Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Review

October 25, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 Jai Catalano

One of my first Cameras was the Lumix GH1. I loved the Lumix brand and highly recommend them. Thanks for the review.

1:59 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#2 zebarnabe

For me it’s still not the right one to upgrade from my old GH1, when mountain hiking I carry my GH1 with the 14-140mm mounted inside a bridge bag with the 20mm f/1.7 in one side pocket and the Raynox DCR-250 in the other, I doubt I could do the same with this beast.

I might not like the ‘hump’ in E-M5, but at least it still fits snugly in a bridge bag.

GH3 is considerable better than the older GH2 model, but considerably bigger and more expensive, it has roughly the size of a Nikon D5100.

Price wise GH3 it’s too expensive, even though you get a sturdy body, weather resistant and advanced video features there are better cameras for stills at a much lower price.

G5 offers roughly the same quality for stills, though it is missing some features.

E-M5 it’s better than GH3 when comes to still, when comes to video GH3 probably will do a better job.

Oh… in ISO comparison, RAW is missing….

2:25 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#3 Jørgen

@zenbarnabe. A premium cam means a premium price. G5 has the Gh2 sensor. I have that cam. Gh3 is much better, not equal at all and in fact it is on par with OMD from what I ahve seen. And the video is not “probably better”, its video is better than Gh2 and Gh2 videos completely blows the OMD out of the water. OMD has lacklustre video (I like it a lot, don’t get me wrong here).

So I disagree with the conclusion here. it is simple: premim cam = premium price. which BTW is no higher than when the OMD was introduced.

3:13 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#4 Tony Rogers

It’s NOT a multi-aspect sensor!

3:24 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#5 zebarnabe


Not going against what you said, but looking at the sample provided here, G5, GH2 and GH3 are neck to neck in color and noise… Dynamic range might tell another story and RAW may be quite different as well. Thing is, I’m not amazed from what I’ve seen from GH3 stills and E-M5 looks quite superior in that regard, I might be looking at the wrong place though.

G5 colors looks more saturated and with less noise (but more blurred and less sharp), but I suspect that’s due to in-camera processing settings.

GH3 auto white balance behaves quite differently as well making accurate comparisons quite hard.

Yep, while I’m not much of a video guy, I think E-M5 only strong point for video is the body stabilization that works with manual lens and pancakes…

As GH3 is still not released yet (at least as far as I can tell), this review may be over a pre-production model as well, quite weird if you ask me :/

E-M5 price at release was around 1500€ with a kit lens, GH3 release price will be close to 2000€ body only… at least in my country. Then again, in my country GH1 cost 1700€ with the 14-140mm when I got it for 1200€ in France (and was at 1100$ in US) ... Panasonic prices in Europe are very unbalanced…

GH3 is a premium camera for micro four thirds and in indie video realm, but in still photography it’s an average camera with snappy operation and tank build quality and resilience. Not a bad deal in that regard, just not for everybody.

4:58 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#6 Joshua Amahit

The review stated that it is currently the most expensive mirrorless camera to date. Isn’t that title held by the Fujifilm X-pro 1? At least, with the introduction of this baby, I can finally afford the GH1 :) thanks

6:15 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#7 jake

From what we’ve seen so far, GH3’s video seems worse than hacked GH2’s. While it has better DR and ISO performance, its unacceptable moire stops me from preordering it.
Premium or not, the price is quite outrageous, really. The camera is definitely not a leap forward, so the huge bump in price is NOT justified. Last May/June I paid ~630E for a new GH2 body and I simply refuse to pay twice as much for its successor!
I’m more than happy with my GH2’s video, so I’ll either get a NEX-6 or save up and buy D600 or 6D. Sorry Panny…

6:30 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#8 dj

Excellent review!—-NOW I REALLY WANT ONE!!

