Fujifilm X-M1 vs Panasonic GH3
The Fujifilm X-M1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2013 and September 2012. Both the X-M1 and the GH3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (X-M1) and a Four Thirds (GH3) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 16 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.9 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 Fujifilm X-M1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3? 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 Fujifilm X-M1 and the Panasonic GH3. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X-M1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, brown), while the GH3 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 GH3 is considerably larger (58 percent) than the Fujifilm X-M1. Moreover, the GH3 is substantially heavier (67 percent) than the X-M1. It is noteworthy in this context that the GH3 is splash and dust-proof, while the X-M1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-M1) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GH3). Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.||Fujifilm X-M1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Jun 2013||699|
|2.||Panasonic GH3||133 mm||93 mm||82 mm||550 g||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299|
|3.||Fujifilm X-A10||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||331 g||410||n||Dec 2016||399|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||n||Jan 2015||399|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Sep 2013||399|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E2||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Oct 2013||999|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E1||129 mm||75 mm||38 mm||350 g||350||n||Sep 2012||999|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||140 mm||82 mm||43 mm||450 g||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699|
|11.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|12.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|13.||Panasonic GH4||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499|
|14.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|15.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X-M1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 46 percent) than the GH3, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 Fujifilm X-M1 features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GH3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GH3 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the X-M1 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GH3 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 16MP, the X-M1 offers a slightly higher resolution than the GH3 (15.9MP), but the X-M1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 3.76μm for the GH3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the X-M1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the GH3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the X-M1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Fujifilm X-M1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 are ISO 200 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 125-25600.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 GH3||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
|11.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|12.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|13.||Panasonic GH4||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|14.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|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 are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GH3 provides a faster frame rate than the X-M1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Fujifilm is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the GH3 has an electronic viewfinder (1746k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X-M1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Fujifilm X-M1, the Panasonic GH3, and comparable cameras.
|11.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GH3 has a touchscreen, while the X-M1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The GH3 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 X-M1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Panasonic GH3 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the X-M1 and the GH3 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 Fujifilm X-M1 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|11.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the GH3 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The X-M1 lacks such a headphone port.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic GH3 (unlike the X-M1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the X-M1 and the GH3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GH3 was replaced by the Panasonic GH4, while the X-M1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Fujifilm and Panasonic websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Fujifilm X-M1 better than the Panasonic GH3 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Fujifilm X-M1:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 614k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 133x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 220g or 40 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (46 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the GH3).
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- 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.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (540 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the GH3 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 10 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 Fujifilm X-M1 and the Panasonic GH3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the X-M1 or the GH3. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.||Fujifilm X-M1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||699|
|2.||Panasonic GH3||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299|
|3.||Fujifilm X-A10||..||..||..||4/5||4/5||Dec 2016||399|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||4.5/5||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||4.5/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A1||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||399|
|8.||Fujifilm X-E2||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||999|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E1||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|10.||Fujifilm X-Pro1||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||1,699|
|11.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|12.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|13.||Panasonic GH4||5/5||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499|
|14.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|15.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|16.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Fujifilm X-M1 vs Panasonic GH3
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||Fujifilm X-M1||Panasonic GH3|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Fujifilm X mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2013||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 1,299|
|Sensor Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Panasonic GH3|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.16 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3264 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||200 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||125 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXR Processor II||Venus VII FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||812|
|Screen Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Panasonic GH3|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1746k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||614k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Panasonic GH3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.6 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|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||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Panasonic GH3|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Panasonic GH3|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||540 shots per charge|
117 x 67 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
133 x 93 x 82 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||330 g (11.6 oz)||550 g (19.4 oz)|
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