splash/Dustproof Design
  • Smartphone or Tablet Linking
  • Dimensions: 132.9 x 93.4 x 82.0mm / 5.23 x 3.68 x 3.23 in
  • Weight: Approx. 470g / 16.58 oz (Body only)
  • Price: $1,300 body only

There are a few discrepancies between what has already been reported, and now it seems Samy’s has taken down the page. Obviously this was another mistake, as the camera hasn’t been announced yet and it’s likely that resellers are under embargo. I’m fairly confident about what was put there, as I’m sure anyone selling the camera would have the information already. The price at $1,300 definitely makes sense based on the improvements they’ve made, as there aren’t any cameras in this price range with these kinds of bitrates internally. It’s not much more expensive than when the GH2 was first announced, but now you’ve got the added benefit of proper codecs available internally from the start. From a performance/storage standpoint, I can’t see a hack improving image quality all that much with this new camera. Once you’re getting into 50mbps with codecs that are already very good, going higher doesn’t greatly improve the image.

It will be interesting to see if either of these codecs are 4:2:2 and whether the HDMI will be able to be recorded. The GH2 gave a full HDMI but had a strange cadence that made recording difficult, so if Panasonic has also removed this limitation, this camera is a powerhouse. Many will still complain about the sensor size, but the M4/3s format is getting more and more support, and it’s likely not going anywhere anytime soon.

It also seems Canon has another camera model up their sleeves, but we should know all of these details soon enough. The link to Samy’s is down, so there’s no need to link there anymore, but you can see the details at 4/3 Rumors. Check out the other photos below.

Link: 4/3 Rumors



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Description image 82 COMMENTS

  • $1300 is expensive, is this upgrade really worth almost double what the GH2 costs now? I think I will just save up and get the NIKON D600.

    • So what you’re saying is the Nikon D600, priced at $2100 for body only is more expensive than $1300 for the GH3? Not sure where your complaint is here. If you’re worried about money just so you know…you’re spending more.

  • Awesome! Can’t wait for the official announcement. The only thing I don’t like at the moment is the placement of WB and ISO compared to the GH2.

  • VINCEGORTHO on 09.16.12 @ 4:41PM

    So aside from C100 and the 6D, canon has another camera on the horizon that may compete with this?
    When do you estimate the announcement?

    • No, the announcement is the 6D, but specs are a little trickier on that, so it’s worth waiting until tomorrow.

      • VINCEGORTHO on 09.16.12 @ 4:59PM

        Hmm. The specs seems very straight forward on canonrumors, unless the info you have is secret.
        Canons colors are wonderful, lets hope they jump in the game.
        I Iet go of my MKIII just in time it seem, before the price drop.

        • I don’t have secret info, I’m doubting anyone at any company will ever talk to me for any reason about unreleased products. I just don’t feel as confident in the 6D specs as I do in the GH3 specs, so instead of posting a rumor article I’m just waiting for tomorrow. Expect that camera to have a similar crippled HDMI output that doesn’t fill the entire screen, and if it doesn’t, I would be a very unhappy Mark III owner.

  • It appears that there is finally a company that listens to its consumers’ needs. Kudos to Panasonic.

    As for the price, it’s just early adopter surcharge. By Xmas it’ll be down to $999. After all, the Mk. III was just on sale for $2750.

    • I’m not sure about 999 by Christmas. If the GH2 was anything to go by, these cameras may be hard to even get until January at the earliest.

    • I disagree. Personally, I’ve never met someone who doesn’t use a GH2 or GH1 without a hack, so adding better stock compression is almost moot.

      So much of the appeal of the GH2/GH1 was the quality available at sub-$1000. I understand that with a better construction, the price will increase, but I can’t help but think that all this will hurt the GH3′s sales.

      • Who wouldn’t prefer a higher stock bit-rate versus using a hack? Isn’t that a prime example of a manufacturer listening to what customers want?

