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Panasonic G3...is it good enough?

since the beginning of may i have been hammered with out of focus, DOF, chromatic aberation, poor optical performance....basically camera or camera operator issues. i believe the reviewers are valid on some or many but i just can't see it in photoshop on others so trying to find the error of my ways.

i know it's the operator more than the camera when it comes to the image but just wonder if there are other Panasonic G3 contributors out there using kit lenses and having the same troubles as myself.

basically i'm just trying to figure out if the camera is good enough for this...or if better camera/lenses are needed to compete against the crowd.
personally i think the g3 should be good enough but....
what's your success with the G3 and kit lenses?

just curious.
Panasonic G3/GX8 and some nice Panny lenses.
Posted: 05/18/2012, 12:10:16 PM
Have a look at Peanutroaster's blog on MFT lenses: Lenses for MFT

In the blog the kit lens on the G2 is noted as not being up to snuff for acceptance. I don't have the 14-42 kit, but I find my 14-140mm is great for video and personal shots, but not consistent enough for stock. I pretty much use primes for any stock photo shots with my Panasonic GH2.
ZD 50mm Macro f/2...
Posted: 05/18/2012, 22:20:24 PM
I just sold my G2. I built my portfolio of about 800 images with that camera. Now I have the G3. I got rid of the kit lens rather early.

I thought at first the G3 was grainy but its just a matter of figuring out the setting in Adobe Lightroom 4.

I typically move the sharpness to around 45, the masking to 39 and just give it a little noise reduction (10 or less typically).

I have it set at ISO 200 which is the lowest it goes. I'm no expert but my acceptance rate recently has been around 90% with none being rejected for lens issues.

For focus I seem to get the best results using the touch screen to touch where I want the focus to be.

lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Edited: 05/19/2012, 06:11:22 AM
thx for the replies.
Peanutroaster & Brad, with many, many images accepted i'm thinking that the camera should most certainly be adequate, guess just need a little more learnin' behind the camera :).

i did some testing on my two kit lenses (14-42 & 45-200) this weekend and it seems (at least to me with my amateur testing) that i get the sharpest images out of them around f8-F10. around F16-F22 are definitely lacking in sharpness so i can see why these shots are getting dumped. This just leaves me with a DOF dilemma and any rejections for out of focus in wider field type shots, for which i have no resolution except to one day possible purchase another lens. i also noticed that the 45-200 at the long end is a little lacking but seems to be fine (on a tripod) just below that.
i do have light room and photoshop and do make some minor adjustments with sharpness and noise which is certainly required in some lower light shots.
at any rate, i have a number of legacy lenses which i'm going to play with a little more to see how they do but with manual focus, they aren't much good for any fast action stuff as a rule but might do well for more reserved, stationary type shooting.

Panasonic G3/GX8 and some nice Panny lenses.
Posted: 05/22/2012, 08:48:15 AM
At one level the camera shouldn't hold you back from a wide variety of shots, but on the other hand at some point you are working around lens problems and noise rather than focusing on images. I personally don't think your gear limits your potential much. I have a lightbox of shots taken with my old GF1 and it has earned me over $1,500 ! With the exception of a handful, all shots with the GF1 were taken with the 20mm prime. However, here is a shot with the 'noisy' GF1 & a 45-200mm when I had nothing to shoot but streetlights :

   Light abstract   

And a shot with the 45-200mm fully zoomed in where reviews say it isn't sharp at all:

   Vancouver Airport   

You can work around the issues...
ZD 50mm Macro f/2...
Posted: 05/22/2012, 09:48:12 AM
I think I have to chock the sharpness problems of the 45-200 to human error. I shoot with it in the studio on a tripod all the time and get some very sharp results.

