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Panasonic Lumix GH3 Ken McMahon, February 2013
 
 

Panasonic Lumix GH3 vs Oympus OMD EM5 vs Sony NEX-6 quality

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To compare real-life performance when zoomed out I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix GH3, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the Sony Alpha NEX-6 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings; RAW results will follow on the next page.

The Lumix GH3 was fitted with the Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8, the OM-D E-M5 with the M. Zuiko 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 and the NEX-6 with the E PZ 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS.

The lenses were all set to their maximum wide angle - an equivalent of 24mm in each case. The cameras were set to Aperture Priority exposure mode with the ISO senstivity set manually. I tested at all aperture settings and chose the sharpest results.

  Panasonic Lumix GH3 results
1 Lumix GH3 Quality JPEG
2 Lumix GH3 Quality RAW
3 Lumix GH3 Noise JPEG
4 Lumix GH3 Noise RAW
5 Lumix GH3 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix GH3. The Lumix GH3 was mounted on a tripod and the stabilisation was disabled. Aperture priority mode was selected and with the aperture set to f4 and the sensitivity to 200 ISO the camera metered an exposure of 1/500. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 set to the same 200 ISO sensitivity metered 1/400 at f4 and the NEX-6 at its 100 ISO base sensitivity metered 1/250 at f5.6. The GH3 JPEG file measured 8.46Mb and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

On the day these test shots were taken the weather was overcast, so the scene doesn't present much of a challenge in terms of brightess levels and the Lumix GH3 has made a good job of the exposure, recording plenty of tonal detail in the sky as well as the darker foreground.

The crops generally show a very good level of detail with little if any noise at the base 200 ISO sensitivity setting. If you enable extended ISO on the GH3 a lower 125 ISO setting becomes available, but, like the 25600 setting at the other end of the scale this is intended for special circumstances rather than general shooting, so I've used the 200 ISO base setting for this test.

The apparent lack of contrast in the crops is as much due to the overcast weather conditions as anything but, regardless of that, the edges are crisp and you can make out the crosses on the chapel roof and the textures in the grass and rocks. In the second crop the slight haze has obscured the lighthouse but the rock it stands on is cleanly defined and the chimneys and window frames in the foreground have clean edges but are a little soft.

In the third crop from the extreme edge of the frame the detail is a little bit softer, but only fractionally so and there's little if any colour fringing. The final crop from the centre of the frame shows nice sharp edges on the balcony rails and window frames and good rendition of the fine detail in the brickwork and roof tiles.

Overall I'd say this is an excellent result from the GH3 which demonstrates a similar low key approach to processing as its predecessor with slightly better reolution of detail, though how much of this is due to processor improvements and how much is the lens is difficult to say at this stage. For more about that keep an eye out for our upcoming Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 lens test.

Compared with the results from the Olympus OM-D E-M5 the quality is very similar which is perhaps not surprising from two Four thirds sensors which share the same physical size and resolution. The processing on the Olympus crops looks a little punchier resulting in harder edge detail and there's some evidence of chromatic aberration on the third crop from the edge of the frame - sadly Olympus doesn't auto-correct fringing in-camera. Other than that, there's not a great deal in it. The crops from the NEX-6 look very soft by comparison with both the GH3 and OM-D E-M5, but there's a similar level of detail being recorded although quality is more variable across the frame. It'll be interesting to see whether these differences are reflected in my Panasonic Lumix GH3 RAW quality results on the next page. Alternatively you can see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Panasonic Lumix GH3 Noise results.

 
 
 

Panasonic Lumix GH3
 
Olympus OM-D E-M5
 
Sony NEX-6
f4, 200 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Panasonic Lumix GH3
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise


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