We've relaunched as a full community! Get the scoop:

September 17, 2012

Panasonic GH3 Gets Uncompressed HDMI for $1,300, New Lenses Coming

Panasonic did finally announce the GH3 today, even though we already knew most of the details. One of the few that we didn't know about was the HDMI port, and sure enough, Panasonic has allowed the recording of the HDMI feed while also allowing the camera to record internally to the SD card -- doing Nikon one better. The great thing about this option is that you can have a simultaneous proxy or backup if you want it. Panasonic has put a lot of technology into this camera, and it's the most advanced video recording DSLR (mirrorless) camera under $1,500. There is also a behind-the-scenes of the Philip Bloom DP'ed short Genesis out now where both Bloom and Bruce Logan talk more about the camera. First, here is that short, which you should download in 1080p for better quality:

Behind-the-scenes:

Here is a new sample that has appeared online using a pre-production model of the camera:

These are the final specs for the camera:

  • 16.05MP Digital Live MOS Sensor
  • Total Sensor area: 17.3 x 13.0 mm (in 4:3 aspect ratio)
  • Magnesium Alloy, Weather Sealed Body
  • 1080/60p/50p - 50Mbps IPB and 24p 72Mbps ALL-I
  • MP4, MOV and AVCHD Record Formats (Up to 230 Minutes Clip-Length)
  • 610k OLED Monitor and 1740k OLED Live View Finder
  • ISO 200-12800 (Extended Mode: 125-25600)
  • Uncompressed HDMI
  • Tele Conversion Mode -- Stills: 2x // Video: 2.4x, 3.6x, 4.8x
  • Time Code Support -- Free Run, REC Run, Drop and ND
  • Slow Movie extension (40%, 50%, 80%) Fast 160/ 200 / 300%
  • Electronic Front & Rear Shutter -- 6 fps max
  • 60 - 1/4000 second // Max Sync Speed: 1/160 sec
  • 1/8" Headphone, 1/8" Microphone, AV Output, HDMI C (Mini), USB 2.0
  • Auto HDR for Still Photographs
  • Full application remote control through iOS and Android applications
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • New external vertical battery grip and Shotgun Microphone Attachment
  • Availability: November/December
  • Price: $1,300 Body Only

I would expect the HDMI to be 4:2:2 8-bit, as this has been the standard option for HDMI. Like Sony, Panasonic listened to what the market was asking for and has seemingly provided almost everything anyone could have wanted in a GH2 replacement. Of course, this comes at slightly added cost, but considering that there isn't another camera in this budget range with half of these features, I think, barring lens options, this camera is the best bang for the buck -- especially with the 60fps in 1080p and the high-bitrate recording options. Nikon, Canon, and Sony have interesting full frame options, but those camera are almost double in price at the least.

My biggest hope for the GH3 range is better color rendition and better low-light performance. It seems like we're getting both, but it will be hard to tell until cameras start getting into people's hands. There does not seem to be any sort of flat log gamma mode, but hopefully using the camera's contrast settings you will at least be able to partially simulate one. The addition of the battery grip and the new shotgun mic (optional purchases) mean that Panasonic is seriously looking at this camera as a video option. It's no longer the overachieving brother of the AF100 -- it's a fully-featured option with better internal recording in a smaller and cheaper body. While you're not getting ND filters and some of the other perks of a full video camera, the specs should more than make up for the money you're saving -- and if you really need those options, you'll have to be prepared to pay a bit more.

Panasonic also announced a new lens, the 35-100mm f/2.8, which translates to about a 70-200mm on full frame. Panasonic and Schneider have also announced that they are working on more lens options. Panasonic is looking at 2014 to release a 42.5mm f/1.2 and 150mm f/2.8, and Schneider is working on a 14 mm/2.0, Xenon 30 mm/1.4, and Macro-Symmar 60 mm/2.4. Those will not be cheap, as they will all be priced between $1,000 and $2,000, but expect them to be excellent performers when they are released sometime late next year.

While many of the lenses are not going to be released all that soon, there is no question Micro 4/3 is getting a ton of support. The format is not going to be as short-lived as some thought, and there is no question Panasonic and Olympus are both throwing a ton of weight behind it.

