Panasonic GH3 Review – Coffee and Quick Thoughts

Posted on December 10, 2012

I received the GH3 last week and did some quick shooting with it this weekend. This is the first time I’ve ever pre-ordered a camera, and I’ll just say I’m not at all disappointed. It’s everything from the hacked GH2 and then some.

I’m not going to write about how great the expected features are, because they were obviously expected (audio in and out, timecode, iOS control, QuickTime files). But they are great.

The unexpected: The feel is solid. It feels more like a professional camera. And overall it’s a bigger body. Ergonomics are vastly improved. Now there are two toggle wheels and better placed buttons for quick access to settings. There’s also seven function buttons customizing controls to your preference. Well, actually there’s five real buttons. Two are on the touch screen. There’s actually room for two more on the touch screen but for whatever reason it’s just empty space.

Speaking of the touch screen, I actually want to touch this one. With the GH2 I’d usually forget I could touch menu options because it was hard to be accurate. Part of the problem was a border around the screen. The GH3 did away with that and is completely flat, making it easier to touch the controls that are on the edge. The menu has been redesigned as well to make changing settings much quicker.

For example, before to adjust audio levels you’d have to go deep into the menus. Now there’s a quick setting right from the screen. And before you only had 4 levels to choose from. Now there’s 13.

The video is a quick collection of initial thoughts and some sample footage shot in different conditions. At the end I blow some up to 200% and 400%. I think it really holds together.

Here’s how I sum up DSLRs: Nikon and Canon are still cameras that can shoot video. The GH2 and GH3 are still and video cameras.

Technical specs for footage in the film:

Coffee footage shot at ISO 200, Nikon 50mm 1.8
Axis & Allies footage shot at ISO 6400 3.5 – 5.6
Basel footage ISO varies
All shot at 1080 24p MOV 50mbps

If you have any questions about the camera or would like to see something specific, let me know.

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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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  1. g. martinez cabrera


    I am a producer/writer looking to get more control of my productions going forward, which means I want to start shooting. I need a camera, and I’ve saved some pennies. I was originally interested in the GH2, but I’m serius and I want to grow, and well, I’m just thinking the GH3 is a better deal in the long run. SO here’s my question: the GH3 does not come with a kit lens. What would you recommend? I need something decent, but I can’t spend too much since the GH3 is already a bit more than I thought I’d be spending.
    Primarily, I’m looking to shoot shorts for now–talky, natural light stuff.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.


  2. Marc

    There are several options – as always. I started with the Panasonic 20 mm f1.7. A lens to work at but I use it for street, landscapes and portraits (you need to stand off a bit and crop for those) It’s superb in low light. The other is the Panny 45-200 mm which is very cheap and often gets good shots. At 45 mm its excellent for portraits and can be hand held up to 150 mm and even beyond plus its got silent AF which the 20 mm isn’t. The pair of these lenses can be had for around $600. Check out Steve Huff for reviews on both of these. That leaves a gap and here foraging around for old fast manual lenses can be very productive though prices are increasing almost daily. In addition there are several manufacturers like SLR magic bringing out some fast primes, one, a T1.4 35mm (70 mm in MFT language) for under $300.

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