Trying to capture birds at the beach - not so much.
lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Posted: 05/22/2012, 11:48:25 AM
You should update the lens firmware, if you haven't - the recent update improves OIS operation with the 45-200mm:

45200 Firmware Update
ZD 50mm Macro f/2...
Posted: 05/23/2012, 11:02:34 AM
thx Brad, we were thinking the same on this one.
i updated firmware on the camera and both of my lenses this past weekend.
we'll see how that goes although i must admit that i shoot often without the tripod but at speeds above 1/125 so thought should be ok for any shake issue ect...i may be wrong. i'll have to learn to take more time.

i had a look at some of your images, nice job.
wish i'd started doing this a few years ago like yourself.
i noticed that some of your accepted shots (likely earlier) are similar in topic/theme as some i sent in but have been rejected...a plethora of similar images already on the site i imagine, but I get a variety of responses to them such as "need to think about message" of the image. i see the message, or a message, guess others don't.
regardless, this is not a fast road and taking/submitting more images doesn't cost me anything so i'll just keep bangin' away at it until i figure it out.
appreciate your reply.

Panasonic G3/GX8 and some nice Panny lenses.
Posted: 05/23/2012, 11:29:09 AM
Thanks Brad. I just updated.

On my P&S LX5 I found a tip that said to reset the camera to factory settings. And that made huge difference on noise for that camera.
lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Posted: 05/23/2012, 14:42:48 PM

Originally posted by Daddiomanottawa:
Quoted Message: i get the sharpest images out of them around f8-F10. around F16-F22 are definitely lacking in sharpness.

You cant close it down much on a 4/3rds camera, the difraction will be visible, look at this difraction calculator.

If you need more DOF, you will have to use a multiple exposure technique or downsample the image afterwards (you take it in full resolution and downsample when post processing) so that difraction wont show up.

A 4/3 already has more DOF than an APS-C or a full frame, so you shouldnt need to close it down that much, what is the subject you are trying to take?

With my full frame I noticed I can close it down to f13 without difraction, but anything closer than that and I have to downsample, and as a side effect the camera starts focusing any dust there is on the lens in the sky, its a nightmare and you dont need to.

I know you´ve heard of the f64 group of Ansel Adams and so on, but those guys used cameras with a plate that would be equivalent to a sensor several times bigger than yours, they had to close it down that much, you shouldnt need to.

I am not used to 4/3rds, but I bet your sweet spot should be around f5.6, take some test shots, you will see how tack sharp images get when you are using this aperture.
f/4L Canon EF 70-300mm IS/USM f/4-5.6 Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM/Macro ...
Posted: 05/23/2012, 15:47:17 PM
Thx Afagundes,
i have read much about the diffraction issue but didn't really pay much attention to it while shooting. some humbling rejections have made me look at the issue more closely and have awakened me to the opportunity to improve in that respect.

i did some tests and around F8 or F9 seemed best and yes, i did see the diffraction starting above that. i think most of my issues are in regards to photos where the expectation seems to be full focus and sharpness well in front and behind the main subject, particularily with those where a landscape is visible for some distance in front/behind a person or animal (or other) for example.
I've had some get thru but many not.
for stationary subjects, i'm going to shoot both closed down and with a middle-ranged f-stop for a while to see how that goes and if it will give cleaner results with sufficient depth of field. Perhaps that will make some difference.

eventually, when i have gathered up enough pennies in the penny jar (although they have stopped making pennies in Canada now lol) i will see about getting one of those very nice panasonic leica 25mm lenses, i hear they are exceptional, well beyond what the kit lens offers!

thx for the reply

Panasonic G3/GX8 and some nice Panny lenses.
Posted: 05/24/2012, 09:45:51 AM
Take this one for instance,    Cow Side View   , you used f16, but there is no need to, the cow is on a flat plane and the background is not important, you could go to f5.6 and it would be much sharper.

