Previous LUMIX G camera bodies were developed to achieve a compact size and light weight regardless of whether they had with a viewfinder or not, but that development direction was shifted somewhat to make the new LUMIX GH3 tough enough to withstand even professional use.
The main structural features of the LUMIX GH3 are its magnesium alloy full diecast frame and a dustproof, splashproof construction. Like previous models, the LUMIX GH3 has many moving parts, such as the free-angle LCD. Thus, ensuring a high level of dust and splash resistance was not an easy task. In particular, careful attention was given to the popup flash. To prevent vignetting caused by the lens, the popup flash incorporates a sliding mechanism that raises the flash to its operating position. Panasonic has taken thorough measures to prevent the entry of dust and water from this section.
The LUMIX GH3 is slightly larger than its predecessor. The extra space resulting from the increased body size was used for additional control buttons. Each button has a single function to allow intuitive operation. Whereas the previous model had a single dial, the LUMIX GH3 has two dials to enable individual control of the shutter, aperture and exposure compensation. Using the LUMIX G Series' first detachable battery grip with integrated controls for vertical shooting angle, which was developed concurrently with the LUMIX GH3, the user can operate the dials and buttons easily in virtually the same way as when shooting in the horizontal angle of view.
The LUMIX GH3 is designed to deliver the highest level of image quality. Featuring a new Live MOS Sensor and Venus Engine, it captures and records high-resolution images at a level approaching cameras that have a larger APS-C size sensor. The key point here was reducing noise, for which Panasonic focused on the following three areas: (1) minimizing noise in the sensor, (2) preventing sensor noise from entering the output signal, and (3) preventing noise from entering the signal processing circuit, power supply line and grounding line. To reduce noise, it is also important to design the power supply wiring and the signal wiring connected to the engine to be as close to the same length as possible. These measures not only suppress noise but also help to improve processing speed. Standard sensitivity is from ISO 160 to ISO 12800, but the user can set sensitivity to ISO 125 or ISO 25600 by using an extension function. The new 3D Noise Reduction function reduces the noise level across the entire focusing range. And the LUMIX GH3 incorporates a Creative Control function for the first time in the GH Series. This greatly expands its expressive flexibility.
The LUMIX GH3 is the first model in the LUMIX G Series to feature organic EL displays in the Live View Finder and in the rear monitor. The viewfinder has just about 20% more dots than the previous model. However, the images of the organic EL are much clearer than this numerical improvement may suggest. The user will notice greater comfort when manually focusing for maximum precision.
The LUMIX GH3's 60p recording satisfies even professional video needs. And it is capable of recording continuously for an unlimited time, which is one of the major features of the Panasonic LUMIX G Series. Heat generated during long continuous recording can cause problems. It not only affects internal components but can also degrade image quality. Effective heat dispersion is an essential design challenge. By drawing on the expertise accumulated through its many years of developing camcorders, Panasonic has revamped and redesigned the electronic parts arrangement and internal structure to achieve the optimum layout. This has eliminated heat problems in the LUMIX GH3.
The LUMIX GH3 comes with a high-speed AF system to meet even professional usage. By further increasing the communication speed between body and lens, Panasonic has maximized the potential of contrast AF system. The LUMIX GH3 also comes with an internal Wi-Fi system. In addition to transferring recorded image data, this makes it possible to use a smartphone for remote recording and other types of control without requiring any special equipment.
The current lens lineup consists of 17 models in three lens systems: Leica DG lenses, LUMIX X lenses and LUMIX G Series. A large-diameter telephoto zoom lens (35-100mm, F2.8) will join the lineup this Autumn.
Most of the lenses support HD video recording by clearing Panasonic's original performance standards for video recording. Two large-diameter zoom lenses developed to be used with the LUMIX GH3 and two power zoom lenses offer silent and smooth zooming for ideal video recording. Panasonic's lineup of lenses for digital single-lens mirrorless cameras is the widest and most versatile available.
With its renovated Speed Light, the LUMIX G Series continues to evolve and expand as a comprehensive camera system.