So what did you think about metering accurancy and exposure in general?
I was actually very pleasantly surprised by this area of the G3’s performance. After some of the user and reviewer reports of a tendency to underexpose with the first 16MP model, the GH2, I was half-expecting the G3 to share this possible trait. I can report that from my shots it doesn’t, exposure is well judged in the vast majority of cases; including the difficult subjects shown below.
Example 11. ISO160 – Strong direct sunlight, 1/800th @ f/8.0, Aperture priority, 45-200mm lens @ 151mm, Pattern Metered, iR & iD on
No sign here of underexposure on the railings or the house front in the background of this shot. I engaged both iR and iD in Standard setting when taking this JPEG. The RAW viewed in Silkypix (on which iR and iD have no effect) looks equally correctly exposed so the metering seems to have made all the right choices without any intervention from myself.
Example 12. ISO160 – Dull natural light (raining heavily outside), 0.5sec @ f/8.0, Aperture priority, 14-42mm kit lens @ 28mm, Pattern Metered
This lower key shot taken with the 14-42mm kit lens is equally challenging in its own way. For my preferences it would have benefited from around +2/3 EV exposure compensation. However, the histogram shows that the G3 has made the ‘technically’ correct decision here, filling the graph from extreme left to extreme right and only clipping a few small patches of bright, background sky and a tiny amount of the deepest shadows. Once again, there’s no sign of any problems, noise or otherwise, being caused by the large red flower in the shadier part of the shot. This is an excellent performance and I look forward to processing the RAW version of this shot.
At the opposite extreme from the first exposure test this late twilight shot again shows the G3 making a very accurate, naturalistic decision; and doing so at ISO1600 (again with very little noise in a shot that my G1 would frankly struggle with at anything like this high a sensitivity).
During the week’s shooting I did find one problem related to exposure. It’s with the pop-up flash. This seemed to consistently under-expose shots by almost -2EV regardless of the subject or its distance from the camera (within reason, it’s hardly high powered at GN10.5 @ ISO160). TTL metered shots taken with my Metz 50AF flash gun on the G3 were consistently correct, so I’m not sure what the cause of this problem was. I hope though that Panasonic will look into it.
How’s the G3 as a people shooter – flesh tones can be tricky
Judge for yourselves. Here’s a shot of a colleague who didn’t mind volunteering for public scrutiny. As you can see, he’s not just come back from the Maldives.
Example 14. ISO160 – Cloudy daylight, 1/160th @ f/5.6, Aperture priority, 45-200mm lens @ 132mm, Pattern Metered, iR & iD on, Face Recognition focusing
From what I’ve seen and the shots I’ve taken the G3 represents a real step forward for G System technology and overall capability. It’s not a perfect camera for all users. However, there are so many advances and improvements embodied in the G3; Light Speed AF, Low Noise & Significantly Higher Resolution to highlight just a few, that I’d recommend everyone to at least try a hands-on demonstration. If it hadn’t have been the fact that it’s just too compact for the way I work I know what my next investment in the G System would have been.
In the end, be it the right camera for you or not, if the G3 proves to be representative of the direction in which the MFT revolution is evolving, then the near future looks very interesting and productive indeed. Now where did I put that lens order form…
Aka BigRed (Full resolution copies of the shots used in this report and other examples of the G3’s output can be viewed at my Flickr site.