10:19 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#9 adipocea

Who cares what you will eventually do? If you struggled to get a second hand Gh2 you will clearly not go for a gh3 very soon… but that is YOUR problem, don’t state that, from the samples and videos that you have seen, that gh3 is not a superior camera… It IS, in every regard…

11:49 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#10 Hans Benndorf

Thanks for the ‘review’ with no text!! Very ‘insightful’.

11:53 pm - Thursday, October 25, 2012

#11 Hans Benndorf

This site is non functional at the moment, but not to worry, ‘Luminous Landscape’ has also a GH3 review up. Probably a better one anyway.

12:02 am - Friday, October 26, 2012

#12 jake

adipocea -> haha, in every regard you are a funny guy (or gal?). I don’t care who cares. I surely don’t care if you do.
I clearly stated I bought a new (as in brand new, from a camera store) GH2 for that particular amount of money (without a lot of struggle, lol).
Also, that’s funny how I am not allowed to voice my opinion, and you are (LOL).
So anyway, if you enjoy being milked feel absolutely free to pay as much as you want for that superior superiority. I for one will probably skip one generation, enjoy my GH2, see what competition has to offer and hope for GH5 to be packed with technology justifying a 100% price jump.

8:45 am - Friday, October 26, 2012

#13 zebarnabe

Maybe G6 will offer something nice at a more attractive price .... who knows :P

8:54 am - Friday, October 26, 2012

#14 adipocea

jake, yeah, and you can wait until you retire when tehnology for sure will deliver cameras as small as a lighter, with 45 mpx sensors, for like 150 dollars… or you can wait the next digital revolution, the robots… Jake, what the hell, it is a 1300 dollars camera,WEATHER SEALED,(doesn’t this mean anything to you, hey, this used to be, just some years ago, only PROFESSIONAL privilege), with a sensor miles away my friend from your gh2, a sensor with a much , but much cleaner hig iso, a much better dynamic range, and a better jpeg processor from what I see… Clean hdmi out, oled display and viewfinder, which means you can see the same crisp, crystal clear images that you see on samsung galaxy tablet, helping a lot in manual focus and video focus, and , more than anything if you are doing video , mpeg4 files in full hd, which are A LOT EASIER to edit than the resilient avchd, which slows every computer up to I7 chips and makes editing impossible… Isn’t that enough for a difference of some hundred dollars,Jake? what is four or five hundred dollars in the photo world? a crappy lens from nikon, the cost of an external flash, a tripod, you name it…for that you get a camera that doesn’t look like a toy anymore but has the advantage of size compared to full frames, a camera with autonomy, a battery grip, a factory basicaly, which you can take out in nature and do whatever you want… Your problem is that YOU ALLREADY GOT THE GH2 and maybe now you are biting your fingers with spite

1:40 pm - Friday, October 26, 2012

#15 Joetsu

When I came across this review last night just before switching off my Mac—the first in-depth review I’ve seen—I was so excited. Even got up early this Saturday morning to reread it at leisure. Thanks very much. I’ve saved your URL.

10:45 pm - Friday, October 26, 2012

#16 jake

adipocea -> :) thank you for diagnosing my problem, cheers!

12:08 am - Saturday, October 27, 2012

#17 Warren Lyons

Why can’t we just be respectfull to each other?  We all have the right to our own opinions. P.S. Anyone who doesn’t agree with me is a doodieball and their mother wears army boots.

4:15 pm - Monday, October 29, 2012

#18 Bill Burkholder

Come on over to for insights on the mirror-less revolution.

Great review. I’ve had my eye on the GH3 since early rumor stages and can’t wait to play with a production model. This is either the first, or one of the first really professionally-oriented DSLM cameras made, depending upon your perspective. It isn’t perfect, but Panasonic has really been listening.

Couple this camera with some of Panasonic’s or Olympus’s better lenses (or the Leica lenses for m43 format), and results should be even better than what are shown here. As big a story as the GH3 is, the two new pro-level zooms (12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100mm f/2.8) from Panasonic are really great. They cover the same angles of view as a 24-70 and a 70-200 on a big full frame Nikon or Canon dSLR.

