The Panasonic GH3 - The camera for bad boy and bad girl photographers everywhere

For my full Panasonic GH3 Review and User Experience - CLICK HERE

Lets get one thing clear right at the start. This isn't some wussy, metrosexual, manbag-handbag, hipster camera you tuck into the pocket of your ripped skin tight jeans as you ride your grandad bike to get a skinny latte in Hoxton. This is a camera that is for real men and women who want to be real photographers and take real photographs with a real camera. This doesn't ask "Errm... excuse me could I take you your picture?" It says "Stand still, I'm photographing you" This isn't Sex and the City, this is No Country for Old Men.

This thing almost glowers, as if to say "Can you handle what I've got?" As you bring it up to your eye it seems as if there's a message on the back that says "If the pictures are rubbish, ITS YOUR FAULT! This isn't a camera for Victoria and David Beckham, this is a camera for Joan Jett and Vinnie Jones. It bears as much relationship to whats gone before in m4/3 as Arnold Swartzenegger does to Graham Norton. This isn't Justin Timberlake, this is Bruce Willis, its not Kristen Stewart, this is Gina Carano and you drive to photoshoots with it in a Hummer, not a VW with flowers painted on it. 

While other CSC etc. users are taking pictures of their cat, this thing is photographing Grand Canyon whitewater rafting, Iron man triathlons, Milan fashion week, and Pamela Anderson.

Don't  mention APS-C sensors being bigger, this thing eats D5200's for breakfast. There is not one single mm. of it thats retro. This is a now camera through and through. It would give the finger to wimpy lookaleicas if it could be bothered to acknowledge them. Oscar who?

This thing stands toe to toe with Nikons, Canons and Sonys and says "Are you talking to me?"

I absolutely love it. I picked it up, bolted on the battery grip, added a 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom and dropped to my knees repeating "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy" Mines black. Black as a black hole, and just as dangerous. Page one of the manual might as well say, "If you can't take great photographs with this, go and train to be a Pilates instructor." 

This camera is so cool it doesn't even have an X in its name. 

Its a camera for all the family, if your family is the Soprano's.

So here it is, the neo-bauhaus, quasi-industrial, faux-brutalist, all-metal, weather sealed,  BIG new camera from Panasonic, The GH3. Don't even think of dissing it!!


To read some of the reviews of the GH3, you might have been expecting the above. I think I half expected it to jump out of the box and bite me! In reality you have a mid-sized, pretty light (even with the battery grip on)  DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) with no concessions whatsoever to photographic history other than a passing similarity to a (D)SLR. Its VERY modern.

So is this the mirrorless revolution finally arrived? Well the answer to that is probably yes. But if you like knobs, buttons and dials, you'll like this. If you want to focus and shoot completely silently, you'll like this. If you want blazing fast AF and performance all round, you'll like this. If you want to shoot broadcast quality video, you'll like this. I can't even begin to imagine what this thing is capable of. But it sure made a hell of an impression when I picked it up. 

Its a weather sealed camera (well I imagine that probably means it will stand a rain shower) but it certainly doesn't feel like it. There is no metallic feel here, and it feels really light to me, but then I have been carrying around a Nikon D800E for a while. Its maybe my ultimate camera body. Big enough to get a grip of, change settings and not feel like a toy yet able to be carried without back strain. As I indicated in my "Impressionistic" section above, this isn't pocket sized m4/3, this is getting down to business and nobody's going to question my validity as a photographer m4/3, which is of course in its infancy with this and the OM-D being the only grown-ups around at the moment. 

I would share one initial experience. I put it together with the battery grip, put on the 35-100mm f/2.8 lens I've also bought and put it down on my desk. As per usual I expected it to topple forward. It didn't. The 35-100mm has internal zooming (brilliant!) and balances so beautifully with the camera that I was a bit taken aback. This is scaled down everything and a system with a purpose. That purpose being to put together one of the best specified stills and video capturing devices around today, but without the bulk and weight of most current options. And yes its that small sensor that makes all this possible. The 4/3 sensor (nomatter who makes it) isn't ever going to be at the top of the pixel count heap, its not going to give the highest resolution or have the best dynamic range. But in terms of producing photographs and video footage that can be used for the most demanding of uses including advertising, commercial and editorial images and movies, the current one does the job very nicely. 

I said in a previous review of the E-PL5 I didn't believe that was a camera that would make people switch systems. However the OM-D has made a lot of people think about what they want to be using in the future and the GH-3 is just going to add to that. How many of us knew a few years ago that we could get these specifications in something like this?

Sure the size of the sensor means that this isn't the camera for everyone, and its certainly not a do anything you throw at it camera, but I'm convinced its going to make a lot of people think very seriously about what they are using and why they are using it. Panasonic seem to be marketing this as a travel photographers camera and I'm sure that's the way to go. But I get the feeling that it will do a lot more than that, and the next week or so is going to be fascinating finding out just exactly what its limits are.

If you're not a m4/3 fan or have any intention of becoming one, then you might want to switch off from here for a while, because I'm going to be spending a lot of time with it. I will try to pop in posts from other systems, but I'm intending to give the GH3 some serious investigation. I think it may be pretty close to my perfect camera and I want to see if justifies that. If nothing else, I'm sure I'm going to enjoy finding out.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

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