[Video] Canon 5DM3 Video Beat By Panasonic GH2?

What is going on with cameras these days? First we learned that the $6000 Nikon D4 is not a significant improvement over the D3S in terms of resolution or ISO performance. Now we are hearing that the Canon 5D Mark III is not a significant jump in video quality compared to the 5D Mark II that was released 4 years ago. I was shocked to see this video of a $900 Panasonic GH2 outperforming the $3500 5DM3 in terms of sharpness. Check out the full write up and 100% screen caps at EOSHD.

I'm very excited to see a video comparison between Nikon and Canon now. For the last 4 years Canon has destroyed Nikon in terms of video features and quality but that may not be the case any longer.

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Doesn't seem liked you have the amount of control over final image output with the Panasonic like you'd have with the MKIII

Justinflynn's picture

in my opinion the mark III in this comparison beats the GH2 hands down. This is not to say the GH2 isn't awesome, it is. Just my opinion 

Really? Great then. I personally cannot say that the 5DMKIII beat it by that much but again, those video aren't really the best tests ever. 

Justinflynn's picture

 Yeah I agree that it's not the greatest test but I think my point (which I did
not make clearly) was that the mark III is a much more well rounded piece of
equipment with really really handy features that come stock with it (not having
to hack it). And now with the sharpen workaroudn I believe we have an extremely
great tool at our disposal.

Remember Phillip Bloom's Christmas Shootout? The GH2 was the ONLY video dSLR that has the resolution to close to the Canon C300! I am not surprised with the mkIII comparison, considering that the mkIII still utilize line skipping instead of recording true 1080p. And for those who said that the mkIII is better than the GH2, if anything it is only marginally better and THAT is not what you want to hear if you're buying a camera that is 3x more expensive.


Joseph Bolus's picture

My thoughts exactly! Google "GH2 split screen versus RED Scarlet "  To the commenters who thinks the 5d Mark III  is better can you elaborate? I think the point Lee is trying to make is that the GH2 is "sharper" and for the cost and age of the GH2, it can compete with the Canon, even though it's not even a Full Frame sensor.

My client does not care which camera appears sharper in some shots. All they care about is the overall look and Canon wins here hands down. 

Who cares really if its tiny bit sharper? Video still looks very crappy on Panasonic. 

Joseph Bolus's picture

To my eye the 5D Mark III video quality is decidedly superior to the GH2.  Given the cost differential though it doesn't look 3.5 times superior.

Lee Morris's picture

At 1 minute when you see the wide shot of the trees and grass you can see that the GH2 is way sharper than the Canon. Other shots are harder for me to tell because the colors are so different. 

I judge quality by more than how sharp the grass appears.  I'm looking at overall aesthetic qualities, subjective as those are, to determine what pleases my eye more. In that case the Canon wins.

exactly this ^ My client does not care which camera appears sharper the overall look is what sells. 

Here is the full article that may help readers understand more than just the video as I don't think some of them fully understand why the Gh2 is better at video than all the other dslrs.


Don't mistake aliasing for sharpness.
The 5DIII footage may not appear as sharp, but it lends itself quite well to sharpening in post. 

 These were my thoughts exactly, much of the detail that the GH2 is supposedly rendering is not temporally accurate. I was under the impression that the GH2 didn't resolve that much resolution anyway. The MK III has a much larger sensor also, so the GH2 looks a bit sharper due to the inherent greater depth of field. Also, you can't judge these things based on a heavily compressed internet video that is 600px wide.

I'm a Nikon fan through and through, but I don't see how that video shows the Panasonic being better, in nearly every case I preferred the Canon footage. Looks like a lot is down to lens quality as well. Looking forward to seeing more Nikon/Canon video comparisons now that Nikon have some contenders - the video on my D5000 is shocking and I want to know if I can upgrade to a better Nikon or do I just buy a Canon/something else purely for video shooting??

while both cameras clearly shoot great images, Ian Dury & the Blockheads clearly out staged the video! In my humble opinion!

To be fair, it wasn't the best video test, there were a lot of shots where it was hard to tell if it wasn't just a still, if you're going to do a video test at least have something moving in the shot!!

Christopher Hoffmann's picture

I don't think you are correct about the sharpness Lee. I'm sorry, but I'm just not seeing it. If anything, I'd say it was a tie. But, that being said, for $3500 I'd expect the 5D3 to be decidedly better not only in terms of sharpness, but also in every other category. Now the question is: Is It worth that much more for video shooters? Looking at the results of still, I'd say yes, but I'm not convinced on the video side.

Christopher Hoffmann's picture

Thanks Lee, I def. see what you are referring to in those screen shots. The only question I then have is: why do the 5D3 images look oof? Is it just me or did you see the same thing? I'm not sure if that would make much difference, but if they are oof I'm sure that would have some impact upon the images.

hard to really tell much from this, as the color hues, saturation, and contrast look a bit different between the two cameras, but the gh2 does perform surprisingly well for the price.  it would, of course, be absolutely crushed by the 5dmk3 in any kind of lower-light situation (which i shoot a lot in). it also doesn't have that full-frame aesthetic, as the sensor is half the size.  i had a video shoot with my mk3 yesterday, and so far i absolutely love it.  i'm very satisfied with the purchase for several reasons.  the resolution is about the same, but everything else is better

So glad to see the pixel peepers out in full force now that we have video in our DSLR's.