        And now it has 1080/60P, better weather-sealing, improved battery capacity, buit-in Wifi, better LCD, better ergonomics, and even a rumored XLR adapter. Not to mention improved processing, etc, the results of which are yet to be demonstrated. There isn’t a camera anywhere close to $1300 that can touch what this potentially offers.

        These units – even at $1300 – will be hard to even keep in stock for the next 6 months. Just wait and see.

        • “Who wouldn’t prefer a higher stock bit-rate versus using a hack? Isn’t that a prime example of a manufacturer listening to what customers want?”

          That is a good point. The hack on the GH2 can achieve considerably higher, but dealing with a hack is still dealing with a hack. It does seem to reflect that Panasonic is aware that consumers want a higher bitrate.

          I hope these do well, really. I like the Micro 4/3 format and hope to see it survive and get more love from the lens manufacturers out there. I certainly think this camera is a steal for the money, but I could also see it losing some attention due to the increase in price.

          • I also have the suspicion that some of the “extreme” bitrate hacking was just to show off the hackers’ prowess. After a certain point, I’m convinced bitrate is basically a placebo effect and impossible to distinguish. Or, rather, the diminishing returns past a certain point are not caused by bitrate, but from other aspects of the sensor or hardware.

          • Right at ~100mb/s, there are serious diminishing returns.

          • Seeing as everything has increased in relative price due to the weaker dollar (at least that is what defenders of the C100 price are saying), $1300 in addition to better construction and some add ons, it seems somewhat right on with the competition. Whether these additions are worth the price increase for the majority of buyers remains to be seen, but there should be a cheaper model coming along in a few months with identical image specs, and less frills.

          • Panasonic has definitely been the most embracing of the indie crowd. They started this way back with the “affordable” varicam, then the DVX100, and now the GH series, which seems to be actually listening to people who are asking for a sub $2k camera with all that current technology allows. They may not have everything right, but I like that they are not holding back so much.

  • That is a fantastic price for the specs. I’m seriously considering getting two to replace my T2i and T3i. The only thing I was hesitating on was the the added expense of lens and/or adapter changes going to MFT. But this price definitely softens the blow. Panasonic has done well here.

    • With that concern addressed, I’d like to know if anyone can recommend a particular EOS to Micro 4/3 adapter. The one I have seems to significantly soften the image.

    • Check out the pictures posted above – the SD slot on the right takes up half the height of the camera!

  • john jeffreys on 09.16.12 @ 4:56PM

    Wait, what? Minimum shutter speed 1/60? No 1/50? Also, why SD cards and not CF

    • Have you used a GH1/GH2? I assume the reason no CF is due mostly to just size – they are smaller than the t3i/t2i. I can’t imagine squeezing a CF slot into that.

      • john jeffreys on 09.16.12 @ 7:12PM

        Oh for real? Yeah I’ve never used one let alone seen one in real life.

        • Yeah, they are a lot smaller than you think. Same goes for build quality – first time I held my GH1, I was surprised at how small and low-quality it felt. It is so small that it’s actually really uncomfortable (to me) for still-shooting. My hand starts to cramp if I shoot for a while with it, so thank goodness I use it 99% for video, and keep it on sticks the whole time.

          This is why the better build quality is a welcome addition to the GH3.

          • john jeffreys on 09.17.12 @ 11:15AM

            im curious about shooting with one. since it has no shutter/mirror box, i heard it is very PL lens friendly, when used with an adapter

  • Probably 60 seconds not 1/60.

  • God, if there is still just ONE wheel to control shutter speed and aperture im gonna have to punch somebody!

    • There are two control wheels that I can see.

      • Joe, there are actually 3 control wheels. Look again: two on the back of the camera (top right, and top middle-bottom), and a third one on top of the camera by the shutter button.

      • oh yeah, i didnt see the one on top. i was looking for it on the front. WHEW!
        that was THE biggest deal breaker for me with the GH2. i sometimes do event, journalistic still work. and that one dual purpose wheel was DREADFUL!

