The newly-announced Lumix DMC-GH3 takes its place as the flagship camera in the Panasonic line. The new body design is weatherproof, and larger than previous Lumix Micro 4/3 bodies. While larger than say the G3, it is still more compact than DSLRs, and approximately half the weight. In addition, the smaller lenses will still make a GH3 kit significantly smaller and lighter than an equivalent DSLR kit.
The most important room for improvement in Micro 4/3 is low noise, high iso performance. Since I shoot a lot of low light situations, especially in my live music project, this is where I'd love to see more progress. However, I want to start by saying that last year's state-of-the-art isn't bad. Here's an example of a shot I took recently with the DMC-G3 at iso 3200, in a very dimly lit venue.
In the shot above, I was forced to shoot at iso 3200, even with the fast f1.8 Olympus lens. At 1/100 second exposure, I'm pushing the fastest shutter speed that can be shot with the camera handheld (carefully) with this lens. Since the 75mm has an equivalent field of view as a 150mm lens on 35mm format, ~1/150 second is the slowest speed that can reliably be handheld.
The new DMC-GH3 reportedly significantly improves high iso performance, with regular iso settings up to 12,800 and extended 25,600 capability. The question is - what do the images look like at these settings?
Panasonic handed the GH3 to six imaging professionals to generate samples. Bruce Logan, Philip Bloom, and Elliot Rosenblatt worked on video, while Ira Block, Daniel Berehulak, and Kazuo Unno focused on still images.
(Click Here) to see the results on Panasonic's special GH3 site.
Ira Block shares a variety of images from the American West, including a very nice night landscape, shot at iso 2500 and a shutter opening of 30 seconds! Quite nice.
Daniel Berehulak documented Muslim life in India. He includes a couple of shots at iso 1250 that are very low in apparent noise.
Kazuo Unno focused his (macro) lens on the insect world.
I still look forward to seeing some images shot at iso 3200 and higher. I sure would love to have a Lumix camera that could come close to matching the high iso performance of my full-frame Nikon D700!