Canon SX520 vs Panasonic G3
The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2014 and May 2011. The SX520 is a fixed lens compact, while the G3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX520) and a Four Thirds (G3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.8 MP.
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 SX520 HS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX520 and the Panasonic G3. 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The G3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, red, white), while the SX520 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 G3 is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Canon SX520. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX520 nor the G3 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX520 has a lens built in, whereas the G3 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 G3 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399|
|2.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|3.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|4.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|5.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|6.||Canon SX700||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||250||n||Feb 2014||349|
|7.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|8.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|9.||Canon SX510||104 mm||70 mm||80 mm||349 g||250||n||Aug 2013||249|
|10.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|11.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|12.||Panasonic G5||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|14.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|15.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|16.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|17.||Sony H200||123 mm||83 mm||87 mm||530 g||240||n||Jan 2013||249|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX520 was launched at a lower price than the G3, 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 SX520 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Panasonic G3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G3 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX520 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the Panasonic G3. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.33μm versus 3.77μm for the G3). However, it should be noted that the SX520 is much more recent (by 3 years and 2 months) than the G3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX520 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Canon PowerShot SX520 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are ISO 160 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|2.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|11.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|12.||Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|14.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|15.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the G3 provides a faster frame rate than the SX520. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G3 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the SX520 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX520 and Panasonic G3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G3 has a touchscreen, while the SX520 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The G3 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SX520 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX520 and the G3 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 SX520 HS and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the G3 has a hotshoe, which makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun. The SX520 does not feature such an accessory-socket.
Both the SX520 and the G3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G3 was replaced by the Panasonic G5, while the SX520 was followed by the Canon SX530. 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 is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX520 or the Panasonic G3 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the G3 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 2 months of technical progress since the G3 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
- 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.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (270 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in May 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G3 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 SX520 and the Panasonic G3 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the SX520 or the G3 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 SX520||..||+||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399|
|2.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|3.||Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|4.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|5.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|6.||Canon SX700||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||349|
|7.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|8.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|9.||Canon SX510||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2013||249|
|10.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|11.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|12.||Panasonic G5||3/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|14.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|15.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|16.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|17.||Sony H200||..||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon SX520 vs Panasonic G3
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 SX520||Panasonic G3|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-1008mm f/3.4-6||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2014||May 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon SX520||Panasonic G3|
|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||15.9 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||160 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4+||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||667|
|Screen Specs||Canon SX520||Panasonic G3|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||461k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon SX520||Panasonic G3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||1.6 shutter flaps/s||4 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 SX520||Panasonic G3|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon SX520||Panasonic G3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge||270 shots per charge|
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
115 x 84 x 47 mm
(4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||441 g (15.6 oz)||336 g (11.9 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.