Nikon D100 vs Panasonic G3
The Nikon D100 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2002 and May 2011. The D100 is a DSLR, while the G3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D100) and a Four Thirds (G3) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 6 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D100 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.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon D100 and the Panasonic G3 are illustrated 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The G3 can be obtained in four different colors (black, brown, red, white), while the D100 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 G3 is considerably smaller (42 percent) than the Nikon D100. Moreover, the G3 is substantially lighter (57 percent) than the D100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D100 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. 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 Nikon Lens Catalog (D100) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G3). Mirrorless cameras, such as the G3, 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.||Nikon D100||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999|
|2.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|3.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|4.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|5.||Nikon D300||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799|
|6.||Nikon D40||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499|
|7.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|8.||Nikon D50||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749|
|9.||Nikon D70s||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899|
|10.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
|11.||Nikon D70||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999|
|12.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999|
|13.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|14.||Panasonic G5||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|15.||Panasonic GX1||116 mm||68 mm||39 mm||318 g||320||n||Nov 2011||699|
|16.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The G3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 70 percent) than the D100, 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. 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 D100 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 D100 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G3 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the G3 offers a higher resolution of 15.8 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D100. 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 3.77μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). However, it should be noted that the G3 is much more recent (by 9 years and 2 months) than the D100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic G3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 17.2 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D100 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 200-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are ISO 160 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|13.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|14.||Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Panasonic GX1||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|16.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|17.||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 also of capturing video footage. The G3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D100 does not. The highest resolution format that the G3 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G3 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the D100 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 viewfinder in the G3 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D100 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the G3 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D100, the Panasonic G3, and comparable cameras.
One feature that is present on the D100, but is missing on the G3 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.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 D100 does not have a selfie-screen.
The D100 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the G3 uses 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 Nikon D100 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
Both the D100 and the G3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D100 was replaced by the Nikon D200, while the G3 was followed by the Panasonic G5. 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 the Nikon D100 better than the Panasonic G3 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D100:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.8 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 59%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.53x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 118k dots).
- 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x84mm vs 144x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 444g or 57 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (70 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D100 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G3 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 4 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D100 and the Panasonic G3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D100 or the G3 perform in practice. 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 expert reviews 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.||Nikon D100||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||1,999|
|2.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|3.||Canon 10D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|4.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|5.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799|
|6.||Nikon D40||..||81/100||+ +||o||4.5/5||Nov 2006||499|
|7.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|8.||Nikon D50||..||78/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2005||749|
|9.||Nikon D70s||..||..||..||..||5/5||Apr 2005||899|
|10.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|11.||Nikon D70||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||999|
|12.||Nikon D1X||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999|
|13.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|14.||Panasonic G5||3/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|15.||Panasonic GX1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2011||699|
|16.||Panasonic G2||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|17.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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.
Specifications: Nikon D100 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 Model||Nikon D100||Panasonic G3|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2002||May 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 1,999||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D100||Panasonic G3|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6 Megapixels||15.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 2000 pixels||4592 x 3448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.85 μm||3.77 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.63 MP/cm2||7.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 800 ISO||160 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 1,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||667|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D100||Panasonic G3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D100||Panasonic G3|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D100||Panasonic G3|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D100||Panasonic G3|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||270 shots per charge|
144 x 116 x 81 mm
(5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
115 x 84 x 47 mm
(4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||780 g (27.5 oz)||336 g (11.9 oz)|
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