Panasonic Lumix GH3 vs DSLR – A Pro Photographer Weighs the Options

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I’ve been enjoying following the story of David Taylor-Hughes of SoundImagePlus who, due to some strong suggestions from his accountant, is carefully weighing his options as he pares his camera collection down from 4 cameras to two.  Of late, he seems to be leaning towards selling off his Nikon D-800E and Sigma DP Merrills in favor of keeping his micro 4/3 systems (a Panasonic Lumix GH3 and an Olympus OM-D E-M5).

I can relate to David’s dilemma, because if it weren’t for some strong suggestions from my own accountant, I would probably own a GH3 today.  Of course, I’m personally coming at this from a slightly different perspective as I’m building an in home studio from scratch and have been considering which camera(s) to add to my collection.  After months of research into different camera systems, I finally decided that – for me personally – micro 4/3 was the way to go (>>Click Here<< if you want to understand my reasoning a little better).  Of course, the Lumix GH3 is at the top of my M43 camera wishlist, but as I was also buying lenses, lighting, backdrops, sliders, tripods, stabilizers, jibs, etc. and not just a camera and lenses, I decided to save a few bucks that I could allocate elsewhere and pick up a Panasonic Lumix G5 and some lenses.  This way, when I do pull the trigger on a GH3, I’ll already have some lenses and a great 2nd body to use (the G5 – which is killer, by the way!).

Back to David…  His most recent article dramatically underscores why the GH3 has garnered so much attention in the Photo/Video world, and why I believe that the GH3, and the pro lenses that came out with it, are the catalysts that are starting the wholesale migration to mirrorless camera systems.

Some memorable quotes from the article…

One of the things I’ve grown to like about the Panasonic GH3 is that its a “no-fuss” camera. Its exactly what I like, a picture-taking device that lets me concentrate on taking pictures rather than constantly fiddling with the camera.

…its a camera I don’t have to fight, a camera that doesn’t require my constant attention. A camera I don’t have to fiddle with. To me it works like a Nikon. Once its set up right, I just switch it on and start taking pictures.

In my opinion, Panasonic and Olympus have been playing a game of leapfrog for the last few years, surpassing each other’s achievements with each release.  In early 2012, the OM-D supplanted the Lumix GH2 at the head of the Micro 4/3 Class.  Now, the Lumix GH3 has taken the OM-D’s place at the M43 pinnacle, and with the GH3, Panasonic have raised the bar to a whole new level.  It would seem that David would agree, as he goes on to state the following…

It [the GH3] is a different camera to other m4/3 models, and though I like the Olympus very much, it is for me a step on from the OM-D, in that it tries to give photographers more of what they need in a more accessible way.

…there is no doubt in my mind that the GH3 is something special. A camera that will change a lot of attitudes I’m sure.

In summary…

Its obvious that there has been (still is?) a good deal of complacency in the Canon and Nikon camps and their underwhelming mirrorless offerings seem to suggest that both still think that DSLR’s are still the ultimate photographic tools. And of course when a camera like the D800E appears it can seem hard to argue with that. But my GH3 is a lot faster and easier to operate than my Nikon in most situations and its also a lot more versatile in what it can offer. The Nikon will always have all those pixels, but in many ways its a camera that can seem somewhat out of date when compared to the GH3. Electronic spirit level in the viewfinder, pinpoint focus, silent electronic shutter, constant live view and flexible screen positioning are all useful photographic tools in the GH3 that make the job of getting the picture easier. These are not gimmicks or gadget-head fodder, these are the real deal and are features that once used are very difficult to give up. And it is of course because of the nature of mirrorless cameras that these things are possible.  (Read David’s full article and view photos taken with the GH3 on SoundImagePlus)

My 2 cents

One of the reasons that I’ve been enjoying reading these articles on SIP so much is that it is completely clear that David is an unbiased professional who is truly looking for the best available option while maintaining his own standards of excellence.

Again…  I can completely relate.  To me, it doesn’t matter what conventional wisdom or other people say (i.e. – Forum Trolls), what type of camera you’re using or what name is slapped on the front of the camera.  The only thing that truly matters is this…

Which camera(s) will give me the best results, for the best price while operating the way that I like.

That, plus the fact that I truly believe that everything is heading into Hybrid (Photos + Videos + Audio + Graphics = eProducts that you can deliver to someone’s smart devices, facebook, etc.) is why I ultimately chose mirrorless systems.  I wanted to be able to shoot stills and videos with equal ease and excellence, and the GH3 is tailor made for Hybrid.  Witness the video above by UKTouristAttractions – IMHO, the GH3 footage looks richer and has better color (What do YOU think – Leave a comment!).

For me, the GH3 is the real deal…

Buy the Panasonic Lumix GH3 on Amazon Here


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