Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Panasonic G5 vs. G3

Does the G5 worth $137 more than the G3 at $299?
  • G5 uses the same sensor in GH2 that sets the standard for DSLR video. Video look better than G3's, indeed. The sensor is actually improved than GH2's, although multi aspects ratio is crippled.
  • Like GH2, G5 offers 2.4x ETC mode for 1080p in addition to what G3 offers - 3.6x 720p. Both 2.4x and 3.6x video look cleaner and better than G3's 3.6x. ETC for stills is now replaced by digital zoom (2x and 4x).
  • 1080p60 (limited to 29m59s) 28mbps, in addition to 1080i60 (no limit) 17mbps. The former looks significantly sharper.
  • Dynamic range is 1-stop better, now very close to the Olympus OMD and APS-C.
  • Like G3, no blocking on batteries. I have a 3rd-party GF2 battery bought on ebay and I can use it in G5 fine except that the door cannot close.
  • Eye sensor is very nice to have. Both EVF and LCD look better, featuring live preview.
  • Quiet electronic shutter in addition to mechanical.
  • It is easier to shoot photos and video with just one hand, thanking to the relocation of the shutter and record button and the added zoom rocker, and the thumb pad. The downside: the much larger grip adds a lot more bulkiness to already bulky G3. Now it's all like a GH2, nothing like a GF2.
  • There is no improvement over G3 on ISO 3200 and 6400 photos, actually more noise. G3's AWB gives more pleasing tone under LED lights. 12800 is garbage.
  • Like G3, it is made in China. Earlier models such as GF2 are made in Japan.


So yes, just the 2.4x 1080p ETC alone is worth the extra money. It extends the 14-45mm lens to 14-108mm (or even 14-162mm), like 8x or 12x zoom; then you don't have to carry a very heavy and very expensive superzoom lens. Other features and improvements are welcome but I can live without them and just be happy with a G3. I wish high ISO could be even better and 12800 could be really usable other than a marketing hype.

Although I have said it many times, here I say it again, loud and clear: Panasonic M43 is the only DSLR-class camera that does auto focus video without too much AF hunting. This G5 has pushed that even further with the smoothest, sharpest and least hunting video I've seen so far from any DSLR cameras. Even idiots can take easily 1st class photos and video out of such a small and light camera, without having to mess around with any manual controls. See it yourself, all done by auto, including continuous or tracking auto focus, just click on a single record button and this is what you'll get:


Now let's compare it to G3.

Low light and outdoor video and 2.4x, 3.6x ETC modes:



1080p60 vs. 1080i60 (download the non-youtubed 8mbps version here):


ISO 6400 G5 vs. G3:





ISO 160 G5 vs. G3:





3 comments:

  1. It goes without saying that it depends on each photographer's needs. Paid $480 for G5 kit and am happy with it. Plus, it is more or less moot as $437 was a price mistake that has since been corrected by HSN.

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