Panasonic’s GH3 gets more serious about video

There are a boatload of new capabilities in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 that are bound to please a lot of video shooters, the GH series’ core fan base. The GH2 was an expensive consumer camera with some really nice video features; the GH3 is an updated version designed to meet the needs of the indie and pro videographers who somewhat unexpectedly gravitated to the GH2.

It’s practically an entirely new camera: new body, new sensor, new autofocus system, new OLED LCD and EVF, new video codec, useful new still and video features, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The body’s now dust-and-splash sealed over a magnesium alloy chassis, with a more streamlined control layout. According to Panasonic, the sensor plus the new version of the image-processing engine have an optimized low-pass filter for reduced moiré, an expanded dynamic range with the company’s most recent noise-reduction algorithms, and improvements in white balance for more accurate color.

Most notable for videographers, Panasonic took the surprising step of adding a full-fledged high-bit H.264 codec to circumvent the bit rate and frame rate limitations of AVCHD, which was really designed as a playback- rather than capture-optimized format. Now the camera supports up to an 80Mbps bit rate, 1080/60p and 24p, as well as an All-I codec (that’s all interframes, with no temporal compression). Other really useful video additions include timecode (both record run and free run, drop frame and NDF), a headphone jack, focus peaking, audio levels control, and clean and uncompressed HDMI out. Panasonic has expanded the slow/fast recording options with 40 and 50 percent framerates.

For still photographers, there are now intervalometer and multiple exposure options, plus an electronic shutter mode for silent shooting.

Here are its competitors (as far as I can tell, given that Panasonic has not determined the price yet):


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