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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. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic G3

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).

Compare Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic G3
G1 versus G3 top view
G1 and G3 rear side

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.

Concerning battery life, the G1 gets 410 shots out of its DMW-BLB13 battery, while the G3 can take 270 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLD10 power pack.

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 camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic G1 (⇒ rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 no 2008 599discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft) 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 no 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 no 2013 499discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 no 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 no 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 no 2012 599discont. check
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 no 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 no 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 no 2010 599discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 no 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.7 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 13.6 oz 380 no 2009 749discont. check
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 no 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 no 2007 599discont. check

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch 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.

Sensor comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic G3

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.

Panasonic G1 and Panasonic G3 sensor measures

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.

G1 versus G3 MP

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.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
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.

Feature comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic G3

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.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
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.

Review summary: Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic G3

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G1 and the Panasonic G3? 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 before making a camera decision.

G1 03:06 G3

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic G1 (⇒ rgt) 88/100 HiRec 70/100 HiRec 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2008 599discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft) 88/100 HiRec 75/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 499discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 599discont. check
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 71/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 70/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 72/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2010 599discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 70/100 4/5 - 4/5 2010 499discont. check
Panasonic GF1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 69/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2009 749discont. check
Panasonic GH1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 89/100 HiRec 72/100 HiRec 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic L10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 Rec 3.5/5 reviewed 4/5 2007 599discont. 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.

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. 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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