Panasonic G1 versus Panasonic G3
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2008 and May 2011. Both the G1 and the G3 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The G1 has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the G3 provides 15.8 MP.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G1 and the Panasonic G3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the G1 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G3 is notably smaller (7 percent) than the Panasonic G1. Moreover, the G3 is markedly lighter (7 percent) than the G1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ rgt)||124 mm||84 mm||45 mm||360 g||410||no||2008||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft)||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||no||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||no||2013||499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||no||2013||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||no||2012||499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||no||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||no||2011||549||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||113 mm||68 mm||33 mm||310 g||300||no||2010||549||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||no||2010||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||no||2010||499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||119 mm||71 mm||36 mm||385 g||380||no||2009||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||124 mm||90 mm||45 mm||385 g||300||no||2009||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||no||2007||599||discont.||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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. 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. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G3 offers a higher resolution of 15.8 megapixel, compared with 12 MP of the G1. This megapixel advantage translates into a 15 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G3 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.77μm versus 4.33μm for the G1). However, it should be noted that the G3 is much more recent (by 2 years and 7 months) than the G1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||no||21.1||10.3||463||53|
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21||10.6||667||56|
|Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10||458||49|
|Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.2||10.3||506||54|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||513||54|
|Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/24p||21.6||11.6||772||64|
|Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||no||21.3||10.8||429||55|
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 G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the G3 can use is 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G1 and the G3 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 1440k dots. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G1 and Panasonic G3 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ rgt)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||no||4001||3.0||10.5||no|
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||YES||4000||4.0||11||no|
|Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||4.2||6.3||no|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||1036||swivel||YES||4000||7.0||10.5||no|
|Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||920||fixed||YES||4000||4.0||6.3||no|
|Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||920||swivel||YES||4000||6.0||10.5||no|
|Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||460||fixed||YES||4000||3.2||6.3||no|
|Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||460||fixed||YES||4000||2.6||6.0||no|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||YES||4000||2.6||11||no|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||202||no||3.0||460||fixed||no||4000||2.6||11||no|
|Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||460||fixed||no||4000||3.0||6.0||no|
|Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||no||4000||3.0||10.5||no|
|Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.5||207||swivel||no||4000||3.0||11||no|
Both the G1 and the G3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the G3 was followed by the Panasonic G5.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G1 and the Panasonic G1? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4001/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (410 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2008).
Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.8 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 7 months of technical progress since the G1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G3 emerges as the winner of the match-up (6 : 3 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the G1 and the G3 in practical situations. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Panasonic G1 (⇒ rgt)||88/100 HiRec||70/100 HiRec||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2008||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft)||88/100 HiRec||75/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||2013||499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||-||5/5||-||4.5/5||2013||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2012||499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||82/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||2011||549||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||82/100||70/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2010||549||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||72/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2010||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||70/100||4/5||-||4/5||2010||499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100||69/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2009||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||89/100 HiRec||72/100 HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100||Rec||3.5/5||reviewed||4/5||2007||599||discont.||check|
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
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