        • Notice that there’s also a control wheel surrounding the menu/set button and arrow buttons, like Canons.

      • from an ergonomic perspective, i would have preferred the top wheel been on front. allowing you to operate it with your middle finger so as to not take your index finger off the shutter.
        but at this point, i’ll take what i can get…

  • I wonder if Samy’s is an especially profitable MFT dealer and Adorama alike Canon dealer and they are given the free publicity from the manufacturer to go ahead and leak the specs as a plum. It helps the manufacturer a bit because the blogs all go nuts that they have “breaking news that you aren’t supposed to know!” and the dealer gets instant notoriety and appears on the customer’s side. The other dealers might get jealous of course but they are all in negotiations for bulk discounts vs. gray market sales etc. Inside B&haseball.

    • It’s probably all planned to rattle gear groupies.

    • mizanul nasim on 09.16.12 @ 8:31PM

      peter… oh peter…

      i am sure tomorrow you are gonna complain about blankets for having so much fur… you are such a well informed person… carry on! you are fun…

      • Dear Mizanul,

        Blankets with too much fur can suffocate and kill babies in their sleep. And I’m sure you agree nothing is worse than a baby accidentally dying in its sleep.

        My warning inexperienced parents not to put their babies on blankets with too much fur is a public service.


  • The footage out of Canon looks more rich, therefore more movie-like, but it lacks resolution. The present GH2 has sharpest resolution in its class, blowing any Canon DSLR out of water, but the colors look blah out of the box and takes lots of color correction to make it look good.
    I hope hoping that GH3′s color looks closer to Canon with better resolution then hacked GH2. If so, it’s going to be a serious contender for a sub $1000 camera.

    • i seriously doubt that it will. The GH3 may be better than the GH2 in color though. Heck, the Canons and Nikons have their issues with color too, so as long as it is ‘better’ than the GH2, it is close enough. If I could compose with m43 format, I would love this camera. I just can’t see in m43 or even s16. Too many years of painting, i developed an eye apart from a camera.

  • This sounds like the right DSLR for a lot of people… principally due to the fully-resolved HD image you can get from it.

    Unfortunately, I think a lot of these DSLRs are putting their energy in the wrong place… while they’re increasing the image resolution, they’ve yet to address how poorly they capture motion. Mind-bogglingly bad rolling shutter is a problem among all of these smaller form-factor DSLRs or hybrids like the BMCC, which is a DSLR in everything but name. Which is ridiculous, considering that prosumer camcorders and upwards have been able to effectively record motion without a tremendous amount of rolling shutter for the last five years. These DSLRs offer a lot in terms of apparent quality, but they really fail when it comes to flexibility.

    • Adam Frederick on 09.17.12 @ 7:26AM

      Rolling shutter comes from the time it takes to readout a higher resolution sensor. Many video cameras have only 2Mpixels compred to the >16Mpixels of a DSLR or DSLM.

  • Specs are all great and fine…but let me remind everyone about the biggest issue with the gh2…the unacceptable vertical banding (which panasonic called a “feature” not a defect). It has made the gh2 nearly impossible to shoot with in low light conditions ( unless you can live with an ugly solid line running across the bottom of your footage in underexposed areas with little detail…I for one can’t). Before anyone drops a dime on this camera, I suggest everyone wait until it is thoroughly tested under these conditions to see if the banding still exists. I know, I know….there is no perfect camera, but Panasonic was made very aware of this issue with the gh2 and if they didn’t fix this “feature”…it’s a big middle finger to those of us who are trying to support them and use their cameras. Hey, I want this camera to be great too, but if Panasonic chose not to fix this HUGE problem…I suggest we take our business elsewhere. If we continue to support companies that won’t own up to major mistakes that make their products nearly unusable, all for the sake of satisfying our new gear lust, they’ll never be committed to making products that are useful to us as Filmmaker’s. If the banding isn’t fixed with the gh3, I suggest no one jump on the bandwagon like we did with the gh2. It’s in our hands as consumers…if it don’t work…don’t buy it. Just a thought. End Scene.

