Leica V-LUX 3 vs Panasonic GF3
The Leica V-LUX 3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in December 2011 and June 2011. The V-LUX 3 is a fixed lens compact, while the GF3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (V-LUX 3) 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 Leica V-LUX 3 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica V-LUX 3 and the Panasonic GF3. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GF3 can be obtained in five different colors (black, brown, pink, red, white), while the V-LUX 3 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 notably smaller (28 percent) than the Leica V-LUX 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the V-LUX 3 nor the GF3 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the V-LUX 3 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. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949|
|2.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|5.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|6.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|7.||Canon SX30||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||601 g||370||n||Sep 2010||429|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Sep 2012||949|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||124 mm||80 mm||95 mm||520 g||410||n||Sep 2010||849|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|11.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|13.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|14.||Panasonic FZ100||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||540 g||410||n||Jul 2010||499|
|15.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|16.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||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. 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 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 V-LUX 3 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 V-LUX 3), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the V-LUX 3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the V-LUX 3 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Leica V-LUX 3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are ISO 160 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|2.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|4.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||1/2.3||14.0||4320||3240||1080/60i||..||..||..||..|
|11.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|13.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|15.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|16.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|17.||Panasonic GF2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
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 V-LUX 3 provides a higher frame rate than the GF3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the V-LUX 3 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica V-LUX 3 and Panasonic GF3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||202||n||3.0||460||swivel||n||1/2000s||11.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF3 has a touchscreen, while the V-LUX 3 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The V-LUX 3 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 V-LUX 3 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 Leica V-LUX 3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the V-LUX 3 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 V-LUX 3 and the GF3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF3 was replaced by the Panasonic GF5, while the V-LUX 3 was followed by the Leica V-LUX 4. 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica V-LUX 3 better than the Panasonic GF3 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Leica V-LUX 3:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 3.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GF3 requires a separate lens.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (410 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- 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 prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 5 months after the GF3).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3:
- 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.
- 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.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 124x81mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the V-LUX 3 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 10 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 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica V-LUX 3 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the V-LUX 3 or the GF3 perform in practice. 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], 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.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949|
|2.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|5.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|6.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|7.||Canon SX30||3/5||+ +||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2010||429|
|8.||Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949|
|9.||Leica V-LUX 2||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2010||849|
|10.||Panasonic FZ200||3/5||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|11.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|13.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|14.||Panasonic FZ100||..||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|15.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|16.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||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 assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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
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.
Specifications: Leica V-LUX 3 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||Leica V-LUX 3||Panasonic GF3|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||25-600mm f/2.8-5.2||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||December 2011||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 949||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Leica V-LUX 3||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||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||160 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||458|
|Screen Specs||Leica V-LUX 3||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||460k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica V-LUX 3||Panasonic GF3|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||3.2 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 V-LUX 3||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||Leica V-LUX 3||Panasonic GF3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
124 x 81 x 95 mm
(4.9 x 3.2 x 3.7 in)
108 x 67 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||540 g (19.0 oz)||264 g (9.3 oz)|
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