Panasonic Interview at Imaging Resource.


Imaging Resource (Click here) interviewed a group of Panasonic managers (engineers). The focus is of course on the newly announced Panasonic GH3. Enjoy the reading you future Gh3 owners :)

Panasonic and Olympus Preorder Links with specs and price:
Special GH3 page at Amazon (Click here) and a full Olympus presentation page at Amazon (Click here).
GH3 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here) and in Europe at Wexphotographic UK (horrible price in UK!).
35-100mm X lens at Amazon (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
E-PL5 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
E-PM2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
XZ-2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
60mm macro at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
12mm Black prime lens at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
15mm cap-lens at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).

  • Dannecus

    I’m not remotely interested in video, but good to see further talk about fast primes from Panasonic.

    • the technical videotalk goes much deeper then the equivalent for photography, sofar i find that part also not really interesting. But being able to experiment with video on a large sensor, i can dig that as a photographer who loves to watch movies because of the cinematographic flair(a discipline often labeled as photography during the credits). Too many times i feel from fellow photographers a certain “videography is not as artistic as photography can be” attitude. I am not sure what your reason is for the “dislike”,but when i read it, i wanted to give my opinion about the video-in-a-photocamera culture phenomenon.

      • Dannecus

        I have huge respect for those able to shoot good video, but I know I’m not one of them. No disrespect for the art form, but the GH3’s video capabilities always seem to shut out much discussion of the device as a stills camera.

        • yes thats true, i would almost believe that every GH-x user is a videographer in the first place :-)

          • Mr. Reeee

            I shoot stills and picked the GH2 because of better ergonomics and the articulated LCD. The multi-aspect sensor turned out be a bonus, which I’ve grown to use more and more, especially 16:9 and 1:1. For some of us it will be sorely missed!

            I had intended to shoot some video, but enjoy shooting stills so much I often forget the video capabilities are even there. The curse of having shot film for 25+ years, I suppose. ;-)

            • ulli

              Mr. Reeee, the same here, but maybe we can try to dispel that curse.

        • southbymidwest

          And every time I look at that camera I can’t *not* notice the drastic difference between the relatively large size of the camera vs. the small size of the sensor. I love m43 and have supporting the format since inception with an E-P2, a GH2 and now an E-M5. But the GH body just seems off for me this generation… at least for this 95/5 stills/video, non-pro user.

  • The Master


  • Agrivar

    Key points I picked up :

    – no multi aspect
    – no focus peaking ( for now)
    – panny sensor..?

    • Pavlo

      Hope the sensor is Panasonic made. Too bad to have only one sensors supplyer for all cameras of all systems

  • Heat Legend

    Can’t wit to get my GH3.. Been on pre-order at B&H since the day they started accepting them.

  • stunned

    shut up and take my money!

  • alexander

    i prefer Olympus because of the IBIS.
    With Olympus I can easely use pana-lenses but not vice versa (because of the missing stabilisation).

    • Tron

      Alexander, please allow me to translate what you just said – “Excuse me, I’m an Oly fan boy that has nothing to contribute to this discussion about Panasonic products. However, I feel it’s very important that you know what I think about random things at random times, however mundane and pathetic those feelings may be. IBIS can heal the sick and cure OCD… sort of.”

      • Nawaf

        LoL.. for a moment there I was lost.

      • Mr. Reeee


      • hifinut

        My oh my, panny lovers are just as bad as oly fans. ☺

  • Narretz

    When they talked about the sensor, it sounded not very impressive. It actually sounded like the sensor is nothing special.

    • it

      I noticed that as well. “this was the only sensor available with better dynamic range so we had to use it”. Makes me wonder if it is the G5 sensor.

      • ashwaniman

        G5 sensor dynamic range is almost identical to that of the GH2 (see DxOMark test results), so if it is the same G5 sensor there is no improvement over the GH2 sensor

  • Giulio

    Why didn’t they ask if the AF-C has been improved? I think that is something on which several people hold their breaths

    • Tron

      They just said a firmware update is being made available for the 12-35mm that takes advantage of the 240fps read out. That means focusing will be twice as fast in AF-C mode. Similar updates are likely to roll out for the other Lumix lenses.

  • I’m disappointed

  • caver3d

    Regarding muilti-aspect sensor:

    “Panasonic: Our main priority was image quality, both for stills and movies. For our former models, the GH1 and GH2, we developed a special sensor that was a little bigger than Four Thirds. However, because we wanted to make so many improvements with the GH3, we didn’t have a larger sensor available. The Four Thirds-size sensor was what was available from our sensor group.”

    They didn’t have a larger GH2-type sensor available? That answer is a smoke screen and makes no sense. They may have a real future with careers in politics.

  • does recording stop after reaching 8gb (2 files)? that’s the impression i’m getting…

    • yes, he said it like that.