8:59 pm - Monday, October 29, 2012

#19 Frank

I have pre ordered my GH3.
I think it’s a fantastic step up.

You can’t judge quality too much on pre-production samples particularly video.

As for price, it’s a bargain just look at all those features, nothing else comes close, it’s even weather proofed.

I think Photography Blog’s lower rating due to price may be incorrect, given the main target group are pros, again it’s a bargain.

You have to remember, this camera is pitched at Nikon D800, Canon EOS 5DIII which are priced much much higher, so in that company the GH3 is a bargain.

Yes those camera are full frame and GH3 is m43 but the Panny punches way above it’s weight particularly in VIDEO.

No other DSLR/DSLM has video features/quality that comes near this camera. I have a 5DIII and 5DII and yes full frame video is nice but the image is either too soft or full of artifacts, plus GH3 has
1920x1080 50/60p at 50 meg per second, great for making bluray, TV broadcast and slomo.

The only other DSLRs with 1920x1080 50/60p is the Sony A99 (video not as good as GH3) or the $13,000 Canon 1DC which is not released yet.

But GH3 has swing out OLED 3” screen, easy MF and AF plus shoot from the touch screen and so much more.

Go the GH3, it wont be my only camera I use but it’s the most feature packed and exciting stills/video cam released this year.

For a Stills/Video shooter like me it’s perfect only weakness my be a bit more noisy at ISO 25,600 for video compared to 5DIII, i’ll have to see.

11:29 pm - Monday, October 29, 2012

#20 Fabian

You can’t compare a micro four thirds camera with a full frame one, not at least for another 5-10 years, because it can’t come even close to IQ of the D800 or 5D Mark III not even close to D600 or 6D or 5D Mark II. I do admit that, in my opinion, in terms of IQ APS-C sensor becomes more and more irrelevant compared to M4/3, but there still is a gap between Nikon D7000, Pentax K-5 & K-5 IIs and Olympus OM-D E-M5 & Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3.

10:46 am - Monday, November 5, 2012

#21 Frank

Fabian thanks fir your comment, but please read my comment again.

My interest in the GH3 is mostly Video, and it’s those attributes where the GH3 beats the D800 and 5DIII (IMO) I only wish it was full frame too.

Yes of course the 5DIII is a better stills camera (I have one) But for the work I do In a pinch I’m willing to put up with stills from the GH3 if I can’t use my 5DIII because the Video Feature Set out of the GH3 looks to be so much more useable than the Canon.

I need an ‘all in one’ camera for stills video for news, seriously the GH2 was almost there but a bit annoying to use.

I love my 5DIII and 5DII but for video they need 1080 50P which neither have and the 720 50P on the 5DIII is nice but too soft.

You see with 1080 50P it can be interlaced to 25i for broadcast so when you see the vision on TV it’s 50 frames per second again and creamy smooth, no 25P flicker. (Euro & Australian/NZ TV zones)

No if the 5DIII was mirrorless, had 1080 50P and was a sharper image, I would be very very happy.

11:07 am - Monday, November 5, 2012

#22 Jan Tengbergen

Great review. Yet why is it that -1- the GH3 is a lot more expensive in the UK than in Europe and -2- after being available for a very short time in the Netherlands (reservation only) it is no longer available at all indefinitely.
Can Photographyblog make some inquieries as to what Panasonic has in mind? You might get an answer. When I ask my dealer knows nothing else but the fact they cannot order it. Thanks.

11:43 am - Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#23 zebarnabe

Jan Tengbergen,
Customers in Europe are usually ripped off when comes to buy electronic goods, UK suffers badly from it, my country takes a particular bad hit as well, this is not only due to the manufacturers’ choices but also due to import and country taxes and such.

Most likely Panasonic can’t produce enough GH3 to keep with the demand (same thing happened with GH2 and GH1), to make it worse the distribution network is particularly bad. Good luck finding a FZ200 around my place.