The bitrate matters a lot; the GF2 w/ custom firmware at 80Mbps is very good. Surprisingly so. Just keep in mind it requires custom firmware.
The D800 and 5DM3 have been compared a bit at one of the canon-centric sites; I think EOSHD or something like that.

I owned a 5DmII and sold it to buy a GH2. I have shot shorts and features using both cameras. Overall I would give the edge to the GH2. After seeing this video, and other reviews, I have no plans to trade in the GH2 for a 5DmIII, or a Nikon or Sony (I've owned them too.)

In this video, my opinion varied from shot to shot. Some I liked the Canon better, some the Panasonic. I don't think there will EVER be consensus among users about something so subjective as personal taste. Both cameras deliver images at incredible and comparatively equal technical levels (8-bit, 4-2-0, etc.) They're both great in the right circumstances.

For me it comes down to practicality. I like the Canon's larger size and weight than the GH2, which is tiny in my hands and the little buttons harder to adjust while shooting. The GH2's setting and menus are a bit more work than the Canon's, but not much. If anything, Panasonic has loaded it with too many settings and styles.

However, where the Panasonic beats the Canon hands down for me is with its stock autofocus lens and the EX Tele conversion. The 14-140 lens is really nice, admittedly not on par with the Canon L lenses. But its facial recognition and auto focus are super fast. Even the focus assist locks in much much faster than my Canon lenses did. That's important for me for both videos and stills. (I've done the whole follow focus rails system too, but for most of MY applications and locations, such as in bright sunlight, I'd prefer to let the camera do the focus work.) With the touch screen, it's a breeze to rack focus, too.

The EX tele conversion and digital zoom mean my 14-140 lens, which is a 28-280 35mm equivalent to begin with, becomes an insane 50-500mm equivalent macro zoom and then like a 2000mm telephoto. It's not an f/1.0 to be sure, or Zeiss glass or even L-series, but it's an amazing workhorse lens. And the micro 4/3 system takes many more types of lenses than the 5DmIII, although the lineup of Canon-mount lenses is a hundred times deeper than for the GH2. I've put anamorphic lenses on the GH2, as well as tiny CCTV lenses, like the 12-75mm f/1.0 zoom I picked up on ebay for $20. I even use my old Canon lenses on it, especially my f/1.4 50mm, a sweet lens. The Canon lens lineup is great, but expensive. Great if you can afford it.

I shot a feature (www.BrokenSpiritsMovie.com) primarily on the Red MX, but some days with my GH2 as the A-cam, and a smattering of GoPro Hero shots. They all cut together nicely. Every project I've done in the past 6 months has been with the GH2 only. I even sold my Sony alpha DSLR I used for still and now shoot only with the GH2. Every one has been entirely pleased with the results. And unlike my 5DmII, I've never had the camera overheat and shut down on me.

I wouldn't pick a fight with anyone over which of these cameras is better. They're both great, and have similarities and differences. Neither will hold up to massive color grading or resizing the way the Red or Alexa 4:4:4 RAW files can. But the premise of this video and discussion -- namely does the Canon deliver 3 times the quality and features than the GH2 because it's 3 times the price -- shows that the GH2 is, if not clearly the better camera, then certainly the better VALUE.

Conclusion: Canon...love it. Panasonic GH2...love it a little more.


My old review of the 5D vs. Sony alpha vs. GH2

Lee you should post the article link I sent you guys along with this clip. People should read why the GH2 is better than the 5dmk3 and mk2 because some of these responses seemed uninformed simply by watching the video only.

The GH2 is a clear video power house. A lot of people don't want to admit to its video prowess but its clear from the footage its cleaner.
People that spend a ton of money on gear like to think it's justified. When someone shows them that you can get better results with something cheaper, they tend to want to defend their expensive purchase.

This video is straight to the point. It may be a case where you can do more in post with it but most of the users of these DSLRS are not doing that much in post with it. 

Also Lee, the same guy that reported this, also reported that the Nikon would be as good or better if it wasn't for the strong moire, which we all know is a VERY bad thing as well. Neither are in the same category of the GH2 no matter the way you slice it. 

Patrick Hall's picture

It seems to me that the Canon killed the Panasonic in the dynamic range test.  Once you have the ability to control exposure (shutter, ISO, and aperture) and use whatever lenses you can, the biggest difference will always be in the editing and story telling.  Unfortunately for photographers it's much easier to pick on the image quality because you are ultimately viewing a single frame.  There are so many horrible mistakes and bad footage in a lot of our Fstoppers Originals but fortunately people are less critical because the story is usually pretty good....that is unless you are unboxing a happy meal :)

Erik Tande's picture

Next time post a blind test and ask which footage people think is better.   It will help eliminate bias. : )

David Palmer's picture

Not enough info is here to make this apples to apples. we are talking about sharpness but they don't say what apertures or glass they are using for each shot. Also the GH2 has a different crop factor which is going to dramatically change depth of field. Second point is the that the 5D is a still camera first and Video a distant second and I think Canon wants to keep it that way. See what they do with the Cine DSLR later this year. For me as a wedding and family photographer this camera rocks!