Canon SX50 vs Panasonic GF3
The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and June 2011. The SX50 is a fixed lens compact, while the GF3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX50) and a Four Thirds (GF3) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon SX50 and the Panasonic GF3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GF3 can be obtained in five different colors (black, brown, pink, red, white), while the SX50 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF3 is considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Canon SX50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX50 nor the GF3 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX50 has a lens built in, whereas the GF3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the GF3 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|2.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|6.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|7.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|9.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|10.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|11.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|12.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|14.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|15.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|16.||Panasonic GF2||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||n||Nov 2010||549|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SX50 was launched at a lower price than the GF3, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX50 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic GF3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF3 is 704 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Even though the GF3 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the GF3 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 1.53μm for the SX50), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the SX50 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 3 months) than the GF3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are ISO 160 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|6.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|11.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|14.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|15.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|16.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the GF3 provides a faster frame rate than the SX50. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX50 and Panasonic GF3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2||Y||n|
|3.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon S120||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon SX40||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||10.3||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon 1100D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon G12||optical||n||2.8 / 461||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.1||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic GF5||none||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|12.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|15.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic GF2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||2.6||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF3 has a touchscreen, while the SX50 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The SX50 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the GF3 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX50 and the GF3 write their files to SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic GF3||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Canon S120||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon SX40||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 1100D||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon G12||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic GF5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic GF2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the SX50 has a hotshoe, while the GF3 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the SX50 and the GF3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF3 was replaced by the Panasonic GF5, while the SX50 was followed by the Canon SX60. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon SX50 better than the Panasonic GF3 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GF3 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 3 months after the GF3).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/24p).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.2 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 123x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX50 comes out slightly ahead of the GF3 (9 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX50 and the Panasonic GF3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX50 and the GF3 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|2.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|6.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|7.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|8.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|9.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|10.||Canon G12||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|11.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|12.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|13.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|14.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|15.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|16.||Panasonic GF2||3/5||82/100||..||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1100D vs Canon SX50
- Canon 30D vs Canon SX50
- Canon 550D vs Panasonic GF3
- Canon G7 X Mark III vs Canon SX50
- Canon SX410 vs Panasonic GF3
- Canon SX50 vs Canon XS
- Canon SX50 vs Nikon D7500
- Canon SX50 vs Sony A6500
- Leica SL vs Panasonic GF3
- Leica X Vario vs Panasonic GF3
- Nikon A1000 vs Panasonic GF3
- Nikon W150 vs Panasonic GF3
Specifications: Canon SX50 vs Panasonic GF3
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon SX50||Panasonic GF3|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 429||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX50||Panasonic GF3|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.53 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||42.74 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 6,400 ISO||160 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||47||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.3||20.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||10.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||179||458|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX50||Panasonic GF3|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX50||Panasonic GF3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.2 shutter flaps/s||3.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon SX50||Panasonic GF3|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon SX50||Panasonic GF3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||315 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
123 x 87 x 106 mm
(4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
108 x 67 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||595 g (21.0 oz)||264 g (9.3 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.