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December 29, 2012

9 New Panasonic GH3 Test Videos Show the Camera's Capabilities and Limitations

You've seen the test videos and the first short film made with the prototype models, but now the production models of the Panasonic GH3 have been around for almost a month. Those filmmakers who decided to take the early adoption plunge have been out there kicking the GH3's figurative tires and uploading their resulting videos. Here I've picked out those videos that should answer lingering questions about moire, ISO, the wireless app, overall image quality, and how the GH3 compares to the GH2 (and popular DSLR's). I'll also chime in occasionally with my thoughts on the brief hands-on experience I had with the camera:

First up, YouTube user Griffin Hammond gives a nice overview of some of the differences between the GH2 and the GH3, and also takes a look at the GH3's features (some of which have been touched upon previously).

One thing that Griffin didn't mention that I think is a great feature on the GH3, is that when you're adjusting the focus ring on an electronic lens, the GH3 will automatically magnify the image to help you focus.

Although general overview aside, I found the limitations of the Lumix Link app that Griffin made note of to be rather disappointing. For the most part I can accept not being able to change certain camera settings while recording, but the lack of live monitoring, focus control, zoom control, and ability to stop the camera without a timer seems a bit ridiculous to me. In addition to all this, there are apparently some live monitoring lag issues with the iPad version of the app:

Now granted, some of these issues might be due to hardware limitations, but hopefully we can expect some fixes in future software updates or perhaps a hacked app from Vitaliy Kiselev or one of the users over at Personal View.

Moving on, we have a comparison of moire on the GH2 and the GH3:

In all of the shot setups it seems that the amount of moire on each camera is roughly the same. However, I should also point out that when I was playing around with a demo model I noticed rainbow moire patterns on camera bags with fine canvas-like textures, although I'm not sure if this is still an issue on production models.

Here we have some comparisons of different ISO settings on the GH3, the 5D Mark III and the 7D, as well as a real world comparison of the GH3 and the 5D Mark III:

For the most part, the GH3 holds its own with the 5D Mark III and the 7D, but in the higher ISO's the GH3 was noticeably more noisy than the Mark III and was only slightly better than the 7D.

In the real world comparison, the GH3 and the 5D Mark III seem about even quality wise, although I did notice that the GH3 had a bit more dynamic range in the shadow areas than the Mark III. Speaking of dynamic range, the next couple videos explore how the GH3 fares when shooting at night:

All in all I found that both of these videos produced results on par with Genesis; with the right amount of light and fast lenses you can get some great images at night, but with darker clothing and shadows you're still going to get crushed blacks.

Lastly, we have a couple of videos shot during the day in both urban and rural settings. Altogether I think they're good examples of the camera's color rendition, and ability to resolve detail.

What do you think of these GH3 production model test videos? And for those of you who have GH3s, what has your experience been like thus far?

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58 Comments

My impression is that this camera really like fast glass. For me the color is solid and really the level of these cameras are that they will not interfere with story telling. Which is really what its about right?

December 29, 2012

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Allan Crocket

Terrible color at 8-bit 4:2:0, moderate moire, and detail mush... no thanks.

December 30, 2012

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Razor

My words exactly - when I saw Mk2/3 footage screenshots ;-)

December 30, 2012

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PeterK

Where are all of the female shooters?

I really like the site and glean really great information from it, the comments and the tests, but where are all of the females in the business. I know they're out there. Just an observation.

Anyway, I have a 7D, t2i, a good Canon zoom, a 30mm Sigma f1.4 prime and a selection of Takumar lenses from my Pentax 35mm still camera. I use all of these lenses in various lighting situations and they all work very well for me. I really like the look of the older lenses and I really like the size of the sensor on my cameras. I like the extra DOF I get from them.

I don't like high ISOs and use my Canon XA10 in any low light situations. I avoid shooting patterns and grains that cause image problems and I use LED lighting. I also build my own rigs, jibs, dollys and anything else I need for a particular situation.

I guess what I'm writing is I avoid situations that can cause image problems. I show the results to my clients, they give me money and I move on to the next project. I care more about my client and their message than I do about which is the latest camera. What I have works just fine and I don't have to worry about whether it will work or not and whether the client will like the result.

Everything I shoot is shown via the client's notebook, laptop or tablet. I monitor what I do on a 22" TV or my 7" Marshall monitor. I have no dreams of shooting an epic movie....I guess that's the difference.

I know my equipment and the results they give are always fixed in post.

Perhaps poor results are not the fault of the equipment. Just saying.

