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Leica TL vs Panasonic G3

The Leica TL and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2016 and May 2011. Both the TL and the G3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (TL) and a Four Thirds (G3) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.1 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.

Headline Specifications
Leica TL versus Panasonic G3
Leica TL Panasonic G3
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica T mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 160-6,400
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.7 LCD, 1230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge270 shots per battery charge
134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g 115 x 84 x 47 mm, 336 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica TL 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica TL and the Panasonic G3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the G3 is available in four color-versions (black, brown, red, white).

Size Leica TL vs Panasonic G3
Compare TL versus G3 top
Comparison TL or G3 rear

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 larger (4 percent) than the Leica TL. However, the G3 is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the G3 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The power pack in the TL can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695i
2.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
3.
 
Fujifilm X70 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 n Jan 2016 799i
4.
 
Fujifilm X-E2S 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 n Jan 2016 699i
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A2 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 350 g 410 n Jan 2015 399i
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T10 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 381 g 350 n May 2015 799i
7.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1 140 mm 82 mm 43 mm 450 g 300 n Jan 2012 1,699i
8.
 
Leica CL 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i
9.
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i
10.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850i
11.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995i
12.
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649i
13.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
14.
 
Panasonic G5 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599i
15.
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699i
16.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
17.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 65 percent) than the TL, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

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Sensor comparison

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 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica TL features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic G3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G3 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 TL has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G3 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Leica TL and Panasonic G3 sensor measures

With 16.1MP, the TL offers a slightly higher resolution than the G3 (15.8MP), but the TL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 3.77μm for the G3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the TL is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 5 months) than the G3, and its sensor will 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 TL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Leica TL has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are ISO 160 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

TL versus G3 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p........
2.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
3.
 
Fujifilm X70 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
4.
 
Fujifilm X-E2S APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A2 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p........
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T10 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p........
7.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1 APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p........
8.
 
Leica CL APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
9.
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p........
10.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
11.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none........
12.
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p........
13.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
14.
 
Panasonic G5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
15.
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
16.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
17.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the G3 provides a faster frame rate than the TL. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

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 TL relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the TL can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica TL and Panasonic G3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica TLoptional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
2.
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
3.
 
Fujifilm X70optional n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
4.
 
Fujifilm X-E2S2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A2none n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6 Y n
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T102360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 8.0 Y n
7.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro11440 n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 n n
8.
 
Leica CL2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
9.
 
Leica TL2optional n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n
10.
 
Leica Toptional n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Leica X2optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
12.
 
Panasonic G72360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
13.
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
14.
 
Panasonic G51440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
15.
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
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 TL does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the TL and the G3 write their files to SDXC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

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 Leica TL and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica TLYstereomono--micro2.0Y--
2.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Fujifilm X70YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
4.
 
Fujifilm X-E2SYstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A2Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T10YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
7.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Leica CLYstereomono----Y--
9.
 
Leica TL2Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--
10.
 
Leica TYstereomono---2.0Y--
11.
 
Leica X2Y----mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic G7YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
13.
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
14.
 
Panasonic G5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the TL offers wifi support, while the G3 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

Both the TL and the G3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G3 was replaced by the Panasonic G5, while the TL was followed by the Leica TL2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Panasonic websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica TL 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.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica TL:

  • 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.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 5 months of technical progress since the G3 launch.

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Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • 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.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 48g or 12 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (65 percent cheaper at launch).
  • 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 TL is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

TL 13:08 G3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica TL and the Panasonic G3 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the TL or the G3. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica TL........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695i
2.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
3.
 
Fujifilm X704.5/5..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2016 799i
4.
 
Fujifilm X-E2S4.5/5..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699i
5.
 
Fujifilm X-A24/5....4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399i
6.
 
Fujifilm X-T104.5/5+ +80/1005/55/5 May 2015 799i
7.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro15/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 1,699i
8.
 
Leica CL........4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i
9.
 
Leica TL23.5/5....4/54/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i
10.
 
Leica T3/5....4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850i
11.
 
Leica X23/5....3/54/5 May 2012 1,995i
12.
 
Panasonic G74/5+ +80/1005/54.5/5 May 2015 649i
13.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +..5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
14.
 
Panasonic G53/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
15.
 
Panasonic GX13/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699i
16.
 
Panasonic G103/5..70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
17.
 
Panasonic G2....72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica TL:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G3:
Check Ebay offers

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 your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Leica TL 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica TL Panasonic G3
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica T mount lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date November 2016 May 2011
    Launch Price USD 1,695 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Leica TL Panasonic G3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixels 15.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3264 pixels 4592 x 3448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.80 μm 3.77 μm
    Pixel Density 4.34 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 - 12,500 ISO 160 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 56
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.6
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 667
    Screen Specs Leica TL Panasonic G3
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica TL Panasonic G3
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica TL Panasonic G3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica TL Panasonic G3
    Battery Type BP-DC13 DMW-BLD10
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge270 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    115 x 84 x 47 mm
    (4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
    Camera Weight 384 g (13.5 oz) 336 g (11.9 oz)

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