    • So true. I never owned a gh2, so I was unaware of this banding issue.

      Do you have a link that shows this ‘feature’?

      • Just do a search for “gh2″ and “banding” or “vertical banding”…lots of video and discussion about this issue already out there. I’m kind of shocked that I’m the only person mentioning this in regards to the gh3…so many people were angered by it with the gh2.

        • Hmmmm…I’ve shot extensively on the GH2 and never encountered any significant banding issues. The reduction of moire versus my old Canon gear, though, has been great.

    • I have shot extensively with the gh2 on real jobs, also had it as B-cam on a big documentery, where it was outshining the 50+ grand high end camcorder. I have shot hacked and unhacked, on original 4/3 lenses, and on adapted photo primes (Zeiss T*). I have had some noise issues in very low light, and apperently there is some kind of bug – documented on – givin you more than usual noise on certain ISO settings. But I have never ever seen that banding you are talking about. And I have put gh2 material successfulyl thru German network TV technical inspection, known to be even pickier than the BBC. Are you really sure this banding issue is real and not just some internet hoax? Of course, I can speak only for the European version (50i/25p) of the camera.

    • I shoot all the time with my GH2 in the darkest of places. I have never ever seen the vertical banding. You got a bad unit son. You best return it.

  • Everyone is excited about the GH3. I’m too but check out the latest bitrate work the guys at Magic Lantern have been doing. The programmer 1% has done an incredible job. Speeds of 100mbp/s ++ and relatively stable (a buffer issue still needs to be tweaked). Quality is supposedly amazing. Also, MJPEG422 is a possible (2k has been discussed too). If you want to encourage them, then donate and inbox Alex (he’s a lead programmer) requesting the MJPEG422 investigation. The MJPEG422 needs alot of work but the bitrate beta seems to be close.

    Here’s what the programmer JasonATL has stated, “I think that, if this feature can be further refined (and it is darn near good enough for me already), that most will find this one of the best features of ML. People want clean HDMI out to be able to get 4:2:2 or increase bitrate. This satisfies the latter. And, seeing the results that I’m seeing, would really call into question the need for 4:2:2 for most people, I suspect.”

    Note the programmer 1%, replied to JasonATL and stated MJPEG422 would give even more.

    Very exciting stuff. Remember, if people donate and let the programmer Alex know they want MJPEG422 then more attention will be given to this.

  • Here’s the link.
    Click on bitrate investigation.

  • Joe,
    Will you be doing another “Choosing a DSLR” page, to compare the ridiculous number of cameras recently unveiled? I own a canon 60d currently and I want to upgrade to one of the new cameras, but I’m unsure which is the best option. Are DSLRs still worth investing in for short film-making, or is my money better spent on a large sensor video camera? I plan to keep whatever I buy for about the next two to three years.

    • I’ll probably do a post like that sometime soon, at least giving people a rundown of what has been unveiled, but it really depends on budget. You’re not going to get a serious large sensor video camera for around $1,000, but you can get a serious DSLR to use as a video camera, that also shoots still images. For some people DSLRs will remain relevant because spending another $2,000 or more above what they’ve already spent on a DSLR is just too much to get a proper video camera.

      • Thanks Joe! Look forward to reading that post. Keep up the good, informative work that you do.

      • I’m looking forward to such a post as well Joe. I currently own a t3i, want to upgrade but very confused because I want a camera that can do great stills as well as Video. Excited about the GH3 but not sure how practical it’ll be for stills. The D600 and 6D sound tempting because of being FF but no swivel LCD is a bummer and will be missing out on the great video capabilities of the GH series! Your posts are so well written and researched, really enjoy reading them. It’ll be awesome to get your inputs on all of this in a detailed post.

