Friday, September 14, 2012

Panasonic GH3 Is Enough To Keep Me Excited

Some details of the new GH3 have leaked out ahead of the full announcement, and considering that the "leak" was taken down then promptly put back up leads me to believe that it was on purpose. It doesn't matter. A very small number of people care about the GH3. This is never going to be Apple-level excitement regardless of how much tricky marketing Panny tries to do.

Basically, we already knew the details that were released. So no new data. What we do have, though, is lots of details and images about the body. Ignoring the hilariously translated text in the video with such winners as "mirrorless" Infinite Possibilities of Expression, and the flat-out wrong 1st Digital Single Lens Mirrorless, the video is good. Lots of action, and many clips that are obviously taken from the camera.

It's hard to tell from what was provided, but the dynamic range appears to be better, as we can see in the shot of the Corvette driving in front of the sun. Similarly, we can tell absolutely that rumors of a global shutter are false, and the rolling shutter "jell-o" effect is pronounced. You can see it in the aforementioned Corvette shot, but most noticeably in the shot of the subway passing by. Interestingly, the camera seems to read the sensor from the bottom-up. I don't know of any other SLR-styled cameras that do this. The lack of the global shutter is a big let-down, since that means we have no chance of seeing it for another generation of GH-series cameras.

That said, everything else about this camera is a big upgrade. The body is pro. The connections are pro. The accessories are pro. This camera has some serious aspirations, and I couldn't be happier. The single-biggest thing for me is the inclusion of focus peaking. That feature, more than anything, made me lust after Sony's cameras. I love buying old lenses off of eBay and seeing what I can do with them, and working with them with simple focus zoom is a nightmare in all but the slowest, most deliberate environments.

I like the E-M5, and I especially like the IBIS. If that camera gets hacked to fix many of the crippling issues with its video output, it could become a serious hybrid tool. But as it stands, the GH3 is the most exciting Micro 4/3 camera out there, and it hasn't even been announced yet.

P.S. There's a rumor floating around that Sony is behind the LVF, screen, and sensor in the GH3. I wouldn't be surprised by this and rather hope that it is true. Panasonic's GH1 sensor was good, but the GH2 was a step down. And every sensor after that has been a big disappointment.

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