Best compact system camera
Panasonic is clearly going for the serious filmmaker market with the Panasonic GH3. The compact system camera doesn't have a few key features, such as zebras to highlight over- and underexposure or focusing peaking to indicate the sharpest areas of the image. But it has much to attract videographers who want to capture HD footage with a relatively compact camera.
The company has also said that it may add such features at a later date with a firmware upgrade.
The Panasonic GH3 also feels and looks like a much more serious and robust camera than the Panasonic GH2, which will give it extra appeal to enthusiast stills photographers who are used to holding DSLR cameras.
There are direct controls to all the key features, and the touchscreen is very responsive.
How to use your new digital camera
The capacitive touchscreen is wonderfully responsive, and settings changes can be made quickly and easily via it or the healthy crop of direct controls. Although it's not perfect, the Wi-Fi system is a useful bonus, particularly the ability to control the camera remotely.
Like Panasonic's other recent G-series cameras, the Panasonic GH3 has a customisable quick menu that gives quick access to key features. It would be helpful, however, if there was also a customisable screen for the main menu to enable speedy access to features such as memory card formatting and the Multiple Exposure controls.
The Wi-Fi system could also do with a little more polishing. The ability to upload images to Twitter and Facebook is nice, but it's annoying that they aren't correctly orientated and there's no option to provide a caption or comment.
Panasonic has said that focus peaking (highlights that show the sharpest areas of the scene) could be added with a firmware upgrade if there is enough demand for it. We think this would be a good move that would bring the Panasonic GH3 into line with offerings from Sony.
We'd also like to see a virtual button added to enable you to rate images as they are reviewed. This rating could then be stored in the image EXIF data to speed up image processing.
The Panasonic GH3 offers all modern conveniences we want in a digital compact system camera these days; a decent EVF, an articulating capacitive touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity and a fast autofocus system.
It may be a little larger than most compact system cameras, but it has a superb featureset in a very well-made body that is compatible with a wide variety of lenses. This makes it more versatile than most CSCs on the market and it turns out high quality images in most situations.
While it cannot compete with a top-end DSLR when it comes to shooting sport and action, it is more than a match for most other CSCs.