Panasonic G3 versus Panasonic G5
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in May 2011 and July 2012. Both the Lumix G3 and the Lumix G5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Lumix G3 has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the Lumix G5 provides 15.9 MP.
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. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth 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 side – the Lumix G3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
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 Lumix G5 is markedly heavier (18 percent) than the Lumix G3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Lumix G3 nor the Lumix 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 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 comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ rgt)||4.5 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||11.9 oz||..||no||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft)||4.7 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||14.0 oz||320||no||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GX850 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.2 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||9.5 oz||210||no||2017||549||latest||check|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.9 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||14.5 oz||350||no||2015||649||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||3.9 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||7.4 oz||220||no||2014||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.8 in||3.3 in||2.8 in||13.8 oz||340||no||2013||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||3.9 in||2.2 in||1.2 in||7.2 oz||230||no||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.5 in||11.2 oz||..||no||2011||949||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.9 in||3.5 in||3.0 in||15.6 oz||330||no||2010||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||15.1 oz||..||no||2010||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||4.9 in||3.3 in||2.9 in||13.7 oz||..||no||2010||499||discont.||check|
The listed 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.
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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the Lumix G5 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 15.8 MP of the Lumix G3. This megapixel advantage translates into a 0 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the Lumix 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 Lumix G3). However, it should be noted that the Lumix G5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the Lumix G3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21||10.6||667||56|
|Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic GX850 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||22.3||11.7||660||66|
|Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||20.8||10.6||703||55|
|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|
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 Lumix G5 provides a faster frame rate than the Lumix G3. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Lumix G3 is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The Lumix G3 and the Lumix 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. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ rgt)||1440||no||3.0||460||swivel||YES||4000||4.0||11||no|
|Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft)||1440||no||3.0||920||swivel||YES||4000||6.0||10.5||no|
|Panasonic GX850 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||500||10.0||4||no|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2360||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||7.0||9.3||no|
|Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1166||no||3.0||921||fixed||YES||500||5.8||no||no|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1440||no||3.0||1036||swivel||YES||4000||7.0||10.5||no|
|Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1036||fixed||YES||500||5.0||4||no|
|Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||460||fixed||YES||4000||4.2||7.6||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|
Both the Lumix G3 and the Lumix G5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The Lumix G3 was replaced by the Panasonic G5, while the Lumix G5 was followed by the Panasonic G6.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic G3? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer 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 vs 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.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 2 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Lumix G5 emerges as the winner of the match-up (4 : 2 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.
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 Lumix G3 and the Lumix G5 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Panasonic G3 (⇒ rgt)||88/100 HiRec||75/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft)||HiRec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GX850 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||76/100||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||2017||549||latest||check|
|Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||80/100 Silver||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||649||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2014||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||-||5/5||-||4.5/5||2013||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||78/100 Gold||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||749||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt)||85/100 Rec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2011||949||discont.||check|
|Panasonic GH2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||86/100 HiRec||79/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2010||1,499||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G2 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||72/100 Silver||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2010||599||discont.||check|
|Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||70/100||4/5||-||4/5||2010||499||discont.||check|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.
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