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Panasonic G1 versus Panasonic GH1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2008 and March 2009. Both the G1 and the GH1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixel. 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 GH1

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G1 and the Panasonic GH1. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display 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 the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic GH1
G1 versus GH1 top view
G1 and GH1 rear side

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH1 is notably larger (7 percent) than the Panasonic G1. Moreover, the GH1 is markedly heavier (7 percent) than the G1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1 nor the GH1 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 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 GH1 (⇒ lft) 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 no 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 no 2013 499discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 no 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 no 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 no 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 no 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 no 2010 1,499discont. 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 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 G1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 percent) than the GH1, 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. 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 GH1

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 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 GH1 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the G1 and the GH1 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the GH1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the G1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

G1 versus GH1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. 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 GH1 offers substantially better image quality than the G1 (overall score 11 points higher). The advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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 GH1 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/24p 21.6 11.6 772 64
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 20.7 10.6 622 54
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 21.4 11.6 618 61
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 20.6 10 458 49
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60i 21 10.6 667 56
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60i 21.2 10.3 506 54
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60i 21.2 11.3 655 60
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 L10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736 no 21.3 10.8 429 55

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The GH1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the GH1 can use is 1080/24p.

Feature comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic GH1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The G1 and the GH1 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic G1 and Panasonic GH1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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 GH1 (⇒ lft) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 10.5 no
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.2 6.3 no
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 fixed YES 4000 4.0 6.3 no
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 3.2 6.3 no
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 460 swivel YES 4000 4.0 11 no
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 460 fixed YES 4000 2.6 6.0 no
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1534 no 3.0 460 swivel no 4000 3.0 15.6 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 L10 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.5 207 swivel no 4000 3.0 11 no

Both the G1 and the GH1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1 was replaced by the Panasonic G2, while the GH1 was followed by the Panasonic GH2.

Review summary: Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic GH1

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G1 or the Panasonic GH1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of 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 300) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2008).

Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/24p video.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH1 comes out slightly ahead of the G1 (5 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

G1 04:05 GH1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G1 or the GH1. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed 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 GH1 (⇒ lft) 89/100 HiRec 72/100 HiRec 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2009 1,499discont. check
Panasonic GF6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 499discont. check
Panasonic GF5 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 499discont. check
Panasonic GF3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 71/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2011 549discont. check
Panasonic G3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 88/100 HiRec 75/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic GF2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 82/100 70/100 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2010 549discont. check
Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 86/100 HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2010 1,499discont. 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 L10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 Rec 3.5/5 reviewed 4/5 2007 599discont. check

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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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