  • Alan

    The interview mentions that “the body can go 240 fps”. I don’t remember reading that anywhere else. Is it official? I assume it would be 480p or maybe worse.

    • Alan

      Or maybe it’s just a matter of faster autofocus for stills, but the interviewer made it sound like 240fps video would be an option.

      • Sean Nelson

        NO! 240fps video is NOT possible.

        The 240fps refers to the number of autofocus captures per second. The sensor reads only a limited set of data from the sensor for autofocus, so it can do this at a faster rate. According to the interview, the fastest rate that the sensor can deliver a full frame of data for video is 60fps, and that’s only because it does pixel binning onboard the sensor itself.

        • Alan

          Yeah, that’s the impression I’m getting from looking around elsewhere. It was just the way the interviewer mentioned it in the context of “high-speed video”. Probably the interviewer’s mistake.

          If 240fps video did happen, I expect “sensor reads only a limited set of data” is how it would do it. I.e., do the on-sensor 2×2 combining as described in the interview, then discard every other column and every other row, to cut the amount of data by a factor of 4, so you can read it out at 240fps instead of 60. It would cause serious aliasing, but it’d still be a cool feature to have.

  • Hard2Xplain

    Very informative, worth reading.

    So they ditched the multi-aspect sensor in order to avoid overheat and stuff.

    Still not quite sure who made the sensor though. Wonder if, in something as complex as image sensor, two company could came up with the same (4,608 x 3,456) pixel count.

    • Yes, and total is the 17.2mpx on sensor, same so E-PM2 and E-PL5 have too, Panasonic use maybe same sensor on GH3 so Olympus use on two last camera.

  • Agreed, that was an informative interesting interview. Makes me think the G5 is now looking a very good value camera unless you really need broadcast quality video bit rate.

    • Sean Nelson

      The G5 would be a lot more interesting to me if it allowed you to exercise manual control over video.

  • Duncanario

    The price of 1550 pounds at Wex photographic in the UK is an outrage , it’s over $1000 more expensive than in the states. That store needs to be boycotted. No fricking way

  • With most lenses, pixels near the edge can’t see the light coming from outside the frame that would be needed for phase-detect.

    Learned something new today.

  • They wanted to improve image quality to keep up with the OMD, which would not have been possible with their own sensor design. Therefore they had to go with the Sony sensor, and multi-aspect was sacrificed for the improved DR. That’s the way I read it.

    • Steve

      That is how I read it as well.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      That’s the only logical conclusion.

      If they had better performing sensor design they could have made oversized multi-aspect variant of it as easily sensors of GH1 and GH2.

  • Carlos

    Hmmm…. they didn’t have a multi-aspect GH3 sensor to hand so they had to use the sensor from the GX2 since it has high dynamic range…. :-)

  • scooby70

    It’s a shame they didn’t ask Panasonic if they reasised they’d alienated some users by producing a camera that stretches the Micro in MFT beyond believability making the GH3 the size of an APS-C DSLR.

    • Dannecus


      I use a Pen, because it is small and unobtrusive for street, and easy to carry around all day along with a few lenses. I don’t have the specs, but if the GH3 is as big and as heavy as an (APS-C) DSLR why not just put an APS-C sensor in it too. One of the accepted trade offs of M43 is smaller sensor, but smaller lighter bodies. Or are we back to is this really a somewhat large M43 stills camera, or in fact a small neat, high quality video camera?

      • ulli

        The GH3 is just one model of the mft line, its not like all models suddenly grow in size. It’s like saying if a Nikon D4 or Canon D1mkIV is so huge, why not put a MF sensor in it.

    • Heat Legend

      >Implying the target market for this camera cares that it is the size it is.

      For video the GH3 STILL offers the smallest size and (specs wise) the best performance of any DSLR type camera to date. There are plenty of other smaller camera options available for those of you who just want a lolsmallsize for your lolstreet, go and buy n OM-D or something the GH3 obviously isn’t for you.

      I on the other hand am ecstatic that te GH3 has FAR better ergonomics and build quality than the plastic GH2, the size is still very much compact while offering weather proofing and the best video in its range.

      • Agree, GH3 look very good and solid.

      • scooby70

        “>Implying the target market for this camera cares that it is the size it is.”

        The GH3 certainly isn’t aimed at me and the Panasonic range doesn’t include a camera I’m willing to buy.

        I’m sure that it’ll sell, but not to people like me who bought into MICRO FT because we wanted a small camera system.

        If MFT had been GH3 size from day one I certainly wouldn’t have bought into the system.

        • Esa Tuunanen

          Well, if GFs aren’t small enough for you there’s Canon IXUS.
          Or Pentax Q, which is really the only system which can offer very small lenses. Though even those can’t retract inside the body because of the mechanics necessary for lens to be interchangeable.

          If you think every single body must be limited to that size no matter how much it goes against physics and all ergonomics you’ll need more practise in logical thinking.

