Recently I went to the Digital Photo Expo sponsored by Kenmore Camera near Seattle. There, at the Panasonic booth I saw the new Lumix GH3. The new Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8 lens was there also. Both the lens and the camera were recently introduced at Photokina in September and I have been wanting to see them. I am very impressed with both of these new items from Panasonic.
The GH3 is an impressive camera. It is larger than the GH2, but not that much larger and it fits much better in my hand because of the larger grip. Now I have a place for my bottom finger. I like the new top buttons on the grip for ISO, White Balance and Exposure Compensation. Most of the controls were in a very logical place and were very easy to use. With either the 12 – 35 or 35 – 100 lens the camera felt very well balanced and lightweight. The new menu system has a lot more options but is laid out better and I think more logical. A GH2 owner should have no problem navigating the menus.
That new swivel OLED LCD was large and bright and look very good to the eye. Like the GH2, it is very flexible in it's use. I am glad to see Panasonic stay with a winning design. I did like the new OLED view finder. It also is bright and sharp just like the Swivel LCD on the back. I was amazed that the viewfinder's diopter correction was adjustable enough so I could actually use the viewfinder without my glasses. No other camera has been able to do that. For me, one of the downfalls of the new electronic viewfinder is that in still photography mode, the image seems a little smaller to the eye. In movie mode the image gets wider so it's about the same size as with the viewfinder on that GH2. The on screen displays in the viewfinder is more complete then the GH too. Among the new things you can display is timecode.
The camera I tried was one of the models shown at Photokina, so it was a PAL camera not an NTSC camera so it did not have 60fps or 30fps. So I tried it at 50 frames per second. While I was shooting a movie, the camera allowed me to halfway push the silver shutter button to refocus from one area to another just like on the GH2. Thank you Panasonic. I use this a lot. There are 19 steps of audio level and there are still audio meters in the viewfinder. I did not have a chance to try the headphone jack.
I was able to try my Micover I use on my GH2 to cut wind noise and it will not work on the GH3. The stereo mics are behind the flash and the Micover does not reach. I will have to use something different.
Other than the slightly smaller view in the viewfinder, I really like using it as a still camera as well. I absolutely loved the silent mode for still shooting. It uses the electronic shutter to take pictures. No mechanical shutter sound at all and you could totally silence the camera so you could not hear me taking pictures. It was just like a video camera, no sound. I have found the camera quieter than my Olympus E-M5.
The new Lumix G X 35-100 f/2.8 Power O.I.S. is very small and light weight. The focus is fast. The zoom barrel does not move because of the internal zooming like Canon's 70-200. A very nice lens. Did I say small. I will being doing a repot on that lens when it arrives.
While at the show I was able to shoot stills and video and those will be included in my video report. (edited with FCPX 10.0.6)