• Subscription Options:

    Subscribe via LinkedInSubscribe via FlickrSubscribe via YouTubeSubscribe via Pinterest

An Early Present, The GH3: It Sounds Real Good

GH3 with X 35-100 f2.8
GH3 with X 35-100 f2.8

GH3 with X 35-100 f2.8

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.

121209-160833-068Panasonic 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.

121209-131842-006First 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.

Twice Nirvana: Lumix X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 Review

GH2 with X 35-100mm
GH2 with X 35-100mm

GH2 with X 35-100mm

Yes, there is nirvana, twice.  If you have following my site you would know that I have been very excited about two new lenses from Panasonic.  The other one of them has been introduced and it is just now becoming available in the US.  I had already purchased the the first one, the Panasonic Lumix X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S.  it has lived on my GH2 ever since.  After seeing the new lens at the Kenmore Camera show last month, I waited to till it was available.  Then out came my debit card and over a thousand and a half dollars later, I ordered it.  Two days later it arrived but I was traveling for Thanksgiving so I had to wait till I got home!  I am not disappointed!  I have the brand spanking new wonder lens: the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S.  It has not been left off of my other GH2. That is one of the advantages of having two GH2's.

The New View

121126-150649-022This is the most expensive lens I have bought including when I had Canon L lenses and my Lumix G X 12-35mm f2.8.  I did not buy the Canon L EF 70-200 f2.8 because it was too expensive, large and heavy.  I bought the Canon L EF 70-200 f4 IS because it was very sharp, smaller and lighter.  It was used on my Canon 60D a lot.  A truly wonderful lens.  Like both of the Canon's, this lens has weather sealing and is made to a higher standard than their regular lenses.  Panasonic choose to brand this lens as well with their upscale X designation.  Unlike the Canons, this lens is much smaller and lighter.   It will become one of the lenses that I always carry with me.

121126-152014-046The Interview

This lens is the ideal interview lens for MicroFourThirds.  The 12-35mm is a little short for interviews because the camera has to be closer than some people are comfortable. Being a video guy who likes to take stills, this lens fills a big gap for me.  I have wanted a F2.8, O.I.S. tele lens for shooting video.  O.I.S. really combats the shakes and helps eliminate rolling shutter.  Being a zoom is a plus, or should I say variable prime.

Boy This Is Small

What we have here is a small, lightweight, fast, ruggedized O.I.S. telephoto zoom lens.  On the my GH2 the lens seems to belong there but at the same time it seems small for a tele zoom.  It is in diameter about the same as my Lumix 14-140 variable aperture zoom.  The weight is about the same too.  It fits nicely into my hands and the zoom does not extend when it is zoomed to 100mm with that magical F2.8 aperture.  The main barrel seems like metal.  The zoom feels very smooth.  Smooth enough to shoot during movies.  The lens's balance is very good.

121126-152639-058Did I Say Sharp

What can we say, this lens is very sharp.  Sharp in the center and sharp in the corners.  There is very little chromatic aberration in the corners of the lens.  Also there is the ability to separate your subject from the background because of the fast F2.8 aperture.  On the tele end this is very easy.

Fast Focus

Autofocus is fast and silent on all my cameras.  The manual focus ring feels like metal and is very responsive in manual mode.  It takes some turning to change focus so I feel rack focusing while be easy.  It is not fast like the cheaper lenses.  Also if you zoom in and focus the lens seems to keep the focus as you zoom out.

One Stable Lens

With the GH2 I leave the O.I.S. on as this one of the reasons I bought the lens.  It is Panasonic's new Power O.I.S. which is very effective while hand holding the camera.  I like that Panasonic has put the O.I.S. switch on the barrel of the lens as I turn it on and off quite often.  I turn it off on the EM-5 as that camera has internal image stabilization which is quit effective.  They fight each other if both are turned on and it is easier to turn off the lens than going into the menus and turning off the camera's.  The O.I.S. is needed more on this lens than it's shorter sibling.

121126-153640-072Light Clicks

There is a clicking sound from the aperture even at the full F2.8 on the GH2 when not shooting movies but it goes away when shooting.  What a relief.  On the EM-5 there very little sound from the aperture.  On my 14-140 the aperture changes while zooming and the video see variances of light as the zoom takes pace even when the lens is stopped down a aperture stop that is smaller than the smallest aperture on the telephoto side.  This is why I wanted a constant aperture lens.  If there is any change it is slight and is nothing to worry about.

Worth The Wait

I have to say it has been worth the wait.  This lens will get a lot of use by me.  Panasonic pulled out all the stops on this one as well.  Is as good as we thought it might be?  Yes!  What more could we ask for?  Some are saying the price is to high, but this is a “luxury” lens like the one from the other guys.  Their's is much bigger, heavier and expensive.  What we get for this expense is a lens that bring MicroFourThirds into the big leagues with it professionalism with a fast tele zoom.

When Panasonic showed the prototype of this lens they also showed a 12-35mm F2.8. O.I.S.  This new wonder tele zoom was introduced at Photokina this year in Germany.

I have posted stills taken with the lens on flickr.

Here is a video review of the lens actually on a camera shooting video on my GH2.

Hands On With The GH3

GH3 with 35-100
GH3 with 35-100

GH3 with 35-100

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.