        • Tron

          It’s all about you Scooby… that’s why you admit you don’t have a clue how to harness this camera’s advanced features, yet you shit on it for not being MORE than what it is. Your intellect is truly inspiring. Thanks for all your contributions here.

  • So, it does seem like it’s a Sony sensor.

    It would be weird to have such a flagship camera and say that you didn’t have time to simply make the sensor larger, that you didn’t have that type os sensor available, even more when all the GH-series cameras are multi-aspect ratio.

    To say that the priority was the IQ means that Sony’s sensor beat Panasonic’s sensor and they preferred to lose the multi-aspect than lose in IQ to Olympus OM-D E-M5, which would look bad for THE m4/3 PRO camera.

    And to say that the sensor is not a specially designed one also tells that this isn’t totally custom made. They had to set priorities on what they could tweak from Sony’s sensor. I bet that if Panasonic had as much resources as Sony, they would have even better feats.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      > I bet that if Panasonic had as much resources as Sony, they would have even better feats.
      Panasonic is electronics giant fully the size of Sony.
      I suspect problem is in Sony having gotten so much sensor related patents that others have hard time in improving their sensor designs without infringing some of those.

      Patents might have been originally protection for individual persons doing inventions but nowadas they’re just very strong anti-competition tools of big corporations.

      • This is not just about sensors, Panasonic guys in the interview talked about not having engineers enough to work on all the feats we all want, like focus peaking, zebra and other implementations – even Panasonic’s mobile app looks fugly as hell. And by the way Sony has been launching camera bodies and other stuff, they do have a lot more resources.

    • stimmer

      It’s not a Sony sensor. How do you read that? There’s nothing in this statement that says they outsourced it at all. Just wishful thinking.

      Panasonic: Our main priority was image quality, both for stills and movies. For our former models, the GH1 and GH2, we developed a special sensor that was a little bigger than Four Thirds. However, because we wanted to make so many improvements with the GH3, we didn’t have a larger sensor available. The Four Thirds-size sensor was what was available from OUR sensor group.

  • smileblog

    >>DE: What changes were made to the sensor or the processing circuitry to achieve higher dynamic range?

    >Panasonic: …we increased the saturation electron number and also improved the signal-to-noise ratio. And, of course, the final number depends on the gamma curve as well….

    They do NOT understand their question at all, man.

    or just they do not want to say.

    • ha

      ??? They exactly answered what need to be done to improve DR. Down with noise, up with maximum collected photons.

  • Duncan

    I see that Panasonic concentrated on video enchantments, neglecting the photographers.

    1) Burst mode’s electronic (silent) shutter is still limited to 4-megapixels
    2) No more multi-aspect sensor
    3) No focus peaking
    4) No zebra stripes
    5) Burst mode speed at full resolution is not improved at all (5fps GH2 vs 6fps GH3)

    • homer

      Duncan, while they did go heavy on the video side of things, your list is a bit off.
      First 4 mp at 20 fps and 80 photo buffer is just fine.
      focus peaking and zebras are a video thing, not stills, Focus peaking has happen to slid into stills but not zebra.
      Id say an 18 raw+jpeg buffer at one more fps is quite an improvement.

      • Duncan

        Are you kidding? 4mp is not enough. They should add full resolution or at least arounf 8 mp option for burst mode with electronic shutter. It does not jave to be 20fps. Even 2-3 fos would be usefull. Besides they decreased the speed in GH3. GH2 was doing 40fps at 4mp. GH3 is 20fps.
        Both focus peaking and zebra stribes are very usefull for stills. My 7 year old sony dsc-r1 camera does not have any video functionality, but it has zebra stribes for taking stills. I used it a lot.
        Buffer size and speed are different things. I cannot call 1fps increase as a big improvement. Compared to GH2 or GH3 body, Sony Nex7 body has a bigger sensor with 50% more pixels with much faster continuous shooting (10fps) at full resolution.

      • Esa Tuunanen

        Also lack of multi-aspect is bigger loss for video because in it you’re permanently bound to field of view cropping 16:9 aspect ratio.

        There are really more improvements for still shooter than video.
        Most of stock GH2 video quality problems were caused by shitty AVCHD specification video limited in firmware and not some major definiciency in hardware capabilies. Neither is 50/60p so new feature.
        And serious video shooters&pros tend to have cameras often in rigs so lack of proper size grip was never so much problem for them unlike for still shooters who keep camera in hands nearly always and have to be able to use camera’s controls efficiently all the time.

  • hifinut

    If saturation electron number or fill capacity affect the dynamic range is true, then I would like the manufacturers to list it in the specs for their cameras. At least we do not have to wait for reviews to know the outcome of the dynamic range of the cameras.

    • I think that would be pointless since it’s not the only factor that affects DR, it’s as simplistic as thinking that pixel count is the only thing to tell the IQ.

  • “At this moment we don’t have focus peaking.”


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