Regards,

Rachael

January 9, 2013

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Rachael

I've not shot with a stills cam for over a year now so the snob in me of course thinks those who do must be baked in the coconut. B then you see what people can achieve with such diminutive kit and you just have to say it's great. Great to see what the plucky badass can do, such a strange world of weirdness shooting video on stills cameras, long may it continue

December 29, 2012

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I was a canon user, I had canon 5d mark II, canon 7d .Now I have moved to gh2 hacked, and i am very happy with gh2 hacked, canon Dslrs for video is no mach with GH Series mirror-less cameras. the only disadvantage i can see is low light performance, gh3 is usable till iso3200, that's more than enough for controlled environment. 108060p, no complaints for $1300. very good for indi projects.

I wish Panasonic makes gh3 a world cam(25p,50p) through a firmware upgrade.
still waiting to see the capabilities of gh3 hacked version.

very good post Justin. keep up the good work.

December 29, 2012

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auri

GH2 looks more filmic. End of story. GH3 is a fail just like the 5d mk3 over the 5dmk2.

December 29, 2012

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mike

You win the prize for most absurd comment thus far.

December 29, 2012

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Bdizzle

Agree the GH2 is definitely more filmic even without the hack. I think the problem is beause of the new sensor and most people dont realize that its a SONY SENSOR, TECHNICALLY its the same dannnn sensor thats found in the OLYMPIC OMD-5 latest series.

Now this is not a bad thing because sony sensors are not terrible at all, some say they have a video look to them, but the GH3 is a fail IMO when it comes to image quality, moire issues etc.

Its technically like they gave a great working body with the wrong guts on the inside, The no video time limit is great, hIGHER mbps all-i is wonderful indeed,

1. but at the end of the day the camera is just as big as the 5d MARK 3 or any other dslr, which defeats the purpose IMO of micro 4/3 camera.

2. The image is a based off an already shelf sesnor made for another camera company designed by another company (OLYMPUS/SONY)

All panasonic had to do was make a working video camera that addressed MOIRE issues, maybe global shutter, better lowlight based off the already amazing previous sensor with stable high MBPS and maybe they could have allowed 4:2:2 clean umcompressed.

Instead we get a bigger camera with the wrong sensor, DECENT MBPS (MARK 3 ALSO HAS ALL-I) BASICALLY the GH3 is a decent camera but i would not call it a successor to GH2

December 29, 2012

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JAY CHASE

The GH3 is NOT as big as the 5D. Not even close. And if you need global shutter you're going to have to get an F55, because nothing less expensive has it.

December 29, 2012

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tbunny

Ikonoskop A-CAM DII

December 30, 2012

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Ikonoskop is blind n low light. Although I still think my GH3 has too much noise in ISO over 800, it can be used but only with very fast lenses... I was expecting much more. It is a new camera, 80% of the features have been improved but it doesn´t look to me image quality has improved.

January 3, 2013

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Augusto Alves d...

I can't wait to unleash my latest music vid on y'all. Combo of zeiss glass on an fs100 getting results you just wouldn't expect. Sony senors just need some love innit!?

December 30, 2012

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Every time I hear this bullshit term "filmic", I want to gag.

December 30, 2012

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Swested

Since "filmic" is not a concretely-defined term, could you be so kind as to relay your interpretation of its meaning? Then I might have some better understanding of what you're talking about....

December 30, 2012

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Blah

I think the GH3 is a very nice upgrade from the GH2. I have both the 12-35 and 35-100 Lumix f2,8 lenses and combined with the GH3 it's a light camera with great image quality. Here is a video I shot the next day it came in the mail. I used a Rode shotgun and recorded direct into the camera. Main lens is the Lumix 35-100.

https://vimeo.com/54756641

December 29, 2012

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Well done Eric!

December 29, 2012

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Thanks Justin

December 30, 2012

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I've been shooting with a T2i/550D for the past 3 years. I was considering moving to a GH3, mainly for slo-mo and the added sharpness, but I just bought a T3i/600D.
Why ? Switching to MFT would've meant new (and expensive) lenses, worse low-light performance, a new workflow in post ...
The T3i/600D means I can keep using the same batteries, same battery grip, same lenses. On top of that, I have manual audio controls (plus I can keep using Magic Lantern for zebras). The 3x sensor crop on the 600D also eliminates most moire and aliasing (which is what motivated me to get a GH3).
I'm also investing in the Mosaic Engineering AA filter for the TXi series, so I can use it on both of my cameras.
I won't have in-camera slo-mo, but I still have money left from not buying the GH3 that I could invest in a Sony Nex5n.