35-100 Shot With GH3

35-100 Shot With GH3

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)

The Other Lens

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8

The new Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8 lens was introduced at a pre Photokina press conference today in Cologne Germany.

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8

It is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

This new lens has a constant F/2.8 aperture and completes the new professional X Lens set. It is built from the same construction as the highly regarded Panasonic Lumix X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S.. See my review. Like it's 12-35mm brethren, this lens has O.I.S., is weather sealed, small and lightweight but will come in at a slightly more expensive price at $1499. The 35mm equivalent is 70 to 200 mm. It is designed for HD video recording and has internal focus so filters won't turn.  Unlike Olympus, Panasonic has provided a lens shade.  It takes the same 58mm filters that the 12-35mm does.  At 3.9 inches it is not much longer than the other lens.

Specifications for this new lens.

Model No. – H-HS35100
Lens Construction – 18 elements in 13 groups (2 ED lenses, 1 UED lens)
Nano Surface Coating – YES
Mount – Micro Four Thirds mount
Optical Image Stabilizer – YES (POWER O.I.S.)
Focal Length – f=35mm to 100mm (35mm camera equivalent 70mm to 200mm)
Aperture Type – 7 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm
Maximum Aperture – F2.8
Minimum Aperture – F22
Closest Focusing Distance – 0.85m / 2.8ft
Maximum Magnification – Approx. 0.1x / 0.2x (35mm camera equivalent)
Diagonal Angle of View – 34°(W) – 12°(T)
Filter Size – 58mm / 2.3inch
Max.Diameter – 67.4mm / 2.7inch
Overall Length – Approx. 99.9mm / 3.9inch (from the tip of the lens to the base side of the lens mount)
Weight – Approx. 360g / 12.7oz (excluding lens cap, lens rear cap and lens hood)
Standard Accessories – Lens front cap, Lens rear cap, Lens storage bag, Lens hood

Here are some pictures from the PhotographyBlog of the new lens.

GH3 Videos – Updated

GH3 Top

The GH3 has been introduced and is available for pre-order from Amazon.

My thoughts on this exciting new camera later. Here are some GH3 Videos on Vimeo:

Panasonic GH3 presentation video [UPDATE: PRICE $1299.99 samys] from van gogh on Vimeo.

Panasonic GH3 launch film: Genesis from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Panasonic GH3: Behind the scenes from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Panasonic Lumix GH3 Prototype first Shots from E.Pampuri TRACTOfilm/Machineurs on Vimeo.

Here is one on YouTube:

GH3 Size

GH3 Size vs GH2

The GH3 is getting bigger that it's older brother the GH2.

GH3 Size vs GH2

GH3 Size vs GH2

The GH3 is about the same size of the Canon Rebel T4i

GH3 Size vs Rebel

GH3 Size vs Rebel

Here is the Front of the camera

GH3 Front

GH3 Front

GH3 Back

GH3 Back

GH3 Back

The top is where it gets interesting.  They have relocated the stereo mic's to the top back of the HotShoe.  There is a WiFi icon.  I am so glad they relocated the White Balance, ISO and Exposure Compensation buttons to just behind the Front Control Wheel.
GH3 Top

GH3 Top

Panasonic News – GH3 and Lumix G X 35-100mm f/2.8

Lumix G X 35-100 on a GH3

Here is a Picture of the new Lumix G X 35-100 constant aperture f/2.8 lens

It is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100 f/2.8

Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100 f/2.8

Here is the 35-100 on the GH3

Lumix G X 35-100 on a GH3

Lumix G X 35-100 on a GH3

Lumix 35-100mm In Use with Lens Shade

Lumix 35-100mm In Use with Lens Shade

Panasonic GH3

Panasonic Lumix GH3 Debut

Panasonic Lumix GH3 Debut

Pansonic also has posted and removed a video of the GH3 on YouTube.

It is now available for pre-order on Amazon

I guess we will have to wait til Monday to see it again.  The link worked on the 9/13/12.


Phillip Bloom has added a video on Vimeo he shot for Bruce Logan shot with the GH3 prototype:


Here are some of the specs that have been leaked.  Some are confirmed in the video.

specs :

$1299 at one store already
– 16 Megapixel “Wide dynamic range” CMOS Sensor.
– New Venus 7 engine
– electronic shutter
– ISO 100-12.800
– 6fps
– Fastest AF of any interchangeable lens system camera.
– Video Bitrate 50Mbps (72Mbps ALL-I)
– 60/50/30p/25p in MP4, MOV and AVCHD
– 3.5 Mic in
– built-in stereo mic
– Audio out
– Pc control
– Time Code
– 1740k OLED LVF, Touch Monitor OLED 610k.
– external battery grip
– Wifi with remote control through iOS and Android Applications
– external XLR accessory
– Focus Peaking
– Interval shooting and slow motion. Slow Movie extension (40%, 50%, 80%) Fast 160/ 200 / 300%
– Magnesium alloy body. Body is bigger than the Panasonic GH2.

– Front & Back Control Wheels

Here are more pictures from the video:
GH3 16Meg Venus Engine

16Meg Sensor  Venus Engine


GH3 60P 50P All-I 72MBS

60P 50P All-I 72MBS

GH3 Dust  And Splash Proof  Magnesium Alloy Body

Dust And Splash Proof Magnesium Alloy Body

GH3 Front & Back

GH3 Front & Back

Front & Back Control Wheels

Front & Back Control Wheels