RedShark News

13 Dec

Panasonic GH3: First user report - with video

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GH3 GH3 Panasonic/RedShark

The new Panasonic Lumix GH3 builds on its predecessor's video-friendly credentials, offering better compression and an all-round improved package. RedShark regular contributor Mark McCarthy of Sparky Media Productions bought one, and put it through its paces

We purchased the brand new Panasonic Lumix GH3 (DMC-GH3A) last week as we were really excited about its capablities for video work - as well as being a fantastic stills camera. For the front end we also purchased the Lumix 12-35mm and the 35-100mm lenses as well, allowing us to cover a wide range with just two pieces of glass, and both at F2.8 wide open, fast enough for our needs. We will need to pick up a faster prime lens for indoor low light shooting such as the lovely Voigtlander 25mm F.95.

 

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Freezing

I woke up to a freezing, but crystal clear winters morning here in Southend-on-Sea and decided to set out on foot for a few hours to shoot some test material with the GH3. This was the first time I had ever worked with a Lumix camera.  I packed the camera, lenses, a small Manfrotto tripod and a packed lunch into a small Petrol backpak and headed out.

It was a fun shoot and a real pleasure to travel around with such a light kit - I am usually lugging around a PDW-700 with heavy tripod or a Sony F3 rig with loads hanging off it - so it was great to be really discreet and mobile and not having attention drawn to myself - you can get away with so much more.

 

 

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Looking back at the footage in our edit suite, we were really impressed by the results. To be able to capture images of this quality,  with such a small kit is simply amazing. I controlled the light coming into the sensor by adjusting the shutter speed to match the aperature I wanted to shoot at.

 

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Histogram

The histogram was used throughout to judge exposure. You need a tool like this especially on a sunny day when you can't rely too heavily on the LCD screen. This screen on the GH3 is fantastic. You can flip it out allowing you to view what you are shooting at any angle. The zooming functions are also really helpful allowing you to punch into whatever magnification you choose to check sharpness. It is also a touch screen controlled panel - all in all very, very impressive!

I always put everything onto Manual recording and leave nothing on auto for the camera to decide. Exposure was there or there abouts for most of the time, but sometimes I was a stop too open. However the Lumix GH3 records a codec of 50mbps (our choice for our needs, it does record at a higher bitrate) and it was easily able to add a color curve in Sony Vegas 12 to control the highlights. Next time out I'll have a better idea of where to expose.

 

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I always put everything onto Manual recording and leave nothing on auto for the camera to decide. Exposure was there or there abouts for most of the time, but sometimes I was a stop too open. However the Lumix GH3 records a codec of 50mbps (our choice for our needs, it does record at a higher bitrate) and it was easily able to add a color curve in our NLE to control the highlights. Next time out I'll have a better idea of where to expose.

Follow us on twitter at: SparkyMedia1  www.sparkymedia.net


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  • Thinking of getting this same kit. Beautifully shot video. If you shoot anything with it indoors or under lower light please share. That's what I'm waiting to see.

    And thanks for sharing.

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  • Thanks very much Eddie for your kind comments. I hope to get some more filming in the can over the Christmas period. I'd like to pick up a Voigtlander 25mm F.95 lens for the indoor work! It's a super lens, I had it in the past for my AF101 but sold it - and now want it back again for the GH3! Happy Christmas, Sparky.

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  • Thanks for sharing. I've also just bought Gh3, I'm also a GH2 (hacked) user.
    Love the camera, battery size much bigger & better, very nice video file menu, audo quality is also excellent and of course we now have a headphone monitoring output jack.
    One thing I hope Panasonic will alter is the 10 second limit for live settings display. My GH2 doesn't have this limit.
    So why for the GH3, we need to keep an eye on the sound levels, no good if they dissapear after 10 seconds. OK you can press any button to get them back but that isn't ideal.

    Sorry for the winge. If I have this 10 secs limit wrong please tell me, thanks.

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  • Hey Stephen, how are you doing? Agree with your positive comments about the GH3. I have heard the odd moan about the dynamic range etc, but people need to get a grip on reality and appreciate the amazing HD images they can now get with a £1,000 stills camera - it is amazing - you could shoot a feature on it easily! I have much more expensive cameras on the shelf and the GH3 stands up to them image wise.
    Back to your comment about the 10 second limit - I haven't noticed this on mine and the live display on the LCD screen stay there, so there must a setting in your menu you can adjust for this. Best wishes, Sparky

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  • Hi Mark I'm doing fine thanks.
    I've been shooting on the GH3 most of this week for clients. It was an easy sell to be honest as the pictures do the selling. It was good to shoot for money rather than just testing and the results looked fabulous. A couple of soft shots because I wasn't monitoring my 17" LCD, I should have as I was pushing the limit on stop. I have it set-up with fast Nikon AIS lenses currently, no zooms. I've also some lovely LOMO lenses and spent the weekend making a rig that is strong enough to take the weight and matte box, I'm pleased with the way it's going, looks right. I need some more parts from China to complete it the assembly. When I have some stills I'll mail you.

    Thanks for your comments re the 10 sec thing. I haven't got round to sorting this yet. The live view stays on but the settings info such as shutter speed, ISO, sound levels cuts out after 10secs. Are you sayings yours does not?

    Look forward to hearing from you and hope you have a great Christmas. Best wishes, Balecam.

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  • I wonder how bad the rolling shutter is - did you shoot any whip pans just to test?

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