Panasonic Lumix GH3 - Image Quality Summary and Verdict

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Panasonic Lumix GH3: Image Quality

Overall image quality produced by the GH3 is very, very good. The

144-zone metering system copes admirably with tricky high-contrast

scenes. The GH3 offers exposure compensation between -5EV and 5EV,

however while out test shooting with our review sample we rarely had to

use this feature, and even when we did we never had to dial in more than

0.7EV.

Lumix GH3 sample image 1
1/80sec @ f/14, ISO 125, 14mm

Using daylight-balanced lamps and a Datacolor Spyder

Checkr chart we were able to ascertain how well the GH3 renders colour

and white balance. Results between ISO 125 and 1600 were vibrant, punchy

and rich in colour as might be expected. Better still, there was no

sign of the saturation decreasing as we ramped up the sensitivity, at

least until we reached ISO 25,600 where colours became slightly more

muted compared to ISO 12,800.

Lumix GH3 sample image 1
1/4000sec @ f/8, ISO 6400, 128mm

Controlled resolution tests

undertaken with our standard resolution test chart reveal that the GH3’s

16MP sensor is capable of rendering 32 lines per millimetre at ISO 100

when coupled with the 45mm f/2.8 Macro Leica D Vario-Elmarit lens. While

this is certainly very impressive for a Micro Four Thirds sensor, APS-C

sensors have scored slightly higher in the past. That’s not to take

anything away from the GH3 though, which compared in isolation – or

indeed against other cameras using MFT sensors – performs very well

indeed.
Panasonic Lumix GH3 5
Noise

is very well controlled between ISO 125 and ISO 800, with the GH3

producing clean, finely detailed images, however some noise does begin

to creep in at ISO 1600. At ISO 1600 and 3200 images are certainly

usable, although if you plan on printing your images at 100% then be

aware that noise may well be visible to the naked eye. Beyond ISO 6400

and noise starts to noticeably degrade image quality, with the top

settings of so ISO 12,800 and 25,600 best avoided if possible, or at

least used only in emergencies.

Comparing an unprocessed Raw

file to a processed JPEG revealed a number of subtle differences. JPEG

files tend to be slightly brighter in dark shadowed areas, whereas Raw

files resolve more detail in the highlights. Side by side we also

noticed that JPEG files have fractionally more contrast applied, while

in-camera sharpening was clearly obvious in JPEG files.

Verdict

As

Panasonic’s flagship digital single lens mirrorless (DSLM) camera (more

commonly referred to as a compact system camera) the Lumix GH3 has come

on a long way from the two-year-old GH2 and brings with it a generous

range of improvements. Indeed, with its larger hand grip, bigger

battery, superb touchscreen and integrated Wi-Fi connectivity we don’t

have any hesitation in saying the GH3 is one of the most intuitive CSCs

we’ve used. It’s also well supported by a broad range of dedicated

G-series lenses, with no fewer than 17 fixed focal lengths and zooms to

choose from. Image quality is very good too, and while resolution of

fine detail isn’t quite up there with the best APS-C equipped cameras,

the GH3 nonetheless performs solidly enough to take on the DSLR

competition with conviction.

Score in detail

  • Value 8
  • Design & Features 9
  • Image Quality 8
  • Build Quality 8
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