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December 1, 2012

Panasonic Officially Starts Shipping the GH3 (Plus New Test Videos)

Some of us have been waiting for this since the camera stat rumors in September, and others since the GH2 was hacked. Despite earlier news of a slightly delayed release date, it looks like Panasonic has officially begun shipping the GH3. If you're just now learning about the GH3, be sure to check out the camera's stats and past videos. However, if you've been following the news, jump in and check out the latest test videos:

To start, here's a video shot by Vimeo user Bas de Meijer in Senegal that combines video and stills from the GH3. Aside from a little moire and some instances of over-saturated color, it looks rather good.

Vimeo users Filippo Chiesa and ADAM MADA shot some high ISO test footage (though not in the extended range), the former of which used Canon's CN-E prime lenses.

Overall, I would say that ISO 1600 looks pretty clean, while ISO 3200 and 6400 are far too noisy for my tastes (although 3200 seemed pretty clean in MADA's video). However, what I would really like to see is a high ISO test showing a comparison of footage both unaltered and with noise reduction applied in post.

Nick Driftwood takes us through the GH3's different basic Picture Profiles, Scene Guide Modes, and Creative Control Modes.

I was also lucky enough to get my hands on the GH3 today at Glazer's Cameras here in Seattle (according to the Panasonic representative at the store, there are 4 demo units circulating around the U.S. currently), and I'll be posting my impressions and footage as soon as I'm able.

Have you received your pre-ordered GH3 or had the chance to check out a demo model? If so, what do you think of the camera?

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41 Comments

Is the gh3 a c300 for 10% of the price? Ok it doesn't have nd filters or xlrs but the codec, detail, 1080 60p and dynamic range and better noise performance (than previous ghs)...

December 1, 2012

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kev

Kev no the gh3 is not C300 for several reasons.

1. Micro 4/3 sensor hard choice when finding cinema quality lens for wide shot especially if you are on budget.

2. Even though gh3 has reported better iso range, C300 would blow it away in low light.

3. gh3 does not do 4:2:2 at all

4. C300 comes with c log and not sure if gh3 even has flat picture profiles or log.

5. C300 Has damn near a 4k sensor that is then converted to 1080p so even though it is hd, technically it is a sharper downsampled conversion of 1080p vs The smaller sensor in the GH3. Basically on paper you would be able to shoot a film and it would be capable of gracing the big screen without extra up conversions, debayering and all other hassles minus color correction/sharpening in post.

Now with that being said, the GH3 is what it is, in my opinion the best DSLR on market in terms of resolving detail and im talking compressed, its does not belong on Big screen, but for indies, music videos, web, television it is an amazing azz camera. Im definitely getting 2 or 3 C100s if the BLACK MAGIC CAMERA is not out by end of FEB, but im in toss up in the mean while between the GH3 OR 6D

On one hand the GH3 is at a great price paired with 2.8 kit zoom and voit or nikon ai-s old glass is a decent package, but at the same time its just something about canon look even though it is only 720p 6d or GH3 decisions decisions

December 1, 2012

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Jayyyy

Jayyy,
for your questions about wide-angle, you need to specifically buy m43ds lenses for the GH3. I have tried using EF lenses or Leica-R with adapter but the image was no satisfying. If you pick the voigtlander 25mm f0.95 and the SLR Magic 12mm (or the 17mm voigtalnder f0.95) they would work great to give a cinematic-like image

December 2, 2012

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Interesting.

December 1, 2012

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Soosan Khanoom

If there's a side-by-side comparison of the highest video quality on the GH3 vs the GH2's highest video quality, I'd like to see it. That's my main, if not only, interest. I have all the other fluff such as lights and sound, for any DSLR, camcorder, or BMCC. I just want to see noticeable guts improvements before expending $1300, $3000, or any other amount. There are many products, and unlike most spenders I'm fussy and frugal with my cash.

