Nikon D2H vs Panasonic GF3
The Nikon D2H and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2003 and June 2011. The D2H is a DSLR, while the GF3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D2H) and a Four Thirds (GF3) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 4 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 D2H 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 Nikon D2H and the Panasonic GF3. 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.
The GF3 can be obtained in five different colors (black, brown, pink, red, white), while the D2H 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 considerably smaller (69 percent) than the Nikon D2H. Moreover, the GF3 is substantially lighter (75 percent) than the D2H. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D2H is splash and dust resistant, while the GF3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 (D2H) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GF3). Mirrorless cameras, such as the GF3, 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.
As can be seen in the images above, the D2H has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|Nikon D2H||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||37.7 oz||2900||Y||Jul 2003||3,499|
|Panasonic GF3||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.3 oz||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|Nikon D810||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon D300S||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Nikon D700||5.8 in||4.8 in||3.0 in||37.9 oz||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Nikon D300||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799|
|Nikon D2Xs||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699|
|Nikon D200||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
|Nikon D2X||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999|
|Nikon D1H||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||4,499|
|Nikon D1X||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999|
|Nikon D1||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499|
|Panasonic GF5||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||9.4 oz||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic G3||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||270||n||May 2011||599|
|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 GF2||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||10.9 oz||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. The GF3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 84 percent) than the D2H, 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. 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D2H features an APS-C sensor and the Panasonic GF3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF3 is 38 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 D2H has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the GF3 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the GF3 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 4 MP of the D2H. 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 4.33μm versus 9.50μm for the D2H). However, it should be noted that the GF3 is much more recent (by 7 years and 10 months) than the D2H, 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 GF3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the GF3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D2H are 12.3 x 8.2 inches or 31.3 x 20.7 cm for good quality, 9.9 x 6.5 inches or 25 x 16.6 cm for very good quality, and 8.2 x 5.4 inches or 20.9 x 13.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D2H has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. 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 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the GF3 has a markedly higher DXO score than the D2H (overall score 9 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|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 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 also of capturing video footage. The GF3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D2H does not. The highest resolution format that the GF3 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D2H has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the GF3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D2H and Panasonic GF3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
One feature that is present on the D2H, but is missing on the GF3 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 D2H writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the GF3 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 D2H and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the D2H has a hotshoe, while the GF3 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D2H (unlike the GF3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D2H and the GF3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2H was replaced by the Nikon D2Hs, while the GF3 was followed by the Panasonic GF5. 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 D2H and the Panasonic GF3? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D2H:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (2900 versus 300) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2003).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 69%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- 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 211k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More compact: Is smaller (108x67mm vs 158x150mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 806g or 75 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (84 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 10 months of technical progress since the D2H launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GF3 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 10 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 before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 D2H and the Panasonic GF3 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D2H and the GF3 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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 D2H||..||+ +||..||o||..||Jul 2003||3,499|
|Panasonic GF3||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|Nikon D810||..||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon D300S||+ +||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Nikon D700||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Nikon D300||+ +||+ +||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799|
|Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||o||..||Jun 2006||4,699|
|Nikon D200||+ +||+ +||o||5/5||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|Nikon D2X||..||+ +||..||o||..||Sep 2004||4,999|
|Nikon D1H||..||+ +||..||o||..||Feb 2001||4,499|
|Nikon D1X||..||+ +||..||o||..||Feb 2001||5,999|
|Nikon D1||..||+ +||..||..||..||Jun 1999||5,499|
|Panasonic GF5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|Panasonic G3||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|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 GF2||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Nov 2010||549|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Nikon D2H 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||Nikon D2H||Panasonic GF3|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2003||June 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 3,499||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D2H||Panasonic GF3|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.3 x 15.5 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||361.15 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||4 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||2464 x 1632 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||9.50 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.11 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 1,600 ISO||160 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||200 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||40||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||18.9||20.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.0||10.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||352||458|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D2H||Panasonic GF3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||211k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D2H||Panasonic GF3|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||3.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D2H||Panasonic GF3|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D2H||Panasonic GF3|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||2900 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
158 x 150 x 86 mm
(6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
108 x 67 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||1070 g (37.7 oz)||264 g (9.3 oz)|
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