Nikon 1 V3 vs Panasonic GF1
The Nikon 1 V3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2014 and September 2009. Both the V3 and the GF1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an one-inch (V3) and a Four Thirds (GF1) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 18.2 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 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 Nikon 1 V3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon 1 V3 and the Panasonic GF1 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF1 is notably larger (17 percent) than the Nikon 1 V3. Moreover, the GF1 is slightly heavier (1 percent) than the V3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the V3 nor the GF1 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Nikon 1 V3||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||13.4 oz||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|Panasonic GF1||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.4 in||13.6 oz||380||n||Sep 2009||749|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||4.2 in||2.4 in||1.7 in||11.3 oz||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon G5 X||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.7 in||12.5 oz||210||n||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G9 X||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.2 in||7.4 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon G7 X||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.6 in||10.7 oz||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|Fujifilm X-T10||4.6 in||3.3 in||1.6 in||13.4 oz||350||n||May 2015||799|
|Nikon D5500||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||14.8 oz||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon 1 J5||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||8.1 oz||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|Nikon 1 J4||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.1 in||8.2 oz||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|Nikon 1 V2||4.3 in||3.2 in||1.8 in||9.8 oz||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|Nikon 1 V1||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.7 in||13.5 oz||350||n||Sep 2011||799|
|Panasonic GX1||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic G10||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GH1||4.9 in||3.5 in||1.8 in||13.6 oz||300||n||Mar 2009||899|
|Panasonic G1||4.9 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||12.7 oz||410||n||Sep 2008||599|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The GF1 was somewhat cheaper (by 6 percent) than the V3 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon 1 V3 features an one-inch sensor and the Panasonic GF1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF1 is 94 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 2.0. The sensor in the V3 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GF1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon 1 V3 offers a higher resolution of 18.2 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the Panasonic GF1. 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 2.52μm versus 4.33μm for the GF1). However, it should be noted that the V3 is much more recent (by 4 years and 6 months) than the GF1, 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 V3 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon 1 V3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the V3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GF1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The V3 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon 1 V3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|Panasonic GF1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|Nikon 1 V1||1-inch||10.0||3872||2592||1080/60i||21.3||11||346||54|
|Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic GH1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|Panasonic G1||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||none||21.1||10.3||463||53|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the V3 provides a higher video resolution than the GF1. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Panasonic is limited to 720/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The V3 and the GF1 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. However, optional viewfinders – the DF-N1000 for the V3 and the DMW-LVF1 for the GF1 – are available as accessories. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon 1 V3 and Panasonic GF1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
|Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0||1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0||1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0||Y||n|
|Nikon 1 V1||1440||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The V3 has a touchscreen, while the GF1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the V3 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Nikon 1 V3 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.
The V3 writes its imaging data to micro SDXC cards, while the GF1 uses SDHC cards. The V3 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the GF1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 Nikon 1 V3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G5 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G9 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Nikon 1 V1||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the V3 has a microphone port, which is missing on the GF1. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the V3 and the GF1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The GF1 was replaced by the Panasonic DMC-GF2, while the V3 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 Nikon and Panasonic websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon 1 V3 and the Panasonic GF1? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Nikon 1 V3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (18.2 vs 12MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 460k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 119x71mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the GF1 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 310) 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 September 2009).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the V3 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 5 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 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 Nikon 1 V3 and the Panasonic GF1 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 V3 or the GF1. 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 table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Nikon 1 V3||..||76/100||4.5/5||3/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|Panasonic GF1||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||749|
|Canon G7 X Mark II||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|Canon G5 X||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799|
|Canon G9 X||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|Canon G7 X||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|Fujifilm X-T10||+ +||80/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|Nikon D5500||+||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon 1 J5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|Nikon 1 J4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|Nikon 1 V2||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|Nikon 1 V1||+||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||799|
|Panasonic GX1||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|Panasonic G10||..||70/100||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|Panasonic G2||..||72/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|Panasonic GH1||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||899|
|Panasonic G1||+ +||70/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2008||599|
|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. 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
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.
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Panasonic GF1
- Kodak S-1 vs Panasonic GF1
- Leica M10 vs Nikon 1 V3
- Leica M10-P vs Panasonic GF1
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Olympus E-400
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Panasonic GM1
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Sony A7S
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Sony HX90V
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Sony NEX-7
- Nikon D3100 vs Panasonic GF1
- Nikon D50 vs Panasonic GF1
- Panasonic GF1 vs Sony HX95
Specifications: Nikon 1 V3 vs Panasonic GF1
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||Nikon 1 V3||Panasonic GF1|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon 1 mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2014||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Panasonic GF1|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||18.2 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5232 x 3488 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.52 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||15.71 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||160 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||Venus HD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||52||54|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.8||21.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.7||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||384||513|
|Screen Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Panasonic GF1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1037k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Panasonic GF1|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||60 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||micro or SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Panasonic GF1|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon 1 V3||Panasonic GF1|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||310 shots per charge||380 shots per charge|
111 x 65 x 33 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
119 x 71 x 36 mm
(4.7 x 2.8 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||381 g (13.4 oz)||385 g (13.6 oz)|
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