BTW, you could have darken the sky and the grass a bit so the cow would pop up a little bit, it all looks a bit washed.
f/4L Canon EF 70-300mm IS/USM f/4-5.6 Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM/Macro ...
Edited: 05/24/2012, 23:04:51 PM
Good advice Afagundes.
i see what you mean. I believe you're right.
I did however have a number of images (with background similar to above) declined for too shallow DOF or DOF not justified so i began shooting a closed down more. it seems that the DOF issue is quite subjective when being reviewed and can be hit and miss (at least for me). I'll get it figured out but your advice is valued.

Colour & Contrast, yeah, shoulda popped the green and sky. It's bland. See that now too. I thought this might make a good isolation and though i've learned a bunch in Photoshop, i have much more to learn. Haven't got extracting subjects down pat yet, particularily where hair and edges are against complex background are concerned. I have read much, much, much on topics such as this
and photography in general and eventually through repetition and experience my small brain will retain enough to think more about each shot prior to actually pushing the shutter button.
I've managed a hundred accepted shots and a very small palmful of sales thus far, we'll see where my learnin' will take me a year from now.
Thx & regards.
Panasonic G3/GX8 and some nice Panny lenses.
Posted: 05/25/2012, 06:50:18 AM
Hi George, a fast way to to this, you select using color range and isolated colors checked, the blue of the sky.
Than you open a curves adjustment layer, pull down the shadows and add a point at the light so that the lights will keep the same, contrast will increase a lot so dont overdo it.

Same thing for the grass.

Alternatively you open a color adjustment and decrease the luminance of the blue and the green, this might work because the cow has nothing of green and blue.

Its hard to tell when its shallow DOF, normally when they say thats the problem its really lack of sharpness, many times its because of difraction! But it could be a little shake of your hands or too slow speed, using a tripod and forgetting to turn off the image stabilization, or you focused not on the subject, but on something else, dont go for it, its very rare that when they say, shallow DOF its actually shallow DOF.

If you use iphone there is a DOF calculator that considers difraction to download, its a good tool to use.

When you process the images, check them at 100% for sharpness, if you cant get to a sharp image even increasing sharpness you will have to downsample it, do it with no mercy, but of course keep it larger than 3mpixels, you will see that many of those images will be accepted.

This will help you with not so good lens, difraction, lack of DOF, noise, etc... Manufacturers have increased the resolution of our cameras amazingly, but they are at the edge of what the optics can give you, so the conditions must be almost perfect for you to really get all the resolution your camera sensor has, its a fact of life,

I often downsample with my full frame when using my 70-300 at 300mm for instance, the pixels are just not sharp enough with 21mpixels, but they look ok with 15 normally. With my 24-105 which is a much better lens I normally can use the full resolution.

By the way, when I say downsample I mean I take them in RAW at full resolution and process them with s smaller resolution in Adobe Camera Raw, sometimes I sharpen them a bit more in photoshop afterward and if thats not enough, I decrease the size of the image again before saving the jpg.
f/4L Canon EF 70-300mm IS/USM f/4-5.6 Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM/Macro ...
Posted: 05/25/2012, 13:12:18 PM
thx for the replies folks.
working with lower apetures is most certainly sharper, we'll see how the dof issue goes.
i think we can close this now.
thx again.
Panasonic G3/GX8 and some nice Panny lenses.
Posted: 05/28/2012, 10:09:09 AM
just to finish this discussion.
After many months now, i can say the G3 is definitely good enough. lol.
the operator needed improvement and greater knowledge regarding dof, diffraction and so on.
i did get a lot of shots out of the kit lens approved but now that i have the Panny Leica 25 1.4....wow! way, way sharper.
i've also learned how to 'focus bracket' still shots and blend them in photoshop for a much greater dof when desired. this made a big difference in many of my pics.
happy clicking everyone.

Panasonic G3/GX8 and some nice Panny lenses.
Posted: 02/06/2013, 11:36:29 AM
Yup, finding the right lens, taking skillful photos, and developing a decent workflow in software is more important than the body.
lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Posted: 02/11/2013, 11:23:48 AM
   Happy Birthday Puppy   
lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Posted: 02/11/2013, 11:24:49 AM