Christmas came a little early. The Panasonic GH3arrived recently and I have been testing it. One of the main reasons I wanted to get this camera is because of the improved audio. That is the subject of this review. Before I get to that, a few comements.
Following the GH2, the new GH3is almost a revolutionary camera. That is a camera that was designed for both stills and video equally. After Panasonic showed the GH3 at Photokina, I knew I had to buy one.
The GH3 adds features that all photographers will like. I am impressed with the weather sealing and robust construction with magnesium as the choice of body material. There is a new 16.05-megapixel digital Live MOS sensor with reportedly better low noise performance and dynamic range. The new Venus engine is used with four cpu's for improved performance. There are 3 control dials. One wheel on the front next to the shutter button. One wheel in the back top right hand corner and a central control dial on the back around the four way controller.
Panasonic has added an electronic shutter function on the front and rear curtains for vibration-free operation and I can say that I love it. A big benefit for being quiet at events. The is a new battery as well. It has a new viewfinder and back LCD have been improved with OLED displays. Another nice new feature is WiFi. Panasonic has be released both IOS and Android apps for control, viewing and downloading. I miss the USB control on my old Canon 60D and am happy Panasonic close to include WiFi. I am already using it.
The video portion of the camera is where the GH3 shines will be the subject of a later review. The video picture quality of the GH3 is as good as GH2 (which is a good thing) with none of the typical HDSLR problems of moiré and false color and lack of resolution. The camera has a newly designed low-pass filter so sharpness should not be an issue like the Canon's.
First of all, I don't like double system audio and like to record in the camera audio. Why do something twice if you don't have too. With Linear PCM recording, Panasonic smartly added better quality audio. The camera now has the standard 3.5mm audio jack we are used to on most cameras that don't feature XLR. They also added a 3.5mm headphone jack as well for audio monitoring and it sounds wonderful. At last, Audio Monitoring. That is adjustable in the menus. There is also better control over the audio level in the menus too. With 14 levels of adjustment there is plenty of control. I prefer to keep the levels in the camera low so I don't use the noisy preamps. I use a JuicedLink DT 454 Preamp to give good levels with XLR microphones.
So far I am very happy with the new camera and have taken some sample pictures. They cam be found at Flikr.
Watch the video below to see and hear the quality of the audio with the tests I did.