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Panasonic G3 versus Panasonic G2

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2011 and March 2010. Both the G3 and the G2 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The G3 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the G2 provides 12 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 G3 vs Panasonic G2

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic G2. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions 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 side – the G3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G2
Compare G3 versus G2 top
Compare G3 and G2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G2 is notably larger (8 percent) than the Panasonic G3. Moreover, the G2 is markedly heavier (27 percent) than the G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the G2 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 G3 gets 270 shots out of its DMW-BLD10 battery, while the G2 can take 360 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLB13 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
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)
Panasonic G3» 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i
Panasonic G2« 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic G5« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic GX1« » 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz 320 n Nov 2011 949- i
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic G1« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i

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 G3 vs Panasonic G2

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 G2 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 G2. 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 G2). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the G3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the G2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

G3 versus G2 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic G3» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
Panasonic G2« Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic G5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----
Panasonic GF3« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
Panasonic GX1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
Panasonic G1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the G3 provides a higher video resolution than the G2. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60i, while the G2 is limited to 720/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G2

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G3 and the G2 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 G2, and comparable 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
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic G3»1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic G2«1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic G5« »1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Panasonic GF3« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 3.2 Y n
Panasonic GX1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n

Both the G3 and the G2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G2 was replaced by the Panasonic G3, while the G3 was followed by the Panasonic G5.

Review summary: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G2

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic G2? 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 (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60i vs 720/30p).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 92g or 21 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 2 months after the G2).


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2:

  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2010).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, 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.

G3 06:02 G2

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G3 or the G2 handle or perform in practice. 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 following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic G3»HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i
Panasonic G2«-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic G5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic GF3« »82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic GX1« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 949- i
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic G1« »HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i

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 update the database with the necessary infos.

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