November 9, 2012

Slight Panasonic GH3 Delay and 5 New Videos: 0.5 Firmware Update, Moire, Menu Interface, and More

As some of you might be aware, the Panasonic GH3's release date has been changed from November 30th to December 13th. B&H currently lists an earlier date, but the 13th is the official Panasonic release date -- though that could still change as the camera nears release. This slight delay is probably so that Panasonic can make needed improvements to the camera before it's released. You can see some of those improvements in new test footage shot on cameras with the 0.5 firmware, though as you might expect there are still some lingering issues. In addition, more in-depth reviews of the preproduction cameras are coming in, and we get to take a look at the structure of the menu interface:

New Preproduction GH3 Review

First off, is a pretty thorough review from The Camera Store. You can see footage samples at the beginning of the video and at 7:21 and 8:37.

While there was a lot of information in the video that we had posted about previously, I was happy to find out that the GH3 will have multiple programmable function buttons and will also possess fast auto focus. The MS2 Microphone also seems to produce some decent quality audio (although for me personally, I would go with dual system sound and use my Audio Technica shotgun mic). As for the white balance display issue, hopefully that will be fixed by the time the camera is released (or soon after).

GH3 Footage with the 0.5 Firmware Update

Vimeo user John Twigt got a chance to shoot on a GH3 with the updated 0.5 Firmware at an event Panasonic and Focus magazine held in the Netherlands.

Overall I was highly impressed with this footage. As with the first GH3 short Genesis, the color rendition is simply vibrant and beautiful. There is still the issue of crushed blacks, but these clips were displaying more detail in dark areas than I would've anticipated. The GH3's ability to handle fine detail also looks exceptional (I was particularly impressed with the shot of the spider web in between the rusty metal bars). As for color grading, the footage held up to a fair amount of manipulation, but definitely showed its limits in the noise that became rather apparent with the Magic Bullet Looks "Flat" setting, and the Final Cut Pro 3-Way Color Correction that pushed the mid tones up to 170.

But it also looks like we haven't completely escaped a couple of our old foes...

Moire and Aliasing

In addition to producing some beautiful test footage, John Twigt also ran across some moire issues.

As did EOSHD's Andrew Reid.

This might be a worrisome issue for some, but Andrew does a great job of putting the GH3's moire into a larger context:

Unlike the Sony and Canon moire which appears indiscriminately over all sorts of things like brick walls, roof tiles and asphalt, the GH3′s moire tends to limit itself to certain kinds of patterns involving very fine horizontal lines. That said, there’s also some unstable rendering of very fine textures such as grass and foliage on wide angle shots.

 

Whilst this is certainly not a desirable feature and a slight backwards step from the GH2, the GH3 has a better overall image because of improvements to colour, gradation and the codec.

Be sure to check out the link to the rest of Andrew's extensive review at the bottom of the post.

A Peek at the GH3 Menu

Lastly, EPhotoZine.com gives us a brief overview of the GH3's menu. While this isn't as exciting as watching test footage, it does give you a general feel for what menu navigation is like on the GH3.

What do you think of the new test footage and reviews? Do the positive aspects of the image quality outweigh the negatives for you, or do you feel that the GH3 still needs some significant improvements?

Link: EOS HD: Panasonic GH3 real-world test (pre-production firmware)

Via:

Your Comment

22 Comments

With so many great features packed into this camera and a new weather resistant body I already have one on pre-order.

November 9, 2012

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AdRath

I am an owner of (2) hacked GH2's, a hacked GH1 and a 5DM3. I love the GH2s except the low light capability and baked in look in dark areas. If those are improved on with the final product they'll have a real winner especially at that price point. During daylight the GH2 just shines but as soon as the sun goes down it becomes a different camera altogether hacked or not.

November 9, 2012

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Damo

certainly i think a lot of people will shift from canon to Panasonic only for this camera, including me. the resolution is damn good not like canons 720p and upscale in the camera to make it 1080p. it does 60fps, different aspect ratios we can use anamorphic adapters to make it like cinema quality, bit rate is huge improvement, only down side to canon is low light capability, till now no one is able to give them a challenge in low light. i admit it canon is the best in low light. but considering other features this compels me switching to Panasonic gh3.

November 9, 2012

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auri

Canon does not upscale 720p to 1080p. That is an old myth. They just suck so bad at downscaling the full image sensor to 1080 that you end up with 720 (or less) of actual resolving power. GH2/3 does so much better in this regard, but to me the inflexible picture profiles is a bigger issue than the low light. If GH3 ships without a flat profile or at least a Canon neutral equivalent (that you can dial down contrast and sharpening on) I feel they will have wasted a lot of otherwise great work "listening to filmmakers".