Pre-ordering should be available soon using the link below. You can also check out more information about the features of the camera at Panasonic's website.

Links:

[via 4/3 Rumors]

Your Comment

78 Comments

DOUBLE DAMN!!! This is the best DSLR, I would like to know if anyone knows if the HDMI is 4:2:2 8bit or not.....regardless THIS IS GOING TO BE THE B-CAM / 60p CAM TO MY BMCC

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
THADON CALICO

That's a really good idea actually - this would make a great companion to the BMC shooting 60p when you need it.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
Clayton Arnall

I just want to know how a mirrorless camera is a DSLR (digital single lens REFLEX)

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Daniel

Sorry, Canon. The next ship in the prosumer video revolution has sailed, and this time, Panny is at the helm.

This is how you make a follow-up winner.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
Hummer

Amazing spec. for a video camera but it falls short on stills side: ISO 200, 1/4000 max shutter, 1/160 max sync plus the body size of an entry level DSLR. Those are worse specs. than entry level dslrs while the price is considerably higher.
On the M43 front, OM-D is a much better stills camera while its video performance is no match for GH3.

Considering Panasonic's recent sensor development, I don't think it'll get good reviews in there. Considering their traditionally poor image processing techniques, I doubt it'll get good reviews there as well. (But those are speculations as of now. Things might turn out to be different and I do hope so.)

This puts GH3 in a very interesting position. Though GH2 was praised in video community, its bombed in the market since it failed to capture stills and video market share.
With GH3, I see great potential for it to capture, at least, video market share and I guess that's why it's so beefed up in that department. On stills side, it's just...bad. Even worse, unlike days of GH2, it now has to compete with OM-D.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
TomTom

First, why are you complaining about still performance on a video blog?

Second, if you've ever used the GH2, you'd realize that the still performance is actually quite phenomenal for what appears to be lackluster specs on paper. It's far from "bad".

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
Swested

I wasn't complaining. I was stating facts, reviewing its statistical position in the given market.

And, since I'm photographer+videographer looking at a camera that positioned itself in the still camera categoty, I like to look at it from both sides' views. Following your analogy, what's all these video camera sites been doing by reviewing stills cameras since 5d mkii?

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
TomTom

Anyways, what I find interesting is this:

When Panasonic executive was interviewed last time, about a year ago, they clearly stated that GH series is intended to be the flagship M43 camera. Also mentioned was that they see video market for stills camera is a niche and they are not interested in following that niche market.

Clearly, things have changed. GH3 is now geared toward video market and its stills performance is set at entry level, nowhere near flagship one. All that while it's now more in the form factor of a DSLR camera under stills imaging division.
Had they released it as a video camera, they could've raised the price higher and people would've still loved it since video gears are somewhat okay to be pricy. Yet, they didn't do it that way.

Nonetheless, what an interesting move.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
TomTom

No one buys the Gh2 for stills.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
moebius22

Panasonic probably knows that.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
moebius22

I'll second that. I have used my GH2 for stills, mostly because my Nikons weren't to hand/needed batteries charging/whatever, and I was really impressed with the results. And I'm picky as all hell about stills. I find the body too small and light to want to handhold it (I like the stability of a brick like my old Nikon D200 with battery grip -- I still keep going back to that camera because of its ergonomics), but it's fine on sticks. I think the GH3 with battery grip might well fix that though. Can't wait.

September 19, 2012

0
Reply

I'm not centered around stills so these are genuine questions:
Who needs more than 1/4000s shutter speeds? Being usually locked at 1/50s video speeds I can't imagine the use. Are these people trying to shoot the surface of the sun without ND's? Trying to freeze airplanes mid-air with 1000mm lenses? I honestly don't know. 1/4000s seems fast enough for me...

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
RebelPhoton

My Bronica tops out at 1/500th. It's never bothered me much.

September 19, 2012

0
Reply

It's a sony sensor.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Brett

I'm job off the Canon bandwagon very fast!!

September 17, 2012

0
Reply

Jesus christ.
Feeling like selling my 5D and getting a gh3 body, external recorder, PL adapter, and some old super 16 lenses.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
john jeffreys

Whoa! That's a surprise. I really hope m4/3 keeps getting love from the camera manufacturers out there!

