Panasonic Lumix GH3 Digital Camera Review$1,299.00
The Panasonic DMC-GH3 offers several color modes, which we tested for their ability to accurately reproduce a set of colors. The standard default color mode proved to be the most accurate, with the other modes all pushing a specific look that tended to result in images that weren't objectively accurate, but still looked fine. We found the standard mode had a color error of 2.85 with a saturation level of 108.3% of the ideal. Those are fairly good numbers, and its certainly an acceptable level of performance, similar to what we've seen out of competing cameras. More on how we test color.
In our real-world samples, we found the color to be quite accurate, replicating what we saw with our own eyes well enough. The more saturated modes worked well to let the colors pop, as well, giving you a number of creative options depending on how you want the final image to look.
NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.
Compared to its chief competition, the GH3 fared acceptably well. It doesn't beat out high-end cameras from Canon, but its default settings produced results that certainly shouldn't exclude it for anyone, especially given the ability to shoot in RAW and tune color to your liking.
The GH3 offered exceptional custom white balance accuracy, though we found its automatic white balance struggled a bit in lab conditions. Specifically, we found issues under compact white fluorescent light that did creep into some of our real world shots.
Automatic White Balance ()
We found the automatic white balance on the GH3 to be a bit of a mixed bag. Performance was quite typical for tungsten lighting, as it produced a warm cast over the image and a color temperature error of around 2200 kelvins—quite normal levels for any camera and certainly expected. We saw some issues under artificial fluorescent lighting, though, with a harmful green cast under compact white fluorescent. It's not a constant problem, but when it pops up it's very distracting.
In strict daylight lab conditions we saw a color temperature error of around 130 kelvins, which is perfectly acceptable. We do have to reserve special praise for the GH3's handling of daylight and mixed lighting. When shooting outdoors or inside with a mix of indoor incandescent and sunlight, the GH3 handled colors very well. It tended to preserve the warmth of the indoor light but still produce fairly accurate colors.
Custom White Balance ()
The custom white balance performance on the GH3 was spectacular across the board, with color temperature errors of less than 72 kelvins in tungsten, fluorescent, and daylight lab conditions. We would typically call anything under 200 kelvins a great result and the GH3 simply blows away those expectations.
While we saw typically warm images from the camera under tungsten lighting, the GH3's problems under artificial lighting do drag its automatic white balance performance down a bit. The camera redeems itself very well with its custom white balance performance though, putting up some of the best numbers we've seen to date.
White Balance Options
Adding to the GH3's impressive custom white balance showing is the ease with which you can capture custom readings. The GH3 offers a dedicated white balance button that allows instant access to the camera's WB settings, letting you easily capture and save up to four different custom white balances. You can also select from one of five white balance presets, set color temperature (Kelvin) manually, or use the camera's automatic white balance.