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Panasonic G3 vs G5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2011 and July 2012. Both the G3 and the G5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The G3 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the G5 provides 15.9 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Panasonic G3 versus Panasonic G5
Panasonic G3 Panasonic G5
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
15.8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 160-6,400 ISO 160-12,800
Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots) Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)
3.0 LCD, 460k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Swivel touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
4 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
270 shots per battery charge320 shots per battery charge
115 x 84 x 47 mm, 336 g 120 x 83 x 71 mm, 396 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-G5? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic G5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. 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 G5 is available in two color-versions (black, silver).

Size Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G5
Compare G3 versus G5 top
Comparison G3 or G5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G5 is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Panasonic G3. Moreover, the G5 is markedly heavier (18 percent) than the G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G3 nor the G5 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 G5 can take 320 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLC12 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
 
Panasonic G5 120 mm 83 mm 71 mm 396 g 320 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649i
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
 
Panasonic GF5 108 mm 67 mm 37 mm 267 g 360 n Apr 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GX1 116 mm 68 mm 39 mm 318 g 320 n Nov 2011 699i
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF2 113 mm 68 mm 33 mm 310 g 300 n Nov 2010 549i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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 G5 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the G5 offers a slightly higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 15.8 MP of the G3. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G5 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 3.77μm for the G3). However, it should be noted that the G5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the G3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

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-G5 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

G3 versus G5 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
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 G5 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p........
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p........
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
 
Panasonic GF5 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
 
Panasonic GX1 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p20.810.670355
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
 
Panasonic GF2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the G5 provides a faster frame rate than the G3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the G3 is limited to 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G3 and the G5 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 G3 and Panasonic G5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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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
 
Panasonic G31440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Panasonic G51440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Canon Mnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3 n n
 
Panasonic G72360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Panasonic G61440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GF6none n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Panasonic GF5none n 3.0 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Panasonic GX1optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.2 Y n
 
Panasonic G10202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic G21440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
 
Panasonic GF2optional n 3.0 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 2.6 Y n
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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G3 and the G5 write their files to SDXC cards. The G5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the G3 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

Connectivity comparison

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-G5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Panasonic G3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G5Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon MYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G7YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--
 
Panasonic G6YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Panasonic GF6-stereomono--mini2.0YY-
 
Panasonic GF5-stereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GX1Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G10Ymono---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic G2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Panasonic GF2Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Both the G3 and the G5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G3 was replaced by the Panasonic G5, while the G5 was followed by the Panasonic G6. 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

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Panasonic G3 better than the Panasonic G5 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 60g or 15 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in May 2011).


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (320 versus 270) out of a single battery charge.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 2 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G5 is the clear winner of the contest (6 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G3 02:06 G5

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic G5 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 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 G5 perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Panasonic G3+ +75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
 
Panasonic G5+ +..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Canon M+..4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic G7+ +80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649i
 
Panasonic G6+ +..5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
 
Panasonic GF6+ +..4.5/5..4.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
 
Panasonic GF5....4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499i
 
Panasonic GX1+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2011 699i
 
Panasonic G10..70/1004/5..4/5 Mar 2010 499i
 
Panasonic G2..72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
 
Panasonic GF282/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

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.

Panasonic G3:
Check Ebay offers
Panasonic G5:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G5

    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 G5
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date May 2011 July 2012
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic G5
    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 15.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4592 x 3448 pixels 4608 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.77 μm 3.76 μm
    Pixel Density 7.04 MP/cm2 7.08 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60i Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 160 - 6,400 ISO 160 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor Venus FHD Venus VII FHD
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.0 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.6 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 667 ..
    Screen Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic G5
    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 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 460k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic G5
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Panasonic G3 Panasonic G5
    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 G5
    Battery Type DMW-BLD10 DMW-BLC12
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge320 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 115 x 84 x 47 mm
    (4.5 x 3.3 x 1.9 in)
    120 x 83 x 71 mm
    (4.7 x 3.3 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 336 g (11.9 oz) 396 g (14.0 oz)

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