This new, not-so-compact system camera offers the best of Panasonic’s digital imaging technology in practically every area. We get to grips with the company’s flagship Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3. Read the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 review...
Panasonic has again kept faith with its 16.05-million-pixel four thirds MOS sensor. The sensor in the Lumix DMC-GH3 is the same as that used in the G5, which has been revised from the previous version. The company claims the sensor has a better ability to collect light, and sensitivity settings extend to ISO 25,600. Coupled with the Venus 7 HD II engine and latest noise-reduction algorithms, users can expect a notable improvement in low-light performance.
On paper it looks as though Panasonic has attempted to tick all the boxes and thrown everything from its arsenal into the GH3. The camera’s build quality, autofocus system, rear screen and viewfinder are all excellent features that are explored in greater detail in the relevant sections of this review, while the impressive video capabilities are also outlined.
There are shooting modes aplenty for all sorts of situations and picture styles. Time-lapse has a selectable start time and intervals down to every second for up to 9,999 shots. Multiple exposure is possible for up to four frames, with the option of auto gain for the final exposure. HDR is undeniably useful, while other shooting modes include 14 creative control modes, such as high-key, impressive art, cross-process and ‘high dynamic’.
Using a standard Class 10 SDHC card, a high-speed burst of 18 frames can be recorded at 6fps for full-resolution raw files, with a write time of approximately 45secs. In JPEG capture, a 25-frame burst is possible with a write time of just over 10secs. The camera can be used again while files are being written, although not to the full high-speed burst potential.
As AP predicted last year, Wi-Fi is becoming the buzzword in the digital camera industry, and the GH3 is the first in Panasonic’s CSC range to offer the technology built-in. Unfortunately, the test sample we used did not have fully functional Wi-Fi so we cannot comment on its effectiveness just yet.
Alongside the launch of the camera, there have been some interesting additions to the company’s lens range, which now includes a 12-35mm f/2.8 (24-70mm equivalent) and a 35-100mm f/2.8 (70-200mm equivalent). I suspect these lenses will do more to convince photographers of the seriousness of Panasonic’s CSC range than the company’s DSLM branding. The additions bring the range to a total of 17 lenses from Panasonic alone, not forgetting compatible Olympus and third-party lenses, which adds up to a total of 40.
Image: In the highlight part of this low-light scene, detail is crisp up to ISO 400, respectable at ISO 1600, but ISO 25,600 should be avoided