Saturday, 6 April 2013

GH2 vs GH3 video quality comparison

When Panasonic released the GH3, it was expected to raise the bar even further in terms of video quality. To compare it against the GH2, I connected both cameras to a piece of wood, using Manfrotto Superclamps, so that they would record the same scenery for comparison.

On both cameras, I used the Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake lens, a favourite of mine. I focused on "infinity", and then set both cameras to manual focus. The lenses were set to f/5.6 for the best sharpness, and I used the base ISO on both cameras. With the ambient lighting, the shutter speed was usually around 1/120s. Both cameras had the same settings in terms of sharpening and saturation. It was all recorded in 1080p, 25fps.

Even if the cameras have identical lenses mounted, they still have different field of view during video recording. This is due to only the GH2 having the an over-sized, multi aspect sensor, giving a wider field of view in video mode.

Here are the videos combined, for easy comparison:

Some may doubt that the quality of the YouTube rendering of the video is sufficient to really tell the difference between the cameras. I agree with that, and to assist in comparison, I uploaded parts of the video at 200% size, which probably makes the video image quality easier to assess. And I made some 100% crops from the original out of camera video files, uncompressed in PNG format below:

This last image comparison is from the ISO 1600 footage:


Just like I have concluded previously, the GH3 features somewhat less rolling shutter artefacts in video mode. Further, I think it looks like the GH3 handles high contrast better, and the overall sharpness of the video stream is better. Not unexpected, since the GH3 can record at up to 72Mbps bitrate, as compared with 24Mbps for the GH2. I used 50Mbps with the GH3 here, though. Of course, the bitrate is not everything, the sensor, AA filter, downsampling algorihm and compression algorithm are also important.

I also like the colours of the GH3 better. At high ISO, the GH3 does provide more details.

As far as I can see, the GH3 does deliver on the promise of delivering even better video quality than the predecessor GH2.


  1. How does the GH3 compared to a hacked GH2 is what I wanted to know.

    1. I never saw much point in applying the hack to the GH2, since the video compression was well balanced in the stock firmware anyway. There is only so much improvement you can get from upping the bandwidth, the sensor, filter, downsampling, etc, are also important in determining the video image quality.

  2. There is not much point in comparing a GH3 to a stock GH2 because the real benefits of a GH2 come after applying the hack ,especially if you have to grade the footage in post.The GH2 is/was bought primarily by most shooters and is preferred over other cameras due to the benefits of the hack and to disregard that aspect seems illogical.