December 1, 2012

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marsupial_264

From what I've seen thus far, the GH3's ability to handle darker areas of shots crisply and without visible noise is far, far improved over the GH2 (arguably it's greatest weakness). The GH3 is basically an improvement over the GH2 in every conceivable way, except price.

December 2, 2012

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Swested

For all the things I love about my GH2s, the noisy shadows are absolutely terrible. Anything I shoot that's not lit up like crazy has to go through Neat Video first. If there is a single test I'd like to see with the GH3, it's a low-light noise comparison with the GH2. There are a lot of other things that look appealing about the GH3, but this would be the number one thing to convince me to pull the trigger on purchasing one.

December 2, 2012

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Derik

I think the high bit rate and 1080 60p is worth it alone. It's a shame that my GH2 720p looks just as good as as my 60D 1080p. I do a lot of TV commercials with a few GH2s and will be nice not to upres slo mo footage from 720p anymore.

December 1, 2012

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vas907

@vas good points that was one of my main concerns also on how the 60p looked matched with 1080p of camera, basically wanted to know how it held up on tv and if it could match hd in a decent seamless manner.

@Marsupial in my opinion the GH2 hacks were all nice science projects but at the end of the day , most were not realiable and required to much. As a director , DP, or production hand you have enough to worry about as opposed to dealing with overheating/malfuctioning of a camera.

The new gh3 can do 72mbps without a hack and i read several places where there was not much improvements in quality beyong 70mbps, the quality will be so good that uncompressed would not make much of a difference,

Then add the fact that the camera does not have a time limit, yes no time liimit and the company said they resolved any overheating problems. This alone should warrant the purchase of a new verision. Pound for POUND under the 1dc ( 4k compressed/amazing stills) this is the best DSLR available buck for buck

December 1, 2012

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Jayyyy

Since when did you see a gh2 overheat. Never experienced it with or without any hack in a tropical island. I think you listen to much and did not experience enough.

December 2, 2012

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Danyyyel

My GH2 overheated with no hack. It was inside the cockpit of a Ferrari 458 GT3. It was recording a hot lapping session for quals. The image was amazing but the camera would not power up after that. Also at high G-force the 14-42 would zoom in and out as the driver turned, really cool. I'm in South Florida with the same or worse as your tropical island scenario, weather wise.

December 2, 2012

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Jorge Cayon

Appreciate article Justin Do you or does anyone know if the camera have any flat picture profiles that would be equivalent of canons with cine style or flats that would push dynamic range. I'm hearing that it has something called dynamic something but also hearing that it is not a true flat profile but more of a gimic

Also does anyone know or have experience with former gh2 and green screen /chroma key, does the 4:2:0 hold up well or better than canon, if so gh3 might be a deal breaker

December 1, 2012

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Jayyyy

The GH3 has picture profiles and creative something settings...they both change the look of the image. Apparently one of the creative settings is a flat dynamic range one.

As far as chroma keying, all else being equal 4:2:2 will be better than 4:2:0...but remember the difference is that 4:2:2 has half the chroma resolution in one dimension and 4:2:0 has half in both dimensions (so half of 4:2:2). So it's important, but 4:2:2 isn't ideal either.

That said, the biggest issues I've had with keying come from macroblocking, which is a codec issue and has nothing to do with 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0. I would expect a cleaner image coming from the GH3's codec honestly, especially from what I've heard of preliminary reports about its capabilities compared to the GH2.

December 1, 2012

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Gabe

Technically, the GH3 is the superior camera to the GH2 on paper. Everything about it is better- DR, Low light, Noise, available codecs and shooting modes etc, that's not even getting into stills which is on another level entirely. By all means this is a very worthy upgrade in every sense of the word.

That said, for what ever reason, the GH2 still calls to me. Something about the image is so fantastically cinematic when paired with a nice vintage lens that I just can't get over it. The combination of a very sharp image and no moire or aliasing makes it such a temptation for video.

