Most helpful critical review
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Panasonic, what did you do to the viewfinder?!!
on 4 September 2013
I find myself in a strange position here because according to most reviews this is pretty much *the* top m4/3 camera. I bought a G5 last year to try out the m4/3 system with the full intention of upgrading to the GH3 when it came down from its ludicrous launch price. So when I finally came to buy one recently I was staggered by the poor quality of the viewfinder. There was the widely reported smearing around the edges but much worse than that were two other things: the plane of the image wasn't optically perfect all the way across so it was impossible to tell whether the image was sharp or not (some parts were, some parts fuzzy), and the OLED struture somehow makes the resolution very low, so even if you are looking at a sharp image it appears coarse and blocky. The G5 viewfinder, by contrast, suffers from NO edge smearing, is perfectly sharp right across and is apparently much higher resolution. But you'll be *very* hard pressed to find that out from the usual review sites, some of which claim the EVF the best they have ever used. If I were a tinfoil hat wearer I'd be crying conspiracy!
So I returned the camera and got a replacement from a different batch. It had exactly the same problems. I thus declare that the emporer has no clothes. This is clearly a very desirable camera that takes beautiful pictures but Panasonic have completely cocked up the viewfinder, thus rendering the camera unusable by anyone expecting to use the viewfinder. Note that this excludes a lot of videographers who are perhaps used to looking through crappy viewfinders or who use the back display or an external monitor. But if you're hoping to use the viewfinder for focussing and having a pleasant time composing photos, forget it.
Furthermore, the EVF has great trouble showing purple and as soon as you start videoing, all the colours in the EVF go wonky, as if someone's holding a magnet next to the screen (for our older viewers ;-)). Finally, the EVF image is a bit on the small side, making the blurry, wonky, coarse image even more difficult to see.
My greatest puzzle though is that the EVF on the G5 is absolutely fine. So how come they put this POS on their flagship camera?
So while I'm waiting for the GH5, I've kind of been forced to go for a G6 (I already sold the G5!!). This has the same kind of OLED viewfinder so suffers from the same blockiness but the optics are better and the EVF image is larger and so it is useable. Still not as clear as the G5's was! (Though the G6 as a whole is better than the G5. TBH it's probably better than the GH3 but whisper that quietly ;-)).
In summary the GH3 is a 5 star camera with an appalling viewfinder. Which is a great shame.