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.
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.
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.
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.
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