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Panasonic G3 vs G1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in May 2011 and September 2008. Both the G3 and the G1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The G3 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the G1 provides 12 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Panasonic G3   Panasonic G1
Panasonic G3 Panasonic G1
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 12 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60i Video no Video
ISO 160-6400 ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0" LCD, 460k dots 3.0" LCD, 460k dots
Swivel touchscreen Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
270 shots per battery charge410 shots per battery charge
115 x 84 x 47 mm, 336 g 124 x 84 x 45 mm, 360 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1? 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.

Body comparison: Panasonic G3 vs G1

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic G1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 G1 is only available in black.

Size Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G1
Compare G3 versus G1 top
Comparison G3 or G1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G1 is notably larger (8 percent) than the Panasonic G3. Moreover, the G1 is markedly heavier (7 percent) than the G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the G1 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 compare the optics available 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 G3 gets 270 shots out of its DMW-BLD10 battery, while the G1 can take 410 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G3» 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic G1« 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1
 
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
 
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G5« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 699- i Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 899- i Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 n Mar 2009 899- i Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 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 G3 vs G1

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 G3 and Panasonic G1 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G3 offers a higher resolution of 15.8 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the G1. This megapixels 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). In this context, it should be noted, however, 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.

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 inch or 58.3 x 43.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 13.8 inch or 46.7 x 35 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.3 x 11.5 inch or 38.9 x 29.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic G1 are 20 x 15 inch or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inch or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inch or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 160 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

G3 versus G1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G3» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic G1« Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353Panasonic G1
 
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451Olympus E-410
 
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The G3 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the G3 can use is 1080/60i.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic G3 vs G1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G3 and the G1 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic G3, the Panasonic G1, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G3»1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic G1«1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic G1
 
Olympus E-410« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410
 
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G5« »1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2 Y n Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G3 has a touchscreen, while the G1 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

The G3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the G1 uses SDHC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Panasonic G3 vs G1

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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G3»Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic G1«Y----mini2.0---Panasonic G1
 
Olympus E-410« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-410
 
Panasonic G6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G5« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3« »-stereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« »Ymono---mini2.0---Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10

Both the G3 and the G1 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. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic website.


Review summary: Panasonic G3 vs G1

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic G3 or the Panasonic G1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.8 vs 12MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60i movies.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • 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.


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:

  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (410 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G3 is the clear winner of the match-up (6 : 2 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. 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.

G3 06:02 G1

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic G1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G3 or the G1. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Panasonic G3 vs G1

This is why expert reviews 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Panasonic G3»+ +75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i Panasonic G3
 
Panasonic G1«+ +70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i Panasonic G1
 
Olympus E-410« »86/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
 
Panasonic G6« »+ +-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6
 
Panasonic GF6« »+ +-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i Panasonic GF6
 
Panasonic G5« »+ +-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i Panasonic G5
 
Panasonic GF3« »82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i Panasonic GF3
 
Panasonic GX1« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699- i Panasonic GX1
 
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i Panasonic G10
 
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i Panasonic G2
 
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i Panasonic GF2
 
Panasonic GH2« »+ +79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 899- i Panasonic GH2
 
Panasonic GH1« »+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 899- i Panasonic GH1
 
Panasonic L10« »85/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Panasonic G3:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G1:
Check Ebay offers

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G1

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Panasonic G3 Panasonic G1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date May 2011 September 2008
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic G1
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 15.8 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4592 x 3448 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.77 μm 4.33 μm
    Pixel Density 7.04 MP/cm2 5.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video no Video
    ISO Setting 160-6400 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100-3200 ISO
    Image Processor Venus FHD Venus HD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 53
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 21.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.6 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 667 463
    Screen Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic G1
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 1440k dots 1440k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic G1
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic G1
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic G1
    Battery Type DMW-BLD10 power pack DMW-BLB13 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge410 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 115 x 84 x 47 mm
    (4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
    124 x 84 x 45 mm
    (4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
    Camera Weight 336 g (11.9 oz) 360 g (12.7 oz)

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