December 29, 2012

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Enjoy that glorious 720P-res softness.

December 30, 2012

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Swested

I like to read the pros and cons about the GH3. Now that the dust is settling and the hype waning, I'd like to know the truth about this camera. For that reason alone I don't pre-order so I can read what early adopters say, albeit phanboyz with a hefty investment, because it could indeed be a dud.

I've had a GH2 for two years. I like the smallness and the 24p video it produces. I'm accustomed to no headphone jack by knowing mics and placement, or using a MixPre-D underneath. Videos I've seen of the all-i high bitrate GH3 don't look much different than the GH2 24p 24Mbps, at least not on the web. Then again, if shooting for the web what difference does high bitrate make if it gets downgraded. I've also seen unhacked GH2 on the big screen and it looked pretty good. I don't know how much the GH3 improves on that or if the bitrate is merely a numerical improvement to appease the BBC for whom I (and most others) will never shoot.

Recently I outfitted my rig with Redrock ff and bought a small collection of passive MFT lenses. If it sounds like I'm gearing up for the BMCC MFT it's because I am. However, as we all know we don't know when the witch will deliver. I'll be hanging with Black Magic at Supermeet late January to get the scoop, but the timetable is ridiculous. Nevertheless, to my eyes the BMCC shows vast improvement over DSLRs. I'd love to skip the GH3 and move away from DSLR if 1) the witch delivers right away or 2) Panasonic quits dickin' around and brings a true successor to the AF100. Ultimately I wish the witch would deliver and quit brewing excuses. I'm not sold on the GH3, but if I won't see the BMCC until Q3 2013 or anything new for NAB, I might buy it in the meantime.

December 29, 2012

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tommy smith III

The GH3 is undoubtedly a great camera. However, if I had to choose a body for something narrative, or dramatic with time to setup / light etc... I still think I'd side with the GH2. There are certain qualities I really enjoy about the image that haven't transferred over to the GH3, which isn't a bad thing necessarily, just personal preference I guess.

I know terms like "cinematic, filmic and organic" give most people a headache when they hear them... and aren't useful in any practical sense. However, I have to admit that the GH2 is basically that... it just has something unique that brings those adjectives to mind- hard to quantify really.

That said, the GH3 is awesome. It produces an amazingly sharp, colorful, crisp HD image that holds up pretty darn well even at 3200 iso. There are very few downsides to this camera; I wouldn't hesitate to pick one up if I wasn't already satisfied with my GH2 or planning on getting the BMC later next year.

December 29, 2012

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Andrew

It would be awesome if Sony take the all the Gh3 specs on their ff Mirorless.

December 29, 2012

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Quobetah

More latitude and resolution than the 5D mkiii for half the price? Plus unlimited record times. If I could get an electronic micro 4/3 to EF adaptor I'd get one.

December 29, 2012

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Stu Mannion

Still looks like it's a good idea for me to get the GH3. Same quality as the Mark III for almost half the price.

December 29, 2012

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David Brooks

Funny only one of the sentences or the comments has anything to do with the fact that you can monitor audio on this camera and have (so I hear according to EOSHD webiste) 12 audio adjustments. Anyone who has done serious long filming for doc work knows how important this is. Dual sound is a pain in the butt and it seems this GH3 finally allows us to be a one man run and gun machine. This is a huge improvment, worth $100s of dollars IMO.

December 29, 2012

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David Whalen

GH3 has alot of improvements, people will find more negatives then positive. Weather sealed, better color(no to minimum green cast) Mic/Headphone jack, improved compression codecs, 60fps in 1080p, better stability out of camera with out any hacks, improved ergonomics and UI design.

This might not be for people with GH2's maybe, but it is to me. Will be picking one up soon.

December 30, 2012

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Xiong

reason i love the hacked GH2 is the sheer SHARPNESS and CRISP nature of the image... when looking at EOSHD's comparision with the 5D Mark II, the GH2 blew the 5D away in terms of sharpness...

the 5D may be more "cinematic" but is that sharpness still there on the GH3? Is a stock GH3 softer than a hacked GH2? Or does the hack just affect how push and pull-able the footage is in post? I feel like this hasn't been clarified anywhere...

is the GH3 the same visually as the GH2 (in terms of the LOOK) but with more dynamic range, better color rendition, etc...? is it the same camera BASE (visually) with improvements? or is it visually a whole different beast?

hope this makes sense!

THANKS!