The general rumor is that the GH3 has a Sony sensor, and as of now that hasn't been directly confirmed by anyone. By looking at the image it isn't too hard to tell that this camera has a very "Sony style" element to it. The sharpness, the color and even the motion cadence of the video is so reminiscent of other Sony DSLRs, that it's hard not to make the connection. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, Sony makes incredible imagery. I'm just a fan of Panasonic colors and the image produced by their own sensors. The GH2 by comparison had a certain organic quality that just seems to be missing here.

Sadly, I think I'll have to pass on the GH3, at least for video. I've decided on the BMC, but until that ships (if ever), I'm still extremely satisfied w/ GH2 video.

December 1, 2012

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Pete

Go take a look at the early videos coming out shot with the GH3 and see how that godawful GH2 noise in darker parts of the frame is gone. Blacks are crisp and gorgeous.

I actually never felt the GH2 had an "organic" feel to it. If anything, it looks far more video-like; great for commercial work, but it never struck me as terribly cinematic without significant grading.

December 2, 2012

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Swested

Hey Justin, I didn't know you were in Seattle. Small world. I'm going to have to get down to Glazer's to actually put a GH3 in my hands, but I think I'm going to stick with my GH2's for the foreseeable future.

December 1, 2012

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Damn. It is a small world. I like your video for Wes Sp8. Friend of a friend.

December 9, 2012

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Daniel Mimura

B&h shipped my order on Nov 30, should be here any day now.

December 1, 2012

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alguti

I have the GH2 hacked with Flowmotion 100mbps hack which helps out in low light and obviously leaves on a tree, water or other things that flow.

I've had my GH2 for almost a year and it's fine for what I'm doing now and the next year or so. When I buy a new camera I will mainly be looking at something like the BMCC because it's 12-bit and not 8-bit. When you have that much color information you can actually grade your footage and not just try and correct issues.

If I had to buy a camera now, I would probably buy the GH3. But I don't so I'm hoping that the BMCC really pushes the industry to start creating more cameras like it. I would love to see GoPro design a camera that competes with the BMCC. I know it's not quite the extreme sport camera, but it would be an easy sell to anyone who uses a DSLR and a GoPro right now.

The future is going to be really awesome for this stuff. I can't wait!

December 1, 2012

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Julian

This is pretty much where I am in my purchasing cycle. My hacked GH2s ended up being much better cameras than I could have ever imagined (for the price), and when I look at what else is available right now I really just want to sit back and see what happens before making any decisions. The BMCC is frickin' amazing for what it costs, but I'm hesitant to jump on the bandwagon for the first generation. Besides, I'm sure that it won't be long before other camera companies are forced to compete.

With GoPro owning Cineform now, it's going to be interesting to see if they throw their hat in the ring on the whole cinema camera thing. At the very least they could start licensing their codec, which being more efficient than ProRes, could help cinema camera owners pack more footage onto an SDD without compromising on quality. I'm really surprised that they aren't doing everything they can to make Cineform more of a standard.

These definitely are exciting times for filmmakers.

December 2, 2012

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Derik

Resistance to moire was one of the biggest differentiating factors between the GH2 and other DSLRs. I just can't forgive Panasonic for giving it up on the GH3. It doesn't offer enough improvements to make up for it.
I think the MFT BMCC will [deservedly] steal most of the GH3's market. We already had 72mbps 4:2:0 on the GH2. Now, DNG and Prores? that sounds like the future to me.

December 1, 2012

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RebelPhoton

GH3's moire is the same as the GH2.

December 2, 2012

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Gabe

Incorrect.

December 2, 2012

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Swested

Actually you're right...the moire is different between the GH2 and GH3. I just found someone who shot resolution charts with both, and....the GH3 has less moire than the GH2.

http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/5344/official-panasonic-gh...

Can we please put the GH3 moire myth to rest? It seems to be based off a report on EOSHD on an unfinished GH3...that's the worst basis someone could use for their information.

