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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.

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. 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).

Panasonic G3 vs Panasonic G5 front
Lumix G3 versus Lumix G5 top view
Lumix G3 and Lumix G5 rear side
Body view (Lumix G3 on the left)

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
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 G3 (⇒ rgt) 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz .. no 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft) 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 no 2012 599discont. 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 649discont. check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 no 2014 749discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 no 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 no 2013 749discont. check
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.6 in 2.7 in 1.5 in 11.2 oz .. no 2011 949discont. 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 .. no 2010 599discont. check
Panasonic G10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz .. no 2010 499discont. 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.

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
Sensor size

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.

Lumix G3 versus Lumix G5 MP
Sensor resolution

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.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
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.

Feature comparison

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.

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 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.

Summary

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.

Lumix G3 02:04 Lumix G5

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.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic G3 (⇒ rgt) 88/100 HiRec 75/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic G5 (⇒ lft) HiRec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 599discont. 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 649discont. check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2014 749discont. check
Panasonic G6 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 5/5 - 4.5/5 2013 599discont. check
Panasonic GM1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 78/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 749discont. check
Panasonic GX1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2011 949discont. 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

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.

Other comparisons

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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