Another Photokina day, another camera - but this GH2 successor from Panasonic might be something special. Building on the capabilities of its predecessor, the Lumix GH3 offers up to 20fps shooting and 72Mbps HD video. The new camera is part of Panasonic's wildly successful Micro-Four Thirds series of cameras, and although this new product might be as large as many entry level DSLRs, the size tradeoff looks to be worth it.
As Micro-Four Thirds cameras go, it's difficult to beat the GH3's specifications. The body? A rugged, splash-proof magnesium alloy. The sensitivity? Native support for ISO 200 up to 12,800, with an extended mode pushing it down to 125 and up to 25,600. Burst rates push still photography up to 6 frames for second, with a maximum 18-shot buffer in both RAW and JPEG. If you're willing to settle for 4MP images, you can push that capture rate up to 20 fps.
The video? Well, the video is really the star of this device. Many users picked the GH2 for its stellar video qualities, and the GH3 is looking more and more like a worthy successor. In most regions, the new Lumix GH3 can record unlimited lengths of video, though PAL users are locked down to the legally mandated sub-30 minute timeframes. By using a new self-derived AVC-Intra codec, the GH3 is capable of 72 Mbps footage. A higher compression IPB codec can record 50 Mbps, using less storage space.
Panasonic pushed the outside of the camera as much as the inside, as the LCD on back has been swapped out for a tilting, swiveling, OLED touchscreen that supports tap-to-focus functionality. Built-in Wi-Fi means that you can use your smartphone, and Panasonic's app, as a remote control for the device - a nice feature, as it means you won't need to purchase, and then lose, an overpriced remote control. Dual analog audio jacks let you monitor and record audio simultaneously, and a similarly pseudo-rugged F2.8 zoom was shown off at the same time.
How much will all of this glorious camera tech cost? Panasonic isn't telling - at least not yet. But we'd be surprised to see it go for less than $1500, and possibly more.
Filmmaker Phillip Bloom got to spend some hands-on time with the camera before launch, and made an excellent launch film for Pansonic:
Panasonic GH3 launch film: Genesis from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.