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Date: 14/02/2013 | By: Mathieu

A quick night video test with the Panasonic GH3


A quick night video test with the Panasonic GH3

UPDATE: our in-depth review of the GH3 for video is online!

Last week, we did a very quick video test with the new Panasonic GH3. We shot for one hour or so in Turin before going to get something to eat.

I was very excited to test the quality the GH3 as several professionals claim that it can easily compete with high-end HDSLRs such as the Canon 5D mkIII. I currently own a Panasonic AF101 for my work in video, which has the same four-year-old sensor as the GH1, and I saw the capabilities of the GH2 last year. The GH3 has very interesting new features, such as a clean HDMI output and an ALL-I 72 mbps codec, which is supposed to give better results than AVCHD.

With this first video, I decided to test the camera at high ISO, as this is where quality tends to deteriorate the most. All shots were performed with settings between 1600 and 6400 ISO, except for the shot at 1.26 minutes. The video was shot hand-held as I didn’t have my tripod with me. (I apologise if some of these shots shake a little bit.) The two lenses I used were the Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 and 45mm f/1.8. I set the recording format to the new ALL-I 72 mbps codec.

I have some footage in Dropbox if you want to download and play around with the video using your editing software.

At the moment, my first impressions are very positive: the images look very clean, even at high ISO. I also like the color rendition – 6400 seems more than acceptable. There also seems to be an improvement in the way the sensor handles highlights. (Highlights are the Achille’s heel of my AF101!) I didn’t grade anything in my timeline, but I did some quick tests with Premiere Pro and the new ALL-I format seems easier to handle compared to the AVCHD format. A downside is that it remains an 8 bit 4:2:0 color space codec, so you won’t get too far in terms of color correction. I will also try to record some footage using the clean HDMI output, which is supposed to give a 4:2:2 color space, and make a comparison later on.

I like how the GH3 feels in your hand – ergonomically, it is very nice. I will describe this part in my first impressions review from a photographic point of view. For video, it is better to use some proper accessories such as rods, follow focus, etc.

Stay tuned for the upcoming full review, and in the meantime, enjoy our first video!

About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Mathieu

    Hi Clint, I use the Genus Follow focus with my GH3 but you should check out the Edelkrone products. They have a very smart slider that can almost fit in your backpack and they just released a follow focus designed for the camera operator, not the assistant.
    The Voigtlaender 25mm works well for video as do the other two available (17,5mm and 42,5mm). The 12-35 from Lumix is also a nice lens to have. You should also consider some ND filters, you might need them if you want a shallow depth of field in bright daylight.

  • clint

    loved your turin film and thanks for the footage. can you recomend a follow focu for the GH3. i was looking at the fotga everyone seems to be recmonding but i need to make sure you can use all sorts of lenses with them. also looking at sliders and portable dolly, not to mention some better low light lenses than the 140mm zoom I bought mine with. i want to get the 12mm-35 Panasonic and dream of the voigtlander 25mm f/0.95. a bt diassapointed with some of the features being dumbed down such as the overcranking only available in 24 and not 50p mov and no 100/120 fps @720p among other things but still happy with the video quality all the same. The oled screen door hinge could have been more robust in the price range. i should take my complaints to panasonic when the list is complete. might take a while since there is a lot of function burried within the menu of this camera. hey i’m still loving it and my new venture into micro4/3. all the best mathieu. clint

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