The new Panasonic GH3 mirror less DSLR is already getting very good reviews from independent filmmakers. It has upgraded the data rates and file types created to above levels required by professional broadcasters.
With lense adapters it is also possible to use old prime lenses or Nikon or Canon lenses on the Panasonic body.
A decent review by a documentary maker can be found at : http://filmmakermagazine.com/61709-shooting-angels-with-the-panasonic-gh3-in-mexico/
The website EOSHD also has lots of information about cameras like the GH3 and the new Black Magic camera.
New Panasonic Lenses
Along with the GH3 they released two professional series lenses, a 12-35mm and 35-100mm with a constant f/2.8. Because of the camera’s crop factor of 2, the 35-100 is equivalent to the 70-200, a lens that I love and was excited to try out for the GH3. It did not disappoint.
When looking at Lenses the quality of the glass is primary and also the constant f number or size of aperture that the lense can achieve. Both of the new Panasonic lenses have a constant aperture wide open of F/2.8. This is quite a wide aperture and allows shooting in low light across the range of the lense. Also available with these lenses is image stabilisation which allows for very smooth footage even handheld. Also a good prime lense for the Panasonic is the 20mm Pancake lense. This has a wide open aperture of f/1.7 which allows for very low light work. This together with the new 35-100mm lense world make for a good initial combination.
On the lens itself is a switch for image stabilization. It was mind blowing. Handholding zoomed all the way in I could still get steady footage. The lens itself produced a great image, and being able to stay at a 2.8 brings the whole line to a pro level.
One nice advantage of micro 4/3 is there’s an adapter for just about every other type of mount. For $20 I picked up one for my Nikon lenses. I filmed an entire sequence of the teenagers getting ready with their angel makeup and costumes on the Nikon 24mm. It definitely has a much more organic, softer feel than what you get with the Panasonic lenses.
Sometimes using a non-Panasonic lens produces an annoying jitter. With the Nikon I used the Steadi-Stock rig and kept the shots mostly static and the results were beautiful.
The annoying downside of the 2 crop factor is it’s hard to get wide. So I also tested the Panasonic 7-14mm. I really liked the lens – you could get nearly 180 degree view with very minimal distortion. But it was an f/4 and very hard to use indoors. So I only used it a few times. Hopefully a 2.8 version will be developed.
I did not try the other pro Panasonic 12-35mm lens, but based on my experience with the 35-100, if you’re just buying the camera this seems like a solid medium range lens to build a standard kit (though it costs about as much as the body).