Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3

Estimated Street Price: $1,229 (body only)

INTRODUCED 9/2012

The new Lumix DMC-GH3 improves on Panasonic’s popular GH2 flagship mirrorless model in many ways, not the least of which is providing a rugged, dust- and splash-proof magnesium-alloy body that’s a bit larger for easier video shooting. A new 16-megapixel Live MOS image sensor delivers even better still image quality, as well as new video capabilities. Normal ISO range is now 200-12,800, expandable to 125-25,600. The GH3 can shoot full-res images at 6 fps (4 fps with live view) and 4-megapixel images at 20 fps. Contrast-based Light Speed AF exchanges data at up to 240 fps between body and lens for quick focusing performance for stills and video.

Panasonic’s GH cameras have been noted for their video capabilities. The GH3 expands on them. It can shoot MOV-format 1080p at 60, 30 and 24 fps and 720p at 60 fps, as well as AVCHD Progressive at 1080/60p and AVCHD 1080 at 60i and 24p—all with SMPTE timecoding, if desired. It also can shoot MP4 1080p and 720p at 30 fps. The camera is designed to disperse heat for longer runtimes. Built-in microphones record stereo sound, and there’s a 3.5mm external microphone jack, plus a headphone jack.

Built-in Wi-Fi provides easy linking to a smartphone or tablet. Images are stored on SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, plus UHS-I. A new Tough Battery is CIPA-rated for 500 to 5,540 images per charge (depending on the lens); the optional Battery Grip DMW-BGGH3 doubles that.

STANDOUT FEATURE: Panasonic’s flagship mirrorless model gets more rugged and more capable.

1. The OLED Live View Finder provides handy eye-level still and video shooting.

2. The free-angle, 3-inch OLED touch-screen monitor provides easy odd-angle shooting and autofocus-point selection.

3. The flash-sync socket lets you connect studio flash systems. There’s also a built-in flash, hot-shoe, and wireless off-camera flash capability.

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