November 9, 2012

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I think I might grab this when it comes out, then the BMCC MFT if/when they make a smart mount version.

November 9, 2012

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Scott

That would be my ideal combo, a BMCC with (future) smart MFT mount for big jobs in controlled environments and the GH3 for everything else. And of course the hacked GH2 would still have a place in my bag for good measure. :)

November 9, 2012

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JR

I was a little nervous after hearing the GH3 has more moire than the GH2, but John Twigt's test convinced me it wouldn't be a big deal in real-world shooting. Got one on pre-order now!

November 9, 2012

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JR

I love the GH2, mostly for its easy of use vs. the Canons. But am I the only one never really impressed with its footage, or apparently out of the GH3 either? It always looks just...fine.

Still, I'll probably get one, if for no other reason than 1080/60P and weather-sealing.

November 9, 2012

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Swested

Still committed to the GH3 - unless somebody else comes out with a large sensor interchangeable lens camera below $2000 with a headphone jack, 1080/60p, high bit rate non-AVCHD codec options, a power zoom and weathersealing.

November 9, 2012

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VG20. VG30.

November 9, 2012

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Quobetah

Only AVCHD. Not weathersealed.

November 9, 2012

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Swested

I'm not a big fan of the preorder trend. Way too much time between order and delivery, offering ample time to consider other options. GH3 specs looked good in September, still seem OK, but currently weighed against new products announced and/or released since then. Nevertheless, Panasonic was wise to include all-i 72mbps and 1080p60, which might preserve longevity* in the GH3.

(* in the digital world, longevity means won't be obsolete in two months).

November 9, 2012

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animal_264

Is the GH3's effective resolution lower than the GH2's? From looking at the samples I can't shake the feeling that it is but I have nothing to back that up. Obviously it's still better than most DSLR's but the question is whether it's comparable to or better than cameras like the FS100, which I believe was the case for the GH2.

November 9, 2012

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cows

Will be interesting to see how the GH3 records out to HDMI onto SSD...

November 9, 2012

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[•] InFrame

I agree. Andre Reid had reported it to be 8-bit 4:2:2 in his blog post, but then later admitted in the comments section that we would have to wait for the final firmware release to know what the actual quality of the HDMI output would be....
It would certainly be nice to have that "upgrade" option with regards to the quality of footage.

November 9, 2012

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Blah

There are a lot of advances in this model but they all become irrelevant for me when Panasonic takes a step back and allows moire to creep into the picture. Low light can be fought adding light, color vibrancy can be fought against in the grading room, but moire can't be fought anyway. It must be dealt with at the sensor/olpf/downscaling level. The GH2 was one of the best cameras at this job, and I can't forgive Panasonic for this. The GH3 doesn't seem worth it now, with the BMCC just about to come out.

November 9, 2012

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RebelPhoton

Yet the BMCC seems to have at least as much moire as the GH3. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to go for the BMCC, but then again it's also more than double the price and almost requires some sort of extra support equipment.

November 9, 2012

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Blah

Certainly an upgrade, video looks real nice, weather sealed. Though the question I ask myself, does the GH3 really excite me that much? I just started to get use to the work arounds on my GH2. It's hacked with nebular, It has a Nikon adapter and I'm falling in love with my vintage Nikkor 50mm 1.4. When things go right the image is simply beautiful, It softens it so nice, proving to be a great little Doc tool for me. I don't mind it one bit. There's a lot of cameras out there i'd love to have but I still love my GH2. And It's still new (Aug 2012) ha...or the truth is does anything these days without "K" attached excite us much anymore? Lol. Perhaps. Happy shooting friends.

November 10, 2012

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Anthony Marino

WOW - awesome review! Many thanks and I don't care what the wildlife think, the GH3 is NOT simply for the birds ;-P

November 15, 2012

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simply, WOW !!! a great review. The poor girl's darling. if there is some better lowlight, stop, I've just placed my order. With all the old wonderfull glasses, all the adapters, it stick to line, GH3 you are soon mine. All out below a Aaaton will have some shortcomings, the Aaton will be a dream on the horizon. Since generations, in film, video it was to adapt to the limits all the time,to push them further. It is not a matter where you start, If you believe and are in Love with a GH3 u will do the very best..

November 16, 2012

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Sarah

Well, my GH3 has been ordered. I already have a hacked GH2 but want a 2nd camera for live music shoots and also with 4 lenses so far, having two micro 4/3s bodies will save lens switching time. Also, for those concerned with the moire issue of the GH3, why not use a hacked GH2 for the scenes where this would be an issue! Owning each model would solve this problem and is the biggest bang for your buck!

November 18, 2012

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May 16, 2014

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