December 3, 2012

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Gabe

December 4, 2012

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tres

@tres I never said the GH3 is moire free, just that the charts show it has less moire than the GH2. On your first video, the author clearly states in the comments that he had to try *really* hard to get moire to show up.

I can't watch the second video right now, but I notice that the Vimeo player is playing a 720p version downscaled by Vimeo which could introduce moire and aliasing if the downscaler isn't very good. Another thought is I see that they shot in 50p...if they edited the video on a 50i timeline in their NLE, then that could also introduce moire and aliasing because it would be throwing out fields.

December 4, 2012

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Gabe

So I mentioned this the last time I saw GH3 test footage, but it still looks to me like the GH3's resolution is a little less than that of the GH2; in fact the "Sony sensor" rumor seems pretty plausible based on the image I'm seeing.

It is my opinion that the one thing that made the GH2 such a standout in the Zacuto shootout was the fact that its resolution had more in common with $10,000 dollar cameras than anything under that price range, including the FS100, so it'd be a shame if the GH3 didn't have this quality.

I could be completely wrong about this, too, as I'm only basing my belief that the GH3's resolution doesn't quite match the GH2's on a couple of compressed videos. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

December 2, 2012

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cows

Really dont know what to make of this camera, after reading engineer interview who designed the camera, the same engineer would elected not to answer if it was a Sony sensor by saying "no comment", not saying that is a bad thing but at same time it is a SONY thing and not a panasonic thing. Was leaning towards this camera but dont know now.

December 2, 2012

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Jayyyy

I don't care who made the sensor...Sony makes good the sensors. The Sony look comes from their processing, not their sensors. Look at the FS100 compared to the F3...same sensor, different processing. Or the FS700 and F5...same sensor, different processing.

GH3 has Panasonic's processing.

Keep in mind too that most of the tests are comparing GH2 .MTS with GH3 .MOV, so Quicktime and its gamma shifts could be mucking things up.

December 2, 2012

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Gabe

*good sensors

December 2, 2012

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Gabe

Actually the fs100 and F3 are comparable to a certain extent, under the right situations , controlled enviroments etc you could pull off similar results with fs100 compared to F3, where they differ is the log profiles and output recordings, but the overall sony look is the same.

The one thing that made pansonic special was the look of the sensor, it had an amazing cinema grain film like look , the Black Magic Camera has a certian look to it, even the unhacked looked nice, So using a Sony sensor in a way defeats the purpose.

And its not just me, almost everyone that had a gh2 around the net are saying the same thing, basically that the gh2 had a different unique better look. The gh3 footage other than higher Mbps LOOKS very SONY'ish video look. Again not a bad thing but at the end of the day its not a "Panasonic thing " either.

December 2, 2012

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Jayyyy

The F3's log gamma doesn't look remotely Sony-ish. And there's a big difference in DR between the FS100 and F3.

From what I've seen of the GH3 footage, the stuff that looks off seems not to have a proper roll-off in the shadows and highlights. I suspect this is because the camera in .MOV mode is using the full 8-bit range, which clips the shadows and highlights. This seems to be confirmed by Driftwood. This means you can bring the highlights and shadows out of clipping if working in a 32-bit floating point program (like Premiere or After Effects in 32-bit mode). This is also why people initially thought the GH3 didn't have more DR than the GH2 (it's becoming clear now that it has a definite improvement in DR). I typically associate bad roll-off handling with the Sony look, so perhaps that's what you're seeing?

December 2, 2012

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Gabe

Basically to put it simpe it looks like the NEW GH3 is a "SOUPED UP" OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 , other than high bitrates , codecs, and recording time, it shares same sony sensor, so image quality from video should be very similar , Kinda dissapointing.

If this would have been anyting else other than a gh2 successor then it wouldnt be so much of a let down, but knowing that it is infact a successor to THE amazing gh2 , this is the equivalent of Mercedes Benz/BMW annoucing that they will now be using Toyota DEVELOPED engines. This does not mean that engines would be bad ,but at the same time they are not Mercedes/BMW developed engines.

