G3 or GH2?

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by simon_hickie|1, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. I have a conundrum. I currently shoot with a Nikon D300 and D5100. The D300 tends to get used around the house (family, flower macros, pets etc), and for weddings (1 or 2 a year). The D5100 tends to be the walkabout camera with a 18-200mm on the front. I enjoy architecture and candid people photography, but find the live view of the D5100 painfully slow. The movie mode is also not the best (lousy auto-focusing). After the recent and unexpected death of a much loved pet, I realised that I had too few films of him and those I had were of less than excellent quality. Thanks to a back problem coupled with bouts of medication induced fatigue even the D5100 and 18-200 can be a bit much to carry around.
    Therefore, I'm looking at a 'killing two birds with one stone' solution - better video capability plus a lighter walkabout (including candids using live view fold out screen) camera. I used to have a G1 but sold it due to the badly positioned command wheel and no movie mode. However, having just done some RAW conversions in DxO 8, I'm very pleasantly surprised at the overall image quality - much better than I remember from using camera raw. I'd be looking at a 14-45 (or 14-42) plus 45-200 (or 45-150) setup - total weight about the same as my D300 body or around 250-300g lighter than my D5100 + 18-200mm.
    The question is, do I go for a used/refurb GH2 or new/refurb G3. I'd guesstimate around 90% min. use for stills & 10% max. for video overall. Decent high ISO is desirable but not essential. Decent dynamic range is more desirable - especially good shadow detail when trying to tame highlights. Suggestions and recommendations gratefully received.
  2. I had a G3 until I gave it to my improverished son, he and my DiL had just paid for a wedding etc, and currently have the GH2. I also felt I was accumulating too many cameras ... it is the third digital I have passed onto his willing shoulders :)
    I miss most the very small focusing area I used with the G3 to get AF to focus where I want it to do precisely.
    I enjoy having most if not all of the 'working' controls I want on the surface of the GH2 rather than in the menu.
    I curse the design of both for moving the control dial up the camera, about a quarter of an inch which means I keep in hitting the WB button ... I spoilt a whole shoot early on becuase I didnt notice what had happened and had to re-balance in editing URRRGH! That is compared to the FZ50 which I came from. I rarely adjust WB so am not bothered with it being in a menu. Being on the outside would be a boon for those who exercise this control.
    From what I have read the GH3 is more like a DSLR so hardly a step down in size for compactness etc.
    I used the kit lens with the G3 but as quick as possible got myself the 14-140 lens which is all I have used with the GH2 ... my 'desire' is a large sensor, and all the advantages of that, 'bridge' camera as close as I can get .... others seem to laud the primes available for M4/3.
    I have yet to shoot video with either.
    I used the touch screen principly to access menus and once found it very useful to position the focus point exactly where I wanted it for a rare tripod shot.
    Not sure I would want to go back to the G3 now I have the GH2 :)
  3. I have a single 'filter', a two dioptre CU lens, which with only the x10 zoom doesn't get me as tight a framing as possible as with my x12 bridge cameras. I think I probably need a four dioptre some time to solve that small problem, I also have extension tubes and bellows available but prefer the ease of putting on a CU lens to the 14-140 like I did with the bridge cameras...... Habits! :)
  4. I recently went through the same decision between these two cameras, so here are some of the decisions I made:
    Budget: B&H photo have the GH2 with 14-42 kit lens for $699 and the G3 with the same kit lens for $299, both new. I realise you're in the UK, but I'm sure there will be a comparable difference. I also wanted a fast prime, so the $400 saved on camera body could be spent on buying the Pana-Leica 25mm f/1.4 rather than the Pana 20mm f/1.7, and some B + W 46mm filters. The G3 gave me more bang for my buck.
    Image Quality: I found this review useful and although there isn't much between them, they reckon the G3 comes out slightly out on top. The G3 only goes up to ISO 6400 whereas the GH2 has ISO12800, but this wasn't an important enough of a difference for me.
    Handling: Luminous Landscape's review summed it up well. I was using a Canon SX20 super zoom before this, so although I have big hands, I'm used to using a small camera, plus isn't that the benefit of MFT. Therefore, it didn't make sense to me to buy a bulkier camera. However, if you're used to using a DSLR, then it might be a different story and the less physical dials and smaller ergonomics may be more of an issue.
    Mike at Luminous also had an issue with the lack of eye sensor to switch from EVF to LCD.
    "I shoot with the EVF 95% of the time and having to remember to press the LCD/EVF button whenever I need to change a setting become tedious and annoying very quickly."
    For me, I don't understand why he is doing this as all the settings can be changed using the buttons whilst looking through the EVF thus avoiding having to switch at all in the first place. I am also happier shooting using the LCD screen a lot more of the time, so again this becomes a lot less of an issue.

    Video: The GH2 is better for video and has extras like external microphone jack for this. However, I'm like you, where I am probably 90% photos and 10% video. If it had been more 50/50 then the GH2 would have been the obvious choice, but the G3 still produces great video and was good enough for my 10%.

    As I'm sure you can tell, I bought the G3 and love it. I find that I'm only using the Pana-Leica 25mm as it allows me to create much better pictures of my son (the main reason for buying it in the first place). Hope you have found this somewhat helpful...
  5. Simon - By way of background, I am a GH2 shooter who has recently upgraded to the GH3. I shoot 60% stills and 40% video. That said, have you considered the G5? Faster autofocus and better video frame rate (1080/60p) than the G3 - but not quite as video-centric as the GH2 or GH3.
    The G5 is £529 with the kit lens at Amazon - only a few pounds more than a used GH2 body.
    For those who shoot only occasional video, the G5 seems to me to be a good option.
    Hope this is helpful and best of the holidays,
  6. Hi Guys
    Many thanks for your helpful responses. The best I can do on a G3 is £270 delivered for a refurb with 14-42 or £250 used, both with a year's warranty; a GH2 with the same lens can be had for £499 - the difference buying another lens. I think I'll wait until the January sales before deciding - after I've had a play with Junior No. 3's TZ20 movie mode over Christmas.
    Season's greetings to all.
  7. Short answer was G3...
    With a film rangefinder background [Contax G & Leica], and after exclusively using Canon digital SLRs and smaller P&S for the past several years, I dove into the Panasonic micro 4/3 system a few weeks ago.
    My first purchase was a GX1 with the 7-14 & 12-35 lenses. I decided I really wanted a second body and purchased a G3 kit [$300 U.S. from Amazon]. I used the G3 and GX1 for a motorcycle show shoot, mostly the G3 with the 7-14. I found some of the ergonomics/button placement on the G3 not ideal for me, while I really like the flexibility of an articulating LCD and the LVF for longer lenses is nice to have. A few days ago I sold the G3 and upgraded to a G5 for the improvements that camera offers, primarily for the grip/ergonomics/button placement. No real shooting with the G5 yet, but from initial handling it appears I'll be less likely to unintentionally hit buttons.

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