December 30, 2012

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The gh2 does automatically zoom in when manually focusing using a native electronic m43 lens

December 30, 2012

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Mike

I'm currently saving up for the GH3, battery grip, shotgun mic, 25mm 1.4, 45mm 1.8, and the 75mm 1.8 (for telephoto). I know a lot folks would want the 12-35mm and 35-100mm for video purposes, but for me they are just not fast enough for my needs and they cost a lot more than the Olympus primes do.

Others my opt to get the super-fast primes made by SLR Magic or Voigtlander, but to me they're expensive specialized lenses and I need something more versatile and that takes advantage of the great AF system on the GH2/GH3 that can be used for both video and stills. Yes, I plan on keeping my GH2 as well and use it as a b-camera. Based on the videos I've seen so far I do prefer the GH3's image due the level of dynamic range. I see no problem seamlessly cutting back and forth between the footage of both cameras.

As far the whole hacked vs. not hacked subject, based on the tests I've run when I hacked my gh2 (using various different hacks and bit rates) there was no increase of detail or sharpness to the image vs. not hacked. The only difference in the image that I could see was that there was less noise in shadow areas when the bit-rates were high. The only true advantage I see to hacking it is for more wiggle room when you're doing color grading and chroma key.

As far as the whole "film-like image" thing, that phrase drives me bonkers. The image is probably 80% determined by how the scene is lit rather than the camera itself. The other factors are framing/composition, and to a much lesser extent the characteristics of the lens. Shallow depth of field may play a factor (when appropriately used). But there really isn't a monolithic standard on how movies are made to look like when the aesthetic is different with every cinematographer. So rather it be a gh2, t2i, 5d, fs100, Epic, Alexa, BMC, or whatever; any one of those cameras are all capable of great imagery in the right hands.

December 30, 2012

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You win for best logical thinking of the year, lighting is so important alot of people gloss over it.

December 30, 2012

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Xiong

Couldn't agree more re the lighting. I used to be a pro set designer and have seen many changes over the years. I remember well when music videos became 'it'. (My brother designed Michael Jacksons Billy Jean at Elstree.) They couldn't afford their ambitions and get a full 7 min story in a day. We were used to 30 seconds in a day or two. What they did do was turn up with two 16mm cameras hand holding one 'cause they couldn't afford a second dolly /tripod and we adapted (recycled" our 'proper' sets, dressing them to suit the new shooting style as they couldn't afford much a set build. You couldn't repeat those now because the definition is too high especially with 4k., it sees miniscule detail so cost and time factor goes up exponentially. I did a couple of jobs with Lester Bookbinder , a perfectionist amongst perfectionists. His sets took three times to make than anyone else - and cost triple. But Lester, Terry Gilliam and his like will deliver with anything in a dark empty studio.

Any just got a GH3 and I thinks its a great camera especially for solo stuff, but as ever it all comes does down to working with what you've got and delivering a story. oh and the best you can get in lenses with the best people around you.

December 31, 2012

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Shoot, posted this in the wrong place and missed a key word:
Justin, I would NOT expect that delay on wifi video to ever be eliminated, even with firmware updates. It seems to be a limitation of wifi or wireless technology in general. The teradek cube, which is a dedicated box to do wifi video transmission that costs around $1,000 also has a delay. They specify it as a 1/4 second delay, which seems to be in the same neighborhood of what the GH3 shows in the videos. People will just have to live with it – buy a traditional wired monitor, or use the wifi function for what it would really be useful for: a tool for other people on set to see what the camera is seeing, like an alternative to a video village for clients, producers, makeup artists, set designers, gaffers, etc.

December 31, 2012

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Shenan

It should be added, vis-a-vis the lighting vs. camera discussion in regards to the "filmicness" of an image, that in Zacuto's "Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout", almost every DP they asked to rank the top three factors affecting image quality, in order, said:" 1, Lighting, 2, Optics, 3, type of camera/sensor/medium used." Just sayin'.....

January 2, 2013

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that guy

It seems everything is shifted to magenta in these tests. Does anyone else see this? I mean it's a "look" but a little off realistic for my taste. I love my GH2 which I would say also has a "look" just not as purple. Anyone find this strange or have a test correcting out this purpleness? Would love to hear thoughts on this magenta issue.

January 2, 2013

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kyle

Yeps, it has some color-shift. I'd say to red rather than magenta. It's as red as GH2 is green, but I prefer GH3's colors over GH2. Also it seems to be better for color correction.

January 5, 2013

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mikestraka

the vid clearly shows moire on GH3 being far worse...