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
David

"It’s no longer the overachieving brother of the AF100 — it’s a fully-featured option with better internal recording in a smaller and cheaper body."

No kidding! The AF100 has been nothing but a disappointment for the folks at my job - the GH1/GH2 however have both been nothing but pleasant surprises, and it seems the GH3 is living up to that as well.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
David

GH3 should have longevity. This was my major concern in 2010 when I precariously bought the GH2. Too many hyped-up cameras I seriously considered soon went obsolete, but they had shortcomings from the onset, and I don't savor expensive interim investments and filling up landfill with shortcomings. Of course, back then it was a 5D world. I never garnered GH2-specific gigs, but I contrived 24p work from non-techie producers who wanted footage, not gear. They had no idea what a half-crop is.

I think GH3 will remain valid until or perhaps beyond the next Photokina (biennial). Amid its alleged quirks it has high bitrate, so we can all shoot for BBC. And it's no longer a 5D world. Plus, there's room for firmware, attachments, and maybe Vitaliy. I might procure a GH3 body after the dust settles if I think it'll hold water, figuratively-speaking.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
marmot_1080

Wow, now i have finally made my choice about which camera upgrade i will get. Am leaving Canon forever. Hello Panasonic :)

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
Cris

So I'm assuming that the HDMI output will also record audio correct? If that's the case then the GH3 with XLR adaptor, and the black magic hyperdeck shuttle 2 could make this camera a beast.

Interesting... I wish I was made of money.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
Julian

I wouldn't assume anything until it's been tested.

September 17, 2012

0
Reply
Swested

That's the truth. I hope Joe isn't setting expectations too high. I haven't the seen the BTS for Genesis and the cat video, so don't know if there's some info in there, but otherwise, no one really knows exactly what's going to come out of that hdmi: uncompressed, 4:2:2, proper 24p (and other) frame encoding unlike the GH2, etc. All that Panasonic has revealed as far as I know is that there will be clean (no graphics) video, and that you can record to internal card and output to hdmi at the same time. Other than that it's all unknown as far as I've heard. By the way, so you don't think I'm anti-panasonic, I had a GH2 that ended up getting stolen, and the GH3 is at the top of my list as a replacement. I'm just being cautious about overselling this sure to be great camera.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Shenan

I can't imagine it would be anything less than 4:2:2, that's the way the HDMI spec usually works. All HDMI sources send out some sort of 60i signal, and it's up to the external recorder to see the flags for 24p or whatever you're recording to - or for you to remove the extra frames in post - which should yield exactly the same footage. The GH2 almost did this, but it had a very strange cadence so it wasn't easy to get a recording.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
257

I'm just going by what others are saying regarding the 4:2:2, that it's not a given. Thanks for the bit about hdmi output being encoded in 60i though, I didn't know that!

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Shenan

Look who entered into video. Leica. 1080p full sensor HD.
Check out the video. Scroll to 5:40 to see the video in action. Does it remind you of a certain camera starting with an "A"????? Still early but....
https://vimeo.com/49464083

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Ron

You mean an Apple iphone? Otherwise it looks nothing like footage from any other camera starting with A that I know of. The image and color tones from the camera they were shooting that video WITH looked way better than the small snippet from the Leica.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Paul

TRIPLE DAMN MAN!!!! That HD footage looks in a class of its own, I wonder how much that camera costs

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
THADON CALICO

The Leica costs $6950 although I have seen cheaper prices.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Ron

The Leica Glass is special. Apart from natural colour, the main thing is the slow, gradual shifting of sharpness into out of focus while keeping distinct details without the 'blur' you see in many lenses.

We do not know yet the video qualities. It certainly won't be a low budget option to shoot video.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
ratsrats

I think you may have to explain what you mean... I really didn't understand what you were saying about the Leica lenses.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Luke

" They all have a unique quality that focuses the highest resolution to a slightly different plane than the highest contrast. This is the reason they all seemed to project a lot of veiling flare, but in actual photography it may not appear at all like flare, it's most likely what's responsible for the so called Leica "Snap"."
-taken from the SALT thread in the lens test section of reduser

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
john jeffreys

http://vimeo.com/27374252

A 2.5 minutes video made with the already 'old' Sony Nex3 and a number of Leica lenses. The image quality is unbelievable at only half HD. The out of focus areas are still distinguished. They are not totally blurred. Unlike many lenses that produce an undefined blur for out of focus.

