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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 review - hands on

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 front
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 battery grip
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 rear
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 top
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 detail shot of a monkey
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 detail shot of a sculpture
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 detail shot of a pelican
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 detail shot of a penguin 1
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 detail shot of a penguin 2

Although Panasonic's Lumix GH cameras always been at the top-end of the company's Compact System Camera (CSC) range, they've largely been very similar to the rest of the range, albeit with better performance.

This time around with the Lumix DMC-GH3, Panasonic has focussed on making a high-end camera that will appeal to professionals and real enthusiasts. We were at London Zoo to get some hands-on time with the camera to see what it could offer.

CONTROLS

First up, it's important to look at what Panasonic has done to the controls. While the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 had just a single command dial and a smattering of buttons, the DMC-GH3 is much improved.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 rear
The touchscreen means that important controls are never far away

There are now three command dials within easy reach of your fingers, as well as direct access to the white-balance and ISO controls. Combined with the touchscreen on the back, it means that most of the important controls are within reach of your fingers, making the DMC-GH3 feel a lot more like a high-end camera than the previous iterations.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 top
There are more controls on the DMC-GH3, giving you access to most options with just your fingers

There's also an optional battery grip, which doubles the battery capacity of the camera, but also adds a separate shutter release and command dial, to make the DMC-GH3 easier to operate in portrait mode.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 battery grip
The optional battery grip doubles your shooting time and replicates the shutter on the main camera

SENSOR

Inside there have been several changes, too, with a brand-new 16.05-megapixel sensor. We're glad to see, given the size of Micro Four Thirds sensors, that Panasonic is prioritising image quality and noise over a headline figure. There's also a new processing engine, Venus HD, which Panasonic claims reduces noise and improves image quality.

As this is a CSC, there's no through-the-lens view, so the quality of the screens is very important. For the DMC-GH3, Panasonic has fitted two OLED screens, for their faster response times, high viewing angles and low power consumption. The EV has a 1,744K dot display, while the rear articulated screen has a 614K dot display.

There's even Wi-Fi built in, so you can control the camera via Panasonic's app on your smartphone. The samples we were provided with didn't have this feature enabled yet, so we can't wait for the production samples to give it ago.

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