Panasonic Lumix GH3 system camera first look [Video]

What is it?

The GH3 is the long awaited follow–up to the popular GH2 high-end compact system camera from Panasonic.

Panasonic is promoting the GH3 as a hybrid that combines great still images with great video capability and one that will suit outdoor photographers with its weatherproof credentials.

It has an all new 16Mp micro four thirds sensor, can capture stills at up to 6 frames per second and is aimed firmly at serious hobbyists and semi-professionals – unsurprising given the £2000 price tag when sold with the kit lens.

Video developments on this latest model in the Panasonic G range include MP4, MOV and AVCHD outputs and the ability to shoot full HD video at 1080p at broadcast standard. It’s also equipped with a mic input and headphone jack – essential if you want to shoot movies with decent audio – as well as almost silent zooming in movie mode.

Find out more about the Panasonic GH3 in our first look video review:

Below are our first impressions based on a short time with the product, not a full review. Read our Digital SLR reviews for full reviews of the latest DSLRs and Compact system cameras and to see which produce the sharpest shots and sport the quickest speeds. Read about how we test digital SLRs for an in-depth breakdown of all our DSLR and compact system camera tests.

Katie’s first impressions of the Panasonic GH3

The GH3 is bulky, but not particularly heavy and certainly smaller than your average DSLR. The combination of touchscreen and physical controls works quite well. I’m not a big fan of touchscreens, but with the GH3 you’re not reliant on it – most settings can be adjusted quickly with the buttons and scroll wheels, but if you’re using the control panel view the touchscreen comes in handy.

I didn’t have the opportunity to delve into the GH3s wi-fi capabilities as the model we shot our video with was a pre-launch sample of the GH3 and the remote control smartphone app hasn’t launched yet. The inclusion of wi-fi is welcome though, as it means you can wirelessly back up your shots.

Panasonic says it’s also improved battery life, but if you’re looking to shoot 4hours of video or more there’s the option to purchase an additional battery for around £250. It fits to the base of the camera.

The GH3 looks like a capable camera, but it also has a relatively high price tag. There’s plenty of competition in this price bracket including the Canon 6D which was also announced at Photokina.

When can I buy it?

The Panasonic GH3 is due to start shipping from 19th November.

Price starts at £1000 for the body only, £2000 with the 12-35mm kit lens, or £1700 with a 14-140 zoom lens.

Click to view pictures of the GH3 and shots taken on the GH3:

Do you think the improved video features of the GH3 make it an appealing choice? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.

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6 replies

  1. I have been following the GH3, since the few days, before the Photokina.
    Having watched the various videos, making the rounds, as well as comparing it with what is offered by the GH2 (which I own, and have used, extensively), I can say, without comparing too much, that the GH3, is a let-down. Especially for people,who have been using the GH2. Its video additions to sound in and out (the 3.5mm jack for sound in, and the headphone jack for sound out) are great. The Magnesium Alloy body is, great too. And, the screen resolution is better, and it looks sturdier.
    But, in terms of video quality, it doesn’t seem to deliver. Also, the lack of the multi-aspect video, seems to be a let down. Maybe, Panasonic should delay releasing the GH3, for 6 Months, during which, they should concentrate, SOLELY, on improving their Firmware. Especially with regard to the Video Quality. And, PLEASE improve the codec.

  2. Far too big!!! I have moved from FF to m43 mainly because of size. GH1/2 was (for me) barely acceptable. With GH3 that big… I would go for an APS-C camera instead. E-M5 is much more attractive for me: smaller and with IBIS. I am still waiting for NEX 7-styled m43 camera (with EVF).

  3. What are the differences associated with the GH2’s MultiAspect Sensor and the new sensor in the GH3? Thanks. IMO, I am excited and love the new GH3, in particular its beefier design, improved battery life and a dedicated Panasonic-branded battery grip. The inclusion of higher bit rates and multi-codecs are outstanding. Still, knowing that the GH3, as was the GH1 & 2, were geared for more video projects, I am an avid Shutterbug and was less than pleased with the quality of the GH2’s still imagery; would like to see/hear/read some additional info on the new GH3’s capabilities for still imagery as well.

  4. I love the GH3 for professional video use, but question its utility for anybody not shooting Pro video. For anybody walking around, shooting a mix of stills and video for non-commercial use, the Olympus E-M5 is probably a much better investment.

  5. Following on from the last comment, why are we seeing a price in the UK of nearly £1600 (body only), now reduced to nearly £1200 when the price in USA and Germany, allowing for VAT in the UK, is slightly less than £1000. Another case of “Rip of Britain”?
    On the whole I like the camera especially the body and wifi and would probably be buying one to use alongside my current G5 but I now have the feeling I’m being ripped off so will probably wait until the price drops or for the new G6 in spring next year.

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