September 19, 2012

0
Reply
ratsrats

I'm afraid I don't really get it. It's nice bokeh, definitely. But plenty of lenses have nice bokeh; I don't think there's anything definitively different about this look compared to other nice lenses.

September 20, 2012

0
Reply
Luke

Movie Recording:
Single frame video compression (Motion JPG), Quicktime format (mov)

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Ron

The rolling shutter on the Leica is crazy. I hope its better on the GH3...

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Ollie

Any idea what the dynamic range will be?

September 18, 2012

0
Reply

If it's mirrorless does that mean the EVF will work in video mode?

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Ben

And to think its not even hacked yet....crazy!!!

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
chozenjuantv

I just downloaded the original MP4 file. Wow! Just having 60 fps at this resolution/color/DR is worth it. I am presently more than happy with Driftwood hacked GH2 but probably jump over to the upgrade wagon if/when it gets unlocked to its full potential. Who knows what else is possible? We never imagined the present quality level with hacked GH2.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply

"There does not seem to be any sort of flat log gamma mode, but hopefully using the camera’s contrast settings you will at least be able to partially simulate one. "

Excessively flat log curves on an 8-bit recording can lead to banding and gradation problems when restoring contrast in post... People have gone too far with some Picture Styles on Canon cameras so I wouldn't ask for too much flatness here, just something sensible. These curves make sense on 10-bit recordings but I seriously doubt you can squeeze 10 bits out of the GH3's HDMI...

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
RebelPhoton

Canon's log mode on the C300 is very flat and that is recording to an 8-bit 4:2:2 internal color space, and you can get some very good results with that.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
257

Sorry to bear bad news, but Mr. Bloom just tweeted that the GH3 is not a world camera, and will be sold in PAL versions (that do 24p, 25p, and 50p) and NTSC versions (that do 24p, 30p, and 60p). Unlike Canons which are world cameras, you must have one or the other. This forces European buyers to buy the overpriced European versions rather than mail order from the States, which is why those dealers are likely chuffed with the arrangements.

However, this undercuts more of the point of this thing: it's a tourist camera. There's little other reason to shrink the kids otherwise. Why would a tourist video camera not be a world camera? When you shoot at night, street lights have a flicker at either 50Hz (in PAL countries) or 60Hz (in NTSC countries, and you may recognize these as the ground hum frequencies when you don't hire an expert sound recordist for your shoot). If you don't have a camera that shoots at the proper frame rate, you will get flicker or scan lines burned into your footage.

So whatever you do, don't buy this tourist camera for going on tour.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Peter

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Johnny Unitas

According to what? Did you read it? That link actually confirms there are different versions for the PAL/NTSC territories.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Paul

The bigger issue for me is that the Euro version only records for 30 minutes while the US version just keeps going. So now Id be tempted to buy the US model but then there is the flicker issue - which as far as I know has more to do with the shutter speed than the frame rate. So either the cam has enough variety in shutter speeds or we will need a hack for incremental shutter speeds to make sure flicker isn't a problem.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Paul

Shutter speed changes usually won't fix this flicker/scan line problem. Frame rate will.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
Peter

“I would expect the HDMI to be 4:2:2 8-bit, as this has been the standard option for HDMI“.
At the Photokina in Germany at the Panasonic booth they proclaimed that the signal is 4:2:0 - 8 bit. So no 4:2:2 recording as anticipated.

Cheers

Yves Roy

September 18, 2012

0
Reply

This is just stupid? 4:2:0? No thanks, I'd stick to my AF101

September 18, 2012

0
Reply

Nothing is really confirmed yet, I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. It doesn't seem like it's possible to get a 4:2:0 signal. That happens in the encoder, and if the image is already going through the encoder, then I guess I don't understand how it could be any better quality.

September 18, 2012

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
257

Pages