January 4, 2013

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marduk

you are mot right, moire is not any worse on GH3 than on GH2, There are minor aliasing issues on GH3, but nothing too bad if viewed in fullHD.

January 5, 2013

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mikestraka

Well, I already have a hacked GH2 and the GH3 is on the way. I will certainly enjoy the convenience of having two bodies with each having a different lens mounted. Also, I will have the option to favor one camera or the other depending which is better for each shooting situation - low light, moire issues etc. Since I am also a stills shooter, a main question is how much better the GH3 will be in this department - I am guessing less noise, better low light etc. which will make the investment well worth it for me.

January 4, 2013

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I just wanted to relate another great reason to owning the GH3 even if you already have a hacked GH2 like me. I aspire to do multi-cam shoots of live music performances. Having more than one camera angle in such a production will greatly enhance the final product - even as just a one person shooter you could just lock down one of the cameras for the main view and then shoot other anges with the moveable camera to create many options in post. If you already have at least several compatible lenses, I can see only advantages to owning both the GH2 and the GH3 assuming that they can match up in post.

January 5, 2013

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im still working with my twin gh1s hacked max latitude 100mbps patch and 75mbps peak reliability hacks,,the difference is so small between the cameras,,my gh1s are doing great,,they dont have alot of the bells and wistles of the new gh cams but for 300$ each for gh1s,the cameras cant be beat,,now the gh2s are around 450 each,,amazing cameras,the video is outstanding,,,but no one gives credit to vitaly tester 13 for ringing these hacks to the cameras,,or this gh camera craze would be nothing,,,without the hacks,the gh cameras would be ordinary cameras,,you know this is true,,without the hacks,,the gh2 would not have been the high bit rate camera it is nor would the gh3 have come out like it was,,panasonic hides the tech to these cameras,,,they hid the maximum output of the dvx100 until it got hacked with the andramoda 444 color,then got bought out and never heard from it again,,that camera had so much inside it hidden by panasonic,,maybe the gh3 can be hacked to get it ultimate potential out of it,,,,

January 9, 2013

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videos are good, but many are way too dark, and the music is way overdone, like DRAMA OVERDOSE bigtime. cut the music out of these, no you won't make hollywood anyway, as if that matters. without the sound drama maybe we can focus on the video.

January 26, 2013

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sez

a GH3 short: https://vimeo.com/57787912
and some impressions on the camera: http://alexserban.ro/loop/

January 29, 2013

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lovely, congrats

February 5, 2013

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plz do High ISO Test in low Lights on Same Lens size. frame, Aperture with canon t2i vs gh2
because i have budget for buying canon 60d or gh2 ...
i just want to know the video performance in high ISO in Low Lights
(Canon t2i/t3i/550d/600d video quality is same as canon 60d)

because i will be shooting some documentaries in which i wont be able to carry lights with me, so i have to rely on high speed f1.4 50mm lenses & high ISO in low light conditions...

i only have budget to buy some lenses with Panasonic gh2 or Canon 60d

i can't afford 5d mark2, 5d mark3 or canon 6d for now.

so please show me test between 60d vs gh2 hacked only

waiting for your generous response

February 6, 2013

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Ryan Butt

Oh dear lord don't get a 60d . Its got the exact same video quality as a T2i. Get the GH3, because it will offer you more choices with lenses and adapters, you can hack it and blow the T2i away in terms of quality and sharpness and dynamic range, and you get useful stuff for documentary and run and gun like good auto focus while recording.

February 19, 2013

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Thank you! Finally someone who gets it! The image is down to not just the camera, but the lighting, and you're post work. This all makes a difference in how the final image is going to look. So all you GH2 hacked people may love your cameras, and that's okay, but the GH3 IS a better camera FACT. Why else would a camera manufacturer make a new camera, but then say "Oh don't worry, they won't notice we haven't improved it at all." Soooo stupid to think like that. New cameras are ALWAYS better than their predecessor, it's just a matter of how much they improve, and whether or not you think it's necessary to buy it for those improvements.

February 9, 2013

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Ryan

We have been shooting with this camera for a short time now and I have to say I'm impressed with what this camera can do. The crispness you can achieve with this is outstanding and compared to what this piece costs it's just crazy.

Video test: http://nofilmschool.com/2012/12/9-new-panasonic-gh3-test-videos/

February 13, 2013

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LP

I agree! Filmic is such a term used by people who don't understand the many layers it takes to acheive a film look. They just sound like people who are like "Whats an f stop" (know nothing about lenses, lighting, etc)

February 19, 2013

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Is money your issue? Because those adapters exist...!

February 19, 2013

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