    • There hasn’t been anything announced in the APS-C USD$1,000 range that is a definitive upgrade to the Canon 60D. If you are spending $5k, then the FS100 has been out for ages already, and you should upgraded back then.

  • This might be slightly off topic but today Canon, together with the ASC put on a day long Cinematography Symposium in Honolulu for film students at U.H. The Canon D6 was not mentioned and they mostly discussed digital capture, LUTS, film vs digital, and efforts in trying to create a “rosseta stone” codec to establish some standards. A last minute guest speaker was Wally Pfister. He estimated that the highest quality for movie capture available right now is about 12k: The Imax system that he used for Dark Knight Rises. Bob Primes ASC pointed out that that was now the benchmark for digital cameras to strive for because in many ways the best digital cameras have equaled 35mm film. Unfortunately there are just too many codecs out there so a “master codec” seems worth supporting. Sorry for this vague comment: More in depth info on this topic in the future would be appreciated

  • Can’t wait to see what that new wide dynamic range sensor is capable of. Especially with some hacks applied.

  • I just noticed the GH3 sensor is 17.3 mm wide, whereas the BMC sensor is 15.8 mm wide (difference: 1.5mm, 1.095x). To me, that falls in the same ballpark as the difference between the Canon and Nikon versions of APS-C (22.3 mm and 23.4 mm; difference: 1.1mm, 1.049x).

  • Panasonic announce the best Hybrid with the most video features and everyone grumbles. The GH2 got a lot of hatorade poured on it, this one will too. Getting Bloom to shoot a marketing video won’t help. Too many amateurs using cannon DSLR’s. This camera was designed to shoot video. It is not an ad on.

    • Canon has made enough missteps that people are eventually going to start waking up and moving to Nikon, Sony, or Panny. The 6D is a total joke. The cinema cameras are overpriced and underwhelming. And so on…

  • I think I agree with Jef, I’m definitely buying one or maybe two, have a project that needs something like this. Already have a GH2, two of these will be great ……., get some nice glass on there and we are good to go….
    The 80Mb is great, My GH2 currently does 176Mb with the hack, but it seems the new sensor and processor will give cleaner image at 80Mb. TIMECODE is damn huge for me, so is HDR.

    And yes … too many amateurs using canon to know the difference. They are not sure what a true cinematic image is supposed to look like, or maybe, has public perception of that changed?

    • “They are not sure what a true cinematic image is supposed to look like, or maybe, has public perception of that changed?”

      That’s the key. If it was shot on film over the past 20-30 years there are so many looks and treatments, speeds that have improved over time. Film today doesn’t look like film yesterday. Canon DSLR’s don’t look like film they look like canon dslr’s same with the GH2/3. I happen to like the raw look of pany alot more.

      • nigel Thompson on 09.17.12 @ 6:03PM

        Again Jef, i could not agree more….

        Ive shot both RED and Alexa as well and i think even those have their own looks ….. and yes i still love Panny’s look, have been a panny convert since the Dv200

  • Oh have not heard any news on wheather the HDMI out is clean or not

  • where is XLR and peaking? wtf?

  • Just saw this on the BH specs:
    “New, Tough Battery
    The newly developed battery allows reliable, extended shooting of both photos and videos. You can shoot approx. 540 images with H-HS12035 (CIPA Standard).”

    I wish that Panasonic would just, for once, keep the same battery between models. They did the same thing between GH1 and GH2. It’s a minor gripe, but still… I would like some consistency.

  • Well, these things are official now.
    Anyways, as always, I’ll wait for the reviews before I’ll pass any judgement on it. I’m looking forward to seeing what people say after it’s been in action for a while.

    Though If you’re looking around for a camera or lens at the moment, you should visit an all-around online store with tons of deals on all sorts of cameras and other photography equipment at  It’s a great place to look around and see what you may want, or to look for good prices on what you already want!