December 2, 2012

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Jayyyy

So...other than fixing everything lacking in the GH2 and adding in even more features, it's disappointing to you? Remarkable.

December 2, 2012

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Swested

well, GH3, it has moire and aliasing as others dlsr. tha virtual lack of moire and of aliasing in the GH2, plus it's resolution and amount of data (after hack) and the little gamma trick to ragain 1.5 stops is what made GH2 shine apart.

GH3 seems to have lots of moire and aliasing (i don't have one, i'm judging it by the vids i've watched). Better low-light, but low light for most of time is not a must, in my experience.

I don't know why some people still pretend moiré and aliasing is ok for 'web delivery', etc. Personaly, I got sick with moire after a time with my 7D and 5D. For photos, i love my 7D, strong machine that I carry everywere, but for vid, the surprise of moire and aliasing can be unpleasent some times. That's why, for example, i was in shock when I saw BMDCC has it too, so I run for a camera without it. Still I love the look my 2 GH2 with canon FD and FL lens can render, and 'cause of that I'll keep using it, since i do like the form factor of small photo cameras for vid too.

But as a photo camera, GH3 sounds really great! :)

December 3, 2012

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guto novo

Look at these charts: http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/5344/official-panasonic-gh...

GH3 has less moire than the GH2.

The GH2 is not, nor has it ever been, moire free. It was an enormous improvement over Canon DSLRs however.

December 3, 2012

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Gabe

thanks gabe for the correction! so i've being luck by having no moire and just small aliasing when using lumix lens with the gh2, with the FD/FL lens even aliasing was not present! :D

one thing is sure, i've, since i got the GH2, have invested in some lens from panasonic and olympus, so i'm glad to know GH3 is better than gh2 in these tests! :) I was not impressed by the aliasing in some of the new vids with it online.

thanks again! :)

December 3, 2012

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guto novo

Honestly what most people fail to realize is that basically the GH3 shares the same exact sensor as the EM-5 OLYMPUS, BASICALLY THIS IS larger high MBPS rugged version of the EM-5 , basically a souped up EM-5 optimized and moonlighting as a viable video camera.

Again by it sharing the same sony EM-5 sensor with HIGHER MBPS and internals is not really a bad thing but it has a completely different IMAGE quality , none of the new videos have that cinema with film grain look

Its funny because i read the article where the engineer was intereviewed and stated that they consulted engineers from all over the world to produce this new camera , he gave many details "oohs and awws" answered every question in detail but when asked if it was a SONY SENSOR he replied "no comment"

Again a lil dissapointed because instead of improving on the image quality of the previous sesnor they simply replaced with an existing sensor from a completely different company, Not a good look.

December 3, 2012

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Jayyyy

"none of the new videos have that cinema with film grain look"

I have to agree with it. I'm always blow away with the looks a FD or FL lens can give to a GH2 hacked footage.

but if the tests say it is a better camera, it's a better camera. But for 1.9K I'll stick with the GH2. Even the crop factor of the GH3 seems a little bigger than GH2 for what I've seen...

December 4, 2012

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guto novo

Great article! I can't believe I'm now stumbling over the GH3.. I personally use my T3i for music videos, web videos etc but I'm frankly unsatisfied with the quality. I love that the GH3 can shoot 1080p @60fps! And from the test shots I've seen online the camera looks like a good bang for the buck.. But I'm wondering how you guys think the GH3 will stack up against the 5D Mk3? I'm having a tough time deciding which one to buy. For a while I was all for the Mk3 but now I see all the hype about this camera I don't know what to choose!

Thanks!

December 11, 2012

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How will the GH3 perform when compared to a full frame sensor? I believe it wouldn't be able to produce the shallow DOF look achieved on FF cameras. do you think it can compete? if the 5d mk3 or the Nikon d800 or sony a99 had the same price would you still go for the gh3?

December 16, 2012

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Erol