Leica Digilux 3 versus Panasonic G1
The Leica Digilux 3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2006 and September 2008. The Digilux 3 is a DSLR, while the G1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 7.4 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.
The physical size and weight of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Panasonic G1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the Digilux 3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G1 is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. Moreover, the G1 is substantially lighter (41 percent) than the Digilux 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Digilux 3 nor the G1 are weather-sealed.
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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (Digilux 3) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the G1, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Leica Digilux 3 (⇒ rgt)||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||no||2006||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft)||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||no||2008||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 30D (⇒ lft | rgt)||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||no||2006||1,399||discont.||check|
|Canon XT (⇒ lft | rgt)||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||no||2005||899||discont.||check|
|Leica M8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||no||2006||5,499||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-330 (⇒ lft | rgt)||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||no||2006||999||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-400 (⇒ lft | rgt)||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||no||2006||699||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||no||2005||599||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||no||2004||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||141 mm||104 mm||81 mm||738 g||750||YES||2003||1,699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||no||2010||549||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||no||2010||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||no||2009||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||no||2009||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||no||2007||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic L1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||no||2006||999||discont.||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 percent) than the Digilux 3, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G1 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixel, compared with 7.4 MP of the Digilux 3. This megapixel advantage translates into a 28 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 5.51μm for the Digilux 3). However, it should be noted that the G1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the Digilux 3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Leica Digilux 3 (⇒ rgt)||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||no||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||no||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|Canon 30D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||no||21.5||10.8||736||59|
|Canon XT (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||no||21.8||10.8||637||60|
|Leica M8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-H||10.4||3936||2630||no||21.1||11.3||663||59|
|Olympus E-330 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||no||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-400 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||no||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||no||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||no||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||no||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||no||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|Panasonic L1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||no||-||-||-||-|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the Digilux 3 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica Digilux 3, the Panasonic G1, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Leica Digilux 3 (⇒ rgt)||optical||no||2.5||207||fixed||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||no||4001||3.0||10.5||no|
|Canon 30D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||2.5||230||fixed||no||8000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon XT (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||1.8||115||fixed||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
|Leica M8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||230||fixed||no||8000||2.0||no||no|
|Olympus E-330 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||215||tilting||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
|Olympus E-400 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||215||fixed||no||4000||3.0||10||no|
|Olympus E-500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||215||fixed||no||4000||2.5||13||no|
|Olympus E-300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||1.8||134||fixed||no||4000||2.5||11||no|
|Olympus E-1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||1.8||134||fixed||no||4000||3.0||no||no|
|Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||460||fixed||YES||4000||2.6||6.0||no|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||YES||4000||2.6||11||no|
|Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||460||fixed||no||4000||3.0||6.0||no|
|Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||no||4000||3.0||10.5||no|
|Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||207||swivel||no||4000||3.0||11||no|
|Panasonic L1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||207||fixed||no||4000||3.0||13||no|
Both the Digilux 3 and the G1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the Digilux 3 does not have a direct successor.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica Digilux 3 or the Panasonic G1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Leica Digilux 3:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 410) on a single battery charge.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2006).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 28%.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 207k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4001/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x84mm vs 146x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 246g or 41 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G1 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 4 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Digilux 3 or the G1. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Leica Digilux 3 (⇒ rgt)||-||-||-||-||-||2006||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ lft)||88/100 HiRec||70/100 HiRec||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2008||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 30D (⇒ lft | rgt)||87/100 HiRec||HiRec||reviewed||reviewed||-||2006||1,399||discont.||check|
|Canon XT (⇒ lft | rgt)||80/100||HiRec||reviewed||reviewed||-||2005||899||discont.||check|
|Leica M8 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||HiRec||-||-||-||2006||5,499||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-330 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||Rec||reviewed||3.5/5||-||2006||999||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-400 (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100||-||4/5||-||4/5||2006||699||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-500 (⇒ lft | rgt)||76/100||HiRec||-||-||-||2005||599||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||Rec||reviewed||reviewed||4.5/5||2004||799||discont.||check|
|Olympus E-1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||Rec||reviewed||reviewed||-||2003||1,699||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2010||549||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||72/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2010||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2009||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||89/100 HiRec||72/100 HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100||Rec||3.5/5||reviewed||4/5||2007||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic L1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100||Rec||-||reviewed||3.5/5||2006||999||discont.||check|
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. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.
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