12:08 pm - Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#24 IAN H

Thanks for the in depth review photography blog. Great work.

It’s got me stumped as to why anyone is questioning this fantastic offering from Panasonic. Still images look good, business as usual for me as a long time FF shooter. I can sell images from this device, no problem whatsoever. PLUS the video is awesome. With the focus aids, reliable fast auto focus and face tracking etc, life will be so much easier than on my Mk2 shooting weddings etc, allowing me to concentrate on framing & composing, plus the res is much better than we need right now. Avoiding AVCHD means editing will be faster also, so I get paid quicker, wonderful.

So….. DOF is a little reduced. I’ve figured out that the DOF of the 2.8 wide open will be the same as ƒ4 on the full frame cameras, seeing the 4/3 sensor is about half the diagonal of the FF sensor, and I’m happy with that. I might buy a single super fast lens for those situations where it is required. There are a few really fast lenses already available so problem averted.

Now, we are talking the initial retail price of $1300. It will go down, and I’ve already, pre launch, got a much better price for a kit than I expected.

This is a review of an un-hacked camera. IMAGINE what this unit will become when hacks ARE available. It’s already got amazing specs so we can expect this just to be the beginning. I can’t wait to see what comes along, but for the meantime, I’m going to hit the road with this little beauty and make a load of great still and video images, and a trunk load of cash along the way courtesy of the boys from Panasonic.

My wish list for the hacks of the future, PLEASE give me MORE of that great slo-mo! The camera handles the data stream better than the FS-700 already, which makes you wait AGES while it writes the slo mo file to disc. Panasonic have handled it better than sony somehow, but I’d love to see more fps to really slow the action down. I’m tipping this will be the first for the Gh3 and most impressive hack of all time for the GH series!


3:15 am - Monday, December 3, 2012

#25 bale

I’ve been suing a hacked GH2 for pro video use.
I’ve kept hold of my GH2 and bought a GH3.
FCP7 wont accept the GH3 ACVHD files, unike the GH2 which go in a dream.

I like the weight, no different in feel. Sound is vastly better quality, plus the headset jack makes it perfect.Battery bigger and therefore better running times. Menu and detail much clearer for all video types, data rates.

One big gripe: the live viefinder only gives you 10secs of the settings info before dissapearing, including the sound levels meter. Not good.

3:31 pm - Sunday, December 16, 2012

#26 Steve

What lens(es) was(were) used for the image tests? I looked but could not find that info.



6:57 am - Tuesday, March 5, 2013

#27 Abraham Steinfeld

I get puzzled by reading all those comments. It makes it difficult to make my choice.

1:48 am - Monday, April 8, 2013

#28 Ian S

I had a GH1 previously, now have GH3. The amazing degree to which the GH3 can be customized and the tweaks that can be applied demand a lot of effort in reading and understanding what can be achieved, but it can also be used on automatic with little real difference in outcome for most applications. The pdf manual contains links that help the learning process and the excellence of this review has helped in getting to grips with the camera’s capabilities. Keep up the good work.
Also, don’t underestimate the 14 to 140 lens as a one-lens-fits-all solution, particularly given that good results are available with the 2x extension - which takes it out to 560mm in 35mm terms.

7:21 am - Monday, February 24, 2014

#29 Matt Brady

At Aaron Rose Wedding Films we have been using the GH3 since its release. Now 3 years on its still a great work horse of a camera and has never let us down creating stunning images for our creative wedding films. I look forward to the next GH release that brings a higher usable ISO to the table.

12:29 pm - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#30 Mike

Really useful in depth review, just one question re silent mode, can this be attained with the evf or only with the image displayed on the back screen ?

best mike

3:25 pm - Saturday, May 9, 2015

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, compact system camera, 16 megapixel, hdmi, wi-fi, touch-screen, micro four thirds, touch screen, touchscreen, lumix, panasonic, compact system, gh3, dmc gh3